His birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day… the days of the year I love (and dread) the most. Because what do you buy the guy who, when he opens your gift, yet again nods and says ‘that’ll do’ (alternatives have been ‘That’ll get by with a shove’ and ‘Have you spoken to your Mother yet?’). I mean, what?! I love my dad, but an easy man to buy for, he is not. And on speaking to others it turns out I’m not alone. I spoke to some of my fave West End online and brick and mortar gift retailers for their best Father’s Day memories and present suggestions. Because, let’s face it, we love our grumpy old man really!
‘I think I must have been about 12, my sister Kelly 10 and my youngest sister Lorraine 6, and we decided to take a lovely Father’s Day stroll down the canal while Mum was readying the obligatory Sunday Roast. It was Dad’s special day, so he got off with peeling all the veg!’ recalls Ange of Offensive Occasions. ‘The sun was shining, the canal was peaceful, other than a couple of guys fishing on the opposite side, and there wasn’t a cloud to be seen in the bright blue sky as we walked along the tow path and chatted and laughed. Tranquility was broken though by a seriously huge and aggressive goose that decided it didn’t want us walking past it. Have you ever been confronted by a massive honking and hissing goose? It’s terrifying. They’ve got TEETH! It meant business – running/waddling towards us all hissy and mean. Next thing we knew, there was a flock of them all heading for us. Rather than calmly standing in front of us, Dad shouted ‘watch our girlsssssss’ and pushed us into what he thought was a patch of soft grass to stop the goose from getting us. My Dad is seriously heavy handed (as am I) so when I say pushed, I mean PUSHED. As in, pushed us over. Flat onto our faces. A tangle of six arms and legs. This is my favourite bit though, and I still remember me and my sisters looking at each other and laughing our heads off, even though we were tangles up together on the ground … he ran full pelt at the geese shouting ‘come on thennnnn’ flapping his arms and trying to welly them. Honestly, I think he ran at least 100 metres. I crease up when I think of it even now, 34 years later. Him chasing geese, lashing his foot out to toe-end them. Honestly, no geese were hurt – he was way too slow to catch them. Dad came back to check we were ok. We kinda were and were not all at the same time – the divvy had pushed us into a patch of stinging nettles! I still feel itchy and stingy when I think about it. And people wonder why I turned out the way I did?’
Ange has a hilarious (and offensive) range of cards and gifts on her online store. Believe me, you’ll find offensive sayings old and new to peruse for your old pa. A browse online is also fun if you’re just feeling a bit down – if you don’t snort and giggle, quite frankly I don’t want to know you!
‘My favourite Father’s Day memory with my dad is of him putting on yet another jumper I’d bought him, which looked pretty much the same as the one I’d bought last Father’s Day. He just sat there happy as could be. My Dad just seemed glad to be remembered and the gift didn’t have to be over thought, or perfect, to make him very happy,’ says Mabel at Hyndland’s Cassiopeia.
Unlike Mabel’s memory, Cassiopeia has a very thoughtful range of gifts for 2021’s Father’s Day. I love the wooden travel case chess set, whisky flask and cup set. Why not take your dad up Conic Hill and get the ultimate Insta pic of the two of you playing chess and having a wee dram at the summit? I said ‘wee’ mind! Another practical, yet stylish, choice are their range of Harris Tweed covered thermos flasks (whisky optional).
Change is afoot at Broomhill’s Spirito. Human’s are multiplying themselves and taking some well deserved time off before sleepless nights and chat about nappy contents become the norm (yes, parents do this). Says Katie, ‘I’m really going to miss the amazing team and lovely customers at SPiRiTO as I head off for my maternity leave! Although my baby won’t be here in time for Father’s Day, I’m excited to see my husband become a dad for the first time. I’ve got great memories of my dad taking me camping, swimming and skiing when I was growing up, so I’m looking forward to making those kinds of memories with my own wee family.’
The lovely Ruby will be taking over Katie’s role in the meantime and has some great dad memories growing up too. ‘Father’s Day always falls really close to my dad’s birthday – so a lot of the time he feels really guilty about having two loads of presents! We usually make Father’s Day all about food, either cooking a nice dinner together or going out for a meal, or if the sun is out, a BBQ. Last year we didn’t get to go out for dinner, so I put together a box of his favourite food – chocolate, crisps, and beer! We have lots of treats in the shop right now: Coco Chocolatier which is made in Scotland have the most delicious bars of chocolate; Ayrshire-made tablet; boxes of luxury fudge, plus Father’s Day treats gift boxes.
‘I’m so excited to take over from Katie while she is on Maternity Leave, although she has left me with some big shoes to fill. The job is already ten times easier considering we have such a supportive team, kind customers and being surrounded by lovely things everyday helps too! I’m looking forwards to doing our window displays the most – it’s a great opportunity to get creative and make people smile while they are out and about.’
What a spoiled bunch of West End fathers we’re going to have in 2021. Well, after the last year-and-a-bit they all deserve a bit of pampering and a lot of love. I’m going to give my dad the gift of my presence, the lucky bloke. And if he doesn’t appreciate that I’ll threaten him with a climb up Conic Hill – me, exercise and a tipple – what’s not to love?