Graham Robertson ( Our Dad )
Margaret Wilson brought little Graham into the world on 25th May 1935 in his heartland and forever homeland; a small Village called Dufftown in the Speyside whiskey territory of Scotland. He was the fourth child of the family, little brother to Elma, Tony and Nettie and big brother to Stephen and Evie.
Graham was close to all his Brothers and Sisters but had a particularly special bond with his brother Stephen which continued right through life. Whatever they did as a family, it did Graham good. He was raised to become a good man though a little naughtiness here and there never hurt anyone. Did it?
When he grew, he took a job at the Whiskey Distillery; like most of the men in that region. Times for everyone were difficult and where there were perks to be had, well then, the men would have them. But they didn’t always think it through.
When the moment presented itself Graham and his colleagues would collaborate to throw bottles of the fine stuff over the wall; to be retrieved when work was done. Only they hadn’t taken into account the snow. The bottles landed in the thick deep snow and then were covered by the powder of freshly fallen snow by the time they clocked off. Which meant they couldn’t find the Whiskey bottles they had thrown.
They had to wait until snow had melted before they could re-claim their prize. If they caught it at just the right time, no ice was required. It was perfectly chilled for those who liked their whiskey that way.
Graham always enjoyed a wee dram and it stood to reason with his heritage, that it was always Scotch, never Irish! Graham may have left Scotland to come to London, but his heart and soul was Scotland. Tartan blood.
When Graham met Hester it was the start of wonderful beginnings for them both; adventures which would see them travel the length of the United Kingdom from their heartland to a different homeland; never forgetting their roots whilst making the most of the opportunities they sought out.
They enjoyed a short courtship, socialising with friends, walks and cinema trips before knowing, within six months, that each was “the one” for the other. They married at Udny Church on the 10th December 1960.
In search of work and brighter prospects Graham and Hester travelled to London to find their fortune settling initially in Foots Cray living in a caravan on Gypsy campsite. They then moved to Sidcup and finally in Welling. He took a job at the Tate and Lyle factory in Foots Cray. His work there, much like it was at the Whiskey Distillery was physical and hard graft.
In time two became five; Graham and Hester welcomed their children John then Tracy and lastly Ian to complete their family. Graham loved being a dad. He worked his socks off by day and night and even though he would come home tired, he had time for the kids. Hester would prepare a hearty meal of meat and potatoes and vegetables and they would all sit around the table together. Graham especially loved steak, chips and mushrooms in later years, with a few tomatoes on the side too.
Graham was well into his 70’s before he slowed down. Because even then he was still working hard and still chopping down trees in the garden single-handedly. He didn’t believe in troubling others for help; especially not when he felt fully capable of completing a task by himself.
Graham didn’t like getting old. He particularly didn’t like the effects of age. His body slowed down, so he was less able to chop down those trees or do a long day’s work. But he had done his fair share.
At the start off this year Ian just couldn’t get him up to the barbers, so he used to give him a shave almost every week. He never had a beard and liked to be clean shaven! The first time Ian did it, he put the shaving foam on and then got a big carving knife out. Graham looked at him and Ian said I hope I don’t cut your throat! They did have a laugh.
Graham’s lion-heart may have given up on him, but it lives on in the chests of his children and grandchildren. Through the genes he has passed on his character remains. And for now and evermore, when anyone who knew Graham sees a purple rinse, they will smile and remember his wonderful sense of humour too.