“Alice is going out for a meal tonight” “Neil? Who’s Neil?” “No, a meal!” “Yes, who is Neil?!” Father Bennett

So here we are, another Thursday evening. The sun is out, an assortment of children are playing outside, and there’s a ice cream van playing a God-awful, screeching tune every five minutes. Oh wait, it’s starting again (I DON’T WANT YOUR ICE CREAM! If I did, what are you going to do, scale three floors to get to my bedroom window? Work on that and your ice cream tune and we can talk).

So here I am, in a post traumatic state after viewing Season 5, episode 6 of Game of Thrones, where Ramsay Bolton has just married Stansa Stark. What better time than to start writing a blog post on my father!

Father (‘pappa’) Bennett

My dad is a clockmaker by trade, he owns a clock shop in a small Warwickshire town where he buys, repairs and/or sells clocks. He’s a popular guy in the area, he does the clocks for a variety of towns and local celebrities (“tell me, what’s John Nettles REALLY like?”). It’s also an off year when he doesn’t feature at least once in the regional newspaper and/or TV news under the headline “it’s not a wind up! Spare a thought for the man tasked with putting all the clocks forward/back an hour!” (or words to that effect). Heck, even when Shipston flooded people wanted to go to his shop:

(ok, maybe that’s a slight an overstatement…)

Dad’s Fads

Dad is a respected figure in the local community, however less can be said for his standing in the family household. Mr. Bennett in every sense of the word, he often retreats in his study (aka the Play/Games room) to ‘noodle’ about online. No one really knows what he noodles about on, until he comes out with information on a recent fad he’s into. We’ve had rotisseries, pigs, peacocks, chickens, flagpoles, wood stores, hot tubs, B&Bs, diet fads (anti dairy, anti sugar, anti-fat, porridge, muesli), the lot. His recent one which is still lingering is the unicycle phase. He had been wanting to try it for a while, but mum point blank refused to get him a one wheeled bike of death. Then one day, like something from a 90s sitcom, he came in with a unicycle that he’d found in a charity shop. I waited for the canned laugher and a comic jingle to play, but then I realised this was real life and all my 90s games show jingles were saved on my laptop in Southampton.

“Why would someone give such a thing away?”

“Oh, I can think of a few reasons” was the joyous reaction of mumma Bennett. “You’re going to hurt myself, break all your bones and then I’ll have to care for you while you moan.”

“But this is what I want to do, I’ve been watching videos. I just need a couple of ladders…”

“Ladders?!”

“Or two willing volunteers, whichever is easiest”

“This is ridiculous!”

“Why? I’ve always wanted t do this! I wouldn’t stop you if you wanted to do it!”

“(inaudible grumbles)”

*Awkward Silence*

“India! Play Barney, for God sake get Barney on now!”

(Barney is my fail safe for reliving tension, you try and stay mad at someone when this gets played randomly. Very difficult!)

Middle Aged Man

How to explain this. So, back in 2012 as a family we were in Suffolk when India and I looked up from the bottom of a castle to see dad standing on a mound, deep in thought. For some unknown reason we couldn’t stop laughing. We went to take a photo but he saw/heard us and struck this pose:

The First

Afterwards we made it our mission to subtly take photos of dad when he was in his own world. We simply called it “Middle Aged Man…” The rest is Bennett History. Cue art gallery photo reel!

For this next bit, please play the song below to help set the backdrop and tone:

Middle Aged Man having coffee at St Ives Art Gallery

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Middle Aged Man reads an interpretation board at Totnes Castle

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Middle Aged Man watches people go about their day

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Middle Aged Man takes in a Devonshire view

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Middle Aged Man takes in the same view but from a different angle

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Middle Aged Man on the beach

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Middle Aged Man takes time out to eat a croissant and read the Telegraph supplements

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Middle Aged Man goes boat watching

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Middle Aged Man with wife on an Autumn day

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Middle Aged Man on a boat

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Middle Aged Man takes time out to train India up on the art of aimlessly staring over a cruise ship

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(Middle Aged Man having less success in Falmouth with his other daughter, who can’t quite master the basics)

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Middle Aged Man in a Yurt

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Middle Aged Man: If a man sits in the New Forest and no one is around, does he exist?

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Middle Aged Man deep in thought

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And finally:

Middle Aged Man views classic art

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(Our thanks to mumma Bennett for catching this moment in Paris on film and lending it to the Middle Aged Man Collection)

I’m certain more will follow, this collection has only been in existence for a couple of years and there’s still many more family outings/holidays ahead. (Donations to keep this piece of Bennett and British Heritage alive are most welcome).

So..

That’s my dad in a nutshell. I could write loads more here, like how he is forever mishearing things (see title for an example), or how he has a nerf gun hidden in a top drawer ready to unleash whenever next door’s chickens come onto our lawn. However the night is still young, and I’ve got an episode of Game of Thrones to watch before I’m up to speed with this season. Finally I will be able to engage in office discussions without yelling ‘don’t tell me anything!!’.

Until the next time.

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