July 28: a week with my olde dad part six

My dad has never been what you call a swift walker. Even in the splendour of his middle age, the middle period of Illyrian swagger, even then his gait was unhurried. He has always been someone that refused to be hurried. He had a way of resting his hip mid-step, making the stride an elaborate double-action rather than the simple mundane shift of most people. These days it remains unhurried but is more of a painfully slow shuffle. When he is crossing the road he insists in engaging in one of his diagonal short-cuts, so that he is spending a good two minutes on the road itself. I play the role of watchful rook to his slow-motion bishop, scouting round for any vehicles as he performs his laborious hypotenuse. My dad is big on the short-cut. The one journey he does, to the shop to get his strawbery tart, has to be run through the tortuous labyrinth of his short-cut circuit, up behind Acre St, round alongside the primary school my mum went to eighty years ago and past the futuristic elevation of St Mary’s, the Seventies Catholic church. If you accompany him, you are not allowed to deviate from this route and must cross the road always at the same places each time, usually diagonally. And don’t bother with traffic lights. You’re too sow to cross without the lights, I keep barking at him. Yah! he scowls back dismissively.

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