I have been a man for as long as I can remember and it strikes me that being a man works out pretty well most of the time. Being a man lets you get away with all kinds of stuff. You can shout at the telly, use bad language from time to time, and get away with wearing the same trousers for ages before anyone notices. It gets even better as you get older. People just put up with your little quirks and eccentricities. If you don´t seem to know what day of the week it is, never mind. What do you expect? To the kids I teach I am just a bloke of a certain age. If any of them had ever heard of the palaeolithic they might just imagine that that was the era in which I was born.

Things were better for men in the 50´s which was just a few years before I put in an appearance on this planet.

Back then, the chances were, the man was the sole money earner and while he was out earning a crust his wife might be pottering around the house knitting tea cosies, ironing socks, embroidering and doing other girly things. Then, after an arduous day´s work, the man of the house might return home to find his slippers laid out in front of his favourite armchair. His missus would assume he was knackered and imagine that he had been hard at work all day rather than daydreaming about trout fishing on the Test. She would encourage him put his feet up for a few hours while he smoked his pipe and worked his way through a bottle of single malt.

If there were any kids on the scene they might put in a brief appearance before Mum whisked them away to bed. And off they would go, right on cue, with no arguing.

Back in the Victorian times things were even better. If a child appeared wanting time and attention you were quite within your rights to tell them to bugger off.

“Father, may we go and fly my kite on the hill? There is a terrific breeze this evening. Remember you said we could go when the wind was strong enough?”

“Forget it Edward! Your father is tired. Go fly your kite in your room by yourself”

“But father…”

“Bugger off before you see the back of my hand boy!”

I am tempted to muse in nostalgic terms about the lot of men in previous generations, and of fathers in particular, because the terms of our contracts seem to have changed recently – and for the worse.

For one thing women are out working to support the family and, let´s face it, we´re never going to work hard as them! For Christ´s sake – no way! And, because they are out in the work place, they expect not to have a life of drudgery at home doing all the menial tasks we´ve been avoiding for centuries. The end result is that we end up having to do (nearly) our fair share.

What´s more men now get all the crap jobs. We put out the bins, hang up the washing, do the washing up. If the plumbing falls apart we are the ones trying to find a spanner in the bottom of the tool box.

I was reminded on Saturday night of how far we had sunk into servitude and misery when I got back from fishing. I was physically knackered after paddling a million miles around Concepción and tired after a longish night time drive. I was starving into the bargain and, as soon as I got through the door I just wanted to see if there was any grub I could lay my hands on.

Pippa greeted me and told me there was a surprise waiting. Immediately I started fantasising about cold beer or some such treat. Or maybe a home-made card saying “world´s best Dad” thoughtfully drawn out in her own hand?

And then the true nature of my surprise was revealed. On the floor was a foul deposit made by our cat who is feeling a little under the weather and who has taken to relieving himself around the house. Trinny and Pippa said that it had been there for some time but that they both felt they were going to throw up when they got anywhere near it. So they just left a square of kitchen roll over it and waited for me to get back. Clearly this was a man´s job.

Jesus. Bring back the 50´s.