But my laid-back language-chickens might be coming home to roost. I knew I had to curtail the worst excesses when Charlie was starting to talk or his first word might well have begun with an 'F'. But I've not been able to eliminate all expletives and (to be honest) I've become a bit complacent now that Charlie's vocabulary is growing nicely without any recourse to his father's lexicon. Or so I thought. But not content to merely shoo away a fly with the temerity to buzz him yesterday, he issued a stern, "go 'way, you buddy thing!" too. I don't know where he gets it from.
All of which is mild compared to my own first swear-word, which I was reminded of recently. I was five at the time and had just acquired a die-cast model of a certain second world war German aircraft to play with. Evidently I hadn't quite caught the name, and proudly announced at the dinner table that evening that I was really enjoying playing with my fucking dive bomber.
Which reminds me, incidentally, of my favourite joke.
A man applied for a job as apprentice to the village Blacksmith.
'So Paddy,' said the Blacksmith, 'have you any experience of shoeing a horse?'
The man thought for a while, before replying: 'No, sir.... but I did once tell a cow to f**k off!'
It's the way I tell 'em...