by Cath Barton
When the phone rang I knew it would be Dad. He just couldn’t get it into his head that I didn’t appreciate being interrupted in the middle of The Archers.
“But you’re always complaining that it’s rubbish”, he says. To which I reply that this is not the point and will he kindly not do it. But he still does, ‘cos he’s my dad.
“Hello, son,” he starts, “I’m going to book a trip to the moon.”
I ask him if he’s having a laugh, and couldn’t he think of a better reason to ring me, especially as The Archers is on just now.
“Oh, sorry Son, you’re right. Thing is, this is such a good offer. I read about it in The Mirror. The first five people to book get it cheap.”
I am That Far from saying something really rude. Instead I take a deep breath and lean over at the same time to turn off the radio.
“So, Dad,” I say, “tell me, even assuming you win the pools and you’ve got the money, how you’re going to get to the moon when you have enough trouble getting down the road for your paper of a morning?”
He tells me that for the price they’re charging they must be going to collect people from their homes, and I say okay, what is that price?
And so it continues and there’s a bit of me looking down from the ceiling at me on the phone to the old buffer having this ridiculous conversation when I could be listening to The Archers. Or, frankly, doing something really useful with my time like getting down to The Fox and Feathers for a pint or several to help me pluck up the courage to ask June next door out to the pictures.
And that bit of me on the ceiling wonders whether this is going on up and down the land: fathers telephoning their sons about some bit of stuff and nonsense; mothers doing the same to daughters; sisters to brothers. None of them knowing what really matters to the other, or asking. Just chuntering on about stuff. This bit of me is getting all philosophical, which is worrying, so I literally pull myself together and tell Dad that he’d better count what he’s got in his piggy bank and that I’ve got to get back to The Archers.
I put the phone down and snap the radio back on. The Archers’ theme tune is just finishing. I say some rude words very loudly and then I have this enormous brainwave. June next door gets The Mirror. I think I’ll go and ask her if I can take a look at that piece about trips to the moon. Tell her Dad wants to go. She’ll laugh at that. We’ll laugh together and then, casual as anything, I’ll ask her out!
Cath Barton was once a fan of The Archers, but then the stories got a bit too ludicrous for her liking.