Recently I’ve been writing memoirs and reflections about my life forty years ago and one of the things that occurred to me was how much I missed being a young daddy. As I write my daily blog (see memoirsofgibraltar.com ) I sometimes wonder where the past forty years went but take heart and comfort (in my Autumn years) from the closeness I still have with my children. Today I spent a magical day out with my eldest daughter who very much shares my sense of humour and it’s been totally lovely.
Forty years ago I adored my child……….
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
On Monday our beautiful grandchildren emigrate to Australia and so we spent a last day with them today at the coast; Skegness. Having lived abroad a couple of times (India and Gibraltar) we know it’s a wonderful opportunity for the children although from a selfish point of view there’s no doubt we’ll miss them. If there is one consolation these days it has to be technology because it’s made this world much smaller and easier to stay in touch with loved ones wherever they are. I guess it’s one of those times when I’m excited (for them) and sad (for us) both at the same time. Wherever they are, they always have our love x x
As I’m packing up to ship out I found this rare photo of my beloved sister Kerrie holding my niece Mia with our grandmother Hannah looking on. Kerrie and I were very close and although it’s been two years since she passed (01/04/12) I still grieve for her.
When I saw her in the hospital her consultant said she was very ill but in no immediate danger; he suggested she would still have another year. That was on the Wednesday (I think) and as I was booked to fly out to India on the Saturday I boarded my flight. Readers will know I lived in India for a long time and still have very strong connections there; it had been two years since we’d been back and I was so looking forward to going and seeing everyone again.
When we arrived our place (Bananaville) was exactly as we had left it; bags of rice in the cupboard, an open pack of cigarettes on the sideboard. It was almost as though time had stood still and so good to be ‘home’; over the weekend we caught up with a few of our closest friends.
On the Monday I had just about got over my jet lag when the phone went and I could see it was a UK call. I went out onto the balcony to take the call and sat in a basket seat. Kerrie’s partner Stuart was in tears and I knew before he spoke that I had lost my beloved sister. I can’t describe how I felt and still cant; even if I could I don’t want to.
At Kerrie’s service I sang the Fields of Athenrye for her at her request. Stuart was inconsolable and told me he didn’t think he could go on. He phoned me often from Kerrie’s mobile, sometimes in the middle of the night, which I found so distressing because Kerrie’s photo came up as the caller on my phone. Within six months he too passed away. His heart had broken.
Photos such as this one are so treasured for me; sometimes that’s all you have.