12:20pm Thursday 6th August 2015
FORTUNATELY, I’ve made it this far through the highly-pressurised ordeal of parenthood without it taking too much of a toll on my health, even though my bank balance is on constant life-support.
8:52pm Wednesday 22nd July 2015
AFTER a quarter of a century of living in a crowded house – two adults and four kids – it’s rather nice to be alone once in a while.
12:10pm Thursday 9th July 2015
ALL in all, it was quite a week. Our eldest son, The Big Friendly Giant, was 25 – a quarter of a century old. It was also our 27th wedding anniversary. And, to cap it all, our second son, Jack, was graduating from Cambridge so there was a lot to celebrate.
12:44pm Thursday 25th June 2015
IS it only me who feels totally unappreciated? Even when I perform heroics, it doesn’t merit any real recognition...
2:55pm Thursday 11th June 2015
AS I think I’ve mentioned once or twice before, I am beginning to feel like the invisible man. And the feeling has never struck me more than at the weekend when I was choking to death and in urgent need of the Heimlich Manouvre – or abdominal thrust as it is known in modern medical circles.
11:42am Thursday 28th May 2015
THE previous Dad At Large column, about how panic in the face of my wife’s questioning led to a lie, clearly struck a chord.
9:46am Tuesday 12th May 2015
HONESTY is, of course, the best policy – but there are times when blind panic gets in the way
7:50pm Thursday 30th April 2015
THERE are times when I feel like the invisible man. By nature, I’m an attention-seeker but I don’t get anywhere near enough attention for my liking.
10:50am Thursday 2nd April 2015
SO that's it. Our youngest was 18 at the weekend. Against all the odds, we've somehow managed to negotiate our way through the obstacle course of parenthood and guided four children past the post into adulthood.
2:26pm Wednesday 18th March 2015
THE reality is beginning to dawn. Nearly a quarter of a century after our first was born, along with the Dad At Large column, my wife and I will soon be on our own again.
10:18am Wednesday 4th March 2015
WHEN you get to my age, you’re lucky if you still have your mum ¬ ¬- and I’m well aware that I'm very fortunate indeed.
1:27pm Thursday 19th February 2015
TO be perfectly honest, Valentine’s weekend wasn’t my finest piece of planning. The significance of the date had gone straight over my head and I’d arranged to spend Saturday morning playing tennis, Saturday afternoon at the rugby, and all day Sunday travelling to London for a football match.
4:02pm Thursday 5th February 2015
OVER the years, I’ve done my level best to indoctrinate my children into my sophisticated musical tastes. Ever since they were little, I’ve bombarded them with my favourite band, Genesis.
8:54am Thursday 22nd January 2015
THE clematis hanging down from the porch outside our front door was out of control. In fact, it had grown so wild there was a danger that the paperboy might be lost in there.
2:12pm Friday 2nd January 2015
EVERY year, sooner or later, in the midst of festive chaos, my wife will inevitably let out a painful moan along the lines of: “I have to do everything at Christmas.”
2:49pm Thursday 18th December 2014
IT’S that time of year when dads of a certain age are expected to drop everything and drive round the country to move their offspring back home from university for Christmas.
5:12pm Monday 8th December 2014
MY wife and I had been to the cinema to see a film called The Imitiation Game, about how one of history’s greatest mathematical brains, Alan Turing, had cracked Germany’s Enigma code, shortening the Second World War by an estimated two years and saving millions of lives.
With Bendict Cumberbatch outstanding in the lead role, it is thoroughly recommended.
Anyway, not for the first time lately, I offered to make the tea when we got home. I suggested my speciality – egg and chips – but my wife decided she’d rather have chips with the spicy prawns from the freezer instead.
The chips went in the oven and the spicy prawns followed at the time dictated by the instructions on the packet. Everything was going according to plan.
“Do you want beans with this?” I shouted.
“No, I’ll have sweetcorn,” she replied.
“But, don’t worry, I’ll do it myself.”
This might be rather familiar to regular readers because my last column was about how, after 26 years of marriage, my wife had declared that she doesn’t like the way I “do bread”.
Upon interrogation, she’d explained that I wasn’t up to the job because I spread the butter/margarine haphazardly, with not enough being pushed out to the edges of the bread.
I admit to being a bit upset, but I’d just about got over it – until the sweetcorn incident.
When buttering bread, I can see there is at least a certain technique involved – skill even. But what on earth could be wrong with the way I “do sweetcorn”?
“Surely, it’s just a question of emptying it into a bowl and microwaving it?” I shouted back into the lounge, where she was watching telly with her feet up.
“Yes, but you’ll do it wrong,” came the reply.
“In what way will I do it wrong?” I asked.
“You won’t time it right,” she said, finally making an appearance in the kitchen.
Ah, so, it was a question of timing.
“You always microwave it too early so it’s not hot,” she went on.
The irony was impossible to escape. We’d just been to see a film celebrating the life of a legendary mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and pioneer of the computer age – a man who cracked a code with 150 million million combinations – and I couldn’t even be trusted with overseeing a two-minute blast on the microwave.
The result of all this is that I am refusing point blank to cook anything anymore. We are in the midst of a new Cold War and I’m rapidly reaching the conclusion that my wife is an enigma even the tortured genius Alan Turing could never have worked out.
I left the bread. I left the sweetcorn. I left the kitchen.
5:41pm Thursday 20th November 2014
Dad At Large usually focuses on the light-hearted side of parenthood. But, in the month of Remembrance, here’s a letter I was asked to read last week at a “Lest We Forget” service at St Mary’s Church, in Norton, near Stockton-on-Tees...
3:52pm Thursday 6th November 2014
IT never ceases to amaze me that, even after 26 years of marriage, I’m still discovering things about my wife and our relationship that I didn’t know.
9:53am Friday 24th October 2014
AT the age of 52, I am having to face up to the reality that I don’t have as much hair as I used to.