Tag Archives: dad

Be A Worker, Not A Shirker

window cleanerMy dad is a wonderful man. He has his faults, as do all men and women. He has even made one or two mistakes in the 36 years I have known him. But I have to take my hat off to him for his reliability, his faithfulness. Seven children to provide for. He just kept going up and down that ladder day after day. He never let himself get overwhelmed by his responsibilities, he may have had a grumble at times, but he kept doing what he needed to do and most of the time he did it with a friendly wink and a smile and a sweet little chuckle. I am sure I will share many wonderful stories about my incredible parents and how many lessons in life they have taught us.

Right now, I am going to tell you about one aspect of my childhood I am quite proud of as I look back. During our school holidays, we often had to go to work with Dad. Since I was born, Dad has been a window-cleaner. I have very fond memories. I remember having the job of carrying “the little ladder” and always had some “scrims” in my pockets (they were the cloths used for mopping up water from sills etc or for cleaning Georgian window panels). Dad gave us tasks so that we felt useful. During a day of window cleaning we might carry things, or wipe any sills we could reach, or hold back plants away from the window so Dad could clean them easily. Sometimes Dad would ask us to run ahead and ring the doorbell and when the house-holder opened the door we would politely tell them, “the window-cleaner has almost finished and he says it is £6.50 please”.

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Some of Dad’s customers have seen his little ones growing up. We were the most famous crew of window cleaners in the town – a father and three little girls invading neighbourhoods to leave windows sparkling. At the age of five or six, I used to wear red wellington boots and a green woolly bobble hat.  One day I lost my bobble hat and was very tearful about it. Dad allowed me to join him on the Friday evening when he visited any customers who had not been home that week to collect any payments they owed him. I asked every customer if they had seen my green bobble hat. Imagine my relief when one lady said she had found it in her garden and had recognized it immediately and had kept it safe until the window-cleaner came again.

ice-cream perfectionSome of Dad’s customers were very kind to us. They might invite us inside to play with their children, or sit us on their sofa and allow us to watch a cartoon film. We were well supplied by Dad’s customers with juice and biscuits.  They would even give us some money to buy sweets.  One lady gave me £1 and told me it was ice-cream money.  Dad crimsoned in embarrassment with my reply to his lovely customer.  I held out my hand and said to the lady “have you ever heard of a thing called inflation?”  Don’t worry…I now fully comprehend how cheeky I was!  At the time, I was just trying to communicate my frustration, because back then it cost £1.10 to buy a Mr Whippy ice-cream with a chocolate flake and raspberry sauce and sprinkles from the ice-cream van…which at the time was the highest form of ice-cream perfection!!!

I have known some friends and workmates who were from families who were clearly more comfortable financially than our own.  In some cases, a lot of emphasis had been placed by their parents on achieving educational results.  Some of my friends were never asked to lift a finger around the house, just to concentrate on their schoolwork.  Those are all fine things in a way.  It maybe that having more money, owning more possessions, accruing educational credits are gauges of “success” to many.  But my own definition of success has various other markers – learning to love, being a worker, not a shirker, qualities like kindness, respect, patience, loyalty, honesty being your qualifications, and very importantly…can you share?  Can you see that you are not the centre of the universe?  There is an amazing human family with an exciting array of things to teach you and who want to enjoy life and this planet with you.  The more you can share, I think the greater your potential for happiness.  It’s ok, it is never ever too late to learn.  Everyone can change their personality.

I am proud though that my Dad, and my Mum have taught all of us children to be workers, not shirkers. It is one of many valuable lessons in life I am deeply grateful for. We still gained excellent results at school, we were all in the top sets for all of our subjects and won the highest grades for our work.  I won several swimming trophies and medals.  I won a trophy for winning a maths competition for the school.  But school was just school.  Life was outside school.  We all had to help the house-hold run. Seven children! Lots of work.  I was an excellent dish-washer.  I also used to wash the family car each Saturday. As we grew older, more tasks were assigned according to our capability.

Almost everywhere I have worked, I have come across a diverse mix of workers and shirkers. It does often strike me that in some of the individuals I have met, there is such a sense of “entitlement” that has been fostered and sadly not a hard work ethic. An attitude of “the world owes me” and “I don’t need to get out of bed if I don’t feel like it”. And what on earth is going on with phones in the workplace? The workers are run off their feet trying to keep on top of the work that needs doing, the shirkers are unable to master their personal mobile phone addiction. I find it hard to understand. I wish everyone had the chance to go to work with my Dad during their school holidays and learn how to be useful. You see all sorts as a window-cleaner!!!

Life – some have had challenges and trials that have seriously marred their enjoyment of life.  But I do believe that for most people work should be enjoyable, working should bring some satisfaction. I love any kind of cleaning for that reason. Instant gratification, with very little stress. It also keeps you in great shape. I think I have become averse to certain types of work because I saw such rampant dishonesty practiced and such a mercenary spirit dictating culture. Sitting at a desk job is to be avoided because it will be bad for your physical health. I have done various types of work over the years. Each role gave me valuable experience and satisfaction.

SheepI have worked in finance, as a receptionist, administrator, legal secretary, gardener, cleaner, laundry, cook, driver, painter/decorator, I have cared for terminally ill patients and those with dementia. I have cared for ponies, chickens, pets, I have walked dogs – (£15 per hour for each dog in case you were wondering – and that was what the clients offered, I didn’t suggest that rate). My favourite job…we had to chase some sheep around a field and gather them into an enclosure. Then we had to turn them upside down on their backs so we could cut their toenails. Poor sheep! Although, it is important for their health apparently.

Then there is an even longer list of different skills I have acquired and tasks I have been assigned as a volunteer on various projects. The unpaid work I have done has brought me immense joy and has enriched my life.

I love variety. I love being outdoors. The thought of being chained to a desk all day frankly terrifies me. I love work. I am so glad my parents taught me to enjoy work, to be a worker, not a shirker.

Remembering Retrospectively Reaps Rich Rewards

How do a window-cleaner and a nurse manage to feed and clothe seven children?  There were so many of us.  In our family everybody had little jobs to do.  We all had to help out from a young age.  Money was always going to be tight.  But what Mamma and Dadda could not provide in a material way, they more than made up for in imparting lessons for life…wise and healthy habits for a life-time.

pound coin

I still remember Dad training me to wash the car for the first time.  When he told me he wanted me to do it…I was chewing gum, I put one hand on my left hip and held out my right hand and demanded “fifty pence should do it!”  Dad glared at me.  He said, “this time you won’t receive a penny, partly because you have been cheeky and partly because I am going to help you so you know how to do it.  But from now it will be your job to do it every weekend and I will give you £1.”

Dadda managed to teach us some vital lessons about money.  Dad would buy chocolate and if we wanted to eat it, we had to buy it off him (paying a bit extra than the price he had bought it for).  Dad reasoned that if we wanted to buy it at a cheaper price, we would walk to the fifteen minutes to the local newsagents, which would go a long way undoing the damage of the chocolate we bought.  Without taking away our choices, he decided to make it a bit more difficult for us to eat rubbish.  Clever Dad – just one of his many clever little ways.

My sister did so much better than I did.  Mandy saved her pocket money and bought clothes and she looked after them very well.  I went through a stage of spending my pocket money on music and sweets.  Eventually I learn to do the same as Mandy (partly because she refused to lend me her lovely clothes!)…but it took me much longer to learn to be prudent with my pennies.  With guidance and training, I also learnt to look after what I owned because I would have to replace my own clothes when I ruined them.

Then there a lesson I will never forget…and looking back retrospectively, it makes me marvel at my Dad for being such a wise man.  It was my first summer with my own radio.  I loved listening to music.  Before I had my own radio, I used to take Dad’s car keys, climb into the car and turn the key just enough for the radio and electric items to work, without starting the engine.  I sat there listening to music for hours…and ran the car battery flat…I did it twice before Dad realized I would be better off with my own little radio.

radioOh how I loved my radio!  There was a daily competition which captured my youthful excitement and enthusiasm.  I think if you heard three specific songs in a row you had to call the number advertised and if you were caller 252 you won.  You would win £1000.  They gave away £1000 everyday.  I never did win, but when the phone bill came…OUCH OUCH OUCH!

Dad showed me the phone bill…I could not believe my eyes.  Pages and pages of me ringing the same phone number at a premium rate over and over.  I spent a lot of money on trying to win…around £400.  What did Dadda do?  What do you think he did?  I had to pay it back effectively by not receiving my pocket money for many many months.

This experience taught me never to gamble.  I still pull a face when anyone talks to me about buying lottery tickets, or playing bingo, or having a flutter…Nooooope!!!  Never liked the taste of any form of gambling since my bitter experience as a 13 year old.

Which is what Dad wanted.  He had big money troubles as a young man.  He became engrossed in horse-racing and other sports.  Lost a lot…won next to nothing.  He stopped gambling before he married my mum, but he still found it difficult to be strict with his pennies.  However, he managed, and I take my hat off to him for how well he did.

I wonder whether he was partly motivated by wanting to teach his children how to view money and what it can buy.  All his kids are fit and healthy and able to earn a living – and appreciate the lessons in life we received.  Retrospectively looking back on my childhoood…aaaaaah!…

Treasure Chest

…all of the lessons in life from my parents…I feel rich…I feel so immensely wealthy.  They have set me up for happiness on a vast scale.  I have a treasure chest of lessons from Mumma and Dadda that keep helping me take wise steps.

I have to admit, the more I put my retro-spectacles on and bring back into my mind the lessons in life Dadda and other family members taught me…I am full-up of love and appreciation and respect for the loveliest window-cleaner in England!  My  Dadda.

Wisdom is priceless.  Far more value than gold!


When His Daddy Would Visit He’d Come Along

Jim Adams, aka Newepicauthor, the creator of A Unique Title For Me, is hosting SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY and this week he has chosen the theme DAD/FATHER/BARBECUE

dusty.jpgI remember hearing this song on a sixties compilation album my Dad owned, when I was a young girl. I loved the music and the mighty chorus. But I don’t think I was all that keen on some of the lyrics. I developed more of a fondness for this song when I sang it at karaoke nights.

It is a great track, one of the greatest from the phenomenal Dusty Springfield. I love singing it.

Billy-Ray was a preacher’s son
And when his daddy would visit he’d come along
When they gathered round and started talkin’
That’s when Billy would take me walkin’
A-through the backyard we’d go walkin’
Then he’d look into my eyes
Lord knows to my surprise


The only one who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man
Yes he was, he was
Ooh, yes he was

Being good isn’t always easy
No matter how hard I try
When he started sweet-talkin’ to me
He’d come and tell me everything is all right
He’d kiss and tell me everything is all right
Can I get away again tonight?

The only one who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man
Yes he was, he was
(Ooh…) Lord knows he was
Yes he was

How well I remember
The look that was in his eyes
Stealin’ kisses from me on the sly
Takin’ time to make time
Tellin’ me that he’s all mine
Learnin’ from each other’s knowing
Lookin’ to see how much we’ve grown

And the only one who could ever reach me
Was the son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
Was the son of a preacher man
Yes he was, he was
Ooh, yes he was

The only one who could ever reach me
He was the sweet-talking son of a preacher man
The only boy who could ever teach me
I kissed the son of a preacher man
The only one who could ever move me
The sweet-lovin’ son of a preacher man
The only one who could ever groove me
Ahh, ooh, ahh….

Written by: John Hurley and Ronnie Wilkins

Crushed Caramel

Caramel…She has had many lessons to learn in life.  Now more than ever she is grateful for all of those lessons along with the love and support of her family and friends. 

Caramel was crushed by an event that has overturned her life.  Caramel is now rebuilding her life.  She is not just surviving, but is thriving and making life wonderful again.

In her own time, Caramel might be able to communicate a little about the catastrophe that hit her almost three years ago.  For now though, the focus of this site is on Caramel loving life and using the lessons she has learnt.

Two Bees




Life…I don’t really think this is what mum and dad had in mind for me…