We were nearly always in England around the 14th of August,his Birthday corresponded with the girls’ Summer Holidays so there was no great problem in those days. As the years went on and he was alone and older. We still made the effort. He didn’t say a lot but I know he appreciated it.
His 90th was one of the most enjoyable,he loved being the center of attraction,not only was he the cats whiskers in Pridoux Brune, the senior residence where he had a little flat,but family members came to visit that he hadn’t seen for years.
We had arranged a little party and had been up at the crack of dawn trying to find a micro wave oven small enough to fit well into his very small kitchen.(He hadn’t really cooked anything for himself since she had gone so at least he could try fast food) We had forgotten of course that he had pacemaker,although it doesn’t really affect them.
He did use it. Just the same as he bought himself a new car to celebrate ! And used that as well.
The following year I went over, and bought the obligatory box of Liquorice All Sorts it was the last box I bought him.
He is still very much in my mind. Somehow he never really got old.He was and remained for me a person who I always respected, one of those people who didn’t have to say anything to radiate authority.
He gave me a lot of things to take on life’s journey.
Once when I was about ten he went up to London for a meeting,and came back with a beautiful tan pigs skin school satchel for me. I used it throughout my school years, weighed down by books the strap never broke,and it always reminded me of how much he did love me although I don’t think he ever said it.
After he died we found the satchel in the boot of the nearly new car,he had used it for his tools.
There was so much left unsaid,but then both of us were better writers than talkers.