Our Dad’s funeral is today and I thought that it would be fitting to share the eulogy that I am reading today. It is a collection of memories that by putting down in writing is hopefully a fitting tribute for a very kind, generous and gentle man.
Memories of our Dad
When we lived in Chessington my sister and I were allowed to keep a rabbit. Snowy I think his name was due to his fluffy and white appearance. Dad made a hutch and even a run for Snowy I seem to remember.
Fast forward on a while and one day after coming in from school we were told that Snowy had escaped and run away. We sat down to eat what we were told was chicken stew!! I’ll leave the rest to your imagination! Suffice to say that we were obviously traumatised as children and I have never knowingly eaten rabbit since!
Dad did like making and fixing things and was always helping the neighbours with car problems and D.I.Y. He made us a much loved puppet theatre and was involved with the school fete helping to make signage and games for the stalls. Later he made 2 lovely wooden play cabins for the grandchildren.
Signs are available nowadays to put into the window of a car but dad was always there for us and willing to take us and pick us up from friends’ houses, disco’s, parties and even took us down to Bournemouth for a concert and waited to take us home again. Our friends loved our dad as he would ferry them home to all 4 corners of Winchester as he didn’t like the idea of them walking home on their own.
I think Dad liked driving or certainly didn’t mind it. Mind you the traffic wasn’t as bad in the 1960’s and 1970’s when we went to Germany all the way down to Bavaria. Dad could only take 2 weeks holiday a year from work so he had to save one week from 1 year to be able to go to Germany for 3 weeks. It also meant that he had 2 years to save for the next trip. I think one memory that I have of those journeys on the autobahn is of being sick after just having had tomato soup and it all going down Dad’s back inside his shirt while he was driving!
There were no service stations in those days and so we would stop on the side of the road and dad would light up the primus stove and fill up the kettle for a cup of tea.
A trait that I hope we have taken from Dad is to be good time keepers.
I think we both hate being late for anything but that could be attributed to mum as she was always late!! I baked a cake and iced it one time when she rang to say she was leaving her house soon and will be with me to pick me up to go shopping.
Anyway I digress because this memory is of Dad the day we had to go to a wedding and possibly in Surrey? He had got up early that morning and changed the clocks to read one hour earlier. Mum was her usual self and rushing around saying ‘ we will be late, hurry, hurry and stressing out etc. and after we had got into the car and on our way Dad just said quite calmly it is fine, we have plenty of time as I put all the clocks back an hour to make sure we were not late!!
Another trait that maybe we take from Dad is to do what is in our heart.
Dad went against the tide by dating and marrying a German girl in 1955.
10 years after the war and that must have been difficult.
Dad also had to go to evening classes to get his qualifications as a draftsman as his parents could only afford to send their first born son to University.
When we were teenagers Dad got made redundant and it was a hard time financially but he had the courage to believe in his skills and with his work colleague who had also been made redundant set up their own business in design and lifting equipment.
Dad wasn’t one for hobbies and so it was always difficult to buy him something for xmas other than socks etc. but he did like snooker and did take up archery when we lived in Winchester and we would go as well and which I think he really enjoyed.
He was though an unwilling participant in a few other hobbies that mum took up, one of which was bee keeping! It didn’t help that he was allergic to bee stings and would react really badly.
But tolerance he had in bucket loads, having lived with mum for 57 years and hopefully to have tolerance is another trait that we have inherited.
Dad we have loved listening to your childhood and young adult memories when we have come to visit you at St. Catherine’s over the last year, although you did change the content a bit on each visit!!
The Anderson shelter, the bomb in your bedroom, you got evacuated and didn’t like it so ran away and a policeman brought you home, that you lived above a newsagents shop that your mum and dad owned in Brixton. How you travelled all around the coast of the British Isles on your beloved motorbike. What an adventure that must have been.
We have realised another trait in the last year while dad has been at St. Catherine’s and that is his sweet tooth and love of chocolate! I did not realise how much he liked his chocolate and so I can confidently say that we will keep up the tradition regardless of what the diet trends are saying as
A big bit of chocolate does you good!