Buying presents for my olde dad was never easy even when he was a younger dad. Once my sister made him a ‘tool box’ from a shoe box and crepe paper that she had seen on Blue Peter. He had thrown it out by Boxing Day. My mum made him get it out of the bin and parade it in front of my sister again, This time with gratitude. This act was alien to my olde dad even then. Now, forget it. On Boxng Day we were at my other sisters for dinner, and DVDs of the children when they were little were put on. I myself am hardly able to contain my boredom, but olde dad is completely uninhibited: He suddenly acquires a bad back (not even the bad shoulder!) and he has to be ferried home. Suits me. We got back in time for Match of the Day. Olde dad took a yellow card for the lads, as they say. This year I didn’t bother. Got him some chocolates. Everybody else had taken the clothes options already anywy. Longjohns; woolly hats; jumpers galore; gloves; thermal socks. It makes no difference. Two years ago I bought him quite an expensive posh jumper from some fancy shop. I saw it was still in his cupboard unwrapped yesterday. And last year I got him some fur-lined leather gloves. They’ve vanished and he’s back on the old acrylic £2.99 gloves he’s always worn. So there’s no point bothering. You learn to treat the whole business as ritual rather than real life. You repeat the lines laid out for you because new ones won’t be heard anyway, and you worship the old objects once more on the altar of the olde dad. It’s the only way. Bend unto it or be swept away! Resistance is futile. All hail the power of the olde dad ritual!