Dad's Memories...

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The Front Parlour.

Do you have a garage cleaning day in your house? We do: or should I say I do…

Don’t get me wrong I positively hate doing it but, when the hard work is done, and the garage is spick and span, there is the satisfaction of knowing that we have a tidy space with any unwanted nonsense banished to the rubbish tip..

This invariably means trouble: the reason? Without fail, I will have dumped something of value  or at the very least the suspicion that I have will be there: whether it’s a pair of Helens battered old boots  or Alisons “Martha Stewarts April 1996 edition”, or Mums “ favourite vase” (that had been lying on the floor at the back of a box of 1960 s records for god knows how long ): if for some obscure they take it upon themselves to search for these suddenly essential items and find to their outrage, they are gone, I immediately get the blame, and compensation, out of all proportion will be demanded. I mean, really, how much can a ten year old copy of Martha Stewart, (whoever she may be!), be worth??

I will admit I may occasionally make the odd misjudgement and dump something I shouldn’t, after all, I am only human, but I surely can’t be to blame for everything that disappears in this madhouse, can I?

Such a day was last Sunday, so with something akin to trepidation in my stomach, and fatherly enthusiasm in abundance, I began clearing the bottom left hand corner of the garage and to my delight, came across a dusty cardboard box, which contained a collection of old books. My eyes lit up: perfect I thought, put it straight onto the tip bound van, but as I lifted it up,the bottom collapsed and out tumbled 40 years of precious memories…

I began picking up the “mess” but with each book came a distant reminder of happy times, sad times, sentimental times and so on…

Then, the best thing of all, a glorious moment in a tired Dad’s day: I picked up a tattered old red hard backed book entitled “The Complete History of Mechanical Engineering: Volume Two”, doesn’t sound too exciting, I’ll admit, does it, but all of a sudden I was a child again: that book was the only thing that would keep me sitting quietly on the sofa for a couple of hours at the tender age of four while mum got on with her housework, occasionally my older brother  perched next to me with volume three (I can’t remember ever seeing a volume one!). They were magic, each page containing photographs of trains, cranes, buses, ships and every other mechanical device you could care to name.

These books were brought from dads special glass fronted bookcase in the front parlour (a very special place, entirely off limits to grubby little urchins)…

When special friends and family came , the front parlour was where the tea would  be served following a meal or for a person to be taken by my father to show off his rare collection of books carefully placed behind the glass doors of his treasured bookcase. There were first editions of biographies of famous people, a set of Encyclopaedias Britannica that he bought over a period of two years paying for each volume every month, a beautiful bible with golden edged pages which cost him an arm and a leg, and  of course………… The Complete History of Mechanical Engineering: Volumes Two and Three…

These day’s we haven’t got a parlour. God knows Gabriel and Finn would destroy it if we did, but there remains something to be said, for a sacred place for the man of the house. And so in honour of my dad and his glass bookcase, I am declaring the third shelf on the Mexican bookcase in my office, Dad’s books, and from this day forth that is where “The Complete History of Mechanical Engineering” shall be found. Finley is going to love it...

Till Next Time, George.