My dad’s 90 today, wow! Not quite sure how that happened, his body might not be as agile but his mind, sense of humour and iron will is very much that of younger men!
My dad is pretty special, he really is my constant inspiration and I owe everything I am and have to his education of life and inner belief that you really can do anything if you work hard focus and believe. I think his generation are unique, born into a world we are lucky enough sometimes not to know.
Born in Aberdeen in 1931 and evacuated to Banchory in the war, my dad left school at 13 and served his time as a joiner. His great grandad was a surveyor and had mapped the roads of Scotland bringing him back stories of his conquests. His grandad was one of the Scottish migrants who left the north east to find new lands in South Africa and never returned (my granny came back when her mother died on a boat when she was 3).
He served his time and joined his local regiment the Gordon Highlanders. He became the youngest sergeant and had an impressive career as RSM around the world and an instructor at Sandhurst. Adorned with medals he served in places he still can’t talk about, and sometimes when his eyes cloud over I know are too painful to recall, the price these men paid all too evident on his face. Now one of the last surviving Gordon Highlander soldiers he tries to stay connected to the past which must be hard when you’re the last man standing!
Finishing his career in Northern Ireland, he met my mum and returned to Scotland with us to begin his next chapter of his life, from running his own business and running factories to pony trekking and building sheds my dad really can turn his hand to anything. You know, one of those annoyingly practical people who built his own house at 70 and can problem solve his way out of anything! A true gentleman and proud Scotsman, who even now has great banter and a sparkle in his eye that got him into and out of trouble!
The kind of man so strong that when he hugs you or shakes your hand you know it’s going to be okay.
From the age of two I remember crawling up beside him and asking for a story, whether that was of the little mouse he met on his travels (he has a great imagination!) to the tales of him living with the Iban tribe in Borneo swapping information for toothpaste (true!).
Fluent still in Swahili (from his time in Borneo) and still singing in his native Doric tongue my dad is the original storyteller and has inspired our new Rum: For The Storytellers series which starts with him!
We love (and you all did too as it was one of our most liked pictures on social media!) the image of his hands, wrinkled, missing the top of a finger and comforting, if hands can tell a story then these ones are like my library. So don’t see an old man, see a book waiting to be discovered with stories that will blow your mind and leave you hungry for your next adventure.
Happy birthday Dad x