THIS column has always been unashamedly written from a male perspective. The intention has been to bang the drum for dads (and now grandads) in the hope it might inspire greater understanding and perhaps even bit of sympathy along the way.

Once or twice, there have been accusations of sexism, but anyone who has read Dad At Large – and then Grandad At Large – over the past 27 years will have seen that, in the end, blokes always emerge as the inferior of the species. This week’s column is a case in point…

Tennis is one of the loves of my life and I’m lucky to be a member of a local club. Every Saturday morning, I go for a game followed by a convivial cup of tea or coffee with fellow players – both men and women.

Last Saturday, it was the men’s turn to do the washing-up, so I took up my position by the sink alongside my friends Phil and Dave. Phil is a former police officer and Dave is a long-serving GP. One has been a proud crime-fighter, the other saves lives, while I have edited newspapers. You’d think that between the three of us we’d be able to manage the washing-up.

Phil was in the middle, doing a pretty thorough job of washing the mugs. He then passed them to his right where Doctor Dave was assigned to do the drying. In turn, Dave then relayed them to me, round the back of Phil, so I could put them in the cupboard.

There was quite a lot to get through but we were making good progress and chatting about football at the same time. We had a system in place – teamwork at its best – and the production-line appeared to be working like a well-oiled machine.

The first sign that something had gone wrong was when Phil let out a groan: “I can’t believe how many bloody mugs there are,” he said. “They’re going on for ever.”

It was only then that we realised what was happening: as Dave was passing me the mugs, I was stacking them on the worktop, and before I could put them back in the cupboard, Phil was picking them back up and washing them again.

Some of the cups could easily have been washed six times. In fact, we’d probably still be there if Phil’s wife hadn’t come into the kitchen to find out why we were taking so long and pointed out the fundamental flaw in our workflow.

“You pillock,” I shouted at Phil.

“You’re the pillock – all you had to do was put them in the cupboard?” he replied.

We both then turned to Dave and demanded to know why he hadn’t worked out that he’d been drying the same mugs over an over again?

Phil’s wife walked away, shaking her head, while the three of us continued arguing over who was the biggest mug.


AS she approaches her third birthday and starting at nursery, our little grand-daughter, Chloe, has been learning some basic spellings.

The other night, she was getting irritable, so her Daddy said: “Chloe – it’s time for B-E-D. Do you know what that spells?”

Chloe wiped her eyes, but her love of food got the better of her: “Sammidge?” she replied.

A COUPLE from the archives…Liz Cutler, of Beaufront and Anick Women’s Institute, in Northumberland, recalled the time her son Paul, aged three, knocked on the bedroom door and said: “I just wondered if Daddy had finished with you yet?”

JOSH Peat, nine at the time, from Boldron, in Teesdale, passed a Big Issue seller in the street and the chap was doing his best to promote his wares.

“Bless you,” said Josh, thinking the man was having a sneezing fit.