INTERLUDE – WHAT MY DAD WAS REALLY LIKE
The ridicule to which I have subjected my father reflects the way I saw things then: And he really was very funny. But with hindsight and the wisdom which one gains over time, I now see things quite differently. The truth is that dad was all show – he wasn’t really like he seemed. It was all front and bluster – covering up an over sensitive interior. In later life I realised he and I were very similar. He was a sweet, tender, romantic man, and his story is worth telling.
If one word could sum up all the confusion surrounding my relationship with my Dad it would be Burma. The Burma I am talking about, is a region of the world at a time in history which gave rise to most of what I am - For my relationship with my father (or the lack of it), has been pivotal to my development as a person and Burma was the anvil against which my dear father had his future beaten into him and maybe his spirit beaten out of him.
During a period of three years between the beginning of 1941 and late 1943, he went from being a privileged rather frivolous fun loving public schoolboy of eighteen without a worry in the world to an inwardly wise and tested man with little to say on the subject. So intense were the experiences of men like him that even to bring them to mind was just too emotional. And for all of his life he remained almost mute about those experiences which had been so deeply embossed on his psyche.
In an attempt to try and make some sense out of where my life's journey has at last brought me, I have recently been visiting my father's life. I have become quite an authority on the war in Burma, one of the greatest yet largely untold stories of recent history. I have learned both about the very best and the very worst in men - war does that - for as it reveals our innate capacity for evil and extreme cruelty, so it shows us at our very best. War has the capacity to bring us as individuals, as near to spiritual perfection as we ever get. He died at Teignmouth Hospital on Sept 2nd 1989 of prostate cancer.