One of my warmest memories is from when I was working in China. My mother came out to visit me, and my father wasn't able to join her. My first nephew had just been born, and I was desperate to meet him. So my mother and I cooked up a plan that I would come home to England for a couple of weeks that summer. We told my brother and SIL (parents of my nephew), but didn't tell anyone else in the family - including my father.
The evening I arrived, my brother and SIL picked me up from the airport and drove me to my parents' house. My father was told they were coming with an extra guest, and my mother asked him to lay the table for supper. He grumbled and complained, saying how ridiculous it was that they were coming mid-week in an evening when my brother had to work the next day and they had a small baby. When we arrived, I got out of the car, and his face was a picture.
Later in the week, we surprised my sisters at school. Their reaction was almost as good, but it's my father's that I really remember.
Today is my father's birthday. Of course, I'm not travelling halfway across the world to surprise him this time. But I am just about to set off to drive 200 miles. I've phoned and wished him a happy birthday and made sure he's at home today - his favourite film is on the telly at lunchtime, and he said he's planning to watch that. Fortunately, he also has it on DVD, so if I disturb his viewing, it won't be too much of a disappointment.
So the quest for work can wait another day - I spent yesterday ordering the books I need and then buying a new computer to use for work, so with all this expenditure the income had better start coming in soon. But for today, my bank manager will just have to contain himself - I'm off to wish my dad a happy birthday.