” Use sliced bread”

These were the almost last instructions from my dear late father when, back in 1966, he and my mother were flying off to Norway for what for them was a once in a lifetime holiday. They were leaving me and my elder brother to cope as best we could by ourselves, when he uttered these words I asked, not unreasonable, ” Why? “

“So you don’t cut yourself” was his simple reply, thinking that I was obviously far too young to be wielding a bread knife and that I’d be found lying on the floor soaking up blood from a crusty wholewheat special, when they came back. What this simple sentence did was to illustrate how worried he was that they were going away and leaving us to our own devices and that he and my mother loved us.

When back, we took it as an opportunity to use whenever they went out of the house, even on a small errand, to rub in exactly how funny this was to us. He and my Mum took it in good part and later he used it ironically himself if we were ever going a away. It became a family saying which just meant ” Look after yourself”

On the way back from Norway, my father, then a smoker, took time out in the plane’s loo for a quick drag. One has to remember that these were the days when smoking was the norm, but not on a plane. As he lit up a voice came over the tannoy and barked something in Norwegian. ” Crikey they’ve seen me lighting up” my father thought to himself from his comfortable seated position, quickly extinguished the cigarette and adjusted himself for re-entry into the cabin when the English translation of the Norwegian came over the tannoy: ” You will be pleased to know that England have defeated Germany in the World Cup Final at Wembley in extra time. Well done England!” My father left the cubicle on a cloud of euphoria as well as a little smoke.

Meanwhile back at home my brother and I were probably slicing through a wholemeal in celebration.

Boom, boom!