Saturday, March 11, 2017
I don’t remember a great deal of my early childhood but something that sticks with me is my mother arguing with my father about a household health and safety issue.
One that involved my early death.
My father was a working-class man living in the North-East of
in the 1970s. A man of his calibre would leave the house before I woke to do
manual labour all day and then spend his time in several public-houses
propping-up several bars until they closed at which point he would go home fully
expecting his dinner or ‘tea’ to be on the table.
As a child I would be stood on the windowsill of my bedroom with my hands at the top of the window hoping for a glimpse of my father as he came home at midnight.
Double-glazing did not exist at that time. Leaning on a window could cause it to break.
My mother ‘pointed-out’ to my father that this was quite dangerous. I don’t recall the conversation too well but I knew that she was saying that if he came home at a sensible hour and spent some time with his son I would not risk my young life just to witness him stagger up the path to our front door.
I don’t know how that conversation went but I do know that my father hammered some bars of wood over the inside of my window.
The wood was untreated and wasn’t pleasant to the touch – I’ve no idea which of his friends he’d got it from or indeed where he’d sourced the hammer or the nails. But I remember the hammering and that it was a weekend before twelve in the afternoon when the public houses opened. And I remember my bedroom having bars on the windows.
Lateral thinking at it’s best.