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My Dad has a funny little habit of beating a tattoo with his teaspoon on the kitchen bench while waiting for the kettle to boil – a far cry from the famous massed drums at Edinburgh. Tap tap tap-tap-tap, tap tap tap. I saw it so often that the rhythm gave away what it was the first time I heard it, while I was out of the kitchen.

That was not long after being activated, but that particular memory came flooding back the other day. It was my turn to make the tea (for a change!): Dad and I were separated by two closed doors between the living room and kitchen.

I heard him beating his signature tattoo with Mum’s walking stick on the edge of the tiled fireplace. I picked up my spoon and repeated it. There was an answering tattoo with a different rhythm, which, again, I replicated. Then another, and another, longer and longer. While turning my attention to making the tea somehow “Danny Boy” got stuck in my head. Then it clicked – of course, that was the tune Dad had been tapping out!

We both chuckled as I brought in the cups. The teaspoon and walking stick orchestra.

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