Sunday, 22 April 2012

A decade on

an ironic portrait of my father when he was at  Art School in the 1960s
My mother reminded me that it has been a decade since my father's death.  Living a long way from home I am out of sequence with the rhythms of my family's life, having established my own song here in Australia.  Recently though I have been thinking a lot about him which probably indicates that I am not completely disconnected and, at some unconscious level,  my brain has flagged the passing of this anniversary, commemorating it with a flood of revisited memories.

My mother, sisters, nephews and niece marked the anniversary by floating little paper boats on the river Thames - much as we had done after the funeral ten years ago.  I am sad not to have been there with them and so I decided to dedicate this post to my Dad instead - a 21st century memorial.  

As an artist, film editor and teacher my father influenced many lives.  A big man, both physically and intellectually, he loved being surrounded by people, especially his family, and engaging in lengthy discussions about, well everything and anything.  He truly relished his children's accomplishments and had an amazing capacity to make people feel really good about themselves.   He was a conspicuous consumer - loved to shop, loved gadgets, loved music (he would have loved iPods and iPads if he had lived long enough).  He was a talented painter,  he met my mother at Twickenham Art School, and I have a couple of his paintings here which I look at every day and think of him.

Fortunately, before his death, he was able to visit us here in Australia a number of times, building a relationship with my children and getting a sense of the amazing people they are turning into as they emerge from childhood.  He introduced my son to chocolate (very dad) and he called my daughter his 'wibbly' because he thought she was so full of personality and so funny.  

Like anyone there were times when he was down and we certainly had our fair share of terrific quarrels. But, that's what happens when you truly live life, your narrative will have it's dramatic moments before the curtain finally closes.

'til next time ...


  1. Your dad looks like one cool dude.. I too love far away from my family.. Missed out on so much but such is life.. Hang in there kiddo

  2. A wonderful memorial - and you were gifted with many memories. He lives on in your heart...

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this tribute to your father. That photo is priceless and gives us a glimpse into his personality. He'd be proud to see your artistic accomplishments for sure. It's so nice when parents provide the environment for their children to live an artful life. and it looks as if they succeeded in your case.
    xoxo Kim

  4. Having cool parents is the best thing in the world. Thanks for sharing your pictures and memories with us.

  5. What was your dad's name?

  6. His name was Derek. It always feels weird to refer to him by his actual name, I always think of him as dad.

  7. I was at Twickenham art school briefly in the mid 60s, like your mum and dad and my sister was there a few years after that. It was a real crossroads of a place for a few years, especially with Eel Pie Island and Richmond up the road and all that conveys, lunchbreaks often turned into impromptu guitar gigs. We too had a little ceremony by the Thames when our dad died, but he lived a long life. It's strange how those of us who spent time in West London near the river associate it with our inner life, even when we move away. I'm sure you know about Barney Bubbles and Pennie Smith already, but if you don't, Google them up and remind yourself what you're missing by living in the land of floods and fires ... HVC