Tag Archives: Dad

X What should it be…

During this A to Z I have pondered and perplexed when I think of the letter X. I deliberated over cheating and stating (e)xtra, or (e)xtravagant dropping the E but this seems like a cheat so I shall try to complete my post of gratitude on the letter X although this is extraordinarily hard.


I did something I have not done for a long time, I hit the dictionaries. I have a pair of beautiful leather-bound lexicons that were gifted to me by my father when I started my degree, printed by the Funk & Wagnalls Company in 1955. The sit on my shelf idly holding words waiting for a moment such as this. There must be some phrase,some gem that I can harvest and manipulate to fit my X post. Opening the second volume of this very Old “New Practical Standard Dictionary” I smiled and wondered when the last time I thumbed the pages was, perhaps four years ago maybe more.

Under the letter X there are listed a total of eighty-two entries. A plethora of possibilities, or perhaps not. I scanned them and my eye was taken to Xebec, I could have fun with this word, twist in into a journey of letters turning it into gratitude to have walked away from bad relationships and become the Xe bec… but no not when I read that an Xebec is a small three-masted Mediterranean vessel. Even I cannot stretch word play this far.

Xmas is the next word of the eighty-two that draws my eye, but this is an abbreviation and should we abbreviate a day that is supposed to be a celebration, cutting short on the good things in life is not something I can condone. Drat my principles. I fear that I am going to fall back on the internet, that these 58 year old books are not going to be of any help. So I close them gently just to reopen them to check the printing date for the purpose of this post.

My old dictionaries were first owned by an L S Benson who lived in 20 Stoke Newington, written on the inside of volume one with the date 1956. The second volume has a different hand written message. It reads “To my daughter, don’t be lost for words love from Ken xxx” a simple message in a hand that I shall not see reproduced again. My Dad is still with us but he is not able to write in the same way. Parkinson’s has taken his handwriting from him so finding this short message after so long is something to be truly grateful for, as are the three x’s that have been penned to communicate his love for me.

So today in the post of X, that is exactly what I am grateful for. I am thankful that I did not find a word to use but turned the page to see my Dad’s hand written x’s for me.

V is for The Vicar and the Circus Performer.

What do you get if you cross a Vicar and a Circus Performer? No, this is not a bad joke, unless I am.

My father was born almost 71 years ago in an area that he describes as the “Slums” of Birmingham. He was the youngest of 13 children, money was sparse. Dad tells of being sent to school in Aunty Jean’s boots because that was all he had, he made his parents proud and was accepted to Grammar School passing his eleven plus with flying colours. His place was passed up because the uniform was too expensive. My father soon began his working life, he was a glazier, he was a bit of a lad, he wanted adventure and he joined Billy Smarts Circus. A fire-eater, a sword swallower, I love to think of my Dad as a legend of the big top.

Mum was the oldest of three, daughter of a woodwork master, some might suggest that my mother’s family were middle class, they bought their house they owned a car Mum sang a song about “peep-toed shoes” in the garden. Growing up in Kent, the garden of England, Mum studied hard, she graduated university with a classics degree. My mother became a social worker. When I was 19 my mum took the brave step to change her path, she studied once again, my Mum followed her calling and was ordained.

We all know the saying two sides to every story. While typing this tale I realised that what I know of my parents meeting, the early romance and marriage has been told to me by my Dad. They met through work. Dad decided not to go with the big top on an Australian tour, he somehow started working in childcare. He met this a raven haired social worker wearing an ankle sweeping skirt as she bought a referral to the home in which he worked. He fell head over heels for my mother, eventually she agreed to marry him. A happy ever after…. it is for me.

I know I do not say this often enough, but I am so fortunate to be the daughter of this unusual mix. My Mum and Dad might have come from opposite ends of England, different backgrounds and contrasting experiences but their union has created a family I am blessed to be part of. Last year as Mr & Mrs they celebrated 40 years of marriage. As a family we dined together in celebration, three generations, six grandchildren at the centre of the day Grandma and Granddad who despite the challenges they faced remained together supported each other and still do.

In posting alphabetically on themes of gratitude over the last month I have considered a great deal. Thought of what makes me smile and laugh, reflected on what has kept me going during times of difficulty. I sit in awe of what my parents share, they have a lifetime together, their lifetime created mine and through all the chaos I created my Mum and Dad have been a constant support.

A terrible teenager I put strain on the patience of my parents, a strain that most would have buckled under, but they never turned away. When I left, moved out at only 17 I wanted to prove my parents wrong, it didn’t work out that way but not once did I hear the words “I told you so”. Now as I face the trials of a teenager’s parent I cringe to think what I subjected them too, but I thank them with an open heart for their example has been an inspiration to me.

My greatest fear in posting this on my blog is that I fail to convey the patience, love and kindness my mum and dad have bestowed on my life. It is so easy to take things for granted, I love my parents very much, for the examples they have set and the inspiration they continue to be. I am the luckiest daughter of a Vicar and a Circus Performer and will always be grateful that they are parents to me.

N- never give up, need help? Noggin!

No way, we have got to N! All of the fabulous A to Zeders are now over halfway through the challenge. My oh my doesn’t time fly. Now to all of those who are following the April A to Z challenge a shout out, I am grateful that you haven’t given up, I am thankful that so many have popped over to see what I am up to at Tales of Tedium, I am pleased to be enjoying so many of the posts that you have all shared so far. To the readers who are not taking part if you would like more information on the challenge, please see http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/


Now to my N day, although really it is a bit of a D-day in my little part of the planet, I have one of those meetings that no one wants to attend, one of those meetings that are necessary . I shall not bore you with the details but I am hoping that after 2pm today I can say that I am pleased I have not given up.

Knowing when to say No, knowing when to stand your ground is an admirable quality, while studying I was told that I was “tenacious” by a certain tutor; I took this as a compliment for I am proud to be determined. But that compliment was given on a day when I learnt a significant lesson , the day I asked for help, sometimes no matter how determined we are we need to swallow our pride and admit that we need support or assistance. Today is one of those days.

N can represent all manner of things that I am grateful for. Nuts, I do mean the edible variety; there is nothing nicer than a good nut roast with mushroom gravy on a lazy Sunday. Noodles, soft delicately flavoured with broccoli and perhaps a sweet-chilli sauce. (Breakfast should be eaten before blogging to avoid over foody moments) None perhaps should detract from the Noggin.

My Dad always told me to use my noggin, for those who may not be familiar with the term the noggin is the head. I am glad he took time to tell me this, to give me the opportunity to find my own solutions. He took time to stand and watch while I worked it out, but was on hand if I needed help.
Now I have a teenager of my own I can think back to those noggin needed moments and really appreciate the amount of patience taken. To be sure the noggin was not in use when he tried to fix the Hoover, it resembled a Meccano set when he had finished with it, the vacuum died that day. The day my dear Dan cleaned the kitchen and washed the kettle out with fairy liquid well, there were bubbles but at least he tried. I wish my boy would use his noggin and I am sure that he will ONE DAY!

Now more than ever I am pleased to have been taught to never give up, to have learnt when to say I need help and most of all I am grateful that I use my noggin.