Spent a quiet day yesterday lost in thoughts of my dad, as not only was it Fathers Day, it was also the anniversary of the day I lost my precious dad, so today I will try and write a tribute to him.
Dad was a self made man, after his stint at National Service in the RAF where he learned to play the accordian with great aplomb, (his claim to fame was that he fell out of a Lancaster Aeroplane without a parachute. It was on the ground at the time, thankfully). He then was employed as a cabinet maker, as everyone had a trade in those days, he hated it with a vengance and made it his ambition to never work for an employer again.
Dad loved dogs and sport, so the obvious combination was greyhounds. He managed with a natural eye and lots of studying of bloodlines to buy, breed and train many winners in his lifetime, making trips to southern ireland to buy puppies for training. All the dogs and pups lived with us as family pets and they are wonderful gentle creatures.
Both dad and grandad had a flair for bowls, first outdoor green bowling, and then indoor bowling too, and between them they won many championships and trophys over the years, my display cabinet still has several of his trophies in pride of place.
I can remember as a child that my brothers and I never got pocket money as such, but there was always a ritual on a Saturday morning of dad sitting us down, emptying his pockets of all his silver and with great ceremony picking up each coin and getting us to guess the date !!! This was done in strict rotation till one of us got it right and won the coin, the process was then repeated till the pile was doled out.
When I was about ten dad opened his first betting shop, it was in Great Yarmouth, and had a flat above the shop where we spent all our holidays. I can remember that the tannoy was clearly aubible upstairs, and that we used to giggle when the commentator said "they are running at Bath" which we thought meant the jockeys were having their ablutions lol (well we were young).
As I got older it was my job to sort the winning tickets into numerical order ready for payout, it was my first "real" job and I got real wages for it too, but dreaded Grand National and Derby days as there were so many boxes to be sorted. Over the years further shops materialised, another in Yarmouth, then one in Lowestoft, Bungay and finally Norwich.
Presents from dad were always slightly bizzare too, on my brothers 10th birthday dad arrived home from a trip to London with an african bateleur eagle it had a 8ft wingspan and ate chicks and rats and mice ( and any neighbourhood cats if it had its way ) It had leather straps attached to its legs for tethering, and when it flapped its wings, it almost lifted my brother off his feet.
We went to see someone to get a pair of rats so that we could breed them to feed the beast, but on getting them home, the first night one had a litter of 12 and the second night the other had a litter of 14. They were chinese hooded rats, and so cute that we couldnt possibly feed them to the beast, so we kept the rats and donated Fred the Eagle to a local wildlife park, as feeding him best chuck steak was getting expensive.
On my birthday I wanted a rabbit, dad bought me a white angora one, and he then visited a neighbours shed with my bunny to introduce her to his buck, a few weeks later i had lots of bunnies !!! Over the years one of my bunnies got out, now it is not unusual to see very fluffy wild rabbits in the area some of them still showing white patches lol.
So dad i had a good day yesterday, hope you did too, I smiled and reminesced about the good times, and also about my other dad, father in law Leslie, you were two of the best, and I miss you every day. Sleep in peace xxxxxx