Asking a dad what he wants for Father’s Day (this Sunday, June 18, in case you’d forgotten) isn’t as easy as it sounds. Firstly, you might have problems actually getting through to him. Sam Baker had to ask her mum because her dad doesn’t “do emails" and, according to her mum, “he probably wouldn’t know anyway". My own dad was touring Scotland on a steam-railway holiday and it took me several texts before he would tear himself away from his notepad and binoculars to tell me.
When you do get through, you don’t always get a straight answer. Every dad, I find, has his own special “dad code” (a language that’s sometimes gruff, often to the point and always super-practical), although not in the case of senior designer Vicky’s dad, Craig, who just texted her a link to his desired gift, a U2 album, but then later changed his mind and sent her a long review that he’d written especially for her.
Hello, darling, I would like a team of builders to rebuild my garage, please
Dads have a reputation for being impossible to buy for but, in my opinion, I think we’ve just got them wrong. I have arrived at this theory because, this week, I asked Team Pool to text their dads for their wish lists:
SAM BAKER’S DAD, CLIFF
“A spectacular solar light for the fish pond.” [”Spectacular?!” queries Sam.]
ALEX HADDOW’S DAD, JEFF
“I used to say when the children were small that all I wanted for Father's Day was peace and quiet but, now they have all left home, all I really want on Father's Day is when they all make an effort to come and see me. Now pass me a bucket, yes that's what I'd like – a big galvanised bucket. Your loving Pa (I refuse to put kisses on the end).”
ELLE TURNER’S DAD, RICHARD
“It's June, so a tray of bedding plants or some posh beers to sip on barbie duty.”
LUCY DUNN’S DAD, MICHAEL
“Traditional Sunday dinner with red wine followed by decent TV programme. Barbecue if warm evening. Love Dad xxx"
HANNAH BANKS-WALKER’S DAD, CHRIS
“Hello, darling, I would like a team of builders to rebuild my garage, please. Failing that, a nice meal with a good bottle of red. You must have photos of me if you wish to use one. Love Dad xxxxx.”
VICKY’S DAD, CRAIG
“Hi Vicky. Make what you want of this...
I am of similar age to the members of U2 and have always admired them ever since my calling as a musician stalled. I had just moved to London in 1987 when one evening heading home in the rush hour I saw an advert for "The Joshua Tree" on a billboard above the station. That 12ft poster was as impressive as the album, every song a classic and not one filler. This album increased the band's stature "from heroes to superstars" and that's where they've stayed for 30 years, but nothing has quite eclipsed it. Now Bono and co have released a 30-year anniversary re-mastered deluxe edition with the original track listing plus some extra live material, including "I Will Follow", which I remember them playing in Leeds in 1979.”
LOUISE STEPHENSON’S DAD, LAURENCE
“I’d like this Phil Mickleson golf aid and a nice card with lovely words in it from my daughters.”
HANNAH VARRAlL’s DAD, GEOFF
“Sooner have a Caterham 160 (car), but Mum has said it has to be a replacement bucket which I have to pay for.” Dad x
LAUREN BRAVO’S DAD, RUSS
"Um, I would like either The Ultimate Guide To Curating Your Thimble Collection, by Vinnie Jones, or a bottle of beer that tastes like fireworks took over a tropical fruit emporium. OK, OK, fine. Some unusual liquorice please."
LILY PERSHARDT’S DAD, MICKEY
From Lily herself: “I had to ask my mum because my dad doesn't really 'do' phones and he was watching the cricket. So he just told my mum he would like me to bake him a fruitcake. He would also like a nice card; he has the Papa Bear one I gave him on his wall in his office.”
LYNN ENRIGHT’S DAD, BILL
"Put my feet up, have a nice meal served up to me and I don't even have to do the washing-up."
PENNY WHITEHOUSE’S DAD, ANDREW
"What I might want/appreciate: chocolate bars/simple Cadbury/Toblerone. A neckerchief/cravat sort of thing (although, come to think of it, that could be a birthday present)."
AMY JONES' DAD, DAVID
"Your continued health and happiness is all I want, but if you feel that you have to buy something, a book is always welcome, or a desk jotter would be nice."
EMILY BAKER’S DAD, DAVE
- A day batting for England against Australia and notching up 100
- A hat-trick in front of the Stretford End
- To climb Everest
- Cage swimming with great white sharks
- A wildlife odyssey with Sir Attenborough
- Or a sunny day's walking in The Lakes, ending up in the pub
- On reflection, I think the others are more realistic than a sunny day in The Lakes
We often spend hours angsting over man-bags, tracking down posh chocolates and spending a fortune on exotic face oils, and while lots of dads would be perfectly happy with these, most just want a tray of bedding plants and a good roast dinner. Socks probably wouldn’t go amiss and neither would a big family-sized Toblerone, although Dave Baker wishing for a sunny day in The Lakes? Well, perhaps he is being a little *too* fussy.
Enjoy my dad-proof edit below. Happy Father’s Day.