Sticking Two Green Fingers Up To Gardening & Failing.

All Things Green & Pleasant

When I hit 40 last year I panicked that I was going to fall head first into ‘being old’ activities like gardening and Radio 4 and have been actively rebelling against them ever since.

SuperHero Getaway Driver

Ha-Ha Middle Age You Won’t Catch Me!

Apparently I failed, a couple of Friday’s ago, I found myself listening to Radio 4. In my defence it was a wicked documentary about the birth of Soul 2 Soul, so does that act as a pass, or does it just mean that Radio 4 is now my natural habitat? No, no no it isn’t! They just caught me temporarily off-guard by producing insightful and engaging documentaries that thoroughly appealed to my love of British Soul music, the b*stards!

I am most definitely sticking to flicking between Radio 2 in the weekdays until 2 pm when Steve Wright comes on, and I’m off. Then it’s Radio 6 for the evenings and weekends and Mixcloud for the rest of the time.

Talking about the natural habitat; after this happened there was only one way to go, and that was the garden. Oh how I hate it, but now I am a fully-fledged middle-aged suburbanite, this comes with the territory.

Don’t get me wrong; I love sitting in the garden, eating in the garden and relaxing in the garden. It’s just the hard working in the garden that comes with it that I hate. We have one that is decked so at least I don’t have to spend hours cutting grass. Er Indoors’ is a mad keen planter of things, and the Duke is her mad keen apprentice of anything of that involves getting dirty. So I am getting a bit left out.

Our garden is a massive sun-trap so the idea of being able to eat outside in comfort, sit in shade, BBQ in style and annoy the noisy neighbours two doors up by playing my music and singing loudly and perhaps even invite some friends over to do the same was enough to convince me to get up, get cracking and sort the garden out once and for all.

So I pulled on my old pair of jeans and got moving over the next two Saturdays.

I drew up a list of what we wanted, these included:

Empty Spaces

Empty Spaces

 

Then we started. Er Indoors’ kindly let me fill up a range of sacks full of old leaves and plants and gave me the very responsible job of shifting them. She is ever so thoughtful like that and let me take them to the local tip. Living the dream or what!!

 

The Big Clear Up

The Big Clear Up

 

Any sort of D.I.Y takes time and patience, so make sure if you are going to do any of this you have plenty of both. I had a lot of one but scarcely little of the other, so it is incredibly fortunate that I live with a very pretty lady that is nifty with a screwdriver and is blessed with a wealth of common sense to call upon.

For any of you fella’s out there that might be contemplating doing something like this, I have come up with  six rules to help you.

    • Don’t do DIY with a hangover. Sweating out 6 pints of best Belgium beer in the blistering sunshine isn’t great
    • Make sure you observe rule one like your life depended on it; it doesn’t, but your sanity might
    • Don’t let a small boy play with the small parts while sitting on decking or said small parts may disappear down the slates of said decking causing you to wish you could swear loudly but not have any ears under 18 to hear you do so
    • Make sure said small boy has other things to keep him occupied or you may turn around to find him using the new table as a great Spiderman launch pad causing your heart rate to shoot up like Mo Farah’s on drug test day
    • Buy the wife something nice; you are bound to have at least three arguments. The male religious fever of not wanting to read instructions because they are for idiots causes untold delays
    • Make sure you turn up the music so the neighbours can’t hear you swear when you inevitably do. I chose the best of the 80’s four-disc compilation.

This is not of course compulsory, but I wanted to feel like a dad, so dad dancing in suburbia while belting out ‘China in your Hand’, fitted ever so nicely.

So here’s a view of what we’ve been doing.

Before:

Child Labour Cost A Fortune These Days

Child Labour Costs A Fortune These Days

 

During:

 

Up The Workers.

Up The Workers. British Workman Need More Rights!

 

After.

 

BBQ Time At DBTH Towers

BBQ Time At DBTH Towers

 

Feeding Time At The Zoo

Feeding Time At The Zoo

 

In the best tradition of daytime telly, I have presented the “Here’s one I made earlier” approach. I’m not sure photos of me red faced, sulking and throwing a wobbler when things didn’t go my own way surrounded by a sea of nuts and bolts would add anything to this story.

To be honest, it took us around 8 hours to do it all. People like my big sister could have it all done in 2.30 hours because they read the instructions – Idiots….

But, all in all, it was worth it. We now hang about outside most evenings, Duke sits happily in the corner trying to see how much sand he can get up his nose in secret stuff experiments.

 

Secret Stuff Going On

Secret Stuff Going On

 

Er Indoors’ potters around planting even more stuff that I haven’t got a clue about, but the boy likes to take care of.

 

God, I Needed That!

God, I Needed That!

 

And me? Well, if I am not BBQ’ing or p”sing off the neighbours with my Carol Decker impersonations.  I can just sit back, have a snooze or a chat to my dad, who is now able to sit comfortably in the shade  on his old favorite chair, by a new shiny table where he can rest his cuppa and newspaper any time he pops in.

You see as Duke says “Granddad Dan now lives in the clouds and has a job turning on the sunshine” so it’s nice that he gets to the enjoy the benefits of all his hard work and hang out with us in the garden, like he used to.

 

Granddad Dan's Chair

Granddad Dan’s Chair

 

Tune in next week for DBTH goes to Bingo and starts buying trousers with adjustable elasticated waistbands..

 

*Big thanks to Asda for supplying the props, getting me out and about and making our garden something we can all enjoy.

 

What Does My Daddy Do #NextFathersDay

How To Dress Like Your Dad & Still Look Sharp

All small boys want to be like their dads. Look like them, eat all their veg up like them, have big muscles like them and even in some cases start dressing like them.

When it comes to dressing like your dad it can be tricky. As a kid, my dad’s idea of  ‘casual’ dress was taking his tie off. He had rows of suits, blazers and a huge array of different shirts and always looked dapper.

Dressing Like Your Dad

Sharp Dressing DBTH Boys

He never wore jeans or t-shirts except on beach holidays where you just couldn’t persuade him that socks and sandals were not a good look. But it was a look that he made his own.

On a day to day basis Dad’s work look became his off-duty look. This is something I have inherited, except that I am definitely more of a slob behind closed doors and I’m not one for the hot sock/sandal look, thank God!

Since I was about eight years old as a little mini mod in Sta-Press trousers and Fred Perry for school uniforms, right through the next 30 odd years I always been fascinated with fashion. This style of thinking is being passed on to another generation with the Duke who is subtly picking up on little things that I do and copying them, like wearing his cap at a jaunty angle.

Daddy, I'm Really Not Sure On This Look..

Daddy, I’m Really Not Sure On This Look..

Now, what I have never wanted to do is make him a carbon copy. I think there’s nothing worse than seeing a small child in fancy labels; to the point where they would stop being a child and wanting to do what kids do. The fear of being told off by for their TOWIE hair-do modelling identikit, perma-tanned parents holding them back from exploring.

I do have to admit though, I am a bit of a sucker with certain things kids clothes related. Like the time when I popped into Next and saw they had baby-sized ‘Stone Roses’ t-shirts, and ended up buying them in several sizes so Duke could wear one as he continued to grow. God forbid they start doing Public Enemy merchandise for nippers or ‘It will take a nation of minions to hold me back’.

At the moment, the boy is fascinated with the book “What Does My Daddy Do?” where a little girl called Daisy tries to work out what her daddy does for a living. It mentions about the dad going off in the mornings with a smart blue suit, to climb mountains of paperwork and fight a dragon of a boss and Duke always refers to me doing the same. (The smart blue jacket bit obviously…)

So for a bit of fun I thought we’d take the opportunity and play a little game of “What my Daddy Do Dress up” on Father’s Day and see what he’d look like if he wanted a job in the media.

Hopefully, when he grows up, he’ll want to get a proper job rather than one like mine. Such as being Spiderman, but he might just need to get over his fear of actual spiders first.

Would you give DBTH & Son a job?

How Does This Work Again?

How Does This Work Again?

Trust Me Son, This Time Next Year We'll Be Millionaires

Trust Me Son, This Time Next Year We’ll Be Millionaires

If This Was in Black & White it Could be 1958 Again

If This Was in Black & White it Could be 1958

And Your Sure Got Your Mumma's Eyes..

And You Sure Got Your Mumma’s Eyes..

Yeah I Know We Bad, You Know It..

Yeah, We Bad, You Know It.

So What Was That Again Dad?

So What Was That Again Dad?

Don't Let Go Dad, Or My Pants Will Split..

Don’t Let Go Dad, Or My Pants Will Split.

The Blues Brothers..

The Blues Brothers..

Dad, You'll Never Guess What The Women Next Door Is Up To..

Dad, You’ll Never Guess What The Woman Next Door Is Up To.

Thanks very much to @NextOfficial  for supplying the following dressing up gear as part of the #NextFathersDay campaign.

Me:

Short Sleeve Geo Button Through | Roll-Up Linen Trousers |Straw Trilby | Leather Holdall | Mac | Suede Slip-On

Duke:

Blue Jersey Blazer | Polo Shirt |Chuka Boots | Pull On Trousers | Trilby |

And a massive shout to Auntie Kerry for all the cups of tea & photo’s

Happy Father’s Day – I Was Somebody’s Son

Sunday marks a very special day for us Dads; for me it been a day when, for the last three years, I have been guaranteed a lay-in.

But this year marks something different; it will be the first Father’s Day I will spend without my own. The funny, gregarious, sharp-thinking man that I am named after passed away at the end of last year after Vascular Dementia gate-crashed our lives and stole him without a backwards glance to the devastation it was to leave in its wake.

I still haven’t come to terms with his passing. I can’t say the words “He’s Dead” out loud. Real life, work and family responsibilities have acted like a massive emotional buffer from being on my own and giving me the breathing space to think what it will actually mean to my future without him.

A key part of our relationship was our ability to make to make each other laugh. Not just giggle, but deep down belly laugh as we shared at times a deeply inappropriate gallows sense of humour. We lived in a world where witty one-liners and sarky remarks, took the place of public displays of affection but ultimately brought us closer together.

In the last hours of his life when he was wired up to a range of bleeping machines, we needed to break the silence of the hospital room so we trawled the net for some of his favourite music to play.

One of the songs was “Alice” by Smokey came to mind.  My sister, nieces and I sung the ‘alternative’ chorus together out loud. “And for 24 years I’ve been living next door to Alice, – Alice, Alice Who the F+ck is Alice”. Then something happened, his eyes opened and he smiled his last smile for me, almost like he knew that highly inappropriate nature of the song was not used to being heard in such sombre surroundings and was bound to get me into trouble with the nurses. This would have tickled him no end I have no doubt, appealing to the spirit of mischief that had made his eyes sparkle so vividly in all his years.

Granddad Dan Turns On The Sunshine

Granddad Dan Turns On The Sunshine

This Father’s Day with my own son will be full of laughter. I’ll remember not to think about what I have lost but what I have gained. Because before I was somebody’s father I was somebody’s son and that makes me very happy indeed.

Happy Father’s Day – Danny, Champion of my World –28.03.1942 – 10.11.2014