My earliest memory of this was when he took me and Alana on a surprise holiday. We certainly were surprised when this turned out to be a 12 mile charity cycle ride which we had been unknowingly entered into. Promises of an ice cream at the finish line kept us going. Sadly they failed to materialise as dad had managed to leave his wallet at home.
Several years later I found myself scrambling on my hands and knees during the ascent of Helvellyn via Striding Edge in the Lake District, England’s third highest peak. Strangely, earlier that day dad had cheerily pointed to the walking guide and told me that it was a pleasant, beginners’ walk.
In more recent years my dad’s adventurous spirit inspired me to spend a week skiing in Andorra at a close friend’s stag do. As a novice skiier I was worried that my incompetence would be obvious, especially as the skill level of my friends varied from very good to adrenaline junkie. I called my dad questioning if I should go and he told me “You only live once”. I asked him if a 59-year old man had just YOLOd me, and he replied “Yes”. I booked the flights that night and a week later I returned bruised, tired but convinced it wouldn’t be my last time. My dad was the first person I called on my return.
Someone dad loved sharing his adventurous times with was his mum, our nanny, who found herself climbing the stairs in the leaning tower of Pisa, viewing the Blackpool illuminations, and taking the most comfortable spot at the back of Plan B as he navigated us and our boat around the waters of The Solent. He took great pride in this relationship and was a thoughtful and caring son to my wonderful nan.
In the last few years he was joined by his partner in crime, Jane. Photos from their travels could fill 100 albums, and there are truly enough memories to last a lifetime. Jane, we are so grateful that you made our dad so happy. I know our family Christmases will continue, and maybe this year we can buy the fancy Christmas crackers, and you can guarantee that there will be no goats given.
I have never seen my dad more proud than at my sister’s graduation, however the moment was somewhat ruined by the inconsiderate person whose phone was ringing throughout the service. Dad you really should have turned it off. And although he was sometimes the type of man to tick off each transaction on his credit card statement, he took great pleasure in paying for the whole family to celebrate Alana’s achievement together.
Bike riding, rib sailing, rock climbing how much sadder all our lives will be without my dad in it. And in years to come I’ll tread my own path guided and inspired by the man I love very much.