An extract from a memoir…
I clung to the round-topped gate panels and strained my eyes hoping to see my old man appear round the corner at the bottom of the road. An early evening ritual. On time as usual he appeared 300 yards down the hill, briefcase in hand, raincoat folded neatly over his arm. He moved with the unmistakeable leisurely gate of a good and happy man. I watched him stop and greet 2 or 3 neighbours on the way up to our place. I could see his smile 100 yards away and it made me feel warm inside. I waited for the “Hello Fella!” and the hug that smelt of London train smoke and hair cream.
Two hours later my Dad would be sat astride a kitchen chair, his wooden shoebox open in front of him with the black shoe polish, the brown shoe polish, the brown finisher brush and the black one. In a room full of St Bruno smoke, pipe in his mouth and his eyes gleaming. The suit was off and the familiar army shorts were on. All our shoes lined up in front of him for his inspection. He loved being a family man.