Just to say that this week’s post has taken more effort than any other of its hundreds of predecessors 1000’s of blogs I have written, the reason for which will become clear.
Because it drew such a large reaction last week, I thought to continue with my bird theme.
Still with me?
In the many comments posted last week (thank you), mention was made of the film “Tweet” – which was heartening and depressing for me in equal measure.
Depressing because I had clean forgotten about Tweet and I made no connection to it when writing last week – a worrying sign that I’m moving beyond Life’s Phase 2 and even skipping out Phase 3 altogether!
But heartening because this short film evokes such happy memories for me and our whole family – and is an invaluable record and memory of Grandad Bob.
During lockdown – no doubt, many of us have completed chores/projects that would ordinarily remain marked ‘tomorrow’ projects and in many cases, never. But in lockdown, garages have been cleared. Socks are paired. Drawers are sorted and compartmentalised. Tee-shirts to the left…
All worthy and cathartic exercises. Good for our mental health, general well-being and very often, for our marriages, too.
Personally, I have done some sanding down and painting of various woodwork in the house. Low down stuff mainly (no ladders) and more painting than sanding to be fair and as such, the results are to be expected – fair – but still an improvement and a big win for a man with time on his hands.
Like many urbanites, we have a garden room. A room built as a cinema but now functions as a Brothers Trust store room and a more general house spill-over facility. Visiting it this week to retrieve some books to dispatch – something caught my eye – Grandad’s bird-table and immediately, a thought occurred.
Tweet, remains on Harry’s YT channel (for those interested) and watching it back this week, I noted that the film has fared much better than the bird table that features in Tom’s film – which after so many London winters, is in a rather sorry state. And no way to treat a piece of important film memorabilia.
Especially something so lovingly made by Paddy and his Grandad Bob.
Nikki’s dad is a dying breed. A generation of highly capable men. A type of man who can just do things. Electrics, plumbing, carpentry; no problem. Capabilities that they have just acquired over time.
But this is not my experience of life. As yet, I have picked up no such skills. If I attempted any electrics beyond changing a fuse, there is every likelihood that I wouldn’t be here now to write this blog.
With no training in woodworking at all, on Bob’s retirement from textile manufacturing, he built himself a workshop (as you do) kitted it out with noisy and angry sounding machines and proceeded to fill our house with furniture - including our kitchen!
So to have a film showcasing his skills – not to mention his various grandsons who each had a hand in Tweet is a lovely thing to have – and why you’d think I might have remembered the bloody thing when writing about birds.
But no matter because more pressing is that this noble bird table deserves a little care and attention.
So, step forward that man again.
No, not Bob.
The unemployed dad with time on his hands. A man with an impossibly narrow skill range but it does include rudimentary sanding and painting.
Decluttering my garage remains on my to-do list – and so I prised open the door and forced my way inside with some trepidation - in the search varnish because popping to the shop is not an option.
“Is this an essential purchase, sir?”
And do you know what?
There in my garage, I find a tin of varnish. The whole thing is fated. I am going to bring Grandad Bob’s bird table back to life.
I mean, we are!
Because such things are best done together, right?
A great chance to share the load and bond with my son. And even more apposite when this particular son happens to be the star of Tweet and even claims in the film that he made the bird table.
Paddy though, does not share my enthusiasm.
I probably phrased it wrong when I exclaimed that I had a ‘great’ idea. He looked at me hopefully, as we enter the second week of his PS4 being in the boot of my car.
“Why don’t we sand down grandad’s bird table. Then we can paint it.”
His lower jaw practically dislocated.
“Why don’t we…” is how I began this sentence and his look answered – ‘Where do I begin?’
But I got going and slowly his interest was kindled and with his efforts, we really began to motor along. And we did do some bonding - but with his PS4 still in my car-boot, he was always going to be keep something back.
And now the table’s rebirth is complete – and here it is in most of its former glory.
With lockdown, Grandad Bob can’t visit – so I sent him a picture on WhatsApp – which means he won’t see it. A heavy irony that he can use a lathe to make beautiful furniture but he can’t use an app.
Something else then I have to look forward as I fast track to Phase 4.
So to close, on behalf of the birds of Kingston, London – Nikki, myself, Tom, Sam, Harry and Paddy.
This blog is for you.
Thank you, Grandad Bob.
This blog was posted to Dom's Patreon site on Friday along with other content that is exclusive to this site.