Neville John William Day 7 March 1922 - 26 November 1990
As far as we could see there were few pleasures left in Dad's life. Nothing to look forward to and that was for sure.
Dad though took his pleasures where he could find them. In the later 80s CB Radio was still around and Dad bought the kit. He listened in for hours at trucker's conversations on the A149 from King's Lynn, practically past his front door and onward to Hunstanton. Mother thought the jargon she overheard childish and irritating but thankfully had the courtesy of not saying so to Dad. Dad never had the courage to get a 'handle'. He was too shy to talk with people he couldn't see face to face.
Where Mother did come a cropper though and that was with me. I had long, long since learned that it was pointless arguing with Mother. You would never win. No one ever did. Mother and Dad loved each other and of that there was no doubt but as with all married couples they would occasionally bicker.
Dad could be a charmer though and usually won the day.
In better days, given the green light by Mother but now with limited time left for evening libations following Mother's procrastinations, he would set off up the stairs to change. His 5' 8" frame leaping two and sometimes even three stair risers at a time with his trademark Groucho Marks long stride imitation. Yelling in a pretty fair but précis rendering of Sir Winston Churchill's famous "We shall fight on the beaches" speech. Even Mother had to laugh.
The time Mother did not laugh though was when Dad, having taken delivery of a new electrically powered wheelchair, operated by the only still functioning digit he had left, his right thumb, decided he was back behind the wheel of a digger, or a truck or the steering levers of a bulldozer. Complete with sound effects. Sound effects as a child of seven would have made. "Brmmm, brmmm!" If anyone need any more convincing.
The home was, as mentioned earlier, a former hotel. It was largish for a family home, with five bedrooms, big kitchen, scullery (or utility room), three bathrooms, three reception including an enormous hitherto Public Bar, now a lounge. Dad had a deep pile Wilton carpet fitted and which must have weighed a couple of tonnes.
Within seconds of the wheelchair's arrival Dad was trying to push it into a four wheel drift round the back of one settee before hurtling down the 'back straight' to repeat the dare devil manoeuvre at its matching sister settee at the other end of the room.
"Neville!" Screamed Mother. "Stop it! You're leaving wheeling marks in the carpet!"
I kept my cool. I did not lose my temper. I did not wish to alarm Dad. "Mother." I said "Come with me please for a moment."
Innocently and unsuspectingly Mother followed me out of the lounge, leaving Dad to see if he could develop wheel spins as well. Mother following me down the long corridor of the home Dad had strived so hard, all of his working life to create for them both, then left into the magnificent kitchen. I slowly closed the kitchen door behind me, raised my index finger and pointed it at her and said, calmly and slowly "Mother, please do not EVER talk to Dad like that again! Damn the carpet. I'll buy you another damned carpet in six months time. After Dad has left us!"
Mother didn't reply.
Dad continued to make wheelies until the battery went flat. After we had craned Dad out of his wheelchair with the electric winch, put him to bed next door in the re-purposed dining room and now ground floor bedroom, I showed Mother how to plug in the wheelchair to recharge it ready for more wheelies in the morning. I also made her swear she would never forget to do so.
Mother didn't argue. I forgave her. She was stressed and upset enough as it was.
A couple of Dad's favourite jokes Chris Latham-Smith 2022.
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