Perfect match

The Northern Echo: Perfect match

11:27am Thursday 10th April 2014

IT’S never easy thinking of presents for my wife – but I really think I excelled myself this time. Forget the usual last-minute bunch of garage flowers and a quick lunchtime dash to Thornton’s for a box of chocolates, I masterminded a much better surprise for Mother’s Day.

Mr Grumpy

The Northern Echo: Mr Grumpy

10:26am Thursday 27th March 2014

HAVING my clothes stolen by my children is something I’ve had to get used to – but I draw the line at my Mr Men Socks...

Man and boy

The Northern Echo: Man and boy

10:46am Thursday 13th March 2014

A LOT is expected of you when you’re a dad. You’ve got to be a fixer, a rescuer, a hero, a cool head in a crisis. But then, all of a sudden, the tables turn.

Coming a paw second to Dylan

The Northern Echo: Coming a paw second to Dylan

10:38am Thursday 27th February 2014

IN all honesty, I try my best to be a good son. I ring my mum every day without fail and at weekends I drive 25 miles to spend a few hours with her and take her some Sunday lunch.

It’s a matter of life or lunchbox

The Northern Echo: It’s a matter of life or lunchbox

10:32am Thursday 13th February 2014

AM I wrong in saying that, by nature, us dads are simply more accommodating that mums? I don’t think I am – let me give you an example.

The thankless role of parenting

The Northern Echo: The thankless role of parenting

11:39am Thursday 30th January 2014

WE love them more than anything in the world. We’d do anything for them. We’d die for them if we had to. But the bottom line is that children are ungrateful wretches.

Sway too embarrassing

The Northern Echo: Sway too embarrassing

10:38am Thursday 16th January 2014

AS I’ve said on numerous occasions, being embarrassing comes with the job description when you’re a dad.

Fool English breakfast

The Northern Echo: Fool English breakfast

10:38am Thursday 2nd January 2014

TO be completely honest, my contribution to our family Christmas is fairly limited.

A degree of inequality

The Northern Echo: A degree of inequality

10:48am Thursday 19th December 2013

YOU see them being born, play Father Christmas for them, share their growing pains, and – before you know it – they’re being presented with degrees as blossoming young grown-ups.

For whom the bills toll

The Northern Echo: For whom the bills toll

11:45am Thursday 5th December 2013

WHEN it comes to the household finances, my wife has appointed herself as chief accountant.

Just plane insulting

The Northern Echo: Just plane insulting

11:00am Thursday 21st November 2013

I LIKE to think my children are lucky to have my genes, but~ I’m not convinced they fully appreciate the talents they have inherited.

Pushed out of the picture

The Northern Echo: WHERE WAS I? George Clooney muscles in on my wedding photo, to wife Heather’s delight

11:02am Thursday 7th November 2013

YOU may recall that, for our recent silver wedding cruise, our children gave my wife and me a large silver envelope with strict instructions that it wasn’t to be opened until we got to Venice.

The vinyl countdown

11:08am Thursday 24th October 2013

AFEW years back, during a visit to my Mum and Dad’s house, one of our kids ran into the lounge in a state of great excitement and shouted: “You’re not gonna believe this – Grandma’s making chips out of these!”

Back on the road again

10:59am Thursday 10th October 2013

IT has been back-to-university month – emotionally tough, physically even harder. I’m not one to complain but I have a stressful job, with long hours, and I need the weekends to rest. But all I’ve done lately is drive up and down the A1 like someone on an unpaid work experience placement with Pickfords.

Pulled up by impudent youth

11:32am Thursday 26th September 2013

GETTING old is hard work. But I’m doing my best to hold back the tide. At the start of 2013, the year of my silver wedding, I set out to get fit. More than that – I wanted to be irresistible to my wife by the time we embarked on our anniversary cruise in the summer.

A red card offence

11:12am Thursday 12th September 2013

THE older I get, the more time I seem to spend in the doghouse. Usually, I’m not sure why I’m in there, but last week’s visit was my own fault.

The height of embarrassment

The Northern Echo: The height of embarrassment

2:55pm Thursday 29th August 2013

IT is the blink of an eye since they weren’t big enough for their own bikes. When we went to Center Parcs for holidays when they were little, they had to have seats on the back of our bikes, or ride around like royalty in those little carriages specially designed for franticallypedalling dads to pull behind them along hilly roads through the forest.

Grate times with a student son

11:46am Thursday 1st August 2013

DON’T get me wrong, I really miss Jack when he’s away at university. I worry about whether he’s eating enough, well enough, warm enough, happy enough. I look forward to having him home again, counting the days until the holidays.

The rules of buying broccoli

12:03pm Thursday 18th July 2013

IWAS off to the gym on Sunday morning, so – being the thoughtful husband that I am – I asked my wife if she needed anything from town. “I just need some broccoli,” she shouted from the kitchen, then paused before adding: “But I’d better get it myself.”

The gorgeous hunk in my wife’s life

The Northern Echo: The gorgeous hunk in my wife’s life

10:45am Thursday 20th June 2013

WITH just days to go before our long-awaited and richly-deserved silver wedding cruise, my wife has been quivering with excitement.

Sky’s the limit in techno know-how

The Northern Echo: Sky’s the limit in techno know-how

2:33pm Thursday 23rd May 2013

WHEN it comes to computers and the internet, I tend to rely on my children to guide me through problems. But the time is rapidly approaching when the brood will all have flown and my wife and I will have to fend for ourselves. So, when our internet connection stopped working last week, I decided to be brave and try to sort it out myself.

The past, the future... and the present

The Northern Echo: The past, the future... and the present

4:36pm Thursday 9th May 2013

IT never ceases to amaze me how quickly time races ahead. At the weekend, we celebrated our daughter’s 21st birthday. How can that be? How can the years have sped by in such a blur?

An ear for trouble

The Northern Echo: An ear for trouble

11:42am Thursday 25th April 2013

FOURTEEN years ago, I wrote a column about getting a phone call from a primary school headteacher, saying: “I’m really sorry, but Jack’s going to have to go to hospital.”

Great eggspectations

The Northern Echo: Great eggspectations

4:17pm Thursday 11th April 2013

EVEN now, in my advancing years, I am expected to arrange an Easter egg hunt.

Fit as a fiddler

The Northern Echo: Collared: No wonder Graham Robb's dog-tired

10:46am Thursday 28th March 2013

APART from being present at the birth, it is arguably the biggest moment in any dad’s life – when he walks up the aisle and gives his daughter away on her wedding day.

Left high and dry

The Northern Echo: Left high and dry

6:21pm Thursday 14th March 2013

CUTTING out alcohol was a momentous decision at the turn of the year. I set out to have a dry January, which continued into a dry February, and a (more or less) dry March is well under way.

Big Daddy is watching you

The Northern Echo: Big Daddy is watching you

10:30am Thursday 28th February 2013

MY wife took a phone call in the kitchen from our 20-year-old daughter and it was immediately obvious that it was a matter of great excitement.

Nagging doubts

The Northern Echo: Nagging doubts

LET me be absolutely clear: I love my mum to bits. She's not just my mum, she's my friend.

The tough roadie ahead

The Northern Echo: The tough roadie ahead

6:16pm Thursday 31st January 2013

IT was both a privilege and an eye-opener last Friday to host an event which showcased live music and local talent.

Santa drops a clanger

The Northern Echo: Santa

11:01am Thursday 3rd January 2013

BEING Santa has become part of my Christmas Eve routine. I dress up in my threadbare costume and visit friends with children young enough still to be believers.

If a job's worth doing

The Northern Echo: If a job's with doing

6:07pm Thursday 20th December 2012

RELATIONS between my wife and I were still on the frosty side when we set off to collect the Christmas tree.

Mixed emotions

The Northern Echo: Mixed emotions

4:48pm Thursday 6th December 2012

THIS is probably the hardest column I’ve ever had to write –- but after more than 30 years, our relationship is finally over. We’ve tried to make it work, to see each other’s point of view, but it’s over.

Drumming up business

The Northern Echo: Drumming up business

4:37pm Thursday 22nd November 2012

THEY were the words that made my heart beat with a more up tempo rhythm: “Dad, I’m going to sell my drum kit.”

Called to account

The Northern Echo: Called to account

5:21pm Thursday 25th October 2012

AS you well know, my wife never gets anything wrong. Throughout our relationship, which spans three decades, it has been me who has been responsible for any mistakes which have occurred.

Small fish in a big pool

1:09pm Thursday 11th October 2012

WE finally seem to be making steady progress with getting rid of the kids. The eldest, the Big Friendly Giant, is now working for a living and firmly established in his own flat.

Men down to a tee

The Northern Echo: Men down to a tee

3:03pm Thursday 13th September 2012

EVERY year, I go on a golf trip with three other dads.

Between a rock and a hard place

12:32pm Thursday 30th August 2012

IT is with great pleasure and relief that I am able to announce a final decision has been made on the new kitchen.

The long and tiring road

12:38pm Thursday 16th August 2012

IT was a long drive – 384 miles to be exact – so I set off at the crack of dawn. As reported in my last column, my wife had decided it would be a good idea if I drove the luggage down to Cornwall for our family holiday while she travelled by train with three of our four children.

She'll take the railroad

12:28pm Thursday 2nd August 2012

AFTER a great deal of debate about where we should go for our summer holiday, we have opted for Cornwall.

The foetal football fan

The Northern Echo: The foetal football fan

12:20pm Thursday 19th July 2012

IT is one of the great regrets of my life that I never had a child who was into football. Out of four offspring – three boys and a girl – none of them is in the slightest bit interested in the beautiful game.

Standing up for my rights

The Northern Echo: Standing up for my rights

12:11pm Thursday 5th July 2012

IT is with great regret that I have to announce we are getting a new kitchen. On top of university fees and future weddings, it means I will now have to work until I’m approximately 95.

Playing the generation game

The Northern Echo: Playing the generation game

5:05pm Thursday 21st June 2012

THERE are some challenges in life that just have to be faced – and the Lads versus Dads football match was one of them.

When the party falls flat

The Northern Echo: When the party falls flat

2:55pm Thursday 7th June 2012

WE made a solemn promise to ourselves back in the days when the kids were small and we were exhausted through lack of sleep and constant demands for attention.

A throne to call his own

The Northern Echo: A throne to call his own

5:13pm Thursday 24th May 2012

FATHERHOOD comes with the requirement to be skilled at many jobs: nurse-maid, teacher, cleaner, sports coach, relationship counsellor, and taxi driver to name but a few.

Waking up to the future

The Northern Echo: Waking up to the future

12:27pm Thursday 26th April 2012

SOME people want to have a wild party to celebrate their 50th birthday with a bang.

Another birthday? Put the kettle on

The Northern Echo: Another birthday? Put the kettle on

12:20pm Thursday 12th April 2012

WHERE do the years go?

Hello girlfriend, goodbye grime

The Northern Echo: Hello girlfriend, goodbye grime

1:20pm Thursday 29th March 2012

ONE day, when they’re all gone, the house will be tidy. That’s how we console ourselves when we look around and see the mess they create: the dirty marks on the cream wallpaper, the smudge marks on the windows, the plates left on the floor, the computer game boxes scattered everywhere, the half-full jars littering the kitchen, the muddy stains on the carpets, the mountain of shoes flung haphazardly in the hall, the coats hung on the backs of chairs.

Trouble in store

8:22pm Thursday 15th March 2012

WE have a shopping list system in our house. It is managed with an iron fist by my wife and designed to ensure we never run out of anything. It is not rocket science. It simply involves a notebook left on the kitchen worktop and all of us are required to make a note of any commodity which we’ve noticed is nearly out of stock.

It's a dead-end job for me

The Northern Echo: It's a dead-end job for me

5:03pm Thursday 1st March 2012

OUR youngest is approaching a particularly important phase of his education.

Calls of nature

The Northern Echo: Calls of nature

3:16pm Thursday 16th February 2012

MY mum rang me at work last week with a grim warning: “I’ve been watching the news. The roads are really icy so drive carefully and make sure you ring me when you get home.”

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