The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Memories From The Past …
March 10, 2020, 6:15 am
Filed under: Comment, Dad, Family, Mum, Mum & Dad

The building above is called The Chateau.

But this wasn’t in rural France – oh no – it was in deepest West Bridgford, Nottingham.

It was also a Berni Inn.

For those not of a certain age, a Berni Inn was a restaurant where you could get a steak main with a strawberry and cream dessert for £4.99

Sounds cheap doesn’t it?

Well it was, but they still made it feel like it was posh.

Hence restaurant names like, ‘The Chateau’.

We didn’t go there much.

In fact we didn’t go out for dinner anywhere really – except for the odd birthday.

But that’s not the reason I am writing about it.

It’s because it’s also the last place I ever went out for lunch with Mum and Dad.

I was living in Australia, but had flown back for Mum’s birthday.

Dad had had a stroke, but even though he couldn’t talk well, he was still able to walk – albeit with a wobble and a stick.

To be honest, I don’t remember much about the lunch, but I do remember it was lovely.

A gentle time as a family.

All together.

Enjoying a moment that we probably all secretly knew may not happen again.

There’s some things that stick in my mind …

Getting a taxi to the restaurant as we no longer had a car.

The surreal moment where I had to go to the bathroom with Dad to make sure he was OK [he was], which brought home the severity of his illness to me.

Dad managing to utter the word “knickerbocker” to the waiter/waitress when he was asked if he wanted dessert and he absolutely loved it.

For anyone who saw us that day, they would have just viewed a family – like the countless other families around us – having a nice lunch.

But to us, it was so much more.

A moment of normality at a time our lives were in chaos.

A chance to enjoy the privilege of the mundane.

An opportunity to be a typical family once again.

It was the last time it was to happen for us.

I miss it.

I miss them.

I’m so glad I have a photo to remember the day by.



22 Comments

This is a beautiful story Robert, as was yesterday. All of us are sending big hugs to you.

Comment by Mary Bryant

Also, your parents look so lovely in the photo.

Comment by Mary Bryant

Thanks Mary. Given how much they had gone through – Dad with his illness, Mum having to stop her career overnight to look after him and both of them missing me – living on the other side of the world – they look remarkably well.

Of course a photo only captures a moment of time – and while the lunch was lovely, it was also the beginning of even harder times for them. And yet it was also a time where they became closer than ever. It’s a small consolation on a sad time, but Mum was so happy to be able to look after Dad and Dad was so happy to be with her, at home.

God I miss them.

Comment by Rob

As you wrote yesterday, and as this post proves, your parents taught you not to fear expressing your emotions. That’s a power I wish I had. Great story. They would be proud of you. Well, with some exceptions.

Comment by Pete

More than ‘some’ exceptions.

And yet they never let me feel I did not have their full love and support. I hope I can offer Otis the same. I also hope he doesn’t take it for granted as I may have for a few years until I met others who didn’t receive it in such amounts from their parents.

Comment by Rob

It’s a given Otis will get the same from you as you got from your parents. I just hope he gives you as many headaches. ; )

Comment by Pete

Do it Otis. Let your grandparents feel karma has been served for the headaches Rob put them through.

Comment by Bazza

ill fucking fund whatever shit you want to do otis. just do your fucking worst.

Comment by andy@cynic

I hope yesterday was not too hard on your Robert. 5 years may seem a long time but it’s nothing at all where parents are concerned. This is a wonderful read. Full of love and longing. I wish you could have another lunch together. Maybe this post has, in some ways, allowed you to emotionally do that. Thank you for sharing.

Comment by Lee Hill

Thanks Lee. It was OK. Bit hard around 7:30pm which was when Mum died – not helped by me reading all the posts I wrote over that time to a background music of terribly sad orchestral music, but otherwise OK.

One of the other advantages of being a late Dad with a bundle of happy, loving, mischievous energy for a son.

Comment by Rob

Thanks for the reminder to keep on trying with my parents. (It’s been rough with them because they have serious issues with the apron strings.)

And oh man, I miss Notts now. Pit & Pendulum, and the Trent Bridge Inn were where I decompressed with my uni mates.

Comment by TSNG

The TBI. I only used to go there on Sunday nights to see the band but it’s definitely an institution. I’d forgotten about Pendulum – thank you for giving me some more memories of home.

Comment by Rob

This is lovely Rob. Really like how you talk about the privilege of normal. A powerful way to express the sense of loss.

Comment by Bazza

That’s the thing. You only realise normality is a privilege when you don’t have it any more. Or don’t have a version of it at the very least.

Comment by Rob

You’ve made up for not eating out much as a kid.
Good post. Good parents.

Comment by Billy Whizz

Working on it.

Comment by Rob

I love this Robert, especially the photo at the end.

Comment by George

fuck you campbell for writing sweet shit I cant piss on. even the berni inn comes across well. you genius, emotionally manipulative bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

Don’t worry, tomorrow I’m giving you a gift to hate on.

Comment by Rob

This is really good. You should write a post about getting comfortable with expressing emotions. It is so powerful and you are possibly the best at it. I will never compliment you like this again.

Comment by DH

never afuckingain.

Comment by andy@cynic

Anyone can do it … you’ve done it … the issue is too many people see emotion as weakness whereas I’ve always been taught to see it as strength.

And I have a high tolerance for self-embarrassment. Ha.

Comment by Rob




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