BY Russell Wardrop

DATE: 01 FEB 2013


Dad pulled nettles up with his bare hands and was the strongest man in the scheme by miles. He shifted 23 tonnes of earth round the back after tea one night with me and my brother filling barrows until after dark.

Dad started a business with £1160 at 35 and sold it 20 years later. His business got big- really big- from nothing. He loved to go into his work every day of his life and said there was nothing better than working.

Dad took us on great holidays: Arisaig, Embo, Torquay, Scarborough, France, Spain. When we were wee he had a dark green minibus we went north in. He loved milky coffee from a flask and egg sandwiches and Quality Street.

Dad grew up on a farm and always got out of bed at half past five. He would take me to the farm at Christmas to "do" our own turkeys; we strangled them with the handle of a broom and plucked them in the byre. He woke me up by tweaking my nose.

Dad was the hardest-working man I ever knew. He always had three pairs of overalls in the garage. And big rubber gloves. He never complained about having to work and he just got on with it better than anyone.

Dad was always first to buy a round, then another round at parties, weddings and funerals. He was cheeky, flirty, generous, happy and occasionally outrageous. He slept on the couch in the evening and snored real loud.

Dad could move a piano with just a broom handle cut into three. He could pretty much move anything, all by himself. He painted our houses, levelled our gardens, shifted our stuff. He helped me buy my first house.

Dad could load a long-wheelbase Transit like it was a Tardis. He could reverse the biggest lorry ever without looking back. He would always bring brand new lorries home as a treat for all of us, and him. He was a bouncer at the scout hall discos and was pretty scary; noone messed with him. He collected more than anyone for the scout jumble sale in his own lorry and got the Queens Scout Award.

Dad loved to drive, especially those big lorries. He loved car chases on telly and cowboy films, the Roadrunner and we always went to the stock cars at Cowdenbeath where we had coffee from a flask and those egg sandwiches. He would drive you anywhere and come back to pick you up and spent ages outside houses, dressing rooms and halls waiting for me.

Dad had a really sweet tooth and would make tablet and let me lick the spoon. He liked to make soup and he made good soup. He always had a couple of freezers in the garage. He did like a garage, a big one and he could get you anything from his garage. He built my flat-pack furniture and always had spare screws, brass and steel.

Dad put Lea & Perrins into HP for his extra special spicy sauce. He took us out to restaurants and we could order anything we wanted and he let us have wine. He liked a Bacardi and Coke and Baileys with lots of ice.

Dad would hide scraps of food so mum would not throw them out, for later. He loved burnt toast, with big slabs of cheddar cheese and mince and tatties and doughballs. He put on too much salt and white pepper.

Dad got me to every school trip; France twice, Holland, Belgium, Italy. He gave me money for Yooni, when I never got a grant. He always made sure I knew he was the man who could look after me.

Dad taught me to drive and was the most patient instructor. He once dented his bonnet with a crowbar trying to get us conkers at Pollok Park. He got me my first car, YGG 916S, a Ford Fiesta; he got me more than one car.

Dad sorted a special petrol pump when I was a student, with free fuel! He never flinched when I spun on the gravel in his new Rover Fastback, he just said, "uh huh". He let me drive his new Mercedes when I had just passed my test. He got YGG 916S out of the ditch when I ran out of road on black ice and taught me to check the oil and water and change a wheel.

Dad taught me to work hard.

Dad taught me to be fearless.

Dad was a big hard man and he was a big soft man.

Dad put £10 in my bank account if I did; sometimes £100 at birthdays.

Dad's never told me he loves me, but that's fine because he does.

Dad was always there for me, always.

Dad goes out to the garage and the freezer now and comes back without the soup. He forgets stuff and gets impatient and frustrated and short tempered. He hides stuff still and doesn't remember where it is; sometimes this is funny, sometimes not. He forgets where he is and sometimes wants to go home and this is never funny.

Dad is not allowed to drive and gets pissed because he loves to drive and he can't go to the farm or the stock cars unless mum takes him. He looks smaller in his big jacket and feels the cold now so wears three jumpers.

My dad was never cold.

My dad was awesome, just awesome.

My dad still is.


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