A Family Affair: We row because we're so close

Claude Agius, 59, and his daughter Claudia, 28, are stars of `Paddington Green', the new docusoap on BBC 1, set in an area of west London. Recently Claudia joined her father to help him run the family scooter business and to try to bring it into the Nineties

Claude

I had never thought of Claudia running the scooter shop. I felt that it wasn't the sort of thing for a female to do. Sometimes there can be a lot of verbal, with teenagers swearing. It's not that they mean anything bad - you wouldn't say anything on your own - but you can't accept it if your daughter is there.

So it can be difficult. Claudia came to the shop about a year ago. It's been in the family since just after the [Second World] War. I took over when my father died in 1950. We sell and service Piaggio scooters which makes the Vespa range. I didn't try to persuade Claudia to work here. She had been working at a beautician's and she also ran a lingerie shop. She's brainy, not like me - she has six O levels - but she wanted to come.

On television I know we are always rowing, but we get on well really. It's just that sometimes she comes in late in the morning. We row about that. She is very flamboyant. That's not wrong - but it gets on my wick. She's a modern sales person. I'm the old style. She laughs with the customers. But I won't laugh when I'm trying to make a sale.

She tells the mechanics to do something without asking me. She orders parts - too many as far as I am concerned - without informing me. She has been here 12 months and, to be honest, I didn't expect her to be this good so soon. She has taken over some of my responsibilities. She overwhelms me because she is doing everything too quickly. She came in to help with the selling and now she is running the place.

Claudia was a wonderful child. She never played up. We never had sleepless nights with her. She was very inquisitive - she got that off me. She isn't scared to have a go. It was her idea to let the television cameras in, because she's not shy.

I suppose I've got stubborn. You do as you get older. I still think this isn't a place for a woman to run on her own. There is a lot of responsibility. There are eight male mechanics and they need a bit of prompting by a man. Maybe they would ignore a young lady. It's very different from a lingerie shop.

I've said I would retire at 65, but I think I'll find that hard. I've been on scooters since I was 16. I relate to the teenagers who come in here, because I feel like I am one of them. I still go on the odd run to Margate but I don't wear Mod suits. Mine wouldn't fit me. I've still got my handmade winklepickers. My feet are too big for them now.

Claudia is very special to me. We're a Continental family from Sardinia. Very close knit. Maybe that's why we row so much.

Claudia

Dad didn't want me to work in the shop. He didn't think it was a place for a woman. He is an old-fashioned, traditional gentleman. When I was a child he did everything with me. We went all over the country in a VW caravanette at weekends. He taught me how to ride a bicycle. But I didn't get a scooter. My brother got one. Maybe it was because of the way I drive a car. Or maybe it was just because I was a girl.

He is not totally sexist. He doesn't want me in the kitchen and he wanted something better for me than a greasy shop. He was accepted for St Martin's College of Art, but he left to help my grandad with the business. He knows that I am creative too, so maybe he wanted me to do something along those lines.

This past year has been a time of big changes. Last January I left my flat, cut my hair short, split up from my previous relationship, and started at college learning how to sing. I was reborn in a way. I've been learning about a new me that I have kept hidden from myself and the world.

I saw how busy the shop was becoming, how stressed Dad was, and I was worried about him. He had a heart attack a few years ago and I felt that if I didn't help then it might happen again. The job is interesting. I've never sold anything like this before. I was a tomboy as a child, and I like working with men. They're more straightforward than women.

Of course I fight a lot with my Dad. You can see that watching Paddington Green. The tempers fly and the emotions run high. He doesn't let me get involved and do things I know I can do. Just bits of stock ordering, pricing up. He is used to doing these things himself. But he doesn't realise how busy the shop is. That is frustrating.

He is good with people and his experience with bikes is phenomenal, but my forte is organisation and sales.

I'm more than capable, but if you have been running the show it is hard to give it up, particularly to a woman. I know he feels overwhelmed, but I'm like that because, if I'm not, he won't change. And if he doesn't, then I feel that something will go wrong. So I may be increasing his stress a bit, but time is not on my side. All he has to do is expand the business a bit, and things would get better.

I've tried talking quietly to him, but it doesn't work. I get so upset that I have to scream and shout, but sometimes I have to to get my point across.

We're both stubborn. But I'm not trying to top him. I never could. But I have youth on my side. With my Nineties' ideas and his knowledge we can have a really good shop. None of the changes I want are detrimental to what he is doing. If I have anything of value I want to give it to Mum and Dad.

Although we shout at each other, we still love each other. I don't think it will stop us working together. I know when I'm wrong and he is beginning to know when he is wrong. He is beginning to compromise.

I've got my own scooter now.

Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette

film
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off contestants line-up behind Sue and Mel in the Bake Off tent

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him

music
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event

film
Arts and Entertainment
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pedro Pascal gives a weird look at the camera in the blooper reel

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Public vote: Art Everywhere poster in a bus shelter featuring John Hoyland
art
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Griffin holds forth in The Simpsons Family Guy crossover episode

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz