IT was as I made my way around the house, turning lights off and muttering “It’s like Blackpool bl**dy Illuminations in here” that I had a sobering moment. I realised I was turning into my dad.

It was exactly what I remember him saying when I was growing up, long before I knew, or cared, about the reality of paying electricity bills.

Over the years I’ve found myself morphing into my parents; picking up their sayings and mannerisms. Every time I clear my throat I hear my mum.

Is it inevitable that we turn into our parents? And if so, when does it happen? According to a new study, women turn into their mothers at the age of 33, while men begin to pick up their fathers’ traits at about 34. The research was carried out by Harley Street surgeon Dr Julian De Silva, who spoke to 2,000 men and women and found that many of them started to pick up not just things their parents used to say, but also their outlook, tastes, even TV viewing habits.


In our teens and twenties we often see our parents as old-fashioned, even irritatingly so, and we try to break free of the shackles of their grown-up world. But Dr De Silva says we will eventually turn into them, in personality as well as physically.

So what are the ‘parentisms’ you remember, that you now say to your own kids? “I want never gets.” “I don’t care what so-and-so’s mum lets her do - you’re not going.” “If so-and-so jumped off a cliff, would you do the same?”

Then there’s the mother of all mothers’ sayings: “Do as I say, not as I do.”

We all say these things, even if we don’t realise until we’ve said them. I gave my teenage nephew a lift the other day and heard myself saying: “Where’s your coat? It’s freezing.”

My mother used to round up stuff we’d left lying around and leave it in piles on the stairs, ordering us to take it up as we passed. My sister does the same with her boys, with the familiar cry: “There are some things on the bottom of the stairs...”

My brother was playing hell about his son leaving mugs of mouldy tea in his bedroom. I reminded him he used to do exactly the same when he was a boy.

Absorbing our parents’ traits may be an inevitable part of ageing but, as Dr De Silva points out, it’s something to be celebrated. It’s no bad thing, turning into the people who raised us.

* I COULD watch Ricky Gervais reading the phone book (ask your parents, anyone under 20) and still find him hilarious, so I’ve been looking forward to his new TV series, After Life. I’m two episodes in - I know we’re meant to binge-watch everything these days but I just end up falling asleep - and it’s as dark, daring, poignant and funny as I’d hoped. Gervais’s performance as a flawed, seemingly unlikeable man who has just about given up on life after losing his wife to cancer is a devastating portrait of grief and its complexities.

My only gripe is that his character is a features editor on a “free newspaper that nobody reads”. Such publications don’t really exist anymore, and even if they did they wouldn’t have a full staff of reporters. And they certainly wouldn’t have a features editor. I worked on a free weekly in the 1990s and there were just three of us. For a few stressy weeks I was the only member of staff, juggling roles of news editor, district reporter and all-round dogsbody, filling the entire paper.

Local journalism is rarely portrayed accurately on TV, be it soap, comedy or drama. There’s a lot of comedy to be found on a smalltown newspaper though. I could write a sitcom myself...

* INVITED to Bradford Synagogue last week, to cover Prince Edward's visit, I was struck by what a hidden gem it is.

The Royal visit was in recognition of the synagogue's inter-faith work. Tucked away down a Manningham street, the building faced closure not long ago, and was saved largely by the fundraising of a neighbouring mosque. Representatives of Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Hindu faiths joined Bradford's Jewish community at the synagogue for a service attended by Prince Edward.

Nearly 140-years-old, Bradford Synagogue is one of the oldest in the country. This beautiful building has a fascinating history, interwound with the city's industrial heritage, and a remarkable relationship with the local community.

* HOW lovely to see ‘therapy alpacas’ Sovereign and Pumpkin meeting care home residents. The T&A reported that elderly people at Summerfield in Silsden stroked and fed the animals, from Thornwood Alpacas, bringing "smiles to residents’ faces”.

Contact with animals can be wonderful for elderly people. I once wrote about two miniature Shetland ponies regularly taken into care homes. Residents loved them and looked forward to their visits. To older people, particularly those who kept pets, such contact with animals can prompt precious memories.