Today is my father's 80th birthday! I still can't believe it. This photo above was taken this past July in Italy. I am so amazed that he keeps referring to it as the "terrible birthday", when all I want to do is shout about him from the hilltops. I want to shout about how lucky he is that he has reached such a magnificent age, and more importantly, he has reached this incredible milestone still full of energy, vitality and a fun and joyful spirit. As you can see, he is still not even fully grey, he doesn't need glasses, nor a walking stick or frankly anything to help him get on in life. I suppose for him, when he says he wants to keep this birthday quiet, he is remembering back to when he was a hottie pottie like in the below shot, taken in 1980. But that was thirty three years ago and his life has been so blessed with loving family and friends, wonderful lifestyle here in Bermuda, and the opportunity to travel. He has everything and although he may have a few more wrinkles and grey hairs, he hasn't lost the important things in life like his sharp mind, sense of humour and all of us who love him so very much. So as far as I'm concerned, he still has it all.
Above is a photo from 1981 with my sister Amanda, on the left, and me, in my Brownie uniform on the right - too cute. Below is my father carrying me over an electric wire which I was utterly petrified of when we visited family friends in Canada.
My father has one of those rare noses that don't come along very often. He is a Master of Wine and was the youngest with that qualification for many many years. He came to Bermuda in the 50s for six months to open a fine wines company and here he still is on the island today. And today at 80, although he pretty much only lives off raw fruits, veg and nuts, (no more cheese, sigh) he can still recognise and appreciate a fine wine and is brilliant at recommending to us such colourful selections at all price ranges - can't recommend him highly enough - he does an amazing job. He also invented the Vinicool and I remember when I was growing up what a household of creative ideas it was with him always trying to perfect his next idea - such an unusual brain the way he didn't see boundaries the way most of us do - he things anything is possible.
Not only was he a young star in the wine world, he also was a water skiing whizz. He is one of the key people who brought the now popular sport to the UK in the first place and below is a triptych of him doing his wild stunts.
Water skiing naturally transferred into skiing, and it was on a ski holiday where he met my mother 46 years ago! He likes to mono ski and invented his own Blackburne Contoured monoski which he still uses today.
Ever the ideas man, he invented a double strung tennis racquet which makes the sweet spot that much larger so if you haven't got one yet and need to improve your game (let's face it - who doesn't want that!), then go out and get a Blackburne tennis racquet!
And on top of being such a go-getter driven mad inventor/wine connoisseur/tennis and ski buff, he is also a loving grand father. Although it is exhausting to spend time with littles, he loves the kids so much and they simply adore him. And now that they are getting older (7 and 8), he can finally share his love of sports like tennis, croquet and boules with them.
Daddy - you have given me so many opportunities in my life and for that I am so thankful - you are a constant voice in my head of the point of life is that it should be enjoyed - your joie de vivre, and as a result your incredible health, is an inspiration - I just hope you passed down those genes! We love you very much. Happy birthday. xxxx