Wednesday, May 1

cool at the beach

I had never given a second thought to this photo of my father, taken at the beach in Germany when I was a kid. I saw it again yesterday and realised - it's a man on his holidays at the seaside, but dressed immaculately in starched shirt and tie, and white socks. Why would he do that, when everyone else was in beachwear?

Then I recalled times, like in the picture below, when I have struck a similar pose or dress style. At a formal function, I was sitting by myself, trying hard not to show my true feelings about the situation - I didn't know most of the other people there, I was nervous and wishing I could be anywhere else. A man came up to me, took my photo, and said something like "you must be the coolest man in the room, how do you manage it?" And he was serious.

I think that must have been the first time I had an insight into the power of deception, and perhaps the value of a good tailor.

When in doubt, fake an aloof nonchalance - it must have been my father's strategy too. There he was, spending 2 weeks at a German beach to please his wife and kids, surrounded by a language he couldn't understand, when he would much rather have been golfing at home in Scotland. He was doing his best to hide how pissed-off and isolated he really was. I know how he felt.


  1. Magnificent observations - nonchalant, striking, disarming - your father looks like a punch and judy puppeteer made good, and you look like you've just sold your 100th plot of Florida Swamp - but the activity with your right hand may be another indication of why you're looking so happy......

  2. I say!

    I certainly don't encourage the staff to have an aloof nonchalance. They are not allowed to sit down whilst England are batting.

    MM III

  3. Heh heh Tone, love the puppeteer/swamp ideas. Rx

    Mingers, one hopes they at least stand behind you, not to block your view.

  4. A good tailor can hide many a thing.

    I think we all find a way to protest. I have no doubt your mom was not happy with his never relaxed look.

    It is a bit passive/aggressive. But we do things to please our mate. Even when we hate them.

  5. I say!

    Wilson wanted to know why your Dad took the kitchen to the beach, and/or if it was a toilet and not a kitchen.

    MM III

  6. Brilliant! and I love the hut thing... Why have I never been to a beach with them on it? Where in Germany??

  7. Nanners. Even when we hate our mate? ;-)

    Mingers. You're maybe assuming those are pile cushions beside him?

    Kedders. Long time no see, not here anyway. You rent those baskets at most German beaches, even one by a lake in Berlin. The Germans are well organised when it comes to the important stuff like the seaside. And there's some great nudist (not half naked) beaches.

  8. All. The return of Hotters might be all that's standing in the way of a return to the good old days.

  9. I say!

    Up at the Masongola the other night, 'Spootie' McKay was holding court.

    He said that it was the duty of the Scottish government to look after people from cradle to grave. The proletariat shouldn't have to lift a finger, themselves, but should have everything done for them, including being paid to watch television.

    He reckoned that Polish people could be shipped in to do any work that needed doing, and that the Chinese could make anything that needed to be made, because they are much better at doing that sort of thing anyway.

    All of this, he proposed, could be paid for by selling North Sea Oil.

    He also said that once there was an independent Scotland, His Excellency the Life President Fat Eck should insist that in international football matches between Scotland and England, England could only include members of the royal family in their side, and that this would give Scotland a slightly better chance of winning some matches, which would put up the television ratings.

    I'm not sure that I completely agree with all of his points.

    MM III