For about a year before I retired I’d been mooting the idea of treating myself to an old classic convertible. I had one years ago (An Emerald Green Triumph Spitfire which I loved but traded in for a caravette when our then dog Bodie became poorly which I used to take him on a last holiday to the Lake District).
Today my fab son in law Dan took me into an old barn on some excuse and said ‘Happy (early) 60th birthday’ pointing at something. It appears he and my lovely daughter Benita had bought me this Rover convertible in British Racing Green and he had spent months stripping it down and restoring it.
With the engine running and John Lennon coming through the sound system I was left speechless. I’m totally humbled but very very proud to have such a loving, thoughtful and generous family; although Dan still needs to finish off the car (put the seats back in) he had no option but to show me the car today as he has to move it out of the barn as the farmer needs the storage space. After the past few weeks I’ve had the surprise was a wonderful tonic; thank you so much Dan And Beats. X x love daddy x x
Life has had it’s ups and downs. When I have down days one of my strategies is to count my blessings and one of my most cherished blessings is my family. This picture shows just a few of my Motley Crew and just looking at a picture like this lifts my mood and gives me the strength to face anything. Although I woke up feeling quite low today I’m feeling better already.
Here’s hoping that Dads everywhere had a little acknowledgement from their children yesterday on Father’s Day. I know I spent the day thinking about my Father and some of the complexities around our relationship. I also took time out to think about my own daughters and their relationship with me. As a younger father with no role model I had great difficulty taking on the responsibilities of the role and have often openly admitted to my children that I wasn’t the best daddy at times. In those days I had a poorly paid job and so had to work as a freelance artist to supplement the income which invariably left little time to spend with my children; I also had a dreadful drink problem which years later through therapy I learned was connected to issues of my own childhood. It’s a big relief to me to know that my children now have something of an understanding of where I was at during their earlier years.
To daddy’s all around the world – notwithstanding the billions of fantastic Mums too – who because of the pressures on them don’t have as much quality time with their children as they would like, I salute you. Sometimes when I see young parents struggling to cope with the daily grind of life the role of ‘Unsung Heroes’ springs to mind but take heart; anyone who has been a parent understands and has infinite respect for you.
By the time I was 22 I had three daughters and back then money was an issue; we didn’t have any. But what we did have was love and over the years I’ve been blessed that my children have been close to me and are still so now. When they were little I was an extremely proud daddy and delighted in taking them out all in their pretty frocks with their hair in ribbons.
Of course now they are all grown and our relationships have naturally changed but the lovely thing is that at 58 I’m still Daddy, and that’s priceless.
Having lived in and visited countries where women and girls are treated dreadfully I know only too well that both me and my children are lucky to have been born in a society which respects our fairer ones; there have been times when I’ve literally grieved for the less fortunate.
Today I’m celebrating my daughters and the enrichment they have brought to my life.
When my children were little we lived in Gibraltar and Carol used to make all of their frocks and hats. Being three bonnie little girls they always turned heads particularly those of the locals who would call out ‘Oh bambino’s’ and make a big fuss of them all. When we returned to UK, on my release from the Royal Navy, I can remember standing at a bus stop with the children and when the bus arrived three or four women would get off to help me to get the children and the buggies and all their paraphernalia onto the bus (as though as a man I couldn’t cope :). Lovely times.
Today the girls are all grown, Tracey is 40, Sam is 36 and Benita is 35 and what I’m really proud of is that they’re all still close to me. They’ve all had pain in their lives but have come through; and between them all they have blessed me with 11 grandchildren.
What I think they have all come to realise is that although they are now adults with families of their own and lives of their own they still remain my bambino’s, such is the unique relationship between a father and his daughters.
This painting is connected to my song ‘Oh mien Papa’ ( the lyrics are on my Songwriter page).
I found this old photo of my family taken about 1989 when we were all on holiday in Turkey that I thought I would share. left to right: Tracey, Carol, Benita and Samantha.
Clearly the big hair was fashionable then probably inspired by TV shows like Dallas.
I always loved being a Daddy and like most dreaded the day the kids left home when they ‘went off into the big wide world, leaving me behind as an obsolete old relative to grab the world by their hands’. Truth be known they did all go off and have their own families, giving me eleven grandchildren who I adore but no – they didn’t leave the old man behind. I see them all often and love the idea we are all still very close. I’m really proud of my kids.
The painting is a pen and ink called Young Women from my exhibition Journeys End 1995.