My father Kenneth (1922-2003) was a builder. By profession he was a quantity surveyor, but he spent most of his actual work life supervising constructions - bridges, roads, a power station, civic buildings, an army encampment… He was justly proud of these achievements.
He was a warrior. During the Second World War he was a bomber pilot and did two tours of operations over Germany, which was exceedingly dangerous. Not many survived. In consequence he ended the war with a heap of medals. A hero. A man of masculine virtues and hidden grief.
He was a handsome man and could be charming, but was also rather solitary by nature. In his spare time he became a skilled carpenter and made many pieces of furniture. He enjoyed the solitude of his workshop and the garden, and was more at ease with plants and timber than with people.
He taught me to play tennis and to play chess. He gave me a philosophy of “grasping the nettle” and being bold. He was a man of action rather than philosophy, had no tight ideological affiliation and had voted for all the major political parties on different occasions.
I draw from him a sense of strength and practicality, that it is as important to know how to lose gracefully as to give everything one has got to a task. “Faint heart never won fair lady,” but “Don’t fight battles you can’t win.”
He was my second great teacher, after my mother. In childhood, I admired him. In adolescence and young adulthood, I fought him. In later years, I respected him. Nowadays I often hear his voice and have repartee with him in my head. Sometimes the words that issue from my mouth are his, and when I notice this I smile.
Last updated by David Brazier Nov 28, 2017.