Sunday, 15 June 2014

Happy Father's Day Daddy

Gentle Reader~~~just to say Happy Father's Day to all our Daddies whether they be with us or in Heaven, where mine is now.

I cannot say how much I miss my own dear Daddy each passing day, but I know he is with me, looking down upon me, still guiding me as he did for all those year.  One thing is for certain, we are all Princesses in the eyes of our fathers, and remain so even when we have grown up and flown the nest.

My father was a hard working man from a working class background.  He left school to become an apprentice carpenter and joiner, but spent all his spare time in the wilds, for his was one of the most free spirits I have ever known.  He would leave work on a Friday night and sometimes not come home for days, sometimes weeks, for he was living at one with nature, in the forests and hills along the length and breadth of England, Scotland, and Wales.  He would catch fish {mostly} and rabbits, sometimes birds for food, and he would forage the wild fruits and vegetables too.  He knew of such things, they were as natural to him as breathing air, and long before they were fashionable.

He lost more jobs through his 'leaves of abscence' but he was incredibly happy, and he still became a master of his trade despite his broken training.  In time and before he met my mother, he became a game~keeper at the beautiful Powis Castle, then still in private ownership but now in the custodianship of the National Trust.  Later, he returned to carpentry and it was that job that brought him to my home village where he was part of a team that built the extension on to the local Grammar School {where I would later attend as a pupil}.  This was how he met my mother, and the rest is history ~~~ well, he settled in the village and worked as a carpenter across the county.  He learned bricklaying, and soon he was building houses.  In our village there are several houses that he built ~~~ this was all before buying a boat and giving up 'the tools' {as carpentry is called locally} and taking the risk we must all take to live that dream.

He was doing what so many people long to do but never achieve ~~~ he was living his dream.  He put everything on the line, took a huge risk, and went into business running boat trips around Ramsey Island, then in private ownership, now owned by the RSPB {Royal Society for the Protection of Birds}.  In the evenings of the Summer months he organised fishing trips for visitors, and there was always plenty of fish caught to put on our table, as well as sending the fishers back to their caravans and tents with arms full of fresh mackerel.  You cannot eat better than a freshly, line~caught mackerel, pan fried with just a tad of seasoning, served with a slice of bread and {real} butter, and a wedge of lemon.  Perfection on a plate in under an hour!  During the Winter months he would return to 'the tools' for his work was in demand and he always had a waiting list of clients, but his heart longed through each cold Winter for the return of Spring when his beloved boat would be back on the water.

Hunting and gathering to provide for the family ran in his blood, and there was always fresh game, pheasant, rabbit, wood pigeon, wild duck, as well as lobster, crab, salmon, sea bass, mackerel, and more on our table.  I remember being told, as a child, to "chew your food well, and spit out the pellets" just in case a pellet had been overlooked during preparation!  To me, that is a sign of a childhood well lived.  One Winter, he kept the boat on the water and, with a friend, went fishing in the bay when weather permitted.  I remember it was that Winter in Domestic Science {in the Grammar School that brought him to the village} we were studying fish cookery.  All the other girls brought frozen fish, which was all they had available to them, but I brought fresh fish every week for six weeks, and a different one each week too!  My Dom.Sci. teacher, Miss Janet Davies {to whom I owe much, for she added to the breadth of knowledge I had already gained from my Grandmother's teachings in the home kitchen} was astounded, almost speechless for a student to bring fresh hake, gurnard, and cod to class, especially when so scarce.  "But my Daddy is a fisherman and he caught it for me yesterday" was my reply!  Imagine that!

As a child, as soon as the Sea Crest came into our lives, I spent every spare moment on that boat with Daddy and our beloved Skipper {Skippy} our English Springer Spaniel {who was a character in his own right, and a book could be dedicated just to him} Mum wouldn't see us from dawn to dusk, we'd leave the house with our packed sandwiches and drink, and come home hours later utterly ravenous!  Our house then was on a main street and Mum sold tickets from the front door to our passengers and fishers.  In my spare time I would make candles and jewellery and seashell trinkets which I displayed in the front room window.  Passers by would stop and look, and sometimes buy!  I was able to spend Summer after blissful Summer on the boat {while my friends worked in restaurants and shops} and in the evenings I would work to top up the stock of my little window sill shop.  Money can't buy that kind of freedom or give you that kind of deep, heart felt joy.  This photo, of Daddy, me, and Skippy sitting on the cabin of Sea Crest, is one of my most prized possessions, wrinkled and creased, it brings tears of incredible joy and happiness to my eyes ~~~

He built the cottage where I live today.  When, during my divorce, I moved in, he was of tremendous support.  He never questioned or judged, he was simple there, which is all I needed.  He supported my crazy need to return to art college as a mature student, and for that I am eternally grateful, for others were not so supportive, and it was a proud day when I graduated.  I had worked on the boat off and on all my life, but now I took over the day to day running of his office, and spent as much time with him on the boat as I could.  In the evenings, after a long day on the boat, we came home, ate our tea and then if our energy and the daylight allowed, we worked in the garden together.  He would mow or dig, I would weed, and we would both plant and tend with the watering, helping each other out; our the garden was so beautiful back then.  Oh, how things change for in later years, his health took it's toll, and he left us in September 2009, but with such a rich wealth of happy memories to remember him by, it makes me happy to remember those good days, no, not good, but great days of my childhood, and as a grown woman too.

There is so much more I could say, but then we would be sitting here until next Spring!  So I will leave you now with just a few photographs of the light of my life.  I will mention, we are not a family who takes a lot of photographs, which you may find surprising given my love of photography ~~~ but that love came about through Daddy again!  He knew I was interested in photography, and one day, out of the blue, he went into town and came back with a lovely camera for me ~~~ just because ~~~ then, a few years later, on my birthday, imagine my surprise when I opened his present and it was my first digital camera ~~~ that is when my photography really took off, and he was so proud and happy of me ~~~

At my cousin's house ~~~

On Ramsey Island at a friend's wedding, with his friend John ~~ Dad always wanted John's kilt! ~~~

At  Seljalandsfoss Iceland on holiday when I lived there ~~~

In the cabin of his second boat, Treffgarne ~~~

With the two sons of a family friend ~~~

In Iceland wearing his beloved LL Bean boots ~~~

In a local hotel ~~~

Probably looking for his next car ~~~

As we often found him, asleep after a long day's work! ~~~ Daddy could go to sleep anywhere, anytime!

When he died, Mum and I were overwhelmed with tributes.  We had no idea how many lives he had touched, or how much he had helped people without being asked.  We had no idea how many young children he had taken under his wing, encouraged, and helped in their choice of careers either who now came to us as adults and told us of these things.

One person said, "Eric was a true gentleman, but more than that, he was also a gentle man" and I know she was correct.

Our lives were full, of work and happy hearts, and I could not ask for a better Daddy in all the world.  Remembering and Honouring you today, my Darling Daddy, with all my love xoxo


  1. My eyes are full of tears at this wonderful tribute to your Dad!! I love the photo of the two of you on the boat! You both look so happy and definitely in your element there. I only wish he could have been on this earth a while longer!

    He is no doubt so proud of you and all you have done in your life....your creativity, your photography , your way with words, how you touch the lives of so many far from Wales. I have seen some of your creations and they are fabulous!

    1. That photo of us is so important to me I cannot begin to put it in words. With every word I wrote, I thought of many more things I could have said ~~ so there may be a part two! I do hope he would be proud, and yes, I wish he could have been here for longer too, but only in his full health.
      Hugs to you my friend, Debs xoxo

  2. Oh, Deb! What a lovely tribute to your daddy!! All of the time you were able to spend together, just amazing!! I enjoyed it thoroughly! ~ Donna =)

    1. Glad you enjoyed it ~~~ always many a tale to tell ~~~ much mischief managed too {oh, no, another Harry Potter reference!} Debs xoxo

    2. Ha, I bet you have many a Harry Potter reference still to share, too! ~ Donna =)

    3. and LOTR and Anne of Green Gables ~~~ why, I want my garden to be the bloomiest place ~~~

  3. Beautiful tribute, Deb. I loved viewing your Daddy through your eyes. My own Dad was so much the same way to me, and you are right -- a princess in their eyes! I miss mine, too, as he cheered me on at every turn, and I go in that strength and the joy that he is with God and happy. So shall I be and am! Blessings!!

    1. Thank you! Yes, we miss them, but they are watching down on us all! Debs xoxo

  4. Oh Debs, how beautiful! There were tears in my eyes as I read your lovely tribute. Thank you so much for sharing your dad with all of us! I can see so much of him in you…
    I'm a Daddy's Girl, too. My parents live in Phoenix, Arizona. It's so far away. We feel very blessed that they are here visiting us for a few weeks. We are making special memories and taking lots of pictures each day!
    You are so blessed to live in a house built by your dad and to nurture the garden that he planted years ago. Hugs for you and your mum, Debs! ♡

    1. Thank you ~~ passing tissues now! Make those memories now! So happy for you that you are having such a wonderful time visiting ~~ enjoy! Debs xoxo

  5. Deb - I picked this off of the Susan Branch blog - I have been a fan since Day One. I felt like I was reading about my dad...all the adjectives fit him perfectly. It must be the Welsh heritage - his mother - my grandmother - was born in Llandudno. I visited once long ago. My daddy was so special - just like yours. Gratefully he lived to be 96 and in good health almost till the end - and he lived with me the last 16 years of his life - so I was very blessed. I always post a picture on Father's Day and so many people respond what a lovely person he was. Miss him. Linda

  6. Oh, I am so pleased you found your way here Linda! I remember seeing you on Susan's blog ~~ Our Dads are special men, aren't they? Mine lived to be 80, and went from being incredibly active to very poorly overnight. I gave up work {with the National Trust} to care for him in his final years. Like you, I miss my Dad more than words can say.
    I do hope you will visit here again ~~ Deb

    1. p.s. have you found A Garden In The Shire page on FB, which I link to this blog? Would love to see you there too!


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