My Father was a great gardener. He could make vegetables sprout from the most unaccommodating soil. The aroma of fertiliser (just a nice name for chicken or horse shit) permeates the memories of my youth, as does the bounty of the garden tended by the old man.
For all his green-fingerish skills, his aptitude as a teacher who should pass these skills on to his children are none. My brother and I have trouble making grass grow. There were no Father-Son moments in the garden of our lives. No triumphant gathering of fresh cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, zucchini, peas, hanging beans, tomatoes, figs, potatoes, broccoli or cauliflowers (a small selection of what he grew). Not for us.
To be truthful, my brother and I didn’t actually seek tuition, but then neither was it ever offered as I remember. We would just get in the way, or we’d water incorrectly, or pick a too-green tomato, or just be trampling across freshly planted seedlings.
“Thank you, guys…” my father would try to sound encouraging, “but I don’t think that’s the … don’t … not there …not that way … what’s the matter with you.” His voice quickly rose with this blood pressure whenever my brother and I were around.
“What’s that? … I think I heard your mother calling. Go see what she wants… Go on off you go.” End of the lesson. It wasn’t just us, it was the same with his grandchildren.
I’m not complaining. However, if you saw what I was doing at the moment you may think differently. I am about to go visit my father at the nursing home where he now lives and take him a bag of lollies. Pardon the visual you are about to receive, but yes, I am currently pissing on those lollies.
I am standing over the toilet and pissing on one boiled lolly after another. They’re just ordinary boiled lollies. Come in bags of fifty. Wrapped in cellophane.
I love the boiled lolly. The whole simple idea of them is a wonder. Take a good handful of sugar, add water, a flavouring, boil, wait until it hardens, wrap, and there you have it.
I am now looking at boiled lollies that are enveloped with a thin covering of my uric acid. Perfect for visiting day. Continue reading