In the last couple of posts, I wrote about my father’s side of the family. I’d like to say a bit more about my Dad. He was, I think, a typical Scots husband of his time. He didn’t do housework or clean shoes. He never sugared or milked his own tea. I can hear him in my head saying to Mum “Is my tea sugared, Chris?” He didn’t clear the table or wash dishes, or wash and dress the children. But – he was a great Dad who bought model books and helped me to make a roundabout which turned with the help of some sand to move the cardboard mechanism. There was also a windmill and no doubt others. He was great storyteller, too, and we played card games like Snap and Happy Families when we were wee. He showed us how to drop some ink blots onto white paper and fold it over and get a mirror picture! All sorts of things. He could make wireless sets and great bread pudding. Not the ‘in a bowl with custard’ type, but his mother’s recipe for using the stale bread. It came out the oven like a loaf and you cut slices, more like a dumpling really. We loved it!
He did have house talents of a different kind. He could paint the woodwork and make paste from flour and hang the wallpaper. He could distemper the walls. This was the forerunner of emulsion. It came as a powder which was mixed with water till it was the shade you wanted. After it was dry, Dad had a large sponge which he dipped either in a darker shade or a different colour and ‘stippled’ the walls. We thought it was perfect. No dull colours, nice pastels. As I said previously, he was a dab hand at laying linoleum and carpets and putting up aerials for wirelesses. So all in all, in spite of not being able to sugar his own tea, he wasn’t a bad old stick right to the end. Annabel and I couldn’t have done better if we had been able to choose our own parents!