Last Weekend, I lost my Dad to Cancer.
I have written little more than those eight words in the last 3 Hours.
It is difficult to know what to write, what to share with you, about a matter so subjective, about a Grief so singular. I don’t want to talk about his suffering, of the details of his Cancer, of his Pain, or of his Final Days. So instead, I will share with you some words about the Dad he was, the one I remember and want to tell you about.
His Mechanical Prowess, Automotive Knowledge and his Mechanical Intuition were an inspiration to me. There was seemingly nothing he could not fix, no mechanical system he could not understand and no possibility of him not deriving enjoyment from either of those gifts.
It was a pleasure to talk Cars with my Dad, he had so much experience that he kept Secure in Memories, sharing that Experience when prompted or offering when appropriate; he never commanded a conversation with it, and he never boasted. After Dinner chats would go on for hours if I had asked the right car question, or if I had a car problem I needed help with.
He would revel in his recollection of a Car he had driven, crashed, worked on or straightened in his Circus Street Garage, or regrettably sold; all these tales taking place in 1960s Oxford. Vauxhalls, Austins, Morrises and Porsches to name a few, his Stories spanned several Marques. Some Stories I have heard dozens of times, others just the once. It was an Almanac of being Knee Deep in Oil from the late 1950s until Spring of this Year, with a hiatus during his Plumbing and Building years.
Christmas 2015, I visited my Parents for the Festive Season, driving there in my recently Dented 997.2 Carrera S; someone had decided to use it as a Bump Stop. I was gutted, it was a big step buying that Car at £45K and I loved it, and so to wake up one morning, greeted with a Kidney Punch in the Offside Rear Corner was upsetting. Upon arrival, I showed my Dad the damage, and his immediate reaction was “We can fix that, Billy” and so the following morning fix it we did..
He wasn’t happy with the Finished Job, we both admitted it wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be. All I remember is how good it was to watch, learn and help him work with the Polyurethane. Bottom line, the Dent was no more and I got to hang out with my Dad in the Garage at Christmas.
That Garage, a couple of years later, was the site of the Exhaust Swap we did together on my 993. This took longer than a few hours, in fact it took the best part of Two Days to complete, so corroded was the Old System that must have been on there since it rolled out of Zuffenhausen.
By the end of the Saturday, I was pretty much over the experience, but he remained resolute. I panicked at the idea that I would not be driving the 993 back to London at the end of the Weekend; he was confident that all that was required was resilience.
He was right of course, my mechanical unworldliness giving way to his experience. I hit the Road back to London on that Sunday evening, with an eye widening Burble and Pop coming from the rear of the 993 at each Gear Shift.
Read the Blog Post here..
I will admit that I asked my Dad up front about painting a set of Recaros for my 968 Sport, and I did it in the knowledge that he would say Yes so I am sorry Dad for setting you up for this one; I knew you couldn’t resist and I knew you would never say No.
It was the Summer of 2020 after Months of an Abrupt Lockdown that took everyone by surprise, and I was headed to Eastbourne in the 968 with a pair of Masked and Prepped Recaro Buckets in the Boot.
Sun’s Out, Gun’s Out. I stood back and watched him work, he was a Master with the Spray Gun. He loved doing it too, this wasn’t Work, it was Fun. He took it upon himself to finish the Base Cost of the Recaros the following week, giving them an additional two coats of Primer before I would travel down the following Weekend to “help” apply the Top Coat. The Finished Job was incredible, they looked as though they had been professionally painted. Indeed they had been.
Read the Blog Post here..
All Good Things
That was it, the Recaros were the last thing my Dad and I worked on together. Last month, he was too ill to understand that I had bought the 996, crippled Mentally and Physically by a Cancer that didn’t relent, so I never got a chance to talk to him about it. I think he would have liked it though, and I think he would have liked to see me back in a 911.
I am still coming to terms with the fact that he is not around any more. That he isn’t there to be asked Questions when I need Answers. That he isn’t at the end of a Phone or a Text to tell him something, anything. That he isn’t there to call me Billy.
You think you have all the time in the World, and then.. Pop..
Surfer. Biker. Coder. Porsche.