Following is a tribute to Bob Hartley - my father - who died very suddenly on Monday 17th January 2005, aged 65. He is greatly missed by all who knew him.


My Dad


This saddest of days I would like if I can,
To share with you some thoughts, of my dear old man.
For us all Bob was a friend, a mentor, a light,
To me he was Dad, and he was all right.

His white hair and beard, his red ruddy cheeks,
The Father Christmas look he had quite complete,
But behind all of that, with those deep set grey eyes,
Lay a lifetime of knowledge, unfathomably wise.

With his so many travels, he was happy to regale,
A story of the seas, under power or sail.
There can be very few men, whose life was so varied,
With experience so vast, from the fun, to the scary!

He surprisingly started his career at the mines,
Where he first must have asked, "is it coffee time?"
But the sea was to follow, his life’s main course,
As a master of airwaves, a dab hand at Morse.

From his times in the north, on the trawlers of old,
Landing fish by the tonne, in the freezing ice cold,
To warmer climes, on Salvonia, the tug of Hong Kong,
Saving ships and men, where something bad had gone wrong.

Then a change in direction, from the East to the West
End where he worked in theatres, installing the best
Lighting in town, on stages both large and small,
From London’s Coliseum to Pyong Yang’s Congress Hall.

While working in town, his life was to change,
He met Alison one day on a bus, in the rain,
And amongst all the travelling, and the parties they threw,
A fine wedding took place, a union of the two.

So together, Bob and Alison took on the world,
Another new chapter they slowly unfurled,
With Dad still at Strand, and Mum in retail,
They some how still found the odd moment to sail!

Then to Teddington they moved, and with kids on their mind,
A flat in Holmesdale, they managed to find,
And here, the two luckiest children were born,
Jax and I, into a family rich in love, so warm.

As Mums and Dads go, they were simply the best
And while Al ran the household, Bob joined ISS.
He could sell ice to Eskimos, if he wanted to try,
Though you could be in trouble, if he was looking to buy!

And through all of this, his love of the sea grew,
Aboard Liska Lady, a yacht many of you knew,
Some of you joined us, sailing the waters near here,
Before retiring ashore, for a swift pint of beer!

In fact I am sure there is here a wife or two,
Who has cursed Bob for taking their man for a few
Pints down at the Bricklayers, the White Hart or The Bear,
And come back a little more worse for wear!

His quest for fine ale, finally found the best jar,
When we all moved to Cornwall, and Dad found the Star!
Where in St Just, running the Bosavern House hotel,
Dads variety of skills helped us all to excel.

It fell off in my hand, and It doesn’t work,
And it wasn’t me governor! Bob never shirked,
To mend or to fix it, there was no problem too grand,
Whatever was needed, he would turn his hand.

And throughout all of this, he continued to be,
The ideal husband to Al, her rock, her tree,
As Jaqui and myself prepared to fly the nest,
To us both, his wisdom, he would tirelessly invest.

Then once more they were two, and I'm sure you can guess,
Itchy feet were a plenty, it was time for a quest.
So sell up they did, and got back on the road,
In his dream set of wheels, a caravan in tow.

Around the UK they toured in fine style,
Stopping here and there to see friends for a while,
‘til in Dorset they found, a new house for a home,
With friends on the doorstep, and new places to roam.

Some of you I know, with a smile will recall,
Great fancy dress parties, they threw for us all,
But even 214 was not to last long,
With the sea being so near, that pull was too strong.

So aboard Lady Nematee, the Captain once more,
Bob and Al cast off, big diesels ‘neath the floor.
To the south coast at first, then further a field,
The waterways of France had so much appeal.

Good food and cheap wine, it was heaven at last!
For several good months, they toured having a blast.
In their home but afloat, it was Dads dreams come true,
And with his bionic hip fitted, he was feeling good too.

Once more they returned home to the shores they knew best,
The travel bug for now satiated, they wanted a rest,
So here to the island, they settled down once again,
In a house in East Cowes, visited often by friends.

Till a cruel stroke of fate took my Dad from us all,
Though I know for a fact, he’s just moved on, that’s all.
And I'm sure that right now, he's looking on from a far,
Saying 'get on with it lad, you should be down at the bar!'

He accomplished so much, without seeming to try,
From his bikes and his music, to learning to fly.
And as one of Life's gentleman, who graced all our lives,
In our hearts he lives on, his memory survives.

For me, I don’t ever remember seeing Dad happier,
Than conning his ship, the diesels at full chatter,
The sea racing by, the wheel in his hands,
That was my dad, one hell of a man.


Chris Hartley. 19th January 2005