Ellie meet your Grandad.
When speaking to my niece the other day, I felt quite sad when she said she doesn't remember her Grandad, my dad. She asked me to write a blog about him. So Ellie, I hope this will help you to get know your Grandad, albeit posthumously.
My father, Brian Neville Young was two people to me. One before his stroke and one after. The first memories I have of Dad are when I was very young, I would wait for him to walk up the road when he had finished work and I would run to meet him, he would swing me up and carry me home. I was a Daddy's girl. Mum says that as I got a bit older they used to call me "The news of the World" because by the time Dad got into the house he knew everything that had happened at home that day!
Dad worked for British Rail, as a guard on the trains. My older sister, brother and I liked to travel on the train in the guards van with Dad. We would watch him wave his green flag to tell the driver all the passengers were on and it was safe for the train to pull out of the station.
As a British Rail employee Dad was a member of the railway social club and we would go, on the train, to Faversham for a night out. At Christmas there was always a big party at the club and we had a lovely tea and a present from Santa.
In the summer the club would organise a day out and the dads would play cricket and we kids played in the paddling pools. Dad always enjoyed this family time.I remember my Dad baking bread. Every now and then we would wake on a Sunday morning to the wonderful aroma of freshly baking bread. One year Dad made Hot Cross buns, they were the size of dinner plates and tasted delicious. I don't know where Dad learned his baking skills, perhaps his mother, my Nan. She was always baking. Although as a Northern family I wouldn't have thought the menfolk were encouraged to cook, surely that would have been considered "women's work"!
I think I must have been about 9 or 10 years old, when Dad decided that he would get rid of the coal fires in the house. He bricked up the grates and then decided to climb up on top of the roof to take the chimneys down. Well, I am sure there are safer ways of removing chimneys! I recall Dad hanging on to the chimney whilst hitting it with a huge sledgehammer. My mother was terrified as she watched from below. Luckily it was only the chimney that came down and not Dad.
Family holidays were usually taken in Devon and Cornwall. Dad didn't drive and the train journey made going on holiday more exciting. You might think we would have been blase about train travel, but I, for one loved it. When we arrived at our destination we would take a huge black taxi to the caravan site. Just about every holiday Dad would bury us kids in the sand, right up to the neck! or build a rowboat in the sand. I am not sure who had the most fun, the children or the parent. Dad was a child at heart.
Every Saturday we used to go shopping in town, and every Saturday Dad stopped off at the local bookmaker to place his bets. Saturday afternoon you couldn't get a word out of Dad except the "Go on boy, go on!" as his horse approached the winning post. When we were a bit older Dad would always ask us to pick a horse on Grand National day. I felt very grown up.
Mum and Dad gave some wonderful parties. I can still hear the neighbours joyful, if a little intoxicated singing as Dad mixed their drinks slightly stronger than he should have. Dad's favourite line was when he asked my mother, who's name is Iris if she would like a drink. He never failed to get a laugh when he told her "Pass your glass I". It still makes me smile even now as I write.
I remember Dad as easy going, he seemed to be content with his lot. Yes he could lose his temper, he was human. And one thing I know which had a profound effect on me was the way he called me "Thick" or "stupid". He never meant it literally, I'm sure, it was just a throw away remark when I did something wrong. But I grew up believing I was, in fact thick and stupid.
These are some of my childhood memories of my Dad. I could go on but I will stop at this point. I will write about my grown up memories in another blog. I will finish this one by saying, I loved my Dad and I still miss him.