Tuesday, 10 May 2011

In which l introduce our hero


My father was what you would call “a bit of a character” and I’m sure that he was the origin for Richmael Crompton's “Just William”. He never really improved during the intervening years. Always up to something despite the fact that his body was no longer that of a young tearaway! 

From stories that were told, l think he must have run wild as a boy, if he'd been a youngster today l guess he would have been given an ASBO. John was the third child in a family of four whose busy parents owned and ran the local Post Office in a small market town of Newent on the outskirts of the Forest of Dean. The Post Office was a large Georgian building full of nooks and crannies complete with haunted attics filled with the ghosts of long dead Bisco ancestors.  The  large garden, carefully tended with loving care by his parents, backed onto open fields and rivers, the idyllic place for any pre-war child to play, learn to fish and shoot. 

In fact he already showed signs of non-conformity, when he armed with an elderly air rifle he shot simply anything that moved, which incidentally included the weather vane on the church opposite, but that is another story. 

Then there was the story about the church and church yard which my mother thought totally shocking, the little vandal took a chisel and defaced an ancient tombstone that contained the mortal remains of one of his namesakes, thus removing 'his' name as he [my father] wasn't dead yet! More tales recall how he attempted to chop down an apple tree because his big brothers wouldn't let him climb up to join them. 

Today, l suppose, he would be given ASBO or put in care but then children were allowed to be kids, to play and explore unsupervised despite the fact that there was a war going on.

From teenage years to national service in the RAF he lived life with his foot hard on the throttle. Driving along rural lanes with me sat beside him,  he would announce that he had 'jumped' that hedge on a motor bike or skinned his knees on that corner. How he ended up married with children l just don't know. Whenever we went anywhere he would always stride out in front doing the hunter man thing with me racing after trying to catch up. Everything was a competition, who could catch the most fish, jump the most hedges out hunting. It was great fun and a really good practice for life out there. 

If you see me today, l am always marching out in front, leading the way, ready to fight my way through the outlaws and pirates to save the day. Thanks Dad.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to reading more about your father's life - it reads like a novel already!