I woke up this morning with the strongest urge to ring my dad. But I can't because he died of melanoma almost five years ago. That makes me sad, yes, but mostly I'm angry. I have a lot to share with him and am eternally frustrated that he's not on the other end of the phone.
For the bigger part of my life, my dad worked in the shed in our yard making model houses for architects. He found his way there after an exhaustive career with the education department. He was meticulous and inventive and took great pride in his work. We were proud of him too. On a hot day he would collapse into the pool regularly to cool off, and it must have been bitterly cold out there in the winter. I think he had a little bar heater for warmth. He worked day and night, and I doubt it was particularly remunerative but it was his thing. And he was good at it.
I remember hanging out with him in the shed, fiddling with his plastic samples and special knives and watching him work. I'm sure I just talked at him for hours but he always listened and paid attention. With three children, he had an amazing way of making each of us feel like the centre of his world.
When I left home, he would call me every evening to see how my day had gone. We would natter about nothing, often over a gin and tonic and my day would be complete.
I, too, work in a shed in the backyard. My own daughter comes out and talks 'at' me and I try to listen and be patient, like my dad was. She organizes my buttons and my ribbons, and is starting to make things of her own. I would like to think that I am inventive and I do take enormous pride in my work. When it's hot I have an airconditioner (no pool to collapse into) and I'm hoping the reverse cycle function will be effective over the coming months. Otherwise I'll be relying on uggboots and fingerless gloves.
My dad would love my shed, he would spend hours in it with me asking questions and poking about. We would natter over a gin and tonic.
But I guess we already are.
I miss you dad, but you're always there.