The weather’s not at all nice today, raining since before I woke up, decided to wallow in the warmth of more memories …
This must have been taken sometime in the 1950s – it shows my gran (my mum’s mum), the lady in the white sari seated in the middle with her children and their partners. In the Hindu tradition, white is the colour of mourning, and after her husband passed away, my gran wore plain white cotton saris with a dark blue border for the rest of her life. My mum is sat on the left of my gran, with my dad behind her. The next in the family was my uncle, standing on the far right with his wife in front of him. Following on from my uncle was my aunt, seated on my gran’s right, with her husband behind her – he was from Cornwall; they met when he was in the RAF, stationed in Singapore, and she was a nurse. Then my other uncle, on the far left, with my youngest aunt sat in front of him, the only one in this photo who's still alive. My youngest uncle married a Chinese lady, and my aunt married a Sri Lankan.
When my dad was in the UK in the 1950s on his railway training course, he and my mum stayed with a local family. I think it was the landlady’s daughter’s wedding, I’m not too sure, but my mum was very popular when it came time for photos as she was the only one in a sari, and that was a rare sight back then.
This was taken at a Malay wedding; the bride and groom are the ones sat at the front. Again, not sure about the details, but attending functions like this was part of my dad’s ‘duties’ at the railways. The lady on the other side and slightly back from my mum is my aunt. It’s a bit difficult to see, but the house is a traditional one that’s raised off the ground, and the people are wearing traditional Malay dress.
My dad’s game of choice was golf, and pretty good he was at it too; I remember loads of his trophies around the house. For the record, he's the tall guy in the centre of the picture.
We’d always had dogs for pets, from before I was born. And this is my dad with the last dog he had – Prince. Properly trained as a guard dog, he was still loving enough that we could fuss and play with him, without worrying. He absolutely adored my father. He did his duty well … one evening when my parents were out, some guys broke into their house. The neighbours said they'd heard Prince barking then it went quiet; he'd been given poisoned meat. It didn't kill him, but messed with his health and left him just a shadow of the dog he used to be. He was suffering enough that my dad made the heartbreaking decision to have him put down; he refused to have another dog after that.
I don’t want to end with such a sad memory, so here’s one showing my dad at his favourite pastime – reading. When this picture was taken, we were in the midst of unpacking books that my sister and I had sent back from the UK; my dad got a tad distracted! My mum used to say that the house could be falling down around him, but my dad would not notice, that’s how absorbed he’d be in whatever he was reading :) Now, 3 of his 4 daughters, and most of his grandkids take after him in that respect to the point where, when I first became a mum, the only reading I dared to do was magazines and newspapers – I didn’t dare start a book, I was too worried that when Gordon started crying or needed feeding/changing, I’d tell him to wait while I finished the chapter!