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
To me he was Dad, and he was all right.
His white hair and beard, his red ruddy cheeks,
Christmas look he had quite complete,
But behind all of that, with
those deep set grey eyes,
Lay a lifetime of knowledge, unfathomably
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
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,
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
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
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,
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
Though you could be in trouble, if he was looking to buy!
And through all of this, his love of the sea grew,
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
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
To us both, his wisdom, he would tirelessly invest.
Then once more they were two, and I'm sure you can guess,
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
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
Once more they returned home to the shores they knew best,
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
That was my dad, one hell of a man.
Chris Hartley. 19th January 2005