There are fairies at the – ah – they’ve all gone

This morning, we mostly made cakes.  Fairy cakes, that is, iced with pale pink icing (as I didn’t have any green food colouring) and decorated with sugar sprinkles, as I have to learn to call them, silver balls, glace cherries and white chocolate drops.  This afternoon, we mostly ate them.

I was thinking about my stepfather just now.  He was a ship designer, a very fine one.  He and my mother married six years after my father died and he died just shy of their tenth wedding anniversary.  My mother never got over the unluckiness of being widowed twice, she couldn’t bear it when a woman didn’t appreciate the good qualities of her husband or carped about him, when she was lucky enough to still have one alive.  Good friends of hers couldn’t steel themselves, out of love, to tell her of their divorce, not for a couple of years, and they and their sons played happy families for her benefit when they visited until the family home was sold and there was no option.

Anyway, Wilf’s company in Oulton Broad used to pitch for contracts all over the world.  And, the design having been completed, he used to go off to put forward his case.  It was not unusual for a client to change his mind after the design was completed, once he could see the plans.  I remember a particular occasion, when word came through that the length of the ship had to be extended by x feet.  Of course, you can’t just do that.  Everything has to be checked because the proportions have changed.  So, everyone flew back home and returned to their design team for a redesign.

Except Wilf.  He stayed in his hotel room and set to work to redesign the whole ship himself.  Because he’d started from the bottom and worked up, in a way that simply isn’t done now.  Once as a young man, he was caught smoking where he shouldn’t and was sent to work in the foundry as a punishment.  So he understood the casting of propellors and was able to redesign those too.

His company won that particular contract, not surprisingly.  He didn’t get a bonus or anything though.  It was normal, back in those days, and considered part of your job to do the best you could.  Once he retired, he was replaced by several other people.

7 comments on “There are fairies at the – ah – they’ve all gone

  1. Roses

    I have to say, being single at this age and looking in from the outside, has changed my views on relationships quite a lot. So I can understand your mum’s views.

    Generally speaking, I think we should cherish those we love and care for, the chance to take a harsh word back should never be passed up.

  2. Rog

    A good marriage is like a well built boat. Keeping an even keel in choppy waters, avoiding shallow broads, a strong glue for the planks and screwed together at regular intervals.

  3. Z

    I should clarify – she didn’t advocate being a doormat in the least and she wasn’t necessarily anti-divorce. It was more, when you’ve got a man you’ve been married to for several decades and he’s good for you, don’t whinge about little things to someone who thinks you’re incredibly lucky to be growing old together and wishes she had the opportunity.

    Very like my three rules, Rog – be polite, be kind and always be ready for sex. Rules of marriage, that is. Obv.

    Wilf was lovely, HDWK and he loved being part of our family. He and Mummy got married three months before Al was born, so he really did feel like a grandad then.

  4. Z

    It’s all right, darling, I’ve given in gracefully. But hundreds and thousands is such an entertaining name for sweets, though I haven’t seen them for years. The strands seem to have taken over.

    Mind you, I only see the multi-coloured ones at that. Do they still make the brown ones that my mother used to call chocolate vermicelli?


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