#festive500 – Day 4 – 93km

Today I thought of you. I passed the place we used to sail plastic toy boats when I was young and memories flooded in. As I battled on with headwinds and hills I had much time to think of the fun and laughter we shared. My childhood, my character, the person I have become all shaped by our times together. The amazing stories you told me of the war and your life are as vivid in my mind now as when I first heard them.

As I pushed on familiar place names sparked more memories and conversations long since past. Although a fierce wind blew the sun shone lighting the downs. You would have loved it here today. I realise now more than ever where my love of the countryside was born. The wild weather walks, scrambling up and down sea cliffs and the cheeky swig of ginger wine back in the comfort of the car as we marvelled at the views. Yes, without you the landscape of my childhood would have been a very different story.

Turning for home with a tailwind now on my back I could almost imagine your hand on my shoulder helping me home, just as you had always been there subtly guiding the way. You were more than just a Grandfather, you were my rock, my touchstone of normality and strength. And even though it’s several years since you have passed away I still sometimes feel a knee jerk reaction when the realisation hits again that you no longer grace this world.

Gone, but never forgotten.



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