The Forgettable Birthday Gift

I was reminded earlier that it’s two years since ‘that’ journey. An ordeal that lives long in my son and my memory; a time where we witnessed hitherto unseen traits of malevolence from an ordinarily unassuming family member.

A hair raising ten mile white knuckle ride, courtesy of uncharacteristic arbitrary driving by my pater (Mally), exacerbated by his even rarer display of road rage.

Not that Mally found it hair raising as he’s been bereft of locks since the stress of hearing Jane Fonda quit making movies.. The only noticeable hair he’s sported since this shock to his system is a resplendent plumage spouting from his ears.

When I say he hasn’t had locks for a while, I mean hair, not that his house or car doors are bereft of adequate security……..So don’t go round to burgle his house or motor, especially as he has a Rottweiler.…… Well my mum, anyway!

As this trip unfolded, his two disturbed passengers (myself and my son Jonny) felt as though we’d been transported through a portal to the 1970s, and an appearance in animated TV show Wacky Races.

My dad is ordinarily a cautious driver, however, once Penelope Pitstop cut him up at the Tesco’s roundabout at Seacroft, the remaining few miles drive to Headingley became somewhat fraught.

The incident enraged him, resulting in him irresponsibly weaving lanes in an attempt to catch and admonish Ms Pitstop. Only slowing down once, the result of catching sight of a 25% off wine offer at Moortown Sainsburys.

This normally timid, undemonstrative man was now in the throes of previously unseen road rage. This included verbally abusing the leisurely pace of the Arkansas Chuggabug, aggressive fist shaking as we overtook a procrastinating Peter Perfect in his Turbo Terrific, as well as yelling “Geek!” at Professor Pat Pending while turning left at Lawnswood roundabout.

It was all very unsettling stuff, but thankfully as we neared the cricket ground at Headingley, Leeds, his anger diminished.

As we parked close to St Michael’s Lane, it started drizzling again for the umpteenth time of the day. On disembarking the car, my dad opened his boot to reveal to Jonny and I several waterproof coats and caps. I questioned if they’d been breeding, which received an unimpressed grunt response. He then donned his cap and waterproof and the three of us proceeded on the short walk owards the cricket ground.

At the end of the street I asked him if he’d locked his car. “Errrrr… I best check!” he replied, before doddering a hundred yards back down the street towards his motor, where he found out he had indeed secured his car.

Jonny gave a rye smile and said to me “Bloody hell, I’ve just seen what I’ll be like in fifty years!” I pointed out to my son that it wouldn’t be all bad, at least he’d have lots of caps and waterproof coats.

My son conceded that observation, and on the return of my dad we recommenced our walk the cricket ground……. To be honest, I don’t know why Jonny was complaining, I’ll be like that in twenty five years!

People often comment on the resemblance between the three generations of us Strachan men, especially the jutting Sir Bruce Forsyth chin. On the periphery of Headingly, the octogenarian entertainers catchphrase “Let’s have a look at the old scoreboard!” came to mind…… A manifestation born from cynicism that, with the heavy rain and dark clouds,. the scoreboard wouldn’t be getting much attention that afternoon

On arrival inside the stadium we took a pew a few seats along from Dick Dastardly and Muttley. Our predominant panoramic view being the protective wicket and outfield covers, along with the imposing  Carnegie Pavilion opposite.

Cricket pic

With most of the grass playing surface under cover, the Carnegie Pavilion, green of colour and contemporary of design, provided the only real smattering of emerald on view. The aesthetics of the stand’s predominant glass construction splits opinion; I like it but my old man isn’t overly keen….. Miserable bleeder!

Jonny sat on the fence when I asked his thoughts on the modern architecture of the stand……. Well, until a steward told him to get off the fence and return to his seat.

It was all very unpleasant sitting under the rainclouds, getting so cold we stopped drinking beer and went onto coffee.…. It was suggested to a bloke with very hairy ears that we go into the bar, but apparently he’d rather be cold and sat down, as opposed to  warm and standing.

My irritability wasn’t helped by having repeat everything twice to my dad. I suggested hearing aids but Jonny rightly pointed out he probably just needed to remove the carpet of hair out of each ear!

Sitting there all I could think of was that I couldn’t believe it was so cold in June.…….. My dad sat there vacantly thinking of his first glass of red later that evening and of course Jane Fonda…….. Jonny, who’d bought our tickets as presents, commented his gift would live long in the memory, but for the wrong reasons.

He’s not wrong. I’ll always remember my 52nd birthday present from him was chuffing pneumonia!!

Anyway, the precipitation abated after an hour or so, leaving the game to start after the playing surface had been made fit for purpose, 40 or so minutes later.

The number of overs per side were reduced because of the delay. Yorkshire batted first and made a woefully low score, which Northants reached with a canter. What a rubbish few hours it had been.

Another of Sir Bruce Forsyth’s catchphrases is “Good game! Good game!” ….. It wasn’t!!

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