I don’t have many happy childhood memories of my Dad, at least ones that don’t involve work. Many a memory is linked to the allotment, repairing cars, coupon rounds and even working together for too many years. Try as I may, I cannot recall ‘playing’ memories, just Dad and me.
He taught me how to fish at Talybont – that memory is gone.
He taught me how to use my first woodworking set, a set I can still recall today — also gone is building things with him.
My first go-cart was built by him — but not played on with him.
Bike riding — gone.
Sledging — gone.
Some memories have remained from holidays, teaching how-to and catching shrimps, cooking them along with other collected shellfish, but after a while it was more of sending me to get them. Getting nearly stuck in a cave trying to free some crystals is a good memory. But I don’t have the same type of memories at home.
This has led to some strange looks in therapy, so It must not be the norm. Often leading my thinking toward ‘I missed out on something.’
Now he is old and hard work, some of the time; no, most of the time if truth be told. Heads are butted often, especially over the computer; it has now become the laptop so he can’t break it as easy. My stubborn streak is defiantly from him. And still I work on the bloody allotment.
And this is where we have just come back from. Dad has been for a number of years, ill, but he managed to keep his hobbies going. The allotment and beekeeping, sadly last year he had to give up the beekeeping as he has become allergic to bee venom, so the allotment is the only thing left, and that is now under threat. I have made some, not too radical, changes to his plot; three raised beds so he can sit and garden and one bed raised not as high as a trial. This has upset the bloke running the site, it’s not 1950s enough.
Trepidation of the change is to be expected and I have talked him trough the whole process, but he has been told no to helping himself to wood on the site, twice, and he has taken offence and is trying to start a smear campaign against Dad. But stuff him ,back to me and Dad.
Today was the third time Dad has been able to get up to the plot this year due to time spent in hospital, and the first time he has been able to plant. The long hard slog of removing the rotten old beds and placing the raised ones on there new home, then filling each with a trailer of horse manure and compost, eight trailers worth, is over and now there has been a reward for me. Dad managed to plant without getting on his knees and without pain, And he looked happy doing it. We came back laughing and smiling.
I may not want my son to have the same type of memories as I have of my Dad about me, and I defiantly tell him I love him, but at the end of the day, we know we both love each other no matter the faults. It’s just done a different way is all.