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  • Writer's pictureMadeleina Kay

Am I a bad influence on my Dad?

My Dad's dream, for about five years before he retired, was to buy a house boat and spend his retirement on the British waterways. But being exposed to my activism seems to have turned him into an environmental campaigner, arguable more radical than I am!

My Dad took a (slightly early) retirement during the pandemic since the university were offering redundancies and bought a do-er-upp-er house boat. Hilariously, he named the boat 'FADE TO GREY' and then painted it un bright red, tourquoise and mustard yellow (I think I inherited his sense of humour). He also painted the lyrics of the Visage song which inspired the name around the boat - It's a work of art - inside and out. His "wet room" includes 48-tile hand-painted tiles which I painstakingly created (each tile took 1 hour to paint) and a forest of pot plants.

If you want to know whre I get my eccentricity from... You need to look no further:

Me and Dad at Glastonbury Festival, where I performed in 2019. He is wearing a t-shirt I created with the Guinness Toucan and the words 'LOVELY DAY TO STOP BREXIT'.

Me, Dad and Alba at the 'Wooferendum' march in 2019.

Me and Dad posing with the 'Wankers of the World' cigarette packets.

On my way home from Romania, I got stranded at Retford station - just missing the train home to Sheffield by a few minutes because of a delay. My Dad lives at a nearby marina and offered to drive me home - I was especially grateful he brought Alab with him as I was physically and emotionally destroyed by that point and her smiley face always cheers me up...

Look at that adorable face!!!

On the journey over to Sheffield, Dad told me at great length about his meticulously planned canal trip across the Midlands in June - he invited me along, but I was non-comittal - not knowing what physical / mental state I would be in after the EU elections were over. The fact that I am constantly on the brink of tears, unable to sleep, have a permanent headache and frequent heart paliptations... and have contracted yet another flu virus - is a sure fire sign that I am well passed burnt out at this point.

And then Rishi Sunak - the drowning rat - called a general election for 4th July. (Launching his campaign in the home of the Titanic, Belfast - how apt!)

In the last year or so, my Dad has become an envrionemntal actvist; joined Extinction Rebellion and the Green Party, been volunteering for canal restoration projects and started door-knocking for Green Peace (he never used to be this radical!)... So, I messaged him to ask if his boat trip was still on:

I am simultaneously so proud of him and sligthly embarassed. I replied to express my concerns that I was a bad influence on him. His response; 'You have been a bad influence on me but it's just a gesture. I don't have your talents'. Make what you will of that.

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