Seablog: This one's for you, Pops

Dinner tonight will begin with Bottle of Fizz # 3. This one, more so than the others, is for toasting my wonderful Dad. For today marks three years since he died. Three whole years since our family’s world was forever changed. And three years of learning to walk again.

Our survivorship together through some very dark times is testimony to Dad’s legacy of determination, spirited humour and courage in the face of all the ills thrown his way with the dastardly rheumatoid arthritis. I regret his not being here every single day, but for each of those remembrances there are so many good times to call to mind, too. Each time I come across an unexpected mars bar tucked away in a hatch, I think of him and a trick I once played. We were on a long car journey together. I asked if he would like a mars bar. Of course he did. I, however, didn’t actually have any mars bars, I just wanted to know if he wanted one. Oh, how I chuckled. And oh, how he got me back on many an occasion.

The one thing I don’t regret, but rather am thankful for, is his forever freedom from the pain which plagued him 24 hours a day for 20 years. That he shall never face another failed operation or be made sick by horrible drugs is also a relief.

My Dad is such an intrinsic part of my being and philosophy, that those of you who never knew him, do in fact know something of him through following me and my ocean wanderings and blogged ramblings. I owe him for my warped and silly humour, my love of the sea and boats, my urge to be a bit silly and daring (or does ‘my call to adventure’ sound better?!), my optimism, resilience and stubborness. He also endowed me with absolute belief that I could do anything I set my mind to. As a child, what your folks say is hallowed – that self-belief is one of the greatest gifts my parents gave my brothers and I.

So today, as every day, I salute you and thank you, Pops. We’re still here, we’re still laughing and we shall always remember you.

Big, big love now and forever,

Sarah x x x

In case you missed the mass donation of pennies, pounds and dollars which kindly sprung up around my birthday, then now, at this special anniversary, would be a good time to empty the pockets of shrapnel and spare change for the wonderful work of Arthritis Care. Heartfelt oceanic thanks from this here rower.


Sarah Black – Wohooo! Happy wedding!! Will there be a bagpiper?Ceiligdh? Must write you some reports of ocean rubbish – will aim to do so next week….

Tracey Mason – Hair not long enough for plaits, just long by my short standards.

Barry Gumbert – Just learned Sea Fever this morning-another favourite.Great to have more than the few lines ‘sailing ships and sealing wax etc etc’ that are in my head, too.

Kathryn Watts – Brothers, eh? Know the feeling exactly!

Jane Spence – Hands being protected by stalwart callouses, nay a blister in sight.

Clare Sach – Summer Formal, happy days! Long live Nick French and his merry band. Perhaps you could ask him to wing me a big Sunday Brunch for tomorrow?

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13 Responses to Seablog: This one's for you, Pops

  1. Barry Gumbert says:

    Dear Sarah: It’s good to see young people honoring their parents the way you do your Dad. My Dad passed away a few years ago after a series of small strokes. Funny thing is we didn’t have much of a relationship until he was close to the end. He didn’t like to eat much so I would make his favorite fattening things like rice pudding and oyster stew which the rest of us hated. I learned my love of water and boats from him like you did from your dad.

    Lewis Carroll is one of my favorites. My friends have always thought it was strange that a straight guy would have Alice’s Adventures Through the Looking Glass as one of his favorite books. In high school an English teacher gave us an assignment to memorize a poem and be ready to recite it by the following Monday. I asked if I could recite mine immediately, so I recited Jabberwocky. Some guy in the class said it wasn’t fair because everyone else had to spend the weekend studying, so on Monday I recited The walrus and the Carpenter.

    Any other readings I can find for you?

  2. Laura says:

    Hello my lovely, thinking of you today, and your spot on, many of us who didn’t know your Dad know him through you and I have no doubt he was a super guy! And he has certainly left his mark on this world…. YOU! His spirit lives on through you.

    Loving the Mars bar trick by the way,I will try that on Dave I have no doubt it will work, I’ll let you know how it goes. Also loving the installments of the ‘Tweedle Tales’ there isn’t anything worth watching on tv at the moment so I recommend to anyone to tune in to your blog.

    Lots of love, stay safe and keep on rowing

    xx Laura

  3. Terry Baldwinson UK says:

    Sarah, you have made me wonder. You have made me laugh. And now you have made me cry! What a wonderful tribute to your dad. Bless you!

  4. Susie Hewson says:

    wonderful memorial Sarah. The way you describe your Dad’s character and spirit brings a lump to my throat, as I am sure my sister also reading your blogs, will also recognise that your description mimics the absolute characteristics of my Dad.

    Cheers to all Dads all over the world loved by their daughters and a big huge hug to all Mothers worrying about and missing their children.

    Lets all smile together x Susie

  5. xtina says:

    Sarah you have me crying as i read this blog…..

    Relationships with your parents are sooooooo special and I am happy that you have those loving memories of your time with him. Also that you are honoring him in this way!!!
    I would dearly loved to have had a Daughter/Father friendship that had given me those very important strengths that he has given to you.
    Feeling all those powers of love,confidence and security that he has left you with, has enabled you to have this freedom to fly!!!

    Lots of love today ~
    Red carpets are on their way.


  6. Averil (Tricia's sister) says:

    Reading your descriptions of life on the ocean wave makes me think of Winnie the Pooh’s little song – I hope you don’t feel it lowers the tone! I am enjoying reading your blogs.

    How sweet to be a cloud
    Floating in the blue!
    Every little cloud
    Always sings aloud.

    How sweet to be a cloud
    Floating in the Blue!
    It makes him very proud
    To be a little cloud.

  7. ian says:

    hi sarah,your dad seems to have been a remarkable man and it is clearer what the source of your amazing soticism and fortitude might be,we do not venerate our forebears enough and your touching and eloquent note reminds me of this,my father and maternal grandfather were were great influences on my life and i feel a loss for so many of todays children who do not have these influences,your epic voyage is a testament this .
    best regards to you dippers and bob

  8. terry bradley says:

    Hi SARAH
    Its great to see you on the red carpet again ,your patience payed off .great to hear stories of your dad , i bet he is watching over you from above ,He would be so proud of you & what you are acomplicing ,you are so calm & positive all the time its incredible,can never wait to read your blog as it always interesting with something different from you all the way out there, & that little Dipper must be one hellve good mate to you ,as he looks after you well & keeps you comfy . CHERRIO FOR NOW TAKE CARE TERRY B

  9. Sarah, you are an inspiration to the world and everyone in it. What a lovely blog and your Dad would be so proud of you. Your right, many of us who didn’t know your Dad – we do now – as your courage, determination, sense of humour, wild and wonderful ways are who you are and your Dad lives on through you. He must have been a wonderful chap! Roll on the red carpet and may you continue the rest of your trip to Mauritius (and to the rum punch of course!) under the watchful eye of your Dad, he is always with you. Keep the good work Sarah – you are amazing. Love Emily & Jamie x

  10. Christine & Kathleen says:

    Hi Sarah

    Glad things are going forward again. Had to send a message to you today especially about your Dad, you hit the nail so perfectly. It was a great pleasure to know both your parents, a priveldge to know them. He would have bene so proud of you like your Mum and so many folks, he was such an inspiration not only to your family but to maney folks.

    Take care for now

    Happy rowing.

    C& K

  11. Janet says:

    Its about the same time since my dad passed away, funny how they have this habit of staying very much in mind. Lovely to see you in such good spirits so far in. Its always best to keep a positive eye on how far you have already gone when you get the set backs. Often think how you are going when looking out over the dark and stormy seas at night time. Having been out on big seas and strong winds on Dark Energy even after only a couple of days at sea I realise the enormity of what you are attempting.
    Its all very well to sit in comfort and blog away, but hard to comprehend what it is really like when visibility drops away and you feel at the mercy of the elements. The boat can feel hopelessly small in big seas and the ocean is a vast place, no one will understand that better than you I guess,

  12. Charlie Chase says:

    Sarah, You wont believe this. I love my Mars Bars. I had just eaten one before reading this blog, so it made me laugh out loud.
    It’s strange how I can cry and laugh at the same time.

  13. Richard C says:

    Hi Sarah – I am one of those Dads who has the privilege of being loved by not one, but two beautiful daughters of about your age and I can tell you there are no words to express how that feels.
    What I can say though,is that the love,as you well know,will enable you to challange and prove yourself time and time again throughout your own long and happy life.
    You have chosen an exceptional challenge and deserve every success both now and in your future!

    Take care and keep respecting that ocean.

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