Yesterday was the third anniversary of my dad’s passing. It only seems like yesterday and yet so much has changed for me since then. I remember being very moved by a beautiful bouquet of flowers sent to my old home in Surrey by my then work colleagues in Gartner, I was very lucky the people there were very supportive.
Little did I know that major changes in my life would be shortly forthcoming and despite the sadness of the loss of my father, I know he’d have approved of the new direction we’ve taken in terms of early retirement and moving to Wales.
Yesterday was also another chance for me to practice my taxi driving skills as I took Debbie, Sian and Wendy for an early Christmas meet up at Val’s house near Bridgend as part of their “forever friends” group.
Val’s been through some tough times undergoing chemotherapy but was in good spirits when we arrived and the spread she put on was fantastic.
Her husband Glen looked after me while the girls chatted and showed me his impressive model train setup in the garage outside. I have to admit I’d owned a Hornby Flying Scotsman train set as a boy and I’d got into lots of trouble having discovered it weeks before my birthday. Feigning being sick to get off school, I’d then unwrap it, play with it during the day, before wrapping it back up and placing it back into its hiding place before my father got back from work!
Of course eventually I got found out and my then headmaster of Bridlington grammar school Mr Coomber wrote a lovely letter to my father basically saying I’d turn out alright and that it was normal of boys my age to rebel slightly, fortunately I believe he was right…
In any event as we prepared to return home Glen appeared with a Bachmann digital passenger set with a British Rail class 25 diesel locomotive and 2 blue/grey mark 2 coaches.
It had been virtually unused and although I didn’t like accepting such an expensive item he and Val insisted and so today I’ve been reliving my youth on our kitchen dining table.
The locomotive is really heavy and very detailed, but the thing I found most difficult was fixing the power clip to the rail & without this advice from YouTube I’d have never done it. Eventually though I got it working as you can see from this clip, I even managed to control the train lights and have to admit that digital train sets have come a long way from the old analogue ones.
Another strange thing happened yesterday when out of the blue I was contacted from Canada by the granddaughter of one of the diaries we’d published on Kindle. Needless to say I immediately organised to send her the original which I believe I’d picked up on eBay probably after a house clearance in the UK. Sadly the diary hadn’t been kept in the family so I was glad to rectify that omission but even better when I looked in my filing system I realised I had four of his medals too.
This morning I went to the Post Office and despatched them all together so fingers crossed Isabel gets them within a week safely to share with her mother who’s still alive and named after her father. I was also sent a picture of her grandfather which really brings to life an amazing story, maybe one day all the diaries will make it back to their descendants – I really hope so – I know how much I treasure all memories of my father which are dotted around our house here in Llanfoist.
So all in all a very satisfying couple of days!