April 2, 2012

In 2008 Sarah Brown interviewed celebrities about their relationships with their fathers for a book called Dads: A Celebration Of Fatherhood From Britain's Finest And Funniest. Co-authored by Gil McNeil the book was published by Ebury on May 29, 2008 and for every book sold, £1 will go to the PiggyBankKids charity.

Sarah Brown, wife of former UK Prime Minister Gordan Brown, founded the charity in 2002. "At PiggyBankKids we work hard to give children the best possible chance of living a healthy and happy life, here in the UK. We want to help as many children as we can: from the vulnerable babies whose lives could be saved with the right scientific breakthroughs, to those kids and young people who have the hardest start in life."

This excerpt from David's interview appeared in the Daily Mail on May 1, 2008:

"When you're a child you blithely assume that your dad knows everything. Now, aged 37, I have to admit that mine probably does.

I don't mean he could rattle off the kings of England in order, or work out the quantity of dark matter in the universe on the back of a napkin (although he'd probably give it a good go); it's the dad stuff he's good at.

Problem with the car? Confusion over the house insurance? Need to put a shelf up? Even how do you blanch broccoli? I'll call my dad.

He'll always have an answer, or at least know where to find one. (Anything involving gadgets, for instance, gets outsourced to his mate John, who lives nearby in a house full of self-soldered circuit boards and half-built computers.)

But it worries me. I'll be 40 in a few years: shouldn't I already know how to tile a bathroom wall?

Where does Dad get all this knowledge from? Is it instinct? Was he born knowing how to replace a fanbelt? Did he rely on his father for all these life skills? Were they passed down like an Olympic torch, practicality burning down the generations?

Trouble is, I think I'm in danger of dropping it. In years to come, when my kids phone me up to ask how to reignite their boiler, I'll have to put them on to Granddad.

I know it's not just me - my brother and sister are the same. Luckily, despite being 70 and with one false hip, my dad is still the most energetic, indefatigable man you're ever likely to meet.

Thank goodness for that. You've got years of cutting down trees and fixing curtain rails ahead of you, Dad. No peaceful retirement for you, I'm afraid. We'd be neck-deep in chaos without you."