Adam Edwards from a daughter's point of view
PUBLISHED: 09:58 26 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:13 26 January 2015
For the past eight years Adam Edwards has been entertaining and annoying our readers in equal measure. Now we've handed over his column to daughter Katya to find out what it's really like living with a Cotswolds curmudgeon
People often talk about their earliest memories – from playing on the swings in the local park to frolicking in a river with their childhood spaniel. When I am faced with this question I relive the time my father, after a very long lunch, left me on the counter of the Shepherds Bush Oddbins and the panic etched into the face of the sweet Polish shop assistant who simply stared at me open-mouthed before my father, an hour later, darted back through the door. I knew at this moment I was in for a bumpy ride.
When people talk about their embarrassing parents I scoff at them. At my first school Christmas Carol service my father burst through the doors during the sermon, with a litre of Scotch poking out of his pocket and proceeded to spend the rest of the time reading the local Indian takeaway menu hidden – not particularly well – in the service sheet. When my parents received a phone call from my school telling them I was being suspended, he shouted back down the receiver that “a suspension was better than an A-Level.”
I was sent to boarding school when I was 16 and soon after moved swiftly to London so had not lived with my father for a while. However, after three years of trying to make ends meet I had been priced out of the city and so with a heavy heart and an even heavier washing bag I took the long train home to Gloucestershire last December.
Moving back in with my father was more of a shock to the system than I was expecting. My mother had died since I last left and I didn’t know what to anticipate on my return. My father, who has always rather laughably considered himself as something of a roué, had stepped up his game. A newly-found bachelor, he put more ashtrays around the house, bought a painting of Mick Jagger and started playing music from an old vinyl record player. When friends of mine came to the house, he thrust cigarettes into their hands and regaled them with stories about how he may have once smoked a joint in the same room as The Sex Pistols. Regularly I have had to come stomping downstairs at four in the morning in a rather ‘Saffy from AbFab’ way to tell him to turn the Pink Floyd down (numb perhaps, comfortable I was not) and once a neighbour knocked on the front door at three in the morning with my 6’ 5” father over his shoulder because he had ‘fallen asleep star-gazing.’ My father often talks of how desperately hard it was living with a teenager and I can sympathise.
Living with a man that thinks he is the Cotswolds’ answer to Jeremy Paxman can also be rather trying. He is the most argumentative man you will ever meet and is infamous throughout his friends for making a woman cry at a party because he argued with her about an author, who it turned out he had never heard of.
This argumentative side however is nothing compared to his temper – which he loses quicker than Naomi Campbell – and the things that make him snap are not the things that would ordinarily jump to mind. You would rarely hear him complain in a restaurant for instance. However, I have never seen him more filled with rage than the day our cleaner lined up all the lighters in our house in size order (I still get weekly texts about Thomas’s OCD). He also once walked out of the house because he was so furious about the number of unattractive people on television and only last week he banished me from the sitting room because I offered him some popcorn.
The really annoying thing about living with my father though shocked me. As much as I complained and whined and cried I didn’t really find it that unbearable at all. People looked at me with sympathetic eyes when I told them I had moved back in with him, and although I love a good bit of sympathy, when I sighed and agreed with them it was fraudulent.
As irritating as The Curmudgeon is, living with him is not. For one thing he taught me some invaluable lessons – that Scotch can sort out almost every problem and for the ones it can’t, a cigarette can. He has also shown me how to cook a perfect fry-up (“its all about the egg”) and taught me how to avoid bores at parties (“If they mention the army within 30 seconds, get out fast”).
Moving back in with him made me rather nostalgic and made me think of my mother. I often think of what I would say to her if I had a chance to see her again – and after the obligatory “I love yous” and “Do dogs get into heaven?” the first thing I would say is “You chose well Natty” – but don’t you DARE tell him.