If you were to look up the term “Loose Cannon” in the Oxford Dictionary then you may well find a photo of my father. He is the walking epitome of a loose cannon. He can be funny and charming but he can also be mortifying. He frequently likes to step over the line and push your taste for decency.
I have already shared the time he decided to tell the whole of the village that my mum was having an affair, just for “sh*ts and giggles.” What I haven’t told you is that he also once implied to the village vicar that my mum was a bit handy with her fists. Obviously not funny and not at all true, but in my dad’s head he was just causing mischief.
More Tea Vicar?
Also, way back when I was a child (so donkey years ago then) there was the time that the vicar was coming round for afternoon tea (yes, really). My dad decided it would be hilarious to hang-up his “tyres” calendar in the downstairs toilet. I’m still unsure what topless ladies had to do with tyres but there you go. He hung it up in the downstairs toilet knowing that the vicar would go in there. I mean, why did he do that? A juvenile prank? He took great pleasure in regaling this story to everyone, along with the line
“the vicar was in there for some time” wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
A couple of years later (when I was a teenager) I became so fed-up of looking at the topless ladies straddling tyres that I drew bras on them all as they were all clearly feeling a bit chilly. My dad had a complete humour bypass and was not happy. He proceeded to lecture me about why it is not okay to deface someone’s property. I proceeded to lecture him on why it is not okay to have those sort of calendars on your wall.
You just never quite know how my dad is going to react. I was always worried when friends came round for fear of what he would say to them. There was the time he learnt that one of my friends was training to be a dancer and he practically salivated as he rubbed the top of his legs
Mortified doesn’t even come close. The morning of my wedding saw my mum making my dad rewrite his whole father of the bride speech as it was basically toilet humour (literally) along with him sharing the time that 3 year-old me pooped in the neighbour’s bidet. Not really the story you want your in-laws or your new husband hearing. Although, to be fair, Mr C’s twin shared a story about the time Mr C came back drunk and did a wee in his communal university fridge. Mr C assures me that he was very polite as he only did a wee in his part of the fridge. Apparently, the salad drawer was his section and so he freely filled his salad drawer with wee. Perhaps Mr C and I are well matched really and my dad should have read his original speech. Poo in a bidet and wee in a salad drawer. What a couple!
Dumping The Daily Mail
Anyway, on our recent trip back to stay with my parents I was reminded that my dad is still very much a loose cannon. There I was thinking that perhaps my dad had changed as (cue dramatic drum roll), he has finally given up his Daily Mail habit. I know! Completely unexpected but hurrah! He went cold turkey and he had The Daily Mail munchies for a week but he managed to resist and now he has the all clear from The Daily Mail. He is a changed man, or so I thought. The reality is that he has replaced one obsession with another, and the new obsession is his Fitbit. He has to get in at least 10,000 steps a day. So it was on Sunday that I agreed to accompany him on his brisk walk so that he could get his 10,000 steps in.
When I agreed to this walk I assumed I would be walking on paths. I was wrong. I was made to walk through fields and ditches, and overgrown paths that required me to hold my arms above my head so I wouldn’t get stung by the nettles. My dad had now morphed into David Bellamy and pointed out all of the wildlife. Wildlife I couldn’t see as I was lost in nettles. Dad also insisted I try all of the blackberries that he found. Let’s just say that I don’t want to see another blackberry for at least a year.
Finally, we emerged into the sunlight and found ourselves on what looked suspiciously like a drive with a rather grand house at the end. We proceeded to walk down the drive and were about half-way down when I became aware of someone shouting behind us. I looked back to see a lady running full-pelt towards us.
“Don’t look behind you!” My dad barked. “Look straight ahead and perhaps we should pick-up the pace too”. My dad was now practically galloping down the drive as I broke into a jog to keep up.
“Why are we running” I asked my dad, “and who is that lady?”
“Oh, she’s just the owner of that house. We are on her drive” he replied as cool as a cucumber.
“Whaaaaaaaat” I shouted as I threw a quick glance over my shoulder to see that the lady was still very much chasing us, arms waving above her head.
What Happened Next?
Did we make it away from the lady or did she stalk us round the Suffolk lanes to give us a piece of her mind? I will give you a clue, it was the latter one. Did I plead “don’t ring the police, I’m a mother” Maybe, I might have thought it. Did I nearly poop my knickers? Very nearly but at least it wasn’t a bidet this time. BUT, how did my dad react? Find out next week what the loose cannon did…