(I hope I’ve got the genetic inheritance to look this good when I’m 75)
He has adopted a phone box which is desperately in need of rescue. Because it was on his land he could buy it for a pound, but fixing it up will cost thousands. It can’t be used as a phone box again, and isn’t near much**, but it’s a well loved local landmark.
When it was working and I was much younger I made desperate phone calls looking for a lift to avoid the 2 mile mostly uphill walk back to the village from it, or just sheltered from the rain in it. When my youngest sister was much younger a book selling neighbour left a clue in it for a midnight Harry Potter treasure hunt one launch day***. It must have overlooked the time my dad rescued a whale that was caught in some mooring ropes. For a few years there were some knitted mushrooms by it (a bit of yarn bombing from a visiting knitting group) which were brilliant. And those are just my memories.
Unfortunately it needs more loose change than any of us have, and without a clear idea of what the box could or should be used for it’s hard to know how to go about raising the money (If anybody has any really good ideas about what the box could be used from we’d love to hear them) but my dad has always been the sort of person who believes something will turn up.
And because he’s my dad, the sort of man that this stuff happens to, something did turn up. He found a message in a bottle. It had been at sea for around a year and longish story short the man who had released it promised a thousand dollars to the charity of dad’s choice and to send him another thousand dollars. The cheque has arrived (we weren’t convinced this would happen) and when it clears will cover a good portion of the cost of a new door for the phone box.
If ever there was a message (in a bottle or otherwise) from the universe that a project was meant to happen, this must be it.
*He made me my glove boards, and for my 40th birthday gave me a silver teapot in a box purpose made to store it. When my next sister hit her 40th she got a silver teapot in a box shaped like a treasure chest with a false bottom in it. Our youngest sister, not yet anywhere near 40, has a fabulous toilet roll holder made out of a broken 19th century Japanese walking stick. He is always building things.
**The box is near the head of Lera Voe in Shetland, the road goes to Burrastow where there’s a small hotel, and a handful of houses around but not a lot of passing traffic. It’s a place you most likely have to go out of your way to get to.
***Which takes bookselling, neighbourliness, and friendship above and beyond.