Wednesday 27 January 2010

The Godfather

Despite our aetheistic tendencies, the boy has two Godparents. I suppose they are like insurance policies. If the shit hits the fan and there isn't a parent to do their duty, they are there to pick up the pieces. Equally I guess, that given the boy has only one parent now, it is only reasonable there is only one Godparent around.

The Godmother was always lovely, charming and totally unreliable, so it came as no great surprise that very shortly after the boy's mum died, she disappeared and has never been tracked down. The disappearance was nothing new...whenever the pressure got too much, she became uncontactable for days, weeks even months at a time. Given the nature of this stressful incident, now that we are 5 years and 363 days down the line, I doubt we shall here from her again. The boy gave up a long time ago asking after her.

The Godfather has been different. A senior journalist who can tell you everything and more about gadgets, computers and websites, he has been religious in his commitment to keeping in touch with the boy. Even though his own life has changed dramatically. A couple of years ago, he gave up the daily chore of work, sold his property and did what I suspect we all want to do...went travelling. Most people do this as teenagers, some take a career break in their thirties, but I don't know of anyone who has done it post-50. there is hope for us all yet.

In the couple of years since he started, we've had postcards from distant shores, phone calls in the middle of the night and occasional catch ups over coffee. He even managed to find a fig tree for the boy to scrump from down the church yard in Bermondsey St on one of his returns to Blighty.

At some stage on his travels...I can't quite remember whether he was in Fiji or Hawaii, he met SOMEONE, and they are planning to be married. For the Godfather this will be his first marriage. Wow. She is American, and they plan to settle in the States - well, why would you come to the UK? But this means visa issues - and for periods he has had to retreat from Uncle Sam's land. He is currently trying to persuade the American authorities of his honourable intentions with the lady in question in order to get a residence permit...and that the uncertainty of the timescale means he is resident here. As he is homeless, I offered him the Brighton flat.

Poor man. Lucky me...the place gets lived in for the first time in ages.

On the one hand it's very useful for him. On the other, he has to live amongst the debris, and on the third he feels that he must be extremely careful about the newly decorated bits. And that doesn't come naturally to a life-long bachelor.

He's very particular about keeping things as they are in the I love that now he has put the heating on, he's switched off the radiators in the rooms he's not using, but left little notes to remind us of what the thermostatic valve was set to, so when we turn it back on, all will be as it was.

He's distraught that he left the hob on, and thought he'd destroyed both cooker and shiny new saucepan. Fortunately, a long 'phone call to Siemens has persuaded them to sort the thing out. No doubt he used the line, 'I'm a journalist, and I think I shall have to write about how your automatic cut off doesn't work. A stain on the new wooden worktops is a pain - I'm not sure how to fix that. For my part, I'm beginning to think the kitchen is just doomed....

And this has been a great opportunity for him to renew his relationship with the's fascinating to see how it changes as the boy grows up - instead of being in awe of his knowledge of gadgets and games machines, there's now an element of, "Well wouldn't it be nice to go travelling. I shall encourage.


  1. He sounds a good friend and one that takes his godfather duties seriously. Even if religion is not involved, it is good for a child to know there will always be someone there for them.

  2. If only I had had a godfather like that... I think your boy is pretty lucky.

  3. Is it a heat mark on your wooden worktop? My brother used to be a cabinet maker, and told me that cigarette ash and vegetable oil removes heat marks from wood. If this goes horribly wrong, please don't bill me... I'm penniless!!

  4. I have a godson and I try to keep up with things going on in his life, but maybe I should be there a little more - recently I've been lacking in godfatherly duties.

    on a random note:
    I love the way you write

  5. Rosiero - he is...
    Robert...I'm not even sure if I had one....
    Sixpence...thanks for the top tip...unfortunately it's a mark from some cleaning fluid that was being used to sort out the burnt saucepan...I will try your way in case it works anyway
    Tony - many thanks,much appreciated


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