It’s day one of England’s second lockdown. I’m pleased to report the initial hours of life under more stringent government edicts have proved fruitful for GJ Strachan.

It’s just gone 11am and already I’ve pencil drawn a caricature, completed the re-arranging of the dining room furniture, along with emptying a cabinet containing many old curios, including an old cd/cassette player.

Sorting through my late father’s possessions is always a heart jerking episode. These events frequently interspersed with mutters questioning my Leeds born and bred forebear why he left us. This melancholy exacerbated by thoughts of the first few lines of Sinatra song ‘Where Are You?’.

The latter one of the refrains which played out as I held his hand while he laid moribund in Wakefield Hospice. Stark days in October 2017 where I learned the meaning of true loss, not to mention part of me also dying.

The line’s Frankie sings which never fail to send my stomach plummeting like a stone are the following:-

Where are you?

Where have you gone without me?

I thought you cared about me

Where are you?’ ………

Some my deem my sombre notions on hearing these words as overly sentimental, along with excessively saccharin. However, I make no apologies for relaying the raw emotion felt in times the old man tarries into my conscious mind.

Yours truly owes the man a huge debt of gratitude for the love, security and wisdom he bequeathed me. Gifts delivered from a baseline of positivity, calm and bereft of prejudice.

Amongst the object d’art within the cabinet, where my purge took place, a number of tankards, the aforementioned sound system, a couple of the old man’s bowling trophies and more candles than our local St Michael’s church.

Another trinket unearthed among my dad’s ‘treasure’ was a pint glass with a cartoon picture of a guy, who’d an uncanny resemblance to pater, bearing the whimsical words “I’m not bald, I’m taller than my hair.”

I’d never seen this quirky vessel before, or know how it came into pater’s possession, but witnessing it led to a wry smile where seconds earlier a pensive frown had lain.

As I’d no prior knowledge of their existence, finding the candles was a boon. They always come in handy for either creating the right ambience with one’s suitor, in the event of losing electric power, or if a neighbour knocks on the front door to ask “Have you got any candles, Gary?…… Our lass wants me to pour melted wax on her!”

Footnote – To clarify, no one has ever knocked on my door with the improbably request above. But, I thought I’d include this possibility for completeness.

Anyhow, the old mans curios cabinet is now tidy. Meaning where once stood tankards, candles and a sound system, now resides tankards, candles and a plethora of drawing materials.

Ok then, I admit it, all I really undertook was wheeling the cabinet to another part of the dining room and swapping out the cd/cassette player for s**t loads of coloured pencils and paper.

Right, I must dash as it’s after midday and I need to write some questions for a Zoom quiz I’m participating in this evening.