8.20am. Father’s Day. And astonishingly, no word from Tom. Surely he has nothing better to do at university than give his dad a ring?
The exams are over. He can’t have something more exciting on his mind can he?
Apparently so. Just like my other children.
Ben is sleeping for England. Jessica has spent the night with her best pal. In a hotel. Trust me, you don’t want to know the full story.
But the dog still loves me and as we’re being treated to a couple of hours’ sunshine before the June monsoons return, let’s jump in the car and head for the cliff top.
What do you know? 9.20am. The dog rolls in something unbelievably disgusting. No, just in case you were wondering. ‘Give the dog a bath’ wasn’t on my Father’s Day wish list.
“I’m going to get Jessica,” my wife announced as I walked through the door.
“I know where she is.” We both raised our eyebrows. Teenage girls…
Still, no time to worry about my daughter when there was the chance to dislocate a couple of vertebrae by lifting the dog into the bath.
Clearly Jessica must have flown over Lourdes en route to Rome. I escaped serious injury, the dog was once more sweet smelling and Ben rolled out of bed. Time for my Father’s Day presents…
But not before I’d checked my phone. Nope, still nothing from Tom. Maybe his mobile had run out of charge. Or it was faulty. He certainly couldn’t have forgotten…
Wine. Excellent. And expensive, dark chocolates. Even excellent-er. “And I brought you these back from Rome, daddy.”
Oh. My angelic daughter. Was she not the sweetest girl in the world? Thinking about her dad as she’d been going round Rome with her friends. A bottle of olive oil. “Olio extra virgine d’oliva. That’s lovely, darling, thank you. We’ll have a barbecue if the monsoon holds off. Just right for drizzling over the meat…”
My wife muttered something. It sounded like “Oink, oink.” It couldn’t possibly have been.
“And what’s this? It feels squidgy - ”
“Open it, dad. It’s really popular in Italy.”
“...but hard. It’s pasta isn’t it? Thank you, sweetheart. Genuine Italian pasta. What is it? Penne? Fusilli? Gigli are my favourite…”
“Er, no. None of those, dad.”
No, it wasn’t penne, fusilli or gigli. How can I put this delicately? I can’t. It was penis-shaped pasta.
“It’s the most popular pasta in Italy.” I’m sure it is. With teenage girls. Still, it should make for an interesting dinner party. We haven’t had Jane’s parents round for a while…
Speaking of which. “I’m going round to see my dad.”
“What did you get him?”
“A bottle of wine and two boxes of walnut whips.” Oh yes. I’d seen them in the dining room.
My beloved disappeared to do some wrapping. She was back remarkably quickly. “OK, who’s eaten a packet of walnut whips?”
“Not me.” Child 1.
“Don’t like walnut whips.” Child 2.
“So it was you.” Blimey, found guilty because I didn’t deny it quickly enough. No danger of a kangaroo court with my wife.
“No, it wasn’t me. You left them on the edge of the table. You may need to look for a four legged culprit.”
And there was the evidence lying on the floor. A torn up box of walnut whips complete with teeth marks. And a hangdog Springer Spaniel with an I’ve-eaten-too-much face.
“It’s your fault.” I never doubted it. “Anyway, do you want a barbecue?”
“Might be nice. Seeing as the garden isn’t under water for once.”
“It’ll need cleaning. The Brillo pads are under the sink. Happy Father’s Day…”