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John Vane: Roy’s Summer of Sports (Monday 16 July 2012) Pukka Microwave

Fear of father can fill man’s kitchen with gimmicks

The longest day was over, but the sun still rose at five. Roy got up at four. He went out the front door, got the garbage bag he’d left for Croydon’s garbage men to collect the night before, and unpacked its contents on the kitchen floor. He stared at all the stuff, the paper evidence of new carpets and curtains, new lives. He recalled that husband and wife, he and Kristie had started their own new life in Purley.

They had bought the house without parental help: both earned, both had savings, and Roy had been promoted, they insisted they could do it on their own. Her independence didn’t deter Don. He’d arrived unannounced one Saturday with a grin and a huge, heavy box in hand.

“I was naughty,” he had said. “But it’s Pukka. You will like it.”

“Don, you’re so nice, but we can’t accept that,” Kristie had protested after already finding out what the box contained.

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

“But Dad,” Roy began.

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

“What is it, grandpa?” Lucy asked. She was four then.

It was the newest microwave, all the way from Selfridges to Abdul’s Restaurant in the Jag. Don’s impulse buying had been a hallmark of Roy and Kristie’s early years of marriage. Resistance was futile, approval eagerly sought.

“Thanks Dad, but you shouldn’t.”

“But it’s not my fault.”

“I know.”

Kristie thought it was cute. It was the same as when Don was agitato. When she went into labor with the girls, he projected his fear onto contemporary current affairs villains. In Leila’s case, Colonel Gaddafi felt the full force of Don’s anger. At Lucy’s, Arthur Scargill was on hand. In both cases, Don had wanted the full power of the armed forces to be unleashed. “Order it. Show the bastards who’s in charge.” He had clapped his hands decisively. Gwen was worried about his heart.

Before the tour, Roy settled in and organized Don’s documents in folders he’d brought from the office, wondering if he’d ever actually read them. He also wondered if his father would have liked “Wiggo”, who had been dubbed “Le Gentleman” by the French press.

It would have helped if Wiggo’s coach had said at the end of stage 15 that other teams had stopped sharing the workload. Le Gentleman or not, the British Jedermann still grabbed the yellow jersey and brought the self-correcting mechanics of the Peloton marketplace into play.

All previous installments of Roy’s Summer of Sport are HERE. consequences John Vane on Twitter.

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