My dad, known to this blog’s readers as The Doctor, arrived from Lusaka ten days ago and I am afraid, as per usual things, got a little nutso. Immediately there was the 50 year reunion of his old dental school The Royal. (yep, The Doctor did dentistry before he did medicine.)
As the only offspring available I am allowed to attend although I am bit edgy as I will be the youngest at the do by about 30 years and certainly the only child in tow.
In the car my dad has managed to finagle from my distracted aunt, we discuss tactics. Iam anxious. They will ask me what I do. ‘Is ‘dole scum’ too aggressive?’ I ask.
Dad, who nearly fell off his seat with laughter when I told him I was half way through an 8-week pole-dancing course, suggests exotic dancer. I decide to go with ‘burlesque’ as that sounds faintly circus and a bit edgy.
As it turns out there is enough wine consumed for none of the small talk to matter and everyone seems to be having a riotous time. Dad is in charge of the speech ‘The Next 50 Years.’ As usual he does no preparation, has no notes and, as he is the last speaker has consumed a fair amount of plonk so when he leaps to his feet I find I am biting my nails but his lunatic shaggy dog story about aliens digging up perfectly crowned molars in 500 years time hits all the right notes with this particular crowd of ex tooth-drillers and the crowd cheer. He even gets a guffaw from a passing waiter.
Speech! (c) Tanvir Bush
Thrupp: Sunday 17th
My beautiful old friend from university has a barge. She and her husband are living in it. With two cats and a roof garden. I am still feeling slightly bilious from the previous night and, captivated with the sunshine glinting on the water and the smell of patchouli incense in the living room, secretly try to negotiate a flat-to-barge swap with one of the cats but the cat is having none of it.
My place: Cambridge 19th
'What’s a gimp?' Asks Dad. My friend is passing on her esteemed husband’s suggestion of a more practical equivalent to a guide dog.
‘A gimp is a fetish slave.’ I say gravely. I am thinking the idea through and it sounds rather promising. ‘I could keep one instead of a dog- they will also walk to heel on a lead but the added benefit would be that I would get foot massages, gin and tonics made and wouldn’t need a pooper scooper. …or will I....?’ I look across at my friend for more information but she is in convulsions of giggles having noticed that Dad is wearing socks with days of the week printed boldly along each one. Today is Tuesday but he is sporting one Wednesday and a Friday.
‘Well.. you never know.’.he says mysteriously.
Casa Mio:Italian restaurant: Leeds 21st
My dad’s famous cousin is sitting opposite us, still erudite and a commanding presence in his mid 80’s. He is talking about his active service in Bomber Command during World War 2. They were losing planes and people on every mission every week, every day. It was one of the most terrifying and deadly jobs of the entire war. Famous cousin’s father was a stern, emotionless man. When cousin arrived home on his occasional allowed visits, his Dad would quietly ask him
‘How many missions son?’ and then just nod at the answer be it 10, 25, 40 and that would be that.
One day cousin came home pale, exhausted.
‘How many son?’ Asked his father as always.
‘Sixty-two’ said cousin. ‘But that’s it Dad. Its over.’
And his father leant his head against the wall and wept. Then he took his son to the pub for the first time in his life.
We are quiet at the table. ‘I think it was the parents that suffered more then we ever did’ says this remarkable man.
Famous cousin’s daughter is an artist and she gives me a beautiful small piece called ‘a glimpse of the lake’. There is something jewel like and calming about it non?
'A Glimpse of the Lake' Hilary Brosch
Agra Restaurant: London: last night.
My brother prods me in the ribs.
‘Well when is the next bit then?’
‘Eh?’ I say trying not to choke on my king prawn curry (I haven’t stopped eating since Dad arrived. I am beginning to look like the cook from ‘Mary Poppins’.)
‘Your blog thing. I want to know if I’m in it.’
My brother grins, evil glinting from his choppers.
I gaze with horror at him and then across the table strewn with bits of popadoms and rice, where The Doctor sits embroiled in a deep conversation with my sister who is sipping a large pint with her vicar’s dog collar slightly slipping. (Try saying that fast..)
It has slowly dawned on me that they all now read my blog..quite regularly and I shall have to be tactical. Hell..I shall have to be nice about them or risk not getting birthday presents….
Bunch of Bushes (c) Tanvir Bush
My family are bloody marvellous! Would I lie to you?