Thursday, 12 May 2011

Abi's Speech

I found this almost impossible to write. I thought the words would flow easily: our family has spent the whole time since Easter Sunday reminiscing about dad and his cheeky ways. We have laughed as much as we have cried, which is about right, seeing as dad was never one to feel sorry for himself. He always looked on the bright side. He was a firm believer that there are only two types of people: drainers and chargers. He was a charger through and through.

 But actually selecting some of these anecdotes and trying to sum my dad up has proved difficult. He lived life to the full, and never took no for an answer. Who else would heckle John Terry and get himself a mention in a Chelsea program, even after he had lost his voice? Who would get away with drunkenly upturning the entire table at the Villa Medici without so much as a slap on the wrist? Who would have the audacity to just swan onto the private boat to the Cipriani in VeniceWho would get their child to call her beloved sheep-shaped slippers ‘pasanda and cleftico’ for a year before she realized the ruse? He had a way about him that meant he could get away with anything, and he certainly made the most of it.
From a daughter’s point of view, he was an amazing father. I hold my hands up and admit that he spoilt me rotten; he read me Winnie the Pooh or Paddington Bear until I fell asleep; took us on amazing holidays to exotic places; encouraged and facilitated my never-ending studies; and even supported my decision to do a winter season. I kept him updated via email and blog about my adventures in Meribel, for which I was rewarded by his characteristic and witty replies, along with a scattering of jokes, which got me told off by my boss on a number of occasions for snorting at reception.

He also kept me updated about the day to day activities of my family.
He was so proud of my brother, who has done things exactly as dad always said he would, and who was always his favourite jam-partner and Chelsea-mate.
 And he was so in love with and grateful to my mother, who stood by him through everything. My parents have made me believe, without any shadow of a doubt, in the reality of ‘soul mates’.

So no, it isn’t fair that he got ill. But in many ways we are lucky. It was characteristic of dad that the first things he programmed into his light-writer were ‘this is my Stephen Hawkins impression’ and ‘pass me the Guinness’. Everytime he was knocked down he bounced right back with a joke. He showed us how to laugh through the shit as well as the good times, and taught us to cram as much as we can into our lives while we have the chance. He certainly did.

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