I hope you’re back visiting Dovercourt, Harwich Dad 😘 love & miss you forever ♡ sleep easy & give Jacob a big hug & kiss for us x We’ll look after mum for you x here’s a poem my dad wrote about memories of the hometown he grew up in, where he met my mum when she was sweet 16, & where my siblings Trish & Stephen & I were born.
Thinking of Home by David Ling.
Take me back to England – take me back today
To the town where I was born – how I miss old Dovercourt Bay.
Take me to the lighthouse – I can smell the seaweed there,
Take me along the windy prom to tangle up my hair.
Just about here I’m thinking the Cliff Pavilion stood,
With Queen Victoria watching on in a very sombre mood.
Twas here just fifty years ago I met my future wife
At a summer dance on a Saturday night the luckiest day of my life.
Then on to the Spa – into the park to watch the squirrels play
A go on the swings and down the slide, then be on my way.
A bit of a hike to take a line and fish off old Stone Pier
But for all I ever caught there they didn’t have much fear.
Then onward down to Harwich where we used to moor our boat
Where I watched her go down in a gale one day, she lost the will to float.
Just past the wharf to Ha’penny pier where we used to catch the ferry,
To Shotley or to Felixstowe for a day of making merry
Watching trawlers coming and going alongside the Trinity ships,
The follow your nose up a side street for delicious fish and chips.
Round the corner to Gas House creek and the railway ferry crane
That my father once worked when I was a boy and aspired the same
Through Bathside past the sinky mud to a railway bridge by the sea
As a nine year old a most beautiful sight having been an evacuee
Then up to Dovercourt High St, past the lights to look at a place
Where I worked for ten years in my twenties and recognised every face
On up the hill where the Regal once was – next to my first high school,
Where the French teacher gave me my nick name for acting like a fool.
Down the lanes to the back of the school was the daunting Toboggan Hill,
On the few snowy days in winter sledges flying what a thrill.
Now I’ll look over to Parkeston Quay to watch the ships sail by,
After that stroll through the Hangings at dusk when bats invade the sky.
I’ll head out westward to Copperas Wood, bluebells there to pick
And on Wrabness foreshore where the tide comes in so quick,
Then I’ll make for the Wix Wagon pub through pretty country lanes
And down a couple of English ales to soothe away my pains.
Meadner through some winding roads to Oakley Little and Great
Into Mayes Lane to Ramsey church and Chafford where my mate
Spenty many years there cooking for the boys of the school.
They used to have a smashing Fete though it rained as a rule.
Through Tollgate past The Devon and onto Dovercourt Green
Where if you’re lucky daffodils to make floral scene.
The Memorial – the water towers – then wander down the Drive
The Skating rink – Putting green, the Boating Lake that I’ve
Dreamed about quite often in the years I’ve been away,
Then I’ll be back where I started on my Odyssey today.
I never thought I’d be able to speak at my dad’s funeral to deliver his eulogy. I have always had more strength in writing words rather than saying them. But I wanted to do it for him, to show him I could do it. For him, for mum, for my sister Trish, for my brother Stephen, for family and for friends. I stood in a middle standing space surrounded by love from my siblings and spoke from the heart, sharing these words and adding extras like a actor forgetting their lines where they ad lib.
Dad was born in Essex England in 1936 to Kit and Sid. He had an older sister Brenda and has a younger sister Josephine, still living there. In spite of the war he had a happy childhood. After high school he joined the airforce, then trained in electronics and eventually became a tv technician and managed a shop.
He met mum when he was 19 and she was 16and they have been together ever since. They married in 1960and we’re blessed with 3 lovely children haha I’m the favourite (don’t tell anyone) Trisha, Debbie and Stephen.
Dad always wanted to come to Australia but mum wasn’t as keen, but eventually gave in and in 1969 along with their three children then aged 8, 5, & 2 they emigrated and have never regretted it. Dad got a job in Sutherland with a tv repair shop and they rented a unit in Cronulla, right near the beach. Every weekend they would drive south to look for a place to build a house with a work shop so dad could start his own tv repair business. Luckily they found Mt Warrigal overlooking beautiful Lake Illawarra. They bought land and had their house built with dad’s workshop underneath and it became Mt. Warrigal TV services.
It was lovely for us children as dad worked from home and mum was at home too, answering the phone and taking in tv’s for repair. They had wonderful neighbours and friends and always made them welcome. Last Oct on dad’s 83rd birthday when his health wasn’t good, they moved to an over 55’s home at Lake Windamere, near Little Lake where dad used to swim everyday until his breathing difficulties made it impossible. Once again they settled well and had lovely neighbours. There it was easier for mum to care for dad as his breathing struggles became worse. Dad was a wonderful husband, dad, grandad and will be missed terribly. We have some wonderful memories but how to you share 50 plus years in a few minutes? I’ll share some with you here from all of us in no particular order…..
When we had first arrived in Australia our family was invited to a bbq at his new boss’s house. His boss told dad to bring a plate. Well dad came home and told mum ‘he said to bring a plate.’ ‘What size plate?’ – mum asked. ‘I’m not sure, he didn’t say’ was dads answer. ‘Maybe they haven’t got enough’ mum thought. The day arrived and our family turned up with an empty plate and mum handed it over and said ‘we weren’t sure what size you needed.’ Maybe this is why pommies have got a reputation of being tight.
Pronunciation of the Aboriginal places near us – Ulladulla, Cronulla, Bulli,
Appreciation of music – lounge room watching thunderstorms and he’d conduct the music as we heard the thunder and lightening crash. We were born in the Beetles era, I can remember getting in to trouble for putting smarties down dads new record player. After visiting the club he’d come home and play the piano or put Beethoven on his record player
Made things to entertain us on bbqs, long skipping ropes for tug of wars and swings, he’d make kites with old newspaper and sticks,
Pete was expecting to meet a Chinese man when he met dad because of the name Ling, told dr on his last day he was a Chinese Pom.
His Gilligans island terrytoweling hat he’d wear,
He taught us to fish, how to bait up, gut the fish, untangle a line, pump nippers Prawning – only time you can wear clothes in the water. Trish reckons the only time me he got cross with her was when she threw fish back in to the water when he wasn’t looking
I shared his talent of stringing words together in poems and stories and Jacob tapped in on that creative talent too with his movie making.
Dad booked accommodation for Pete & I went we went away for a weekend before we got married & when we got there it was 2 single beds
Movie buff like Jacob but his classics & favourites were different, loved musicals, high society, singing in the rain, Oklahoma, South Pacific, sound of music, wizard of oz and he loved singing the tunes from them as well, he called my mum Samantha (fondly Sam) a character from the movie high society starring some of his favourites Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra (old blue eyes) & grace kelly. Richard will read a poem he wrote for their 25th wedding anniversary starting off with ‘dear Sam’ when we gather for tea & coffee downstairs afterwards & mum & dad would write ATW on cards to each other – ‘all the way’
Drove the council bus for before & after school care
He has a sweet tooth – worthers original, Maltesers, and Cadbury blocks
He’d always sit half sideways in his chair with his legs over the armrest
He like to have a little flutter on the pokies and the horses, if he won a bit he would say ‘little fish’ and after a bad day of betting he’d say ‘that’s because I’m a lucky man in everything else’ or sing ‘if I was a rich man’
he always provided for us (thanks mum) never needing/wanting anything more.
He was always there for us – we had a secure, loving childhood – he did everything with us, taught us so much to become who we are.
He was involved in our friends – he gave Trisha’s friends Cherie, Kim & Monica 10c to keep for an emergency phone call – & Kim still has hers. He called Stephen’s mates – Bradley my boy, Paul my boy, Frankie my boy & he loved the father/son drinks with Neil, Henry and Mick and all the boys
He loved parties & our friends always talked to him & mum & say ‘your parents are great’
He instilled a great love of family, including those in England and loved that our family grew and will continue to grow
He loved the ocean and beach & taught us to surf (even though he’d never surfed) he got us boards from the tip
He’d take us for bbq’s on Sunday’s & we could always bring a friend (plus on holidays too) he took Stephen camping
We’d have fish & chips on Saturdays and get paddle pops wrapped in newspaper
When we got lost driving on holidays he’d say a phrase that I can’t repeat in church but there’s one that I can say that we were going on a ‘magical mystery tour’
He loved playing bridge, particularly with his bridge partners Warren and Pronati
He always had a crossword or soduko game sheet in his hand, he loved watching the chase and other quiz shows on tv, and he could have easily won sale of the century.
He loved Aussie life and he took to it straight away, he loved his life and he loved living
But most of all he loved us, & we will always feel just like the words scribed in this Captain Corelli’s Mandolin quote – ‘your roots have entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part’ and we won’t.