(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Copyright© 2017 Angharad
This is a work of fiction any mention of real people, places or institutions is purely coincidental and does not imply that they are as suggested in the story.
“Mummy, doesn’t do parties,” announced Trish at dinner, swishing her back in an affected style. “Unless it’s a dinner party with interesting guests.”
“Don’t blame her,” said Stella before consuming a small new potato.
“Ha,” exclaimed Simon, “you were always out at parties.”
“So were you,” she shot back, showing some cabbage stuck to her front teeth.
“Yeah,” he said dreamily, “I suppose I was.”
I immediately felt guilty though at the same time knew I was protecting his liver. His way to enjoy a party is to not remember any of it. Hardly useful behaviour and certainly not one I’d like the children to copy because their dad does it.
“You look like you miss them,” observed Stella while I continued to sit and blush.
“Me? Nah, that was when I was young and beautiful...” at this the girls fell about laughing. “Hoy, I was young once, ya know.” That led to a second bout of amused convulsions. “I’m far happier now with Cathy and the girls.”
As he said that he looked at me and beamed, I blushed and smiled back—no wonder I love this man—when he isn’t acting like a total prat. While I cleared the dishes, helped by Hannah and Trish—Livvie doesn’t do domestic chores—her dad’s a lord; I spoke to Trish about her disclosure of me not liking parties.
“Well, that’s what you said. You didn’t say it was confi-whatever.”
That was true, I hadn’t. “Confidential.”
“Dat’s da one,” she said doing a very poor impression of a gangsta before disappearing saying something about homework. I had some of that myself; mind you, I always seem to these days.
It was Saturday at last and Russia has condemned the US for bombing Syria. Pots and kettles, but it ups the ante somewhat and according to the news, Russia has sent a cruise missile carrying frigate to the coast of Syria. I hope this is posturing on both sides rather than hostilities. Putin and his crew, a right bunch of pirates, are a wily lot so Trump, a tyro at this sort of exercise will have to watch what he says or does. As one of his retired generals said this morning, ‘bombarding somewhere with cruise missiles is not something you should do when you’re angry.’
I got out of bed after switching off the radio alarm. There was some reading I had to do and now while it’s quiet, helped by a cuppa, was as good a time as any to do it. Sitting at the table with my little pile of paperwork, I was making good progress, when Daddy walked in with the dumbest spaniel in England. She had the canine equivalent of a black eye—she ran into a tree—even I usually see those, except when I’m dormousing. I usually wear a hat to help the occasional collision between scalp and trees. The only problem with that is you can’t always see branches which are obscured by the brim of the hat.
It also means I don’t need sunglasses when I’m out and about in woods and which can be a real nuisance when birding. You have to remove them to see through binoculars or telescopes. However, on one occasion I didn’t see the branch coming at me at a rate of knots and I knocked myself out. Talk about seeing stars, I think I had more going round my head than one of Brian Cox’s estimates for their numbers. Still as a particle physicist, he knows his stuff and usually leaves us non-mathematicians well behind.
I bathed the dog’s eye and she went off to lie down—she is getting on a bit. I know the feeling some mornings. “Whit fa, er’ ye up?” Sometimes it’s like talking to Yoda—about the same age, too, though haven’t seen Tom lift up a space craft by will power, not yet anyway.
“I’ve work to do.”
“Whit sort o’ work?”
“Usual stuff,” I pointed to the pile on the table.
“Put it awa’ and spend some time wi’ yer children.”
I blushed, “I will when I’ve read this lot.”
“Dae it when ye’re back in work.”
I don’t like being told what to do, even by people as nice as Daddy. “I will as soon as I’ve finished reading it.”
He went to take it off me but I swept it up and away from him. “Catherine, dae as I telt ye.”
I blushed furiously. I’m not a child and therefore no one speaks to me like that. “Daddy, I don’t wish to fall out with you, but I’m a big girl now and make my own decisions. If I need help, I’ll call you.” I rose from the table and went to my study and shut the door. I don’t know if he said anything, if he did I didn’t hear it, mind you I was running on anger. It was only when I got to my study I realised how angry I was. He was treating me like a little girl. I’m thirty three years old, I have a dozen children and I’m a professor of biological and other sciences—I do not need someone to tell me how to behave or what to do, whatever their motive. I am an autonomous unit, to wit, an adult.
In the end he got his way, I was too angry to concentrate to read and put the papers back in my bag. I sat and fumed. Was it time to find our own place leave him to stew in his own juices? With Julie and Phoebe moving into their new flat at Easter and Sammi, spending more time in London than at home, it could be a good time as we wouldn’t need such a big place.
Then I thought about the last time he thought I was going and it devastated him. I don’t know how much longer we’ll have him, but I suppose I should be grateful, he has been steadying influence in my life, more so than my natural father ever was.
I calmed down and when I returned to the kitchen, Simon was supervising the Mongol hordes over their breakfast. If he’d only known about microwaveable porridge, Genghis Khan would have conquered the entire world. Instead, we had Simon, who did know about it—but not very much about microwaves and Livvie had to show him what to do. There are instructions on the box, on each sachet and common sense tends to explain many things quite adequately, however for anything else, there’s mastercard. See, advertising has no effect on me whatsoever.
Tom avoided me for the rest of the morning but had to socialise with me at the meal. This was roast chicken with all the trimmings and David had just arrived to sort it out, which is better than leaving everything to one person, usually me.
He spoke to me as if nothing had happened and I played along but I hadn’t forgotten and the next time it happens, he’ll regret it.
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