Christmas is a time to remember the past and to dream for the future.
Tinsel is hung, solar lights flicker and laser lights dance on the water. Christmas has come to the Tidal Canals and we are celebrating another year of sun, sand, great neighbours and good cheer.
Today we drove past our old house in Edithvale and delighted in the changes that have taken place over the years. Opposite was Ma and Pop Whitting’s home and I couldn’t help smiling at my memories of Pop.
My dad was an engineer and pedantic about everything being correctly measured and assembled with care and attention to the finest detail. Pop Whitting used to drive him mad. Pop was a cockney lad from England and near enough was good enough. I remember the day he decided that the refrigerator in the kitchen was taking up too much room so he grabbed a saw, and cut up the left side of the wall beside the refrigerator, across the top and down the other side. He then shoved the refrigerator back level with the kitchen wall. Brooms, pans and a mop went flying out of the broom cupboard in the laundry behind the refrigerator.
‘Where will I put my brooms?’ Ma cried. ‘You’ll find somewhere,’ Pop replied. ‘At least you now have more room in the kitchen.’ I’ll never know how he managed to miss cutting the electrical wires inside the broom cupboard . Sheer good luck, I guess. To cover the jagged edges of the sawn kitchen plaster he simply tacked a wooden strapping edge around the fridge and painted it the same colour as the walls. I’d love to go into the house one day just to see if the refrigerator is still recessed into the laundry cupboard.
Pop was an original, a one off character who lived off his wits. When he was eighty he decided one afternoon to climb a ladder and paint the guttering. No preparation, just slap on as much paint as possible to cover any dirt. He happily painted a section of the gutter before deciding it was time for a cup of tea. Balancing the nearly full open paint tin on top of the ladder he proceeded to climb down. On reaching the bottom rung he looked up in time to see the tin of paint spill all over him. Thank goodness he was wearing glasses because it covered him from his bald head to the tops of his shoes. Instead of standing still, he yelled ‘Ma’ and proceeded to slosh down the side way, around the back of the house and into the kitchen leaving a trail of white paint behind him. It was left to Ma to clean up and the rest of the guttering was never painted.
My dad, on hearing the news shook his head and said, ‘You mean he didn’t even sandpaper the guttering before he started?’
Family characters. How they fill our memories and our hearts with love.