Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Happy birthday to a long departed Dad

My father’s not been present on the planet for a considerable number of birthdays, but that’s no reason not to wish his pioneering spirit a very happy birthday.
The notable day fell yesterday, so there I was on the train dashing south to his birthplace in Southampton. Well, to what remains of it. The Luftwaffe erased the heart of it a mere 78 years ago.
Now shops replace the presumably modest family home that once overlooked central Southampton, just about within sight of the sea and the magnificent medieval Bargate.
Had Dad been present, rather a large birthday cake would have been needed to accommodate a blaze of 109 candles.

A vape, vap, er, what?

Had the impossible celebration taken at his birthplace, some of the shops nearby might have taken some explaining.
There’s a vape shop, for instance, and a specialist special muscle developing outfit, for butch lads that want to be seen to be just that, and other unusual enterprises of the present day.
No matter where you travel and in which direction, just a few miles out of London the clock seems to go back.
It’s sad to see places and life in England that has an air of being left behind, but this time, especially as he has been gone so long, it did seem rather appropriate that we would meet in surroundings that he might have felt were little changed.
But humans being humans, what would he have made of the characters in the street. A lot of vaping is to seen in Southampton, and a surprising amount of tattooing.

Over the top ... and more

Of course, tattoos were well known in his day, but the craze in this modern day seems completely over the top … and down the other side, too.
He would have assumed that in these clever days, the tattoo’d would be able to pop into an untattoo shop and have them removed. But seemingly not so.
In twenty and thirty years and onwards, this generation which likewise might be unable to wish their own fathers Happy Birthday any more, will be instantly recognised by their arty limbs, and heads, and necks.
I can imagine Dad struggling to comprehend another of our odd present-day compulsions. He would be asking within moments why everyone couldn’t take their eyes off their cigarette packets, even though you don’t one cigarette being withdrawn and smoked.
‘They're mobile phones, Dad.’ To raised eyebrows, I’d add … Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, at SailingToPurgatory.com


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