Sunday, 19 May 2013

My Dad, The Adventurer



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.

96 comments:

  1. Wow he really was an adventurer wasn't he? The first failed trip would have put me off any other attempts, but I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to it :p

    He's a handsome chap too, even when he's wearing a mackintosh!

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing - I love social history and extraordinary stories from seemingly ordinary people. Fabulous:) x

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  3. Your dad sounds like an amazing man! And really brave as well, I don't think I know many people who'd dare cruising to New Zealand.
    He looks a bit like my grandad when he was young. I guess it's how guys with a passion for cars and glamorous women looked back then! xxx

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  4. I love your house sorting out gear, it must be bringing back so many memories clearing out your old house. Love hearing all the mad stories about your dad, happy sorting x

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  5. Oh my goodness, what an interesting man, and what adventures he had - and that's just the ones you know about!
    I don't suppose an adventurous spirit, a roving eye and a taste for danger and travel make a man ideal father material in many ways, but if you look at him dispassionately, he's amazing. And a very handsome man too.
    I wonder if the photos and clippings will spark any memories, I hope so.
    Glad to hear you skip-filling went well, despite the many distractions!
    PS. Only you could look impossibly gorgeous in skanky leggings and no make up, Vix! xxxxx

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  6. Your dad was amazeing , there are so many people in nursing homes with great stories like this to tell , luckily he has you to do this for him , by the way its nice to see you look good without makeup too , not many of us do xxx

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  7. After hearing so much about your unique Mom, and now your amazing Dad, it's easy to see where you get your sense of living life to the fullest. You do them both credit!!

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  8. Amazing. We all have times when we are more lucid than others, even when we are young. As I get older it still amazes me when memories happen to come back almost as if I'd just experienced them. I hope that adventurous dad of yours recalls and relates many more exciting, intriguing and hopefully fond memories to you. He's had a fascinating life.

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  9. You look more gorgeous without make-up in your leggings than most people look when they're all dolled up! Wow. What a story about your dad. It explains a lot about why you have such spirit. I do so hope he can tell you more about his exciting life. I kinda think maybe he was a spy...

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  10. I love the way that you have embraced all of the emotions you are having at the moment, the heartbreak at your Father being ill, and the delight at finding out so much about his, and your past. He was a Dude! (I see a lot of you in him). Hugs x

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  11. What a life! I loved reading about your dad's adventures, and seeing his rugged young self. I wish I'd asked my Dad more questions while here was here! xoxoxo

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  12. He sounds an amazing man - I hope the photos unlock some memories for him :)

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  13. I love when you travel back in time and take us all in your trip.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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  14. What a suave chap-I can definitely see the resemblance! What an amazing blog post Vix, I was riveted looking at all of those wonderful newspaper clippings. I love things like this I could read them all day long! xxxxxx

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  15. Wow, I bet your dad broke a few hearts, what a hottie!:) And what an interesting man to boot. It's always interesting finding out more about your family history. It's great that they've preserved so much of it for you to enjoy and share with us too. You can really see the family resemblance in that last pic.
    Looking forward to seeing what you bought and any other treasures you might unearth in your parent's house xxx

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  16. I love the feeling of going back in time that I get when watching those old photos.

    How about following each other? Let me know on my blog!

    /Avy

    http://mymotherfuckedmickjagger.blogspot.com

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  17. Oh Vix, what a top chap! An adventurer and so handsome. How fascinating, it's amazing the lives our folks led when they were young.
    I wish I looked that good in skanky leggings!
    Loves ya.
    xxxxxxxx

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  18. Mike says he looks like a fucking badass and I agree. What on earth was he up to for most of his life? Fascinting. He obviously had a taste for adventure and intrigue and the ladies. What a slattern, catching a lift on a boat with two men you're not engaged to! Shocking behaviour. Can't wait to see what else you tun up!
    xxx

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  19. Um I give up. You look more fab without makeup than I could with any amount of slap! How fun that you've discovered the adventurous side of your father & thank you for sharing, you know how I love hearing about ancestry & family histories! Its wonderful that you have so much of that preserved! I hope the clippings help spark some memories for your father. XXX PS while I love sorting through other peoples old houses, the job of doing it was horrific when we had to do it with my FIL's house, so good luck!

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  20. Wow he was an adventurer and quite a good looking guy too.

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  21. Wow Vix you and your family and your tales and history never cease to amaze and rivet me.

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  22. Fascinating stuff. You have an amazing Dad. What wonderful memories you have.

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  23. He really was an adventurer!
    :D

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  24. What amazing photos of a fascinating man - still waters run deep I always say.
    You almost were a Kiwi from Godzone country!

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  25. love that you're sharing that extraordinary family stories!, really amazing!
    besos & fascination

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  26. Dear Vix, thank you so much for sharing this most fascinating story about your father. I have to admit that it brought a tear when you said you don't know if he ever made it to New Zealand.

    I worked summers at a home for the aged for six years and know too well the heartache that is dementia.

    My love goes out to you once again, my friend from afar. Your sweet optimistic and happy demeanor are an inspiration.

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  27. This is a brilliant post, Vix.

    Your dad is a total dish! It's no wonder you turned out so good looking, even in your skanky leggings :) My mum has turned into a bit of a flirt in recent years, I reckon if they were in the same home, it could be her hand he was holding.

    I really love all this family history, your father is a fascinating and adventurous man and it is so fantastic that he has started talking to you. I'm sure that is the thing we all regret, not asking the questions when we were able to. It's nice that you have your bro and Jon to clear the house out with. I am SO pleased you found that missing Times article.

    So was it a whirlwind romance when your mum and dad met then? I'd love to hear that story. xxxxx

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  28. vix it's an honour that you share your family history with us. what a man your dad was. how secretive that generation was. you must feel so proud of him. thank you for such a heart warming story.

    i missed your last post wow your dressing table is so organized. i never wear make up but at 47 i've decided to try now. i love your dress. lucyx

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  29. I so enjoyed finding out a bit about your family history... thanks for giving us the insight. Your dad sounds like quite the Adventurer... no doubt that's from where some of your free spirit hails :-)

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  30. Another brilliant post Vix, what a shame he never told you all about his adventures. What a stunner though, good looks obviously in the genes! x

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  31. It would be so cool if any of this info jogged his memories. He sounds like a fascinating man in his prime and beyond!

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  32. How exciting!, but kind of sad not to know exactly what he did. Funnily enough my brother and I were talking today about my Dad and the fact he never said what he did when he was special aircrew in the R.A.F (which did involve spying only from the sky!)I think it is a generational thing don't you? They were just brought up not to talk about things but all those wonderful stories are lost forever.

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  33. Gosh he was a handsome man. I love hearing old people's stories about when they were young and love looking at old photos. I am quite nostalgic and I always imagine what their lives were like. I woudl have loved to have lived in the 50's and 60's! Such a lovely post, your father sounds like a very interesting man x

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  34. What a fascinating man! And handsome, too. Sounds like you inherited his fearlessness (and good looks). Looking forward to hearing if he can recall his early adventures.

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  35. Now we know where you got your adventurous nature from!

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  36. If your Dad was in the RAF Vix, I'm sure you could trace his adventures through them (I see The Tina was owned by a Squadron Leader retired lol - oh there has GOT to be a story right there!).

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  37. Wohhhhhhh, such an interesting life!!x
    p.s. I have socks to match your top!x

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  38. such a lovely post again Vix, I feel honoured you are sharing such personal things with us and these are remarkable photos! You can truly see a strong resemblance between you and your Dad!
    take care xox
    p.s are you near Birmingham? Something tells me you are. Im going next weekend if you have any recommendations if you know the city at all?

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  39. What a sentimental and beautifully evoking post.
    Thanks for sharing your dad's adventures with us.

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  40. My Dad didn't talk to me much either, must have been something about that age group. Come to think of it , Dad was also in the service and had missions he went on. He went "overseas" a lot and we stayed in California. I think I was the only air force brat at school that never lived outside the country. Hmmm, maybe they were both spies?

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  41. woah! lovin' the history. By the way, even with no makeup and work clothes on, you still look more glamorous than me on one of my good days! HAHA!!

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  42. Oh man I LOVED this post. You are taking us on all kinds of adventures at the mom vix!!

    Love it!

    He looks like a fascinating guy, your Dad. I look forward to the next exciting episode of the big clear out!

    x

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  43. how fascinating. i too had to piece together most of my parents history. i hope you find out more about his adventures. so interesting.

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  44. The stories of your father are captivating! Talk about living life to the fullest, which is a characteristic that I admire in you. Hopefully he will have intriguing stories to tell during your visit this week.

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  45. Dishevelled and GORGEOUS! - what a fabulous adventurer! I love that they tried again after their first failure - and I LOOOOVE that they had a gorgeous 19 year old passenger, to whom none of them were engaged - how FABULOUS!

    You are beautiful - bare faced and leggings or full face and maxi.

    Love you more than adventures!

    Sarah xxx

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  46. Your mother was a gorgeous glamour queen. Your father was a handsome bad ass. You're a beautiful surreal hippie princess. Seriously, there needs to be a movie about your family ASAP!! I don't think I've ever known anyone so cool before. :)

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  47. You know it is not surprise to me that your dad was this amazing adventurer. Your father was out to get the most out of his life...truly inspiring.
    Like his beautiful daughter!!!!!
    All the best with the rest of the sort out, it is exhausting physically and emotionally.
    thinking of you, love V

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  48. Wow it's so nice that you still have the newspaper cuttings

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  49. I can't wait for your next 'chapter' Vix. Letting us share your amazing family history is just so wonderful.

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  50. Got to say first of all, what a handsome man your dad was, as well as a real adventurer. Your parents both sound very fascinating people, I can see how you inherited your free spirit from them, and I too would love to hear the story of how they met. It's lovely that you're getting this time with your dad to find out more about him, it would be so sad for all those stories to be lost. It makes you realise the value of blogging too, that his stories can be heard by a wider audience. xx

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  51. What an amazing man your Dad is, and how wonderful that all those cuttings and photos are still around.

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  52. Hi there-you must be so proud of your lovely dad, he sounds like an amazing man who lived life to the full and it's great how you have been able to save all this wonderful information on him! Have a great week xxx

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  53. wow, such a wonderful post ... love the dress of the lady in front of your dads fabulous car ... (hmmm, my family isn't that special. wait ... my dad almost took part at olympia in the seventies ...almost! he was on tv ... world chamionship in shot-put. thanks for giving my memory about my sporty dad back !)

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  54. Wow, what a story he could tell. There's a man I know from the bus who visits his wife in a home in town every day even though she doesn't know him. For the Royal wedding they were all asked to bring in their wedding photos for a display and she remembered for a moment.
    Have you ever tried his favourite music on an i pod? I believe that can also have a powerful effect on those suffering with dementia. xxx

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  55. Loved this post and seeing and hearing more about your family history your father sounds like a fabulous chap full of life and a passion to explore when he was younger and who could have blamed him :-) dee xxx

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  56. Your Dad was amazing all those adventures he went. And what a handsome chap too!

    Its lovely that you are sharing his past with us sounds like you come from a very interesting background.


    P x

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  57. I have been so curious about your Dad since we talked about him on our hike in the Lake District. Now my curiosity has peaked, what a cool ass dude. I can see why your Mum thought he was handsome, he's quite rugged looking, what I imagine your brother to be like:).
    I think that you are still getting to know him now is a testament that its never too late. Thanks for sharing so much with us Vix! You are a rare gem of a person and the more I know about ya the more I adore you!
    Lots of love! Here's to realizing our parents were just people too.
    Xxxxooooxxxx

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  58. Sorry Vix to hear about your dad being ill.
    Your post about his life and adventures are wonderful. He has done so much to be proud about! Love the old photos of him looking handsome and you look lovely and natural in the first picture.
    I want to know now if he made it to NZ too because I lived in Auckland and Wellington for a while. It would be good to hear what he thought of the country!
    Hugs,
    Jo. xx

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  59. A true adventurous spirit (which he's obviously passed on :)
    Your parents' home sounds very much like mine (especially the spices from the 60s...) xo

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  60. A life well lived I must say. Not everyone can say that. And what a handsome man! You resemble your dad a lot and not just physically. From your description of him, I can see where a lot of your own drive, tenacity and sense of adventure comes from.

    Nice work making progress through the tough job of going through your dad's house. You look incredible even in your grubbies; not fair! ;)

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  61. Wow! I'd love to read a novel about your father! He was a real adventurer! Thank you for sharing these beautiful memories, I hope you'll Find out more about his life!
    Love xxxxxxxx

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  62. Gosh your Dad was dashing! I think men were so good looking in those days - don't make them like they used to! Military men tend to be irresistable too!
    It must be so wonderful to go through all these old things and the memories they hold. xx

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  63. Wow! I really enjoyed reading about your Dad's adventures!! I'm sure these photos will draw great stories from him xxx

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  64. Wow--how cool is your Dad!! what awesome adventures!! Thanks for sharing such anintersting man with us all!!

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  65. Oh Vix, what a looker! I am playing catch-up and have missed your posts. LOVE your neat dressing table, i think i lost mine in the pile-o-clothes...
    and the purple dress is gorgeous as you!
    Hugs
    Reva

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  66. He was a handsome guy, Vix. What a life!

    Love,

    SB

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  67. What an interesting life your dad has had. I think it's lovely that you are still discovering things about him x

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  68. Of course your father is amazing and terms of "bare faced and leggings" ... it should be impossible but - VERY sweet!

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  69. How very interesting, I love to hear your stories and always look forward to knowing more and wonderful of you to share your life with us.
    Thank you.
    Love Pam in TXxx

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  70. Very interesting post, thank you for sharing. My dad passed away when I was 9. I don't really have any memories left behind of him :( x

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  71. Bloody hell, you couldn't help but be a fascinating woman yourself with all that fabularse family adventuring, eccentric mojo, could you?!
    It's a wonderful thing to be able to see one's parents as PEOPLE, not just parents. This is fantastic stuff!
    Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  72. Wow! These photos and stories are AMAZING!

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  73. Your Dad sounds like an interesting man. I don't think I'd want to sail all the way to the other side of the world.

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  74. What a great post, your dad has certainly had an interesting life. I always find it so fascinating to discover photographs and listen to the adventures of my family. How fantastic.

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  75. My goodness, such rich history! One of your most marvellous posts Vix. I love that your shared this, can't wait to hear more! xx/Madison

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  76. So many women's hearts must have fluttered when your dad walked past or entered a room,he is so James Bond handsome. And your gorgeous mother. No wonder you are the free spirit and beauty you are.
    I'm glad you have these photos of such incredible vitality and adventures. It's a great reminder to crank up each day. As you say, a day without getting dressed up is a day wasted.

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  77. That's an amazing story about your dad - I can see where you get your energy from! What a fantastic man - and you look fab with or without make-up x

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  78. your dad must have had an amazing life! to think about him and your traveling/adventurous streak i see where you get it from..and you look so different without make-up!

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  79. Wow what an adventurer he was thanks for sharing his story with us. And the pictures are really amazing also! Now we know where some of your sense of adventure and travel comes from! Love Heather xoxo

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  80. SO many amazing memories must be held in that desk.

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  81. What an amazing adventurer and a good looking one at that.
    M x
    PS: you look amazing with no makeup and leggings!
    M x

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  82. Your Dad was quite a looker, with an adventurous spirit, which as Curtise pointed out, may not be the best qualities for a Dad, but would make him a magnet for women. How heart-breaking it is to watch someone who obviously was a very vital man be swallowed up by dementia. I imagine there are some fantastic stories locked in his memory in addition to the ones you already know. Thanks for sharing some of his story with us.

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  83. What an amazing man!! Sounds like James Bond :)

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  84. Such a lovely post. I love your dads advernturous spirit. My dad too has a love of being at sea, infortunately for my poor mum, she gets dragged along as well,even getting rescued once or twice I think by the RNLI. He has never attempted anything quite as adventurous as New Zealand, yet! I think he will keep sailing forever!

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  85. Vix what a fascinating life you dad had! An adventurer and a looker too - see where you get your good looks from! Thank you for sharing this information about him with us. It's hard caring for a loved one with dementia. I spent some time with my grandfather before he passed away and he was suffering from it and it is heartbreaking to see their memory go. So my heart goes out to you. I hope the clippings trigger your Dad's memory about whether he made it to New Zealand or not! Would other relatives know? I'm damned curious now and would love to know if you manage to find out! xxx

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  86. Thank you for sharing your family memories Vix, I really enjoyed reading this and what fab photos of your dad in action.

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  87. Amor,
    Your dad was a looker,it fascinates me to find out more about your life. No wonder your such an exciting soul.You look great without yo make up.
    Miss u lots.

    Besitos

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  88. Wow how adventurous! Seems he's a great man and you can be very proud!
    Thanks for sharing this dear Vix!!!
    xxxx Tani

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  89. wow that is amazing vix, first i always love and enjoy to see old family fotos of private foto archives, i can´t tell why, even if i don´t know the persons on the pictures you feel more connected to them than to the celeb pictures from that time. and wow your dad was not only really handsome, he is also a real adventurer! how amazing stories he must have to tell!
    lots of love and kisses,mary

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  90. What an incredible father - you must be so proud Vix. What a true adventurer xxx

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  91. I loved reading about your dad...What an awesome post! xx

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  92. Amazing! What a life. He sounds brave and fun and, well, I am sure you got some of that! Now we see where it comes from !

    xoxo
    Lynn

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  93. What a handsome, adventurous man! It's too bad he didn't tell you the stories when you were growing up. My dad is the same way...never talked to me as a kid. Sorting can be exhausting but so interesting. Thanks for sharing his story!!! XXX

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  94. Wow! Thanks for sharing this family history Vix, such lovely photos & interesting adventures!

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  95. LOVE these pictures. I am a huge MG admirer as well, have had 2 midgets and one MGB. Am in the market for another one when I sell my '76 TR6 Triumph. The clutch was too manly.
    Love it when you do your history. IT is so rich.
    xoox
    d

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