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I love my dad.

This coming Sunday (19th June) is Father’s Day. It’s not an event massively celebrated in my family – I tend to present a token card and gift to my dad, likewise my kids present me a little throwaway something or other – but i thought i’d mark the occasion this year by sharing something with the world. Something that my dad made for me many years ago. So, here’s my castle…

Castle portcullis

Castle jail

The Castle

Castle entrance

Castle rampart

This thing was one of my favourite toys as a child. I absolutely loved it – so much so that i don’t recall i ever showed it to anyone but my best friend for fear that it might get damaged. My dad made this for me in 1987 – well, that’s when he etched that badge above the castle entrance anyway – and it is, for the most part, constructed from plywood. Upon seeing the castle again recently i asked him how long it took him to build and he admitted it was something like 18 months. That might seem quite a long time but if you could see and feel the craftsmanship in person you’d have a better idea of why it might’ve taken so long. Even as a child i was impressed with the quality of the (working) drawbridge and portcullis and the level of detail in places, such as the jailhouse (look at that tiny brass lock!). All these years later and it seems an even more impressive piece of work.

Hand-building a toy for your son seems to be a bit of a tradition in my family (my grandfather build a toy car garage for my dad, and my great-grandfather something for my grandad) but i’m quite daunted by the prospect of it. Maybe i should just ask my lad how much money it’d take to buy his love and respect?