SD is lucky in his parents.
He's lucky to have them both still around and in pretty good health but it's so much more than that.
SD's Dad is the gentlest, kindest, sweetest man with a self depreciating sense of humour.
He whistles completely tunelessly wherever he goes and if you ever need to find him you just need to stand and listen for a while for that monotone drone.
It must be where SD gets his lack of singing ability from (not that that ever stops him singing either).
SD's Dad is seemingly impervious to the hardness that a lifetime spent out doors in all weathers sometimes brings. The tough,tough life of a farmer up at the crack of dawn to bring in the cows for milking. The long hours in the Summer working 14 hour days. The cold, the wet, the dirty, the often completely unpleasant conditions that make up a farmers lot.
He had retained a softer side. A side that sees him scoop up the kittens that often huddle just outside the farmhouse door giving them a rough stroke with his hand before settling them gently down again. A side that see's him throw the ball over and over again for Gus as he sits in his chair beside the log burner in the evenings watching the quiz shows he's addicted to. A side that has him walking the fields he no longer farms checking the cows with their calves every day to make sure all is well.
In addition, he tends his 20 or so chickens, grows his own veg and can often be found with his chainsaw cutting up fallen trees into logs for the log burner.
In an untypically farmer way he also takes on his fair share of the house work washing up after meals, preparing his own when SD's Mum isn't around and vacuuming is his sole domain.
SD takes after his Mum.
Oh, he has plenty of his Dad's qualities about him too but he and his Mum are like peas in a pod.
Hard working, this he gets from both of his parents but at 80 his Mum still works part time and SD jokes that it's only because she lies to her employer about her age and tells them she's only 70 (which would be easy to believe).
She bustles around and is ALWAYS busy. If she isn't working then she's peeling vegetables, preparing food, ironing. Even when she's sitting in front of the telly her hands are busy knitting an endless array of tiny, beautifully crafted baby jackets and bootees or wonderfully soft blankets which she then gives to Charity shops.
SD share a sharp sense of humour with his Mum as well as a love of, surprisingly, cars and motorbikes and they often discuss the merits of the drivers and riders in F1 and the Moto GP.
He also shares her need to be busy all the time. Jobs first, and there is ALWAYS a long list of jobs!
I'm far more like SD's Dad. Slightly vague, a little forgetful, looking for the ridiculous in life and often laughing at myself.
SD's Mum is also incredibly thoughtful just like SD. She will always knit a jacket for the niece or grandchild of a co-worker. If you ever do something for her then you will be rewarded with a thank you card and usually a bottle of wine or a big bar of your favourite chocolate. When we are on holiday SD always shops for small, thoughtful presents for friends to thank them for time spent helping him mend his beach buggy or whatever really.
When I point out that actually they have already been paid for their time as they own a garage he tells me that they worked over time or fitted him in when they were busy or just went that extra mile that that simply money can't buy.
He's right of course and a much better person than me much of the time. This better part of him sees him cutting the hedge for his friend on a day that I would love to go to the beach because they have to work and don't have the time. It sees him collecting garden rubbish for them because why should they have to spend their Saturday queueing at the tip when he has a perfectly good bonfire in the making. It see's him stopping by on an evening he knows his friend is working late after a long week to make him a coffee and sit a while usually eating a cake or a crumble SD has asked me to make for him just so that he knows he had eaten something and taken a short break.
It's no wonder really that so many people hold SD in such high regard and when I find his endless list making, his endless chores and jobs that need to be done before we can have some fun then I remind myself of this and of how much just having him around enriches my life and makes me want to be a better person.
If you asked any of SD's friends to describe him they would say, 'He's a top bloke', and he is.
It's funny that for so many years I wasn't really aware of this side of SD.
I first met him when I was in my early 20's and he was the Jeep driving, fun loving, long haired beach bum who seemed not to have a care in the world and was always out doing things. Trips to the beach, off roading all over the country, spending time in all the top clubs in London with his model friends, going to gigs. He was glamorous, fast living, restless and so much fun and for so many years that was all he was in my mind.
I had no idea that this other SD existed.
SD and I always had a bond but we weren't right for each other. I had a child which was a tie he didn't want. I wanted security that he couldn't offer.
It was always unspoken, we were always just friends. We often didn't see much of each other for months, sometimes even years at a time.
But we always picked up where we had left off until that changed a few years ago.
You must be wondering where on earth the Earwig comes into the story by now - I know this wasn't the post I set out to write!
Back to SD's Dad ...
I hate waste. I love to cook. I can't bear to leave a single bramley on the tree, a single blackberry in the hedge. I'll pick plums and Damsons until my fingers are permanently stained purple and I'll even drag SD down to the park to pick the tiny yellow plums on the tree down there so they don't go to waste.
I really hate windfalls!
The bramley tree in the paddock is very old and some of the branches aren't safe to climb and so the apples sit on the tree until they fall.
Since the goat dies there is no one to trample down the grass and so it tends to get a little overgrown.
Every now and then SD's Dad lets in a few of the cows and they do a pretty good job of munching the vegetation and flattening the rest of it but SD's Dad worries that they will eat too many of the windfalls and become ill.
So, on a fairly regular basis I am presented with a bag full of slightly yellowing, fairly bruised, cow shit covered windfalls which I try very, VERY hard to be grateful for ...
And I AM grateful, don't get me wrong. The apples still have a lovely flavour and are still mostly good to eat but, EARWIGS!!!
Every now and then I cut into one and a horrible, multi-legged creature scuttles out and runs across my chopping board!
I can cope with most things. Spiders don't really phase me. I quite like snakes and rats are just like scaly tailed kittens (sort of ...) but moths and earwigs I can't abide!
So I dread the well meaning gift of a bag of windfalls not because they are covered in slightly slimy grass and cow shit, I can deal with that.
But earwigs - WHY???
What possible purpose does an earwig have other than to scare the crap out of me?
Oh, and YES, half an earwig is just about preferable to a whole live one!