Scenes from family life, part 17:
Last Sunday after lunch I sat in front of the television with my aged father and others to watch the England rugby team’s international friendly match with Wales, one of those ‘try-out’ games leading up to the Rugby World Cup which begins next month in Japan.
My father’s grip on what is going on around him these days tends to vary from not bad at all to ‘away with the fairies’.
With sports games in television, he habitually asks repeatedly and at short intervals either “Where is this taking place?” and/or variations upon the theme “Who is this game between?” such as “Are the ones in red Wales?” and “Are the team in white England or France?” and so on, which can get boring – I won’t say irritating – after a while, especially when you’re trying to concentrate upon the action yourself.
On Sunday, midway through the match, he came up with a corker.
[I should perhaps here explain that, whilst I would never suggest that he has a racist bone in his body, being well over the age of eighty he does retain a rather old-fashioned and blunt attitude when referring to people of a different hue to his own, firstly and simply because that is how things used to be in his heyday and also secondly, (to a degree) old age had robbed him of some of the social etiquette ‘filters’ that prevent younger people making fools of themselves or embarrassing themselves and those around them.]
He suddenly asked, out of the blue, “Why are there so many blacks in the England team?”
I responded matter-of-factly “Because these days they pick the team purely on merit”, as if his question warranted no further explanation. Which I felt was fair enough.
Separately, yesterday after lunch my son Barry arrived back in the UK on a brief (36 hour) visit for medical reasons.
Before he arrived at my home a courier from Royal Mail [is it still called that?] delivered a registered post package addressed to him which I had to sign for. It felt like a garment (a pullover perhaps?) of some description.
Whilst chatting to Barry some time later I remembered the package and handed it him. He opened it and announced that it was a hoody-type sweatshirt item that he had ordered online from a website.
He then went on to explain the circumstances.
Having seen on television and the internet the media reports of Franky Zapata’s now famous hover/flying board – the French inventor/entrepreneur had both featured in a military parade in Paris and then become the first man to ‘fly’ across the Channel on a hoverboard at his second attempt only last week – Barry had rung Zapata’s company to register that he would be interested himself in learning to fly a hoverboard at the earliest opportunity.
See here for footage of Monsieur Zapata doing his stuff at the aforementioned French military parade in Paris,courtesy of – YOUTUBE
Later, in researching on said company’s website, he had seen among their merchandising items the aforementioned ‘hoody’ with its distinctive brand logo markings and decided to buy one.
Barry’s a bit like that.