I found myself on hold to an insurance company on Tuesday and decided to pass the time by tracing my natural father. This proved to be much easier than you might imagine. Facebook had come up trumps with a local builder for my old dear’s garden wall – which is why I was talking to the insurance company in the first place – so I typed in ‘feckless ne’er do well who no-one’s seen for forty fucking years’, and there he was, with a profile picture indicating that he had at some point in the recent past visited an area of woodland with a small waterfall in it. Not being a great sentimentalist, I was more shocked that someone I am related to has seen a real waterfall than experiencing any significant emotional response. If I were to get in touch, it would primarily be out of curiosity, or to borrow the car. That said, we all know what curiously killed, even though it appears to have spent less time in Wandsworth for it than my old man. That was only a cat though, and they have nine lives, which I suppose accounts for the difference in sentencing.
Interestingly, he ended up in Leeds, fairly near ‘Anton’. I have to put a jumper on if I even think about the north of England, but his massive family thrive in the harsh climate, where they appear to make up the entire workforce of every branch of Asda in West Yorkshire. My trawling brought forth a half-brother with a career in avionics, presumably acquired so he could build his own plane and get the fuck away from stacking shelves in a green overall. It seems to have paid off, too, because he is the only person who lives further from West Yorkshire than I do, settling in Melbourne with a nice lady with whom he is pictured on a golf cart. He also seems to be the only one not obsessed with a) stylised pictures of St George holding aloft an English flag on a presumably English horse and b) Asian grooming gangs. For the record, being English is marvellous, and I can see why everyone loves us. However, while I am sure we English share a human concern for the welfare of children, most of us are usually happy leaving the two happenstances un-conflated with robust yet spurious observations about migration patterns in former industrial regions. Still, it is hardly fair to focus upon one unpleasant aspect of Leeds when there is so much more of this cold, wet, gloomy city to enjoy, and I shall now move on.
I do, however, share the conviction voiced in several profile pictures that Yorkshire got stitched up in the War of the Roses five hundred years ago, at around the time it last produced a decent football club. Incidentally, in case you are unfamiliar with the War of the Roses, it was an interminable shouting match for the comfortably well-off – Twitter with axes, basically – upon which Games of Thrones is based. I have never seen Game of Thrones, or been to Yorkshire other than to see West Ham repeatedly get beaten by substandard football clubs and, while I understand that both those things enjoy justified popularity, I have no plans to change this anytime soon. I suspect that my Facebook investigation was the matrix’s way of warning me how many times I would have to patiently explain to new found relatives that the reason St George’s Day is not widely celebrated is because he is a Catholic saint in a culturally Protestant country. In fact, in the early days of the modern English nation state you could’ve saved money on a St George’s Day party by buying a sign with ‘Please Burn Me’ on it instead – but, as stated, everyone loves us because we won World War Two, so it all worked out in the end.
In response to the remarkable news, ‘Anton’ offered to scout branches of Asda and report back on the state of my genetic windfall. Usually, his interactions with people from Leeds are limited to chants of ‘That Jimmy Savile – he’s one of your own’ with his fellow Millwall fans to the tune of, now I come to think of it, Sloop John B by the Beach Boys. I declined the offer. It is most likely that, as far as my natural father and his subsequent reproductive triumphs are concerned, I simply don’t exist. I existed at some point, because there are photos of the pair of us, but I was very young when they were taken. In fact, Sid has just wandered downstairs for breakfast saying ‘Daddy, someone has wet my bed’, and I wasn’t even as old then as he is now. Still, you can’t choose your family, as they say. Well, whoever says that is obviously not me, of course, because I absolutely can, and I might just do exactly that by leaving this vast litter of Northern supermarket workers where I found them. We shall have to see.
Main: Suffield Park Christmas lights, still going strong in the last week of January.
Upper inset: I have been teaching Sid Illuminati signs to freak out the conspiracy nuts if we ever get back to Runton. He’s made a bit of hash of it here, but when done correctly it symbolises looking with the eye of an owl, with owls being important Illuminati symbols for some fucking reason. He has recently been put in charge of every major High Street bank in the UK though, so it’s been worth it.
Middle inset: A little wood outside the bedroom. Quite sweet. The dog likes thrashing about in it, and it is popular with owls, presumably as part of an avian Illuminati army to protect Sid.
Lower inset: Scaffolding up the side of our house. I think they were doing something with the chimney. Not sure.