Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Friendly Fish And Free Ice Cream

So, Father’s Day. Heartfelt celebration of underappreciated dads or cynical marketing ploy to shift golf memorabilia and beer?

Sunday past was my third Father’s Day. Toddler Who Must Be Obeyed was able to hand me my card and presents this time. One of my gifts (and I have sneaking suspicion it was chosen and paid for by Wife-features) was a smash hit with TWMBO.

A light switch and a handy leaflet called ‘Your guide to installing a light switch”.

Toddler wrestled it from my grip and was glued to it for hours, clicking, clicking, clicking. Switch goes on, switch goes off, switch goes on, etc, etc.

As you may have guessed there is a light switch in our house that needs replacing. It is possible it’s been that way since we bought the place five years ago. I am not known for my DIY skills. Ask me explain the superiority of Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night over Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, or challenge me to say whether a whisky is Islay or Speyside, but expect me to do something technical with my hands? Ha!

I am being a typical modest Scots dad though. I can weed an allotment, bang in fence posts and fix a bicycle puncture. So I’m not without practical skills.

Anyway, the switch will be attended to in due course. My other gifts were a jar of Huntly Herbs chutney made using Black Isle beer. Magnificent with a hunk of Connage cheese on a buttered oatcake. I am a man of simple pleasures!

And a handsome enamel mug featuring the Flying Scotsman. I do like an efficient mode of public transport.

But the fun didn’t stop there. We trekked along the coast to visit the Macduff Marine Aquarium. Oh yes. It’s basically a big fish tank. And it’s in Macduff, Banff’s rougher looking twin town. I’m a huge fan of the aquarium. It seems to host so many school visits so it’s fantastic from an education point of view and it’s an in-your-face reminder of the variety, weirdness and beauty out there under the waves.

Wife-features admitted she could have sat and watched the tank of jellyfish all day. Like lava lamps but with stings.

TWMBO was almost hyper at all the sights and sounds. Some of the creatures of the deep aren’t exactly oil paintings but that’s part of the attraction of getting up close.

After eyeballing the wolfish and the rays (who eyeballed us back - the rays literally poking their noses out of the water and making eye contact with us) we wiggled our tails upstream and had a picnic lunch in the grounds of Duff House where there’s an excellent play park.

We paused on the journey home for ice cream at Portsoy and boy was that a good call. I’ve stopped there before because the shop in the high street does amazing ice cream. (There’s also a first class pottery down at the harbour.) But hang on, what’s this? Free ice cream for dads because it’s Father’s Day? Never mind a single scoop vanilla for me - I’ll have a two scoop waffle cone with rum and raisin. Mmm. Mmm.

We sauntered round to the Portsoy park slurping and smiling. Wife-features wasn’t able to finish her chocolate marzipan cone so I helped.

Eating leftover ice cream. Surely a handier trait than being able to fix a light switch?

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