John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Monday 16 July 2012) Pukka microwave

John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sport (Monday 16 July 2012) Pukka microwave

The longest day had been and gone but the sun was still rising at five. Roy rose at four. He went out of the front door, retrieved the bin bag he’d put out for Croydon’s bin men to collect the night before and unpacked its contents on to the kitchen floor. He stared at all the stuff, the paper trail evidence of new carpets and curtains, new lives. He remembered he and Kristie starting their own new life in Purley as man and wife.

They’d bought the house without parental help: both were earning, both had savings and Roy had been promoted, they insisted they could manage on their own. Their independence did not deter Don. One Saturday he’d arrived, grinning, unannounced, carrying a huge and heavy cardboard box.

“I’ve been naughty,” he’d said. “It’s pukka, though. You’ll like it.”

“Don, you’re so kind, but we can’t accept this,” Kristie had protested, having already worked out what the box contained.

“There’s room for it by the toaster,” Don said.

“But Dad,” Roy began.

“Oh, just take it,” Gwen said, rolling her eyes at Kristie from behind Don’s back.

“What is it, Grandad?” Lucy asked. She’d been four at the time.

It was the latest microwave, all the way from Selfridges, via Abdul’s restaurant, in the Jag. Don’s impulse buys had been a hallmark of Roy and Kristie’s early married years. Resistance was futile, approval keenly sought.

“Thanks Dad, but you shouldn’t.”

“I can’t help it, though.”

“I know.”

Kristie thought it sweet. It was the same when Don was agitato. When she’d gone into labour with the girls he’d projecting his anxiety onto contemporary villains of current affairs. In Leila’s case, Colonel Gaddafi felt the full force of Don’s ire. In Lucy’s, Arthur Scargill was to hand. In both instances, Don had wanted the full power of the armed forces unleashed. “Get it sorted. Show the bastards who’s in charge.” He’d clapped his hands decisively. Gwen had worried about his heart.

Roy settled in front of the Tour and organised Don’s documents into box files he’d brought back from the office, wondering if he’d ever actually read them. He wondered too if his father would have come round to liking “Wiggo,” who’d been dubbed “Le Gentleman” by the French press.

It would have helped that Wiggo’s coach said at the end of stage 15 that other teams had stopped sharing the workload. “Le Gentleman” or not, the everyman Brit was still hogging the yellow jersey, bringing the self-correcting mechanisms of the peloton marketplace into play.

All previous instalments of Roy’s Summer of Sport are HERE. Follow John Vane on Twitter.

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Categories: Culture, Roy's Summer of Sport

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