What's new with Janey
05 November 2008

Life as we know it

Things worry me for no reason. Like the other day as I sat in a café in Barcelona, I was happily listening to my IPod and enjoying my music when I suddenly had an irrational fear that my dad might die soon. My chest went tight and I almost cried! What is wrong with me? My dad is in his mid-70s and doing well.

Last year he fell off a ladder trying to put up Christmas decorations and knocked himself out, other than that he is dapper and fine.

He does sometimes forget he is old and attempts to lift concrete slabs into his garden, or thinks he can trim the hedges with a big fuck-off electrical gadget and has to be stopped. His favourite game is the when the next door’s cat comes in and he torments it with a laser pen light. The poor cat gets exhausted running up and down the walls, dad laughs his head off as the thing looks insane trying to trap a small red dot.

His other favourite thing is to tell me who has recently died in his long list of old pals that I vaguely recall. It usually begins with.

“Do you remember old Jack who ran the pub at the end of the street?”

Me- “yes, he had a club feet didn’t he?”

Dad- “Yes he did …well he is dead”

This is a regular phone conversation for dad and after he takes great pains for me to recall some old bloke, he then tells me how and when and why that person died. It’s rather odd, but I suppose when you get old the roll call seems to be getting bigger.

He has a wicked sense of humour and when I embark on a big trip abroad I say to him “Dad, don’t die when I go away as it will haunt me forever”

He replies “No don’t worry, I will hang on till you get back then die in accordance to your busy comedy schedule, don’t you worry, I won’t screw up your life”

Dad has a better social life than me; he is rarely in when I call him. He goes out meeting his mates and often pops into town on the bus and cruises the pound shops for bargains. My wee lovely step mum says he buys bags of tat that he has to hide in his garden shed, as she is fed up with the nonsense he brings home and that makes me laugh.

He is addicted to McDonald’s ice creams (which he is NOT allowed and eats them quickly in case he is spotted), he drinks too much coffee and eats chocolate in the middle of the night and stashes his sweets around the house. Mum keeps finding them and gives him hell for it.

Dad doesn’t swear around mum as she quite rightly hates it but occasionally on the phone to me he will swear as he is telling me an anecdote and I laugh loudly because I know my step mum is near and she will nip his head off for the language!

He is a great story teller. I recall one tale about when he was a little boy during the Second World War. He was evacuated to some place up in the North of Scotland; he was about 6 years old. Apparently the people mis treated him and he was covered in sores. His mum was worried and she instinctively travelled to the farm and found him all skinny and ill. She wrapped him up and bundled him on the train and then onto a tram, she stuffed him under the seat to get back into the Glasgow city centre.

It was illegal to bring your kid back into the city during the war but she hid him under her coat as she got off the tram and that saved his life. She was incensed with anger at the farmer and refused to send him away again. Though he was finally settled in the Scottish Highlands with a good family till the end of the war and came home all fattened up and healthy.

When I was a kid he told me a scary story about a man with a wee black Scottish terrier who went into a tunnel under my school. Dad even pointed out a drain that led to this tunnel in the middle of the grass sports park so I knew exactly where the frightening place was.
He told me that as the man went deeper into the tunnel he heard a noise and went to investigate. A big dark clawing spectre appeared and chased the big man and he dropped dead with fear, but the wee dog came running out and it was now a WHITE haired Scotty dog. I was terrified from white Scotty dogs as a kid, and would scream when I saw one. I couldn’t even bear to go near the grassy sports park at school and I still have nightmares about it.

Years later, I told him how scary that tale was. “The story wasn’t set in your school park, it was a tunnel near the dirty burn, and I was trying to stop you going into the filthy water, how the hell did you get that mixed up with your school sports park? Is that why you were rubbish at sport? Did I ruin your chance to win an Olympic medal? You never did listen to me properly” he laughed.

Dad is funny._