It is my father's 60th birthday today!
I've been winding him up for the last few days about getting older. Last night I started grabbing him and shaking him when he was sitting in his chair and I was saying; 'three and a half hours until bus pass day!'
It's always like that with me and him, but most of the time it is him winding me up.
On an April 1st some time in the 80's I was sitting in my living room watching Saturday morning television and I had a phone call. The person on the other end introduced himself as someone from the production staff of Grange Hill to tell me that I had won a competition to appear as an extra. I was chuffed. He then told me I had to get a parent on the phone. My mother was in work and my father was across the road buying the paper so I ran out of the front door and, bearing in mind it was at a time when I couldn't cross the road on my own, I was yelling at the shop;
'Daaaad, Daaaaaaaaaad - I'm going to be on Grange Hill!'
The shopkeeper came out of the shop and I asked him where my dad was. He shouted back telling me he was on the phone.
And then it all fell into place.
Ever since then we have had this battle over fooling the other each year and he is still in the lead.
He failed in this year's attempt but I have to admit it would have been the funniest yet. I woke up to find a note on the doormat from someone telling me to ring them before 12. I didn't have a clue who it was and walked into the living room puzzzled as to who it could be.
I then saw my dad's face and I remembered that the last thought I had before going to bed the night before was to ensure I was on my guard all morning.
I threw the paper at him and told him I wasn't falling for it this year.
The hysterical part of it all is the number he had put on the paper was of a massage parlour and I just cannot even think how that excahnge would have went if the prank had got to the point of me making that call.
Despite our Tom and Jerryesque shenanigans he has always been there for me especially over the last few years when I needed him the most.