Monday, 20 June 2011


but in another world, he would have been called Spike (Jones or Milligan) and had his own radio show. He has made me cry with laughter and cry with frustration over his pig-headedness and negativity. He has been ridiculously brave and is amazingly talented, yet he goes through life determined not to be noticed. So, although it will probably annoy him something rotten (if he ever finds out that is), I am going to “announce” him on the internet.

My dad: (all of this is absolutely true)

I never forget a face!  Photo by Rex
was a self-employed signwriter (old style, you know, the kind that had to do an apprenticeship) who used to do all the old theatre posters for the West End (before computers). I remember in the 1970s he did an enormous poster for the old Raymond Revue Bar in Soho and we came home from school to find 20 foot high posters of lovely ladies in 'artistic poses' drying in the front room. Mother wasn't best pleased, but it was a well-paid contract at the time;

He paints watercolours and vehemently maintains they are not very good (here are some of his paintings – I sneakily took some photos from his portfolio.  There are more on the 'paintings' page – you decide....);

copyright:  Bert
Don't be fooled boys and girls

He also did a caricature of Gene Wilder for some play he was in at the time. Mr Wilder hated it and told him so. I have never watched Willy Wonka since;

My Dad and I didn't speak for at least 6 months when I was a teenager. All over some boy whose name we have both forgotten;

He once jumped into the Thames to rescue a tourist who had fallen in the water while holding her baby (successful):

Pen & Ink  Copyright:  Bert
He has also climbed down onto the tracks in a South London tube station to help up an old chap who had managed to fall down the side (successful);

And gave the kiss of life to a guy who had had a heart attack at a dance he and mother were attending (unsuccessful – he was upset about that for a long time);

My Dad has lost at least 2 pairs of (expensive) glasses in the River Thames whilst leaning over to look at ducks (again, mother unimpressed);

He did all the gold lettering in the main sculpture hall of the Victoria & Albert Museum;

And helped with the mural on the back wall of the Tate Modern restaurant (top floor, if you're ever up there – food isn't bad and it has fantastic views across the Thames);
Copyright:  Bert

My Dad once came out of the changing rooms of the swimming pool sans glasses and, on going through a door that he thought led to the pool, went out through a fire exit instead and ended up on the street outside in his trunks;

Despite being quite skinny, he still managed to get himself well and truly stuck half-way down a swimming pool flume - much to the annoyance of the queue of kids behind him and the hysterics of his family who were watching from the sidelines (I got stitch from laughing at that one);

He once let himself into the hotel room he had been given the key to – only to find two old ladies already in there getting changed for dinner (the hotel apologised – mother unimpressed):

Copyright: Bert

And mistakenly went to a wrong wedding reception – realised halfway through the first drink that he didn't know either the bride or the groom and, cool as a cucumber, picked up his present from the gift table and left (mother mortified)

My Dad loves jazz and the blues. One of his favourite LPs is by Clarence Frogman Henry;

He once went out specifically to buy a tie for a bit of a do he was going to with mother (she had given him strict instructions). He came back with a border collie puppy that he had seen in a pet shop. His explanation that “it looked sad, so I bought it”, cut little ice with mother. The dog's name was Judy and as far as I can remember, it's main reason for living seemed to be to poop in the hallway and attempt to eat the living room carpet single handedly (pawedly ?) I cannot relate my mother's response to this as this is a family blog, but it went along the lines of: *&@*^%”!$@ dog!!!.... you get the picture.... Note: he was so excited about the puppy, he forgot about the tie...

Mixed media  Copyright: Bert

He is a huge fan of all things obscure and obtuse. Other children were brought up on lullabies like rock-a-by-baby; I was brought up on the Ying Tong song. He knows all the words to Milligan's part in the 'Fresh Fruit Song' and regularly sings it to the delight of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren..... and the annoyance of mother;

He has a box in his shed, full of “stuff” which intrigues the above mentioned children – especially the duck-caller;

He also thought it would be great fun to make a stink bomb with his 14 year old great-grandson at my house last Christmas. Making stink bombs when you are 72 years old should be admired I suppose, but both mother and I were unimpressed at that one;

My Dad scares the hell out of me with his health sometimes and I dread the day he will no longer be here to make me laugh;
One of his favourites: Horses Ass
Copyright:  Bert

My Dad sometimes looks very small.....and old;

It took me a long time to treasure my dad. But I do.

For Father's Day


  1. Your dad sounds amazing! Also, managing to revive someone through CPR is quite rare, sadly, but I suppose he was told that plenty of times. He tried, which is the true measure of him.

  2. awww he sounds amazing & these posts made me laugh! He sounds like a right character.