I've spent most of the weekend bare-faced in a pair of skanky leggings as I'm getting stuck into sorting out the family home. We've already filled one skip which is pretty good going as there's so much to keep me, Jon and my bro distracted....1970s action figures, old photos and jars of spices bought in the 1960s to name but a few.
Yesterday I cracked on with emptying Dad's bureau and was riveted. A man of few words, as his dementia worsens my father has spoken more to me in the past 18 months than in my entire life. Born to a mining family in 1929 he won a scholarship to grammar school, served with the Royal Air Force in Canada and lived under canvas climbing the Alps for 2 years.
With a penchant for fast cars and glamorous women Dad drove an AC Cobra when he met Mum and an MGB GT in his retirement. I've no idea who this lady is but he's still at it at almost 84, holding hands with a female nursing home residents and wandering out of the wrong bedrooms. From conversations he's had with the nursing staff several are convinced he was a spy - maybe that's where I get my enthusiasm for espionage thrillers from?
|Dad is on the far right|
As a sales engineer his career led to him travelling extensively and as children we rarely saw him during the week. In 1975 civil war broke out whilst he was working in Lebanon and, after days without contact, he was presumed dead, eventually turning up six weeks later live and well. I don't think Mum was never the same again.
He was mountaineering most weekends well into his 70s.
In the 1957, nine years before he met my Mum, he and two friends set sail from Littlehampton Harbour in Sussex intending to sail to New Zealand in a 9-ton schooner.
The first attempt ended in disaster when they hit engine trouble, were rescued by coastguard and it was discovered that there was a female passenger, Miss Pamela Fuller, a 19-year old trainee press officer, who apparently was "not engaged" to any of the men and was simply hitching a ride to Brixham in Devon.
The second attempt didn't fare much better, the shipwreck made front page news in The Times.
They did get rescued in the end though, these photos were from a Spanish newspaper.
I've never seen him looking so dishevelled.
Did he ever make it to New Zealand? That's something I can't tell you. I'll show him these pictures when we visit Dad this week and see if it jogs any memories.
I'll be back with what I bought from Liz and I's chazzing day of adventure shortly.
See you soon.