It is some while since I have posted last, much has happened, I have done the dopy thing of re-enrolling in University, so that is going to consume much of my spare time. There is an upside, I will have to travel to the UK four times in the coming year, so there will be plenty on that.
In November, my father died after a long illness, it was very a sad time for me and my family. Due to the distance many of us had to travel, it took some time for all of us to travel to the UK and arrive in North Yorkshire. The day of the funeral consisted of a Cremation service at the Crematorium, a memorial service at the Kirby Wiske and then on to the Buck Inn for a wake.
The eulogy for my Father was a three part affair with me, my brother and uncle (Dads Brother) sharing the duties, because there were three of us and we didn’t want to cover the same parts of his life. So, I did something I never do, I typed out my speech……. Although I didn’t follow it word for word, (I was not even close is some parts) it allowed us all to frame our speeches so they followed some common threads but did not cover the same subject matter, I have attached the text at the end of this post. My Uncle covered his early life, my Brother our life at “Merriwee ” the sheep station (farm) that we grew up on, and I covered his later life and anything else of importance.
It was fascinating to listen to both my Uncle and brother speak of my Father, my Uncle spoke about episodes in his early life that I only had sketchy knowledge of, I knew he was in the Army, spoke some German and worked in Germany and was in Berlin during the Airlift. I didn’t know he worked as an interpreter on Check Point Charlie and was a regular in the Club that the Beetles played in in Hamburg. These revelations and more were followed by my brother’s colourful description of our lives in rural Australia, some like keeping power gel (modern dynamite) in the fridge (because it didn’t sweat and worked better cold) and how Dad used to causally hand it to any new and unsuspecting Jackaroo (young farm hand who lived with the family) while he was getting a beer from the fridge and wait for the fear in their eyes when they realised what they were holding.
This was followed by me, from what I can tell the eulogy in its entirety was well received and provided insight as to parts of Dads life that many of the congregation had never heard about. This was despite the use of “colourful” Australian descriptors that I suspect have never been uttered in that church before or since. But as we said it was about Dad, they were words he used and were used in their appropriate context, if not the appropriate place.
This was followed by the wake, I have to admit my memories of the evening are not as sharp as they might have been. It was wonderful to meet many of dads old friends whom were there were legendary stories told of and to hear those stories from their side. The owners of the Buck Inn went over and above, I appreciated the hospitality they showed to my family and friends, the wake went on late into the night, the later in the night it got the less edited and more exaggerated the stories became, it was fabulous, but I shall not repeat any of them!!!
My Eulogy to My Father
Eulogy for Anthony Green 1937 – 2016
By James Green
I would like to read a poem and then say a few words about my father, First the poem, it is un-surprisingly about fishing, one of Dad’s passions.
by Eunice Lamberton 1873 (written only slightly before dad was born)
Give me a rod of the split bamboo, a rainy day and a fly or two,
a mountain stream where the eddies play, and mists hang low o’er the winding way,
Give me a haunt by the furling brook, A hidden spot in a mossy nook,
No sound save hum of the drowsy bee, or lone bird’s tap on the hollow tree.
The world may roll with it’s busy throng, And phantom scenes on it’s way along,
It’s stocks may rise, or it’s stocks may fall, Ah! What care I for it’s baubles all?
I cast my fly o’er the troubled rill, Luring the beauties by magic skill,
With mind at rest and a heart at ease, And drink delight at the balmy breeze.
A lusty trout to my glad surprise, Speckled and bright on the crest arise,
Then splash and plunge in a dazzling whirl, Hope springs anew as the wavelets curl.
Gracefully swinging from left to right, Action so gentle- motion so slight.
Tempting, enticing, on craft intent, Till yielding tip by the game is bent. Drawing in slowly, then letting go Under the ripples where mosses grow,
Doubting my fortune, lost in a dream, Blessing the land of forest and stream.
I feel those words not only encapsulate Dads love of fishing but many other similar things in his life.
Speaking of his life I would like to share some of my thoughts and tales of the man.
I am afraid that my words are more suitable for a pub than a church, but hey, I suspect that he will be happy with that. He liked a good storey and had a firm belief that a good storey should have its feet firmly in the truth but hard facts should never interfere with the telling of the storey.
I always think of him as intelligent, kind, brave and a little mad, or,,, actually on reflection stark raving bonkers, what would possess a city boy from Chelsea to go and live in the out back of Australia, how did he think his children would turn out??? anyway I will let you judge that.
He had a love for gardening, some of my earliest memories are of the garden at Camas in Essex and the bru haha about the seakale pots. Then at Merriwee where through the worst of droughts he produced some wonderful food, and then in his latter years here in Yorkshire he still grew a bountiful harvest, as was his way what he produced was more important than how pretty the garden was. I seem to remember that he entered his sweet peas in the local flower show here, a beautiful bouquet presented stylishly in an old jam jar!!! That is not saying that he did not enjoy things that were easy on the eyes, he most certainly did. He enjoyed and more importantly appreciated many of the fine things I life.
There is a quote about the finer things in life, I believe that it is attributed to George Best “I spent a lot of money on Wine, Women, and Fast Cars, the rest I just squandered”…….. Dad did not squander much, but the other three are very pertinent.
Wine, Dad had a good palette, liked an occasional drink, beer was always a favourite in the hot Queensland summers. But, his favourite was red wine, for the Bordeaux lovers here, he wasn’t really your friend, his favourite tipple was burgundy, a nice Nuis St George, drunk out of one of his glasses from his glass collection, with a few of his friends round having a good old chin wag.
Women, the lucky bugger, there have been 5 majorly important and wonderful women in his life,
His mother, who gave him his love for art, furniture and glass; Oh and most importantly a taste for gin and tonics while playing bridge.
He loved his two beautiful Daughters (my sisters), they played a rather Jeckle and Hyde role in his life they are both capable of either giving him a headache or taking one away. When things were the hardest, and sometimes they got very hard at Merriwee it was his daughters who could make him smile and he always looked forward to their company. The giving of headaches, they can tell you in the pub later.
Finally His two wives, hummm, that sounds rather polygamous, but it is not a bad as it sounds, he had them in series, not parallel.
His first wife my mother, the first love of his life, they were partners in everything, and worked together with common goals. It is not to say they were perfect and didn’t fight, they did. This brings me to an expression that Dad had a commonly used, which makes me chuckle every time I think of it, “oh fuckya Darling” this was a declaration of annoyance and love all wrapped into one. In many ways this epitomises their relationship, strong, fierce, respectful, loving, all these types of words come to mind. He was devastated by her death in 2004. But he got a new lease on life….
His second wife Gillian, the rekindled flame, who was his love and rock during his later years, and I can’t thank her enough … for keeping him out of my hair, I just don’t think apartment life in Seoul would have suited him!!!! He loved his life here with Gillian, and I am sure that love and Gillian’s hard work kept him going for the last few years.
And Finally Fast Cars, he was an avid follower of F1 racing, watching not driving, the thought makes me shudder and his nick name from the younger generation was Hoon Hoon. This is a very Australian nick name, both in the words themselves and the usage of them, for those who are not familiar with the term I looked it up in the Dictionary, it is defined as follows,
Hoon:- is a term used in Australia and New Zealand, to refer to anyone who engages in loutish, anti-social behaviours. In particular, it is used to refer to one who drives a car excessively quickly, loudly or irresponsibly
So dad was hoon²,
He was so hoonish that he could give the 4wd bunny hops from low revs while driving round Merriwee inspecting the stock.
He was so hooninsh that one Christmas eve he was driving home, down the dirt roads from the pub, after having a couple too many. He was driving so slowly that when the police pulled him over they completely forgot to breath test him. Ever since then he had an unshakable belief in Santa.
He was so hoonish that he almost stalled the 4wd every time he drove onto the beach to go fishing, and yet he never batted an eyelid,
He was so hoonish that all the younger generation (yes that even includes me) loved doing things with him, specially going hooning with him down the beach to go fishing,
He was called Hoon Hoon in a typically understated Australian way of love, respect and friendship. May he go on hooning forever.