Monday, 11 July 2011

Amazing Grace ?

This morning watching our dearly loved curate balancing about 20 feet off the ground on the top of a ladder, I was struck, as I have been many times before, by the ease and grace with which some people manage to perform acts which are totally impossible for others of us.

There are a fortunate few who have naturally good balance, good spatial awareness and agility and who can make anything look easy.

Then there are the rest of us who muddle through as best we can, with only the occasional serious accident, but never without letting the rest of the world know we are doing something which for us, does not come with the 'packaging'.

My late father was a supreme example of the 'un'-handy man.  He set about every task with vast energy, total confidence and no skill whatever.

His intentions were always of the best, it was just the execution which was not up to scratch.

On one occasion he and my mother were spending Christmas with John and me in our flat in Northwood.
Father, ever anxious to help, decided that our massive 20 foot wide and ten feet high window (the whole of one wall), was badly steamed-up and needed drying off.  Very laudable, except that when we went back into the room we found him holding back dozens of metres of net curtain - we had had one huge one specially made - with one hand and mopping furiously at the glass with an old towel.

Nothing wrong with that, you might think, except that the hand holding the curtain was also holding a huge havana cigar.

Yes, that's right, he had burned a  hole right through the curtain, roughly about two metres in from the end.
So, guess who had a tightly stretched, barely wide enough curtain for the next six years.

When he walked through the flat shutting doors behind him the resulting crash could be heard 100 yards away.

He also was the only person I have ever known who contrived to snap off, not one, but two car door handles.

My favourite (not) of all his accidental acts of vandalism, was when he stayed with us here in Aylesbury, collected seed from a huge variety of hollyhocks and asked for packets or envelopes in which to keep them so he could separate them into types and colours.  Having duly supplied his needs I left him to write on the envelopes the description of each one.

To my great pleasure I discovered on my return that deeply embossed in the softwood inlay of our Regency style table, were the words, deep pink double frilly.

After the initial shock it later became quite a talking point for any non-family visitors who were unaware of the dangerous propensities of dear papa.

The odd thing was that despite having all the grace and delicacy of you average elephant or hippo, dad was able to grow the most beautifull roses, sweet-peas, clematis, peonies and all the other lovely fragile flowers and he could also arrange them well in vases.

I suppose there really is room for all of us in God's wonderfull world, it's just that some of us need more than others.


  1. Wonderful blog,it made me smile as I pictured your Father. He sounds as if he was a great character. Mine was 6' 4' and had huge hands.He hated going out for tea as he always got his fingers stuck in the cup handles! But very comforting when a small chld ,and I slipped my little hand into his on our many walks together.

  2. Brilliant post, Ray and where DID you find that photo? Your description of your father was so affectionate and so vivid that I felt I knew him. Wonderful writing.

  3. tootallburd
    Hi, thanks for the comment. Yes, he certainly was a character and he also had very large hands.
    I'd forgotten, until you mentioned it, how very safe and reassuring it was to hold those hands.

  4. Hi Perpetua.
    Glad you enjoyed the post.
    The picture is entitled Sumo Ballerina and I found it under Google images. Gorgeous isn't it?
    Tnakyou for the very complimentary remarks. (I try)

  5. Hi Perpetua.
    Glad you enjoyed the post.
    The picture is entitled Sumo Ballerina and I found it under Google images. Gorgeous isn't it?
    Tnakyou for the very complimentary remarks. (I try)

  6. PS
    The dreaded repeater bug has reappeared in my comments corner. Sorry about that!

  7. Hi Anita
    He was many things Lovely was not how I would have described him.
    He was, as i have written elsewhere earlier, a life-long communist and also an atheist. He was well read and had a taste for classical music. Was a superb gardener, a first class cake-maker and drove like a maniac until he was 95 years old.
    How he never killed anyone I really don't know.
    Pure luck i imagine.
    He loved animals but was very dogmatic in his dealings with people.