Dad: How far away is the sun?
Me: A little over eight light minutes.
Dad: I meant in miles.
Me: Well, light travels at about 186,282.397 miles per second, so the distance to the sun would be a little over 186,282.397 × 60 × 8 miles.
Dad: I don’t think I’ve ever told you this before, but… Piss off!
You know the picture round from A Question of Sport, where they show you a subtly obscured photo of some sporting celebrity you've never heard of, and you have to try and guess who it is? Well, my Dad and I attended a practice day at the Open yesterday, and I took a picture-round-type photo. See if you can guess who it is:
Ernie Els, yesterday… D'OH!!
You will note that, while I insist on referring to the so-called World Cup as the Soccer World Cup (there being more than one World Cup), I refer to the British Golf Open Championship simply as The Open. This is because my Dad has drilled it into me for decades that, while there are French, American, and other golf open championships, as well as open championships that aren't even golf, the British Golf Open Championship is rightly referred to simply as The Open. As if to prove him annoyingly right, the Royal & Ancient has even managed to bag the theopen.com domain. So there.
[The answer is Ernie Els, by the way.]
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True story: My Dad has just informed me that, after he had hit a near-perfect drive down the fairway on Saturday, a rook swooped down and flew off with his golfball.
I think I might be turning into my dad. I just spent five minutes arguing with a car-wash, explaining to the ‘stupid bloody machine’ that, despite what it had just told me seven times, the code 699-698 was indeed valid, and that I was perfectly capable of entering six digits.
From p.171 of Off the Record, the wartime diary of the author and journalist Charles Graves:
May 30th. 
Took Peggy to H- on the 1.15 a.m. from Paddington. […]
H- has the best beach for about 100 miles in any direction, and is directly opposite Ireland. H-is full of evacuated children from Merseyside, Liverpool University students doing theses, various foreign refugees, and others who have skipped from danger areas, like London. The greens on the [golf] course were in good condition. Local regulations about showing lights are not very strict. This despite the fact that the German Bomber Command aircraft always go up Cardigan Bay to attack Liverpool, and thus get a “fix” on the naked lights visible in various parts of Merioneth, including H-. H- has had no bombs nor sirens. Found four evacuee kids at Erinfa—Leslie the blonde, Norman the brunette, David the red-head, and Edwin just mouse colour. As a test of observation for them I hid eight pennies, three sixpences and a shilling round the terrace of the house. Leslie the blonde found practically all of them. Played penny bridge, and went to bed to the hoot of the owls. Thank goodness there are none of that much over-praised bird the nightingale round here.
- Charles Graves was the younger brother of the poet and novelist Robert ‘I, Claudius’ Graves;
- ‘H-’ stands for Harlech in North Wales;
- Erinfa was the Graves' family home, where Charles's mother—a German—Amalie Elizabeth Sophie von Ranke, was doing her bit for the British war effort by taking on the four ‘evacuee kids’;
- the blond evacuee, Leslie, is my Uncle Les (then aged 7);
- the brunette evacuee, Norman, is my dad (then aged 6).
I managed to track down a second-hand copy of Off the Record a few months back, and, yesterday, left it as a surprise Christmas present at my dad's. By a strange coincidence, unaware of the present, Dad was reminiscing about his days as an evacuee over whisky on Sunday evening. He is planning to pump his older brother for more reminiscences over Christmas lunch at my sister's place this afternoon.
Norman (L) and Les (R), inspecting the Open Golf Championship claret jug in 2006.
As you might have gathered, Stense and I went out on a hot date on Tuesday night (photos here). Stense spent the whole evening mentally undressing me. Don't you just hate it when they do that? WHAT AM I: A PIECE OF MEAT?!
My social life is one crazy whirl at the moment: we went to the same pub that I had taken Carolyn to just four nights earlier. The landlady gave me a funny look as she came to collect our glasses. I don't think she was mentally undressing me. Well, I bloody well hope not.
"Be honest now," I asked the landlady, nodding at Stense, "which do you prefer, this one, or the other one? I can't make up my mind."
The landlady was too polite to venture an opinion.
"Your son has been totally out of order this evening," Stense informed my dad when he came to collect us.
"He gets it from his mother," said Dad.