I arrived early at Southwark, and called to let my Father know. ‘Walk towards me.’ ‘I’m sorry?’ ‘Yes. You know where I work? Walk towards me.’ ‘Um. I’ll just meet you outside the station. See you in a bit.’ (It is imperative my parents remain unaware of how little I listen to them. I am aiming for the level of blissful ignorance that saw a friend of mine felled by a GCSE French presentation class. ‘And what does he do, your Père?’ our French teacher asked. ‘I don’t know,’ my friend replied. ‘OK. Tell me in English then.’ ‘I don’t know in English.’ ‘I’m sorry?’ ‘Yes. I don’t know what my Father does. In English or French.’ This was really one of the highlights of my school career. I spent the rest of term making suggestions to my friend about nefarious activities her Father might be getting involved in. To be fair, none of which would have been lucrative enough to pay the school fees).
Anyway, my Father dutifully walked towards me, and we went off to the Young Vic. ‘Would you like a drink?’ ‘Oh, yes please. A vodka tonic would be great.’ ‘A vodka tonic?’ my Father said, in a contemptuous tone. ‘How boring.’ (In my family, it is preferable to be a pederast than to be boring). ‘They have cocktails here. I will order you one.’ ‘Oh, how nice. Thanks Dad.’ ‘I will order this one. It has whiskey, and schnapps, and honey vodka, and normal vodka. Oh and fresh raspberries. I will order one for myself too.’ ‘Um, OK. And perhaps a glass of tap water?’ ‘Well, obviously get whatever you want,’ my Father said, baffled.
The waitress disappeared, and returned with two glasses of tap water. My Father looked at them. ‘These are terribly plain, aren’t they? Not what I was expecting at all.’ ‘I’m sorry?’ ‘Well, where are the raspberries?’ ‘Um, Dad? This is the tap water.’
The play really had nothing on my Father’s excellent, if somewhat unplanned wit.