SUNDAY is Father's Day and if you have no idea what present to buy, let me give you a few hints.
A lot will depend on the personality of the chap in question. A whole array of possibilities open up for those who like gardening.
I don’t. If someone bought me a grow bag I might stand in it on the off chance I could sprout a few inches, but it would otherwise be useless.
Likewise, a barbecue tool set would be no use as I gave up on barbecues after my late Auntie Doris watched suspiciously, one cloudy August Sunday, as I set about cooking lunch. When she was served, she complained at the lack of Yorkshire pudding and gravy. Difficult stuff gravy. On a barbecue.
Among the weird and wonderful gifts available is a balloon in a box – guaranteed to disappoint. A balloon? In a Box? Where’s the beer?
A T-shirt that carries the message Always Right is, I thought, taking sarcasm too far. How can the man of the house always be right when everyone knows his wife is? Even when she’s wrong.
Then there are all manner of days out that cover horse racing (don’t gamble), helicopter trip (done loads), driving a fast car (in the past I’ve had both a Lotus Cortina AND a Cooper S) or a flight in a balloon.
I was once ground crew for a team of balloonists and they had to explain to a potential customer that they couldn’t drop into the back garden of number 27 at tea time as a surprise and bring dad back an hour later in time for Coronation Street and cocoa.
Do not fall into this trap: balloons are not like taxis, they depend on the vagaries of the wind. You might meet up in a field in Slawit where the balloon is inflated but, once afloat, you could end up in Denby Dale. Or, perish the thought, Barnsley. And how would your dad like that?
My daughters once bought me a weekend away at a posh hotel in the Lake District with a five-star chef and Denis Healey at the next table. In retrospect, I don’t think Mr Healey was part of the package; he was probably just staying there as well.
The best comment I can make is that it was “very nice” – if you like wearing a suit and nouvelle cuisine. The second night I wore jeans and we went to a curry house.
So be careful about posh restaurants if your dad is more a fish and chip sort of bloke.
An inflatable zimmer frame might raise a smile. It did for me, if only for the memories of passing through Naples, Florida, a town with a large elderly population who appear to have been attracted to this pleasant coastal location to spend their last years gently basting in the sun. A store as big as The House of Fraser had window after window that displayed endless lines of designer zimmers.
Going gently into the night is obviously an expensive business in this part of Florida.
Finally, I have found a couple of presents that appeal to me. One is your own Heritage Blue Plaque that can be erected on the building with which you have most affinity: in my case, The Jacob’s Well.
The other is a million pound note.
My only reservation about the latter is that it only costs £349 and may not actually be accepted as legal tender. But the thought is nice.
Dads and grandads – you’re worth a million.