Posts Tagged ‘R J Dent’s autobiography’

My Father’s Garden: Fireworks by R J Dent

January 25, 2016

 

Sparklers_Pack_Night_by_2bgr8STOCK

 

 

Bonfire Night was always fun.

Bonfires are great and fireworks are even greater.

My father never bought lots of fireworks on Bonfire Night – there were never more than eight to ten in a box, but there were Catherine Wheels, Roman Candles, Fountains, Jumping Jacks, Bottle Rockets, Fire Crackers – and we always had Sparklers.

I don’t mean to sound churlish, but sparklers are not the most exciting type of firework in existence. You light them, wave them around, they fizz and sparkle for a minute, then they die. They’re the firework world’s equivalent to the mayfly. One great (or in the mayfly’s case, not-so-great) aerial incendiary burst, and then gone, done, nothing left but the inevitable fall… Read more…

 

 

 

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My Father’s Garden: Greenhouse by R J Dent

May 5, 2014

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Greenhouse

 

1: Frame

 

Several lengths of silver angle-iron had been in the garden for over a week before my father acknowledged their existence.

      – Ah, yes. I’d better put that together, he said cryptically, one morning.

      Later on, he’d assembled several lengths of the angle-iron into a cube-shaped frame.

      – What are you making, dad?

      – Assembling.

      – What are you assembling, dad?

      – A greenhouse. With a gable roof.

      – Are you going to grow anything in it?

      – No, I thought I’d leave it empty for years, and then knock it down.

      – Oh. What for?

      – Not really. I’m going to grow tomatoes in it. Read more…

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Greenhouse

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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My Father’s Garden: Summer House and Brewery by R J Dent

April 29, 2014

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Summer House

 

Once my father realised that my sister never went near, let alone into, the tree house he’d built for her, he decided to dismantle it and build a summer house instead.

          For the next few evenings, he very carefully disassembled the tree house and stacked all of the individual pieces against the shed wall.

          He then drew a plan of the new summer house. He used a piece of butcher’s paper and a wax crayon, and then explained the diagram to me.

          – It’s got a hexagonal back and sides and a flat front for maximum sunlight capture.

          I nodded, wondering about the ‘maximum sunlight capture’.

          Anyway, within a week, my father had built a summer house. It looked exactly like the one in his diagram, which ordinarily would have been a positive factor or a compliment, but which, in this case, was not.

          It was a wooden structure that looked a lot like a very large sentry box. The back and sides nodded at hexagonality; the front was two huge sliding patio doors.

          – It looks like a public lavatory, my brother said.

          – It’s a bit open-fronted for that, my father protested.

          – That’s why I said ‘public’. Read more…

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Summer House and Brewery

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

 

My Father’s Garden: Caravan by R J Dent

April 28, 2014

 

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Caravan

 

There was considerable excitement in our family when our mother mentioned that we might be getting a caravan. We talked it up into something more than it was, so that when it finally arrived on our drive, it was something of an anticlimax.

          The caravan itself was a bit scruffy; it would need painting before it was ready for use.

          My father, as ever, was ready for the challenge.

          He and my mother debated the colour-scheme.

          – Beige is nice, my father said.

          – Dove grey is nicer.

          – Pale green’s quite nice.

          – Dove grey is nicer.         

          – Magnolia’s nice too.

          – Dove grey is nicer.

          – I think dove grey would look nice, my father said, but only if it’s contrasted with a brighter colour – something like maroon or lime green.

          – You can paint the roof maroon, my mother said, but the rest of the outside needs to be dove grey. Read more…

 

My Father’s Garden: Caravan

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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My Father’s Garden: Tree House by R J Dent

April 27, 2014

 

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1: Ash

 

My sister had been pestering my father for a tree house for months.

          – All my friends have got one.

          – Use theirs then.

          – It’s not the same, my sister wailed.

          – Why don’t I just throw a shed up into the ash tree’s branches? my father said. You can use that.

          – You always say something like that when you don’t want me to have nice things, my sister whinged. It’s so unfair. All my friends think I’m a freak because I don’t have a tree house. It’s embarrassing.

          – Well, you should always listen to your friends.

          – What do you mean? my sister asked suspiciously.

          – What I say. It’s not a secret message.

          – I don’t understand.

          – I’m just saying your friends are right, that’s all.

          My sister smiled victoriously.

          – I knew it, she said.

          My father walked slowly down to the bottom of the garden. I followed him discreetly.

          Right at the foot of the garden, about four feet away from the fence that separated my father’s garden from the neighbour’s garden was an ash tree. Ash trees grow very straight and very tall. This one was no exception; it had been there for years and was very straight and was about thirty feet high.

          My father looked at the ash tree for a very long time.

          – That ash tree’s got to go, he muttered. Read more…

My Father’s Garden: Tree House

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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My Father’s Garden: Wagon Wheel by R J Dent

March 17, 2014

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1: Tyre

 

– Some gardens have a wagon wheel in them, my mother said.

          – What for? my father asked.

          – For decoration. It leans against the house wall as a decorative feature.

          – I see. Well, I might be able to get hold of one for you, my father said.

          – Oh, good. That’d be nice.

          My father’s first attempt was a dismal failure; he brought home a huge tractor tyre.

          It was taller than he was.

          My father rolled it into the front garden and leaned it against the house wall. It loomed there gigantically as he went to find my mother.

          – Oh, no, that’s not right, my mother said, on being shown the tyre.

          – Is it not? my father asked, clearly surprised.

          – Well, it’s not a wagon wheel, is it?

          – It’s very similar.

          – Not really. Wagon wheels are made of wood or metal and have spokes. This is a spoke-free rubber monstrosity. It needs to go. Read more…

My Father’s Garden: Wagon Wheel

Copyright © R J Dent (2014)

 

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My Father’s Garden: Scythe and Grass Hook by R J Dent

February 10, 2014

My Father’s Garden: Scythe and Grass Hook

 by R J Dent

mfg-sagh - rjd

Quite often I’d get asked (told) to do some gardening. I’d not chosen such a big garden (one hundred and one feet long by forty-five feet wide), so I didn’t see why I had to help maintain it. But I was made to do some work on it from time to time; enforced work that increased incrementally with my age.

      Anyway, one Saturday morning, just as I was making plans – deciding how I was going to spend my morning and afternoon, my father told me he wanted me to ‘cut the front lawn’.

      I was a bit miffed, but I realised that the front lawn was no more than a twenty feet by ten feet rectangle and most of it was clover. Half an hour’s work, I thought, which would leave me with enough time to go to the shop and buy my pop music magazine, sit somewhere quiet and read it, then use the afternoon for exploring and adventures.

      Of course, it wasn’t that simple… Read more…

 

Scythe and Grass Hook

by R J Dent

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

 

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