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I’ve been doing my best to repair a radio. There’s no sound coming out. I got a screwdriver, undid the back, checked all the solder points, soldered some points that looked questionable and put the whole thing back together again. I plugged it in, optimistically turned it on and… nothing. I’m a failure.

Last week, I was talking to my friend, Paul about the embarrassment of ineptitude. As an adult, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth when you can’t do all that much in terms of DIY. I’ve got a leaky tap, a broken door handle and a crumbling wall. In my attempt to fix the tap, I’ve made the drip more frequent; my attempt to fix the door handle has resulted in said door being out of action temporarily and my attempt to sort the plaster on the walls, well, the less said, the better.

My dad, on the other hand, can do absolutely anything. I mean anything. When I was a kid, I went on holiday with my mum because my dad needed some time to ‘sort the house out’. On our arrival home, he’d put another half of a house on the existing one. Builders? Electricians? Plumbers? No – he did the whole thing himself. Made the plans, bought the bricks, rented a JCB, dug a giant hole, filled it with concrete and started building.

I have a fascination with classic Volkswagen Beetles; I’ve had several in recent years. More often than not, I’ll buy a rotter that needs parts, welding and love to get it back on the road. Needless to say, beyond the basics, the majority of the work transcends my ability so I need to call on the help of Super Dad. He’ll take one look at the problem, put his hand on his chin and say, with composure and certainty, something like, ‘Right, get me an eleven mil spanner and an angle grinder’. Then, without having ever done what he’s about to do before, he’ll fix the problem. He’ll always spot that the previous owners seem to have ‘bodged’ this or that and then fix it, ‘properly’.

It doesn’t end there either. A painter or decorator has never stepped foot in my parents’ house. He wouldn’t hear of it. When we were kids, my friends would always bring their cars to my folks’ house so dad could have a look at the problem and invariably sort it out. Even as an adult, my friends still call me to see if he could take a look at this or that.

So back to my radio. I’ve just noticed that not only have I not fixed it, I’ve made it worse. There are two blue wires poking out of the side where I’ve carelessly screwed it back together. I suppose I ought to swallow my pride and take it over to my dad. The thing is, I don’t feel embarrassed about it. I think I’ll always know that no matter how old I get, my dad will always be right, always be able to kick my backside and always be able to fix it, whatever it may be.




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