Welcome to Best Dad I Can Be – a weekly look at the funny side of family life from a Dad’s point of view. This is a blog that answers the questions all parents are asking themselves…

  • What do I do if my seven year old is arrested as a terrorist?
  • How do I react the first time my teenage son comes home drunk?
  • And – inevitably – is she really going out with him?
  • Best Dad I Can Be covers nine years of family life – from nativity plays and party bags to teenage angst and slamming doors. The latest posts – and some of my favourites from the early years – are below…

    The Mediterranean Peasant

    photoI’m sitting on some steps in the middle of Cambridge market. I’m surrounded by Japanese tourists and their cameras. I seem to be the only thing in the city they deem unworthy of their Nikons.

    “You get some fruit,” Jane had said. “And some cold meat and bread.” With that she’d abandoned me and taken Ben to M&S for new underpants. The poor boy. But once she’s seen a ‘back to school’ poster there’s no stopping her.

    Anyway, I’ve bought the fruit, failed to find any cold meat and been seduced at the bread stall. [Read more...]

    An Evening with Honest George

    HorseRacingBettingExplainedBig“So you’re 16, Jessica. Are we agreed on that?”

    “No, Dad, I am not 16. I’m 18. And nearly 19 in case you’ve forgotten.”

    How could I forget? Has the world’s most-explicit birthday list not just landed in my inbox? But that’s not the issue at the moment.

    “Look, if you’re 16 you’ll get in free and save me thirteen quid.”

    “But I’m not.” [Read more...]

    The New Girl

    Fat RascalScene: A school classroom in the seventies. A French lesson is in progress. A teenage boys raises his hand. “Please, sir, may I go to the toilet?” A few of his more worldly-wise classmates snigger. The teacher smirks. He senses some sport. “En francais, if you wouldn’t mind.” The boy sighs. He knew this was coming. He’s already revised. “S’il vous plait, monsieur, puis-je aller aux toilettes?” The teacher looks disappointed.  “Very well then. But be quick.” The boy rushes to the toilet. Locks himself in. Pulls a transistor radio out of his pocket – and listens to the Derby. The race builds to a climax. There is a whoop of triumph from inside the toilet. Fortunately there are no passing prefects…

    Fast forward more years than I care to count. [Read more...]

    The Man Flu Rant  

    A-box-of-tissues-001I like women. I really do. By and large they’re better company than men. More insight. Funnier. And refreshingly free of the constant need to boast about their sexual conquests, drinking ability or all the other things little boys and men-in-suits are so desperate to brag about.

    But – and this is a remarkably large but – if one more woman looks at me, puts her head on one side, smiles gently and says, “Awww… Have you got man flu then?” I will forget that I am a gentleman and let loose a long and blistering stream of invective.  [Read more...]

    Blogstock 2014: The Son Also Speaks…

    Is he a better public speaker than his Dad?

    Is he a better public speaker than his Dad?

    The speeches have been written. Rehearsals have started.

    And I am incredibly privileged. And more than a little frightened.

    Blogstock – the world’s first blogging festival – is taking place on August 8th and 9th. At 10:15 on the Saturday morning I’m going on stage to speak. And around 25 minutes later the next speaker will step up to the mic. It’s Ben – my teenage son.

    I suppose this is the moment to come clean. His real name’s Alex. [Read more...]

    The Christmas Tree

    Can there be a more joyous family occasion in the whole year than decorating the Christmas tree? Of course not. The family all gathered round. Happy, smiling children, desperately wishing the sleeps away until Santa arrives. And Mum and Dad, arms around each other, secure in the knowledge that their love is the glue that holds the family together.

    “I hate you all,” screamed my wife. “You’re just selfish, ungrateful, lazy $%&*s. And if you think I’m doing any more for any of you you’re damn well mistaken.” And with that she grabbed the nearest set of car keys.

    “Where are you going?”

    “Out!” [Read more...]

    My Wife? Or My Towel?

    Regular readers know that I like to be up and about quite early. Alright then. Ridiculously early. In time to greet Tom and Jessica as they stroll in from a night out.

    This has its disadvantages. Specifically, I am frequently on the go before our central heating system. And the wind that starts its journey on the Siberian steppes likes to finish it in our bathroom. Just as I’m coming out of the shower… [Read more...]

    On Being Embarrassed…

    I remember it well. I’d taken Tom to visit St. Karen. Back to school and time for a haircut. I also had an eight year old Jessica with me: taking her into town for some new trainers if memory serves. At the time I probably thought I was spending quite a lot on her. Little did I know…

    (And thanks for asking: we’re on the road to recovery after Jessica’s off-to-university shopping list. The IMF told Greece they’d found a more deserving cause.)

    As we waited for our turn – and as I exchanged a few blisteringly funny jokes with Karen – the door opened and a middle-aged man came in, towing his son. “Morning,” I said. “How are you?” [Read more...]

    Five Reasons Why You Wouldn’t Want to be Married to Me

    I was stumbling back from the corner shop the other day – something heavy was on special offer – when I bumped into an old friend. She started having a rant about her husband. But it was a resigned rant. ‘Twenty five years; magic not there any more; nothing to talk about now the kids have gone…’

    I did my best to cheer her up. I pointed out that while her husband is not perfect – he supports Liverpool – things could be far worse. “Look on the bright side, Claire,” I said. “You could be married to me.” [Read more...]

    Domestic God

    We have 1,000 books in our house. Possibly more.

    Incredibly, all these books would take up one-third of my wife’s Kindle. That’s just magic isn’t it? I mean apparating and flue powder and co are neat little tricks and I’ll be glad when they’re invented. But they’re not a Kindle. 3,500 books on that tiny little thing? Sorry, magic is the only explanation.

    Sadly our 1,000 books weren’t on the Kindle; they were in our house. By the side of the bed. Stacked up in the dining room. Cook books cluttering the kitchen. And on groaning, protesting, over-filled bookshelves.

    “Go and see your parents,” I said to my wife. “Come back, we’ll make a start on the books.” [Read more...]