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By my father.

November 12, 2012

Today (November 12th) would have been my father’s birthday. The day after Armistice Day. Which he marked in his latter years, having felt an increasing bond towards the Services as he got older. He had served in World War Two on the Atlantic convoys and his ship had gone done with all hands when he was on shore leave. He always thought he was an incredibly lucky man, but that kind of thing must be hard to process.

I have mentioned before that he loved poetry. Reading it. Writing it. Reciting it. And for my suprrise 40 th birthday party he delivered this poem that he had written in his own inimitable fashion. He had a strong Welsh accent and waved his arms alot. The scanning works when he read it aloud. And his timing was perfect.

‘Twas May in a village in Scotland

Strathmiglo in the kingdom of Fife

I was waiting for the birth of new Sarah

As incidentally was Jose my wife.

For reasons I now can’t remember

Sarah was born in Dundee

Coincidentally the birthplace

of the Beano and the Dandy.

Like all Scottish girls of the era

She dressed in tartan all day

And she owned not a gerbil or rabbit

But a Haggis with which she did play.

She was fed on the true Scottish diet

Of well salted porridge and jam

And for supper at night she had shortbread

Washed down with an unwatered dram.

She learnt to talk quite early

And she spoke braw and bonnily

But she had one big disadvantage

She swore like Bill Connelly.

At five she was skilled at Scotch dancing

Her playing the pipes was a treat

And at seven she was tossing a caber

A distance of thirty five feet.

At eight she left Scotland for Cymru

The land of tall hats and red skirts

Where I tried to teach Welsh to young Sarah

But the memory is painful and hurts.

(Story of pass the hammer)

Then after all we had taught her

She left for new places to learn

Of fresh subjects and matters of interest

That would help her survive and to earn.

Since the day that she left our old cottage

Twenty four years have gone by

And we’ve often wished to see her

Since she said her last good bye.

We learnt nothing from friends or relations

But last week on an e-mail or fax

We learnt she was living in Ealing

With a man who collected our Tax.

It was a lovely evening and one of the things i am most grateful for is that i got the chance to publicly thank my parents for the childhood they had given us. Often these things are only said at funerals, but having to make a speech that evening was the perfect opportunity which i took with both hands.

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7 Responses to “By my father.”


  1. […] My previous blogs about him are here, here  here and here. […]

  2. georgiemcclarke Says:

    I can hear his voice so clearly when I read it; it’s great xx

  3. Janet Says:

    There’s lovely!! Great speech x

  4. Lorna Kyle Says:

    I hadn’t heard this poem before Sarah and I was laughing my head off alll the way through. The last few lines brought tears of joy. What a great guy!


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