Cover image for Only Dad
Title:
Only Dad
Author:
Titchmarsh, Alan.
Personal Author:
Edition:
Large print edition.
Publication Information:
Leicester : Charnwood, 2002.

©2001
Physical Description:
321 ; 24 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London: Simon & Schuster, 2001.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780708993682
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

According to their friends, Tom and Pippa Drummond have the perfect existence -- an enviable lifestyle, a happy marriage, and a great kid in Tally. A rare summer holiday is planned - an idyllic retreat in the Italian hills. Tom takes time off from running his restaurant, Pippa leaves her herb garden in the charge of a dotty neighbour and Tally takes a break from the two men in her life. Tuscany is everything they hoped it would be - cicadas in the trees, the scent of sage and citrus and suppers under the stars. But their joy is short-lived. Overnight their lives, their circumstances, their very identities are altered, and life will never be the same again.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One There are things you ought to know about Tom Drummond. For a start, he never intended to own a restaurant. Well, half of one. Not that there's anything wrong with owning half a restaurant, but it would be a mistake to assume that he had either an obsessive interest in nutrition or a burning desire to entertain. He had neither. He became the owner of half a restaurant entirely by accident. He'd intended to be a farmer. Or, more accurately, his mother had intended him to be one. Tom himself had long harboured dreams of being a writer, but it's difficult to persuade your single parent that you are working when all you do is gaze out of the window wearing a vacant expression. So partly to please his mother and partly because no other job held any particular appeal, Tom became a farmer. It surprised his mother, and it surprised Tom by being particularly enjoyable.Now you could argue that looking after sheep on the Sussex Downs isn't exactly on a par with crofting in the Cairngorms, but in spite of their supposedly soft location in the southern half of the country, the rolling slopes above Axbury Minster are often blasted by biting winds in winter. Tom and old Bill Wilding would regularly feel the bite of the baler twine on their knuckles as they doled out the summer-scented hay to the obliged Southdown sheep, and the ice on the duck pond would crack like a pistol shot when broken with the heel of a well-placed welly. But on a good day in June or July the smooth, soft slopes were framed by a fuzz of deep green woodland and clear blue sky, and from dawn till dusk Tom shepherded the sheep, cleared the ditches, made the hay and worked the land with a song in his heart and a spring in his step.Friends asked him why he did it. Why commit yourself to slave labour for peanuts, you, with your nine O levels and three A levels? He knew why: because it gave him thinking time, dreaming time, time to write in his head. So in spite of the long hours and paltry wages, he was, to use an agricultural term, as happy as a pig in muck.But the happiness was short-lived. Old Bill Wilding popped his clogs in the dead of winter and the farm came up for sale in spring. After just two years Tom was out of a job and his mother was out of sorts. They took her into a nursing home. For months she deteriorated slowly but steadily and the following summer she departed this life quietly, leaving Tom with a small terraced house, a smaller legacy, a heavy heart and a clean slate.It was time to write. Unfortunately, as it turned out, it was not the time to publish. After a year of setting down his finely crafted prose on paper only two short stories had appeared in print -- one in a regional newspaper and the other in the Lady. It was a fair way short of the stuff dreams are made on. Tom conceded that it was time to knuckle down. But to what? Over a bowl of soup in a local bistro he scanned the sits-vac column. Its offerings were not immediately attractive: 'Household insurance: experience essential for liaison and telephone support role' or 'Expanding estate agent requires trainee negotiators'. Difficult to work yourself up into a lather about those. He was beginning to consider seriously how he could fulfil the role of 'Deputy matron required for full-time day duty' when he fell into conversation with the chef -- a fair-haired, fresh-faced youth called Peter Jago. Together they bemoaned their respective fates: Tom at a loose end with the remains of a modest legacy, and Peter, with a refreshing lack of anything approaching modesty, desperate to strike out on his own. It was foolhardy, really -- they didn't know one another -- but they pooled their resources and opened a bistro, the Pelican, with Tom running front-of-house and Peter slaving away in his whites over a hot stove.To everyone's surprise, except Peter's, the venture took off. But then Peter knew his gnocchi from his goulash and Tom, with Excerpted from Only Dad by Alan Titchmarsh All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.