Warm and wise, clever and funny, highly intelligent, mathematical scientific and logical. Always dressed in green from head to toe. A brilliant photographer, an avid birdwatcher and a lifelong naturalist, his love for life and enthusiasm for the natural world was infectious.
His passion for travel, combined with his talent for meticulous planning took him and mum on adventures all over the UK, Europe and the world, seeking out wild places, rare birds, art galleries, natural wonders and simple pleasures. Never happier than parking up in his beloved camper in a remote corner of a field watching red kites or on the edge of a Scottish loch spotting ospreys.
Eccentric, unconventional, and a natural rule breaker Dad also had a naughty streak especially when it involved Esme. They were as thick as thieves and memorably plotted together to dye his beard bright green in celebration of her 10th birthday. When I asked him why, he laughed and said - why not?
With strong opinions on many things from politics to history and science to art, Dad loved a good argument, so there was no shortage of lively family debates over the years. Dad being dad, always had to be right, the annoying thing was, more often than not, it turned out that he was!
A natural entertainer dad revelled in his role as ‘the host with the most’ he could make people laugh and cry, hold a room and he always made a big impression. He loved our family parties and always insisted on sorting out the drinks. ‘That’s my department’ he would say bottle in one hand, corkscrew in the other.
A passion for food and drink Dad loved strong french cheese, preferably washed down with a decent glass of red wine, or two. An ice cream addict and a champagne drinker he would insist on buying ice-creams for us whatever the weather, and no excuse was needed to crack open a bottle of fizz. Preferably one personally ,sampled in and sourced from the Champagne region of France.
Dad was far from perfect, but like all of us it was his flaws that made him human. A natural hoarder and obsessive collector he had an aversion to throwing anything away. His sock collection is legendary, and gave rise to mum’s inspired nickname for him, ‘Emelda marksocks’. So, he leaves behind a lot of ‘things’, a house full of books and socks and bottles of wine and magazines and photographs. Oh yes, and cardboard, lots of cardboard.
But none of that matters, what Dad really leaves behind is a legacy of love and wonderful memories. Dad didn’t believe in god or the afterlife, but he did believe that we all live on in the hearts and minds and memories of the people we love and leave behind. And that of course is all of us. I will remember his hat and his smile and his beard, his wit and wisdom, his positivity, his optimism and his love of all things green. As a family we will remember a wonderful husband an amazing dad and a fabulously eccentric grandad, referred to always as ‘Grumpy’.
Dad believed death is part of the natural order of things, just an essential part of the cycle of life, and as he would say - it’s just all part of life’s multi coloured string vest.
We will miss you so much.