Remembrance Sunday has always been an important day in the Julian family calendar. For as long as I can remember Dad was involved with the Devon Army Cadet Force, most of the year this meant regular panics on a Monday and Thursday evening as Dad hunted high and low for the twisties, part of his uniform that pulled his trousers together…this hunting was made far harder once my little sister also joined Cadets and the two of them would pinch each others.
From early October attention would change to bulling boots. I once made the mistake of ribbing Dad about why it took him so long to polish his boots and was given the full lecture and demonstration – take my word for it bulling boots is not the same as polishing shoes. Dad would spend hours and hours every afternoon for weeks polishing his boots to a shine, we’d come home from work to see him cloth in hand polishing and he’d polish until you could see your face in the reflection. Hours he’d spend doing it, after all if a job is worth doing it’s worth doing properly. Once the boots were suitably polished they’d be proudly worn, with full dress uniform and medals, down at Torquay Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday.
Last year I took Dad down to the Torquay Cenotaph for the Remembrance Parade, at the time I couldn’t believe that he was still with us and I never would have believed that he would be around for this year’s Remembrance Sunday. My Dad was such a man of stiff upper lip, he was always so strong and I remember so clearly that the first time I ever saw Dad cry was when watching a Remembrance Service. My sister reminded me this morning that was the only time we saw Dad cry, except when our dogs were put to sleep.
Last night as Mum and I sat down to watch the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance Dad had a coughing fit as the National Anthem was played, clearing his throat to stand to attention I reckon. We had a lovely nurse from the hospice in staying last night, and this morning Dad is still peaceful. I’m wondering whether he’s waiting for the Last Post so we’re going to take my laptop up for the BBC service from the Cenotaph at Whitehall and leave that playing. It would be quite a fitting day for Bobby to say goodbye, if he’s ready.
One thing is for sure, we’ll never forget.