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Sunday 14 August 2016

10 things I learnt from my Dad

Mummies get a lot of press. After all, they are the ones that have to push us out at the end of a tough nine months, and recover from the physical aftermath. 

But Dads are just as important. And no, not just for pocket money and lifts in the car. Here's 10 things I've learnt from the first man in my life, my Dad.

1. How to wire a plug and change a tyre

To be fair, my Dad is an electrician, so I reckon I'd have to be some sort of freak of nature not to have picked up some kind of basic knowledge along the way. Not that I'm about to crack open our fuse box and start re-wiring the house - I'm not a complete idiot.

And as well as knowing how to change a tyre, I also keep a pair of overalls in the boot of the car. The original reasoning being in case I broke down on the way to a job interview and needed to keep my clothes clean. These days, they'd be more useful protecting me from vomit or snot, than from grease or oil. However, much as I'd like to regale you with a charming, yet heroic tale, of how I rescued an old lady, jack in one hand, Baby R in the other, I have to admit the overalls have never seen the light of day. Apart from those brief moments when I open the boot to take out the buggy, or dump the shopping. I spent my pennies on breakdown insurance. Sorry, Dad.

2. A cardboard box and a length of rope makes the best mini toboggan

I'd like you to picture a length of rope: one end is attached to a cardboard box containing a small child wearing gloves, the other end is held firmly by a huffing, puffing Dad.

Thirty years ago, I was that child. I cannot tell you how much fun it was, right until the snow soaked through the box and it was my waterproofed ass sliding across the ground. Last winter, that child was Little O. However, he benefited from the mark II edition incorporating a reinforced underside. Lucky blighter.

3. Look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves

I was encouraged to save from a young age. But it didn't actually start with money. I remembering getting hold of an old biscuit tin and stashing all the goodies I received from trick-or-treating at Halloween. Later, the rich pickings from Christmas went in too. Not chucking them down my neck straight away meant I had options available whenever I felt partial to a sugar fix.

From there, I naturally moved on to a Post Office savings account and I've never looked back.

4. Fast forwarding through unexpectedly intimate movie moments doesn't work

I'm going to file this one right under 'moments never to be shared with parents'. 

Back in the days of VHS, there was a reasonable chance that the picture would be obscured by those fuzzy spears of grey and white that sliced across the screen when forwarding or rewinding. But there was no guarantee, and it definitely doesn't happen now with DVDs.

Hence the crystal clear memory of curling up in the armchair, cringing and thinking, Oh my God, kill me now. #Awkward.

5. What to look for when buying a car

Living so far from my parents means I have an extra reason to stand on my own two feet. Yes, I know they're only a phone call away, but Dad only turns his on if he's let loose while out shopping with Mum, and they don't have an answer phone for the landline.

'If I'm not in, I'm not in,' Mum says. Whatever that means.

And, much as I hate to say it, being 5'1" and female, does make me a target for sneaky salespeople who think they can pull a fast one. So I've picked up a thing or two. Mainly along the lines of: does the level of wear fit with the age of the car, and if there's blue smoke coming out of the exhaust, don't touch it with a barge pole.

6. Solutions, not problems

My Dad is a master at problem solving. He loves a good conundrum, particularly those related to building something. Loves it. And, given a piece of paper and a pencil, he will usually find the answer.

He taught me that running round like a headless chicken, panicking, is more pointless than a toddler wearing white. It's a complete waste of time. Remaining calm and assessing the situation logically is far more likely to get you somewhere.

7. Putting a tractor wheel in your boot will break your car

To be fair, I could've probably told him this, but at least now I have the benefit of his experience to know that in practice the result is as expected. Yep, two tonnes of cast iron and heavy rubber will definitely make your suspension not work any more. But God loves a trier, as they say.

8. You have to work to get what you want

You wont get far if you sit on your backside all day. As a parent, I've realised that my job is not to give my boys an easy life but to ensure that they are equipped to thrive in a world where it isn't always easy to succeed. Life isn't fair or easy, so you have to put the effort in if you want to reap the rewards. Except maybe for those guys from Made in Chelsea, I reckon they have it pretty easy.

(By the way, I just want to make it clear that this doesn't mean I make them build their own fires and make their own clothes or anything. Lets be sensible here.)

9. Sean Connery is the true Bond

No arguments. He just is.

10. Nothing's more important than the people you love

Simple but true. Of the things I've learned, most have been through spending time with Dad, whether it was providing a daughter-sized hand to reach that fiddly nut, or holding that fence panel steady while he knocked in that post. It's those experiences that matter.

So the car broke - its annoying but resolvable. I'd much rather the car broke, than not have Dad, or Mum, or S or the boys around. Plus, at least Mum can now make an argument for that shiny new Mini Countryman she saw the other day. Silver linings and all that.

Quite Frankly She Said Sunday Best

You Baby Me Mummy

Mummy Times Two


  1. This is a cute post, I have such lovely memories of 'fixing things' with my Dad and I still consult him for all of my grown up decisions x #SundayBest

    1. Ah thanks :) Yeah, I think I'll always be Daddy's girl... x

  2. This is so lovely. My Dad is my electrician hero too (and my mum is super woman) everything you said resonated with me. Except I don't keep overalls in the boot of my car. Nice idea though maybe I need to consider a purchase.

    1. Thank you! I quite enjoyed writing this one :) x

  3. Oh this is lovely and made me laugh too! It sounds like you have such a great relationship with your dad. Thanks for linking up to #SundayBest x

  4. Hats off to you for being able to change a tyre - I could change a buggy tyre but that's it! #postsfromtheheart

    1. I have never changed a buggy tyre in my life! You're one up on me! x

  5. Fab post, there is a lot of love in this post along with lots of humour.My dad taught me photography and how to top up my oil & water. #postsfromtheheart