Monday, 27 February 2012

Big hands and sawdust

My Dad was a builder and my favourite smell as a child was that sweet damp smell of sawdust and freshly cut wood, which I would absorb in the air around him as I sat nearby, watching him hammer nail after nail and hold the planks of wood across the wooden horse. I liked to touch the wood scraps, hold them to my face where I could breathe in their scent, feel the roughened edges and try to avoid a splinter. Dad would work away and whistle, tell the odd joke and come over and tickle me or throw me around in a spin in the air occasionally. At home he would let me stand on his feet as we danced around the kitchen, his big feet feeling strong and reassuring under mine. He loved to give me piggy-backs and shoulder rides and once he laughed as my sister and I got in the bath, pyjamas and all, with our pet duck. He wasn't perfect, my Dad. But then, neither was I.