My Father does not like football, golf or gardening. He is unfussed by cars, beer or cufflinks. The one time he did some DIY he put up shelves without a spirit level, and all the books we placed on them slid off. (Aged 6 ½, I thought this was absolutely magnificent. My Mother was somewhat less amused).
It is, therefore, impossible to buy my Father a Father’s Day card. ‘What are you looking for?’ The lady in M&S asked me. I was, at that moment, looking for some ham that tasted exactly like parma ham but at half the cost, but I had become distracted by the cards section on my way to cold meats. ‘A Father’s Day card,’ I lied cheerily, thinking gleefully of how annoyed my siblings would be when I presented him with the perfect card.
‘What does he like?’ The sales lady asked me. ‘Hmm,’ I replied. ‘He likes reading the newspapers and visiting art galleries. He likes blaming his poor tennis playing on his glasses, which ‘make it hard to see’. He likes good food, and getting a good deal (he is possibly the only person still using Groupon), and being better at speaking French than me. He likes driving home from dinner mildly pissed, although his children keep telling him off for doing so, and he likes to park in the spaces in the middle of the road, because he thinks the extra 4 steps will dissuade burglars from stealing his car. ‘ The M&S lady stared at me in silence. ‘Does he like real ale?’ She ventured, finally. ‘Not particularly,’ I replied. The sales woman stared at me in horror, before promising me that she would be ‘right back’, and fleeing the scene.
Alone, I perused the Father’s Day cards. Being a firm believer in the power of words, I did not want to send my Father a card that said ‘You make the world’s best barbeque!’ or ‘You’re the best at fixing things!’ (I know that personally, I would be a little confused if someone gave me a card declaring that I was the ‘Best at being quiet’ or ‘Greatest at not interrupting’).
I finished my M&S trip without a card, but absolutely delighted with my discovery of their Serramno ham, which retails at £3 for 14 slices. ‘Look!’ I showed the M&S lady as I tracked her down across the store. ‘And parma ham sells at £1 for just 2 slices!’ The sales lady looked at me. ‘Like Father, like daughter,’ She replied knowingly. Which was great, because my Father does very much like ham.