I have been thinking a lot about my Dad lately, after he very sadly passed away not long before Christmas 2023.
Dad's big passions were the English language, writing, and helping others learn English through his teaching with a characteristic twist of humour! When I was little, my Dad regularly featured on radio programmes such as "Start the Week" with Richard Baker and "Woman's Hour". Dad also wrote a book, "A Day in the Life of..." focused on a number of humorous short stories aimed at helping students learn English and grammar. He studied at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities and carried on working throughout his retirement, helping teach students through a very successful English online website. I could go on as my Dad achieved so much, but modesty was another of his many qualities, despite having so much to brag about, but that simply wasn't Dad's style.
To me personally, Dad was simply the best father, both thoughtful and kind and always seeing the good in everyone. Despite him not having a huge interest in birds, he (and Mum) always encouraged me with my passion for birds as I grew up. Dad so often drove me to numerous RSPB and nature reserves, he would always be the dedicated driver on my annual 24 hour Herts county bird races with friends; and he also drove me specifically to try and see a number of rare birds. The Brill, Buckinghamshire Sea Eagle in Nov/Dec 1983 and the Holme, Norfolk Ruppell's Warbler Aug 1992 both spring to mind! On more than one occasion, he even picked me up after I became stranded as a result of me missing last trains or having failed hitch-hiking quests for my ever growing obsession to see new birds! I will always be hugely grateful for both Dad (and Mum's) encouragement and support for my passion for wildlife and so much more, which undoubtedly paved the way to begin my career with RSPB and start my own wildlife watching business.
I miss him greatly along with his characteristic infectious humour and I will ensure that my many happy memories with him and his humour, live long into the future.
|Me birding with my Dad on a ferry near Isle of Skye around 1983