Olivia Ryan has recently had a post about the relationship between mothers and daughters and it got me thinking about fathers and sons.
Not the same is it? My dad only ever gave me one piece of advice. He was never very eloquent or demonstrative and preferred just to get on with life without analysing things too much. I'm fairly sure he was proud of me but he never actually said so. Dads didn't in those days. That was left to your mum. But he would do anything for anybody. Me and my brother were in the Boys' Brigade and, when it came to needing volunteers to transport us into the countryside for a camping weekend, he was first in line. Similarly, when I did a sponsored walk he put himself forward for marshalling duty. And this myth about modern dads being more 'hands-on' with the kids is complete nonsense. I remember him changing my brother's nappy (born 1956) and cooking our tea when he was home after shiftwork.
He died in 1989 aged 66 but he's staring at me now from a photo frame just below my PC screen. He's supposed to be egging me on with my writing but he doesn't. He's looking at me wondering why I'm wasting my time.
And the singular piece of advice? Bear in mind he came from Norfolk and had a rustic sense of humour. It was - “Never mind your arse, mind your head, boy.”
I think I know what he meant.