When Is A Honeymoon Not A Honeymoon (Part Twelve)

Rather predictably Poison Pen had assigned me to the hygiene crew when I returned to work the next day; it was official I was now Queen of the U Bend and spills! On the upside I did get my own trolley complete with walkie-talkie; oh the fun I was going to be having with that!

The only highlight of my week had been my video calls with Ahmed although when he always ended them with “I am big miss you” and “when coming Turkey again”; I had to choke back the tears. Particularly, as I knew I was going to have to clean a helluva lot more U Bends to afford another trip to Turkey.

I was grateful when Sunday came around as it was my only day off that week and I decided to accompany my Dad to his allotment. I thought that some clean fresh air and sun would chase my blues away. That and the fact that it was always wise to beat a hasty retreat when my mother was cooking Sunday lunch. Once she set foot inside her kitchen, she would transform into Vlad the Impaler and woe betide anyone who interrupted her mid meal preparation.

As we opened the gate to the allotments, we were greeted by some of my Dad’s gardening buddies. He’d had the allotment for years and it always irked my mother that he would need one when we had such a sizeable garden. In the beginning I think she had resented the amount of time he spent there but as they became older it became less important to her. Whilst he unlocked his shed, I gazed around at his endeavours; his love and patience evident in the rows of neatly planted vegetables and the small flower bed that grew his prize-winning Dahlias.

Stepping into his shed, was like opening the door to Dr Who’s Tardis. Ever since I was a small child, it had always appeared to be larger once you stepped inside; full of exciting and undiscovered treasures. It always smelled of potting compost and calor gas from the little camping stove that sat in the corner. There were trays of seedlings and bottles of my Dad’s home brew which he kept there for the slug & snail traps. If I’m honest, I think they were the only ones who truly appreciated it, as most of us who had had the misfortune of sampling it, thought it tasted like shower gel. Two threadbare old armchairs, long since discarded from Mum’s majestic lounge, took pride of place along with an old transistor radio; which Dad would use to listen to cricket matches and the BBC world service.

The old shed had provided a haven for all sorts of wildlife over the years; nesting families of robins, hedgehogs and the odd fox. As a child I had taken refuge there myself on a number of occasions when I was hiding out from my mum, having committed some childhood misdemeanour; such as shaving my sister’s eyebrows whilst she was sleeping. We’d both also sneaked away to smoke our first (and last) illicit cigarettes there.

I was reminded of the times as a child that I used to come here with my Dad, when we would share a picnic of comfort food lovingly prepared by him; banana sandwiches wrapped in grease-proof paper and warm lemonade. For some reason picnics always seemed to taste so much better sat there giggling in that old dusty shed. We would return home much later in the day, tired, dirty and sticky from lemonade. Mum would make us stand at the back door whilst she placed newspaper across the kitchen floor before we could step inside. After we had gingerly stepped across the newspaper, I was despatched to the bathroom for a thorough clean up supervised of course by my mother, the General.

I don’t think I had ever seen my Dad as happy and relaxed as when he spent time here. I envied him; his face a picture of absolute contentment whilst he toiled away in his small horticultural paradise. He had always told me that a garden was a magical place full of thoughts and dreams and I couldn’t help but wonder what had been his. I said as much to him and he responded by telling me that all his dreams had come true. He said that all he had ever wanted was a family and when my sister and I were born, he had never wanted for anything else. As long as we had just enough, our health and our home, his life had been perfect and he had no regrets.

I asked him whether he thought Mum was as happy but in my heart I already knew the answer. He said that she had always wanted a bigger house, a better car and in many ways had found life disappointing. He even said that it made her a little dissatisfied with life but when they had married, life had been different and they had had to make the best of what they were given. He said that in some aspects he wished he had been more ambitious or perhaps been a little more determined; but as he pointed out why waste your time counting stars when you already had the moon in your hands.

He then surprised me by telling me that he was glad that I didn’t marry Simon as he would have crushed my spirit and when I asked him what he meant, he asked if I knew what happened when you kept a butterfly in a jam jar. He told me that there was more to life than stacking shelves and Simon. “You’re worth more than that! You have a heart the size of Yorkshire; there’s a whole life waiting for you out there, lass. Don’t spend the rest of it regretting opportunities missed; this is your time, your mother and I have had ours; now go live it.”

For the second time that day unshed tears burned. I suggested we pack up and head home where Mum would have our lunch ready. We walked home in the sunshine, side by side, as we had done for many years; father and daughter together.

As I straightened my bed later that day, I came across an envelope under my pillow. In my Dad’s unmistakeable handwriting were the words “Follow your dreams” with enough money inside for me to be able to do just that! I sat on the bed turning the notes over in my hands, tears coursing down my cheeks and all I could think was “Turkey here I come”!

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106 thoughts on “When Is A Honeymoon Not A Honeymoon (Part Twelve)

  1. I actually got goose bumps reading this. So many thoughts, memories, feelings. What a remarkable, fantastic father you have! Your times together must mean the world to you. Enjoy your new journey forward. He is right, you know. Life is too short for regrets.

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  2. What a great Dad. If nothing else ever turned out right in your life (though I’m sure it will!) you will always have the most wonderful memories of times spent with a loving, generous and insightful father which many (including myself) will be jealous of. Life is on the up for you, but if you ever get down just remember how very lucky you are to have such a father AND a man who will ‘big miss you’ when you’re not there!

    Keep the posts coming. I love them!
    Dorinda

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  3. I had twenty posts to read today, but saved this one for last. (save the best for last)
    And it was so worth it, this was truly one of the most beautiful parts of your story so far…
    I can’t wait for the next installment 🙂

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  4. Some of my happiest memories are of long summer evenings with my dad on his allotment. My mom also packed a picnic,and my sister and I used to pick gooseberries, and raspberries, whilst my mom sat shelling peas. Just like your dad, mine was at his most relaxed whilst tending his vegetables. 🙂

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  5. Wow! Your dad sounds like a wonderful man! I feel like mine is similar in many ways. He loves to garden and to cook (oh and play the guitar). I never see him more relaxed than when he does his little hobbies.

    Also I’ve been catching up on reading blogs–cannot believe Shady Simon had the gall to show up at the airport! And your awful coworkers!!!

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  6. I so love your ongoing story and find myself eagerly awaiting each installment (I was ill this week and spent my time going back to the beginning and reading all through the present).

    This one also brings back fond memories of England. Our village (Inkberrow) had a house on the main road where the entire garden was planted with dahlias (from road to house). He sold them for 3 pounds a bunch at the local store. I always purchased as many as I could fit in the house!

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  7. Oh dear, I’m welling up! Lovely! I’ve just read your whole entire blog in one go and love it! It was day time when I started 🙂 What a fantastic adventure, shared with us with a great sense of humour. I love that you can get across the funny side of life in a foreign country while being so respectful of the people and culture. As I mentioned I’m half Greek half English, and can really appreciate both sides of the story. So glad you liked my post as it’s how I discovered your blog!! Looking forward to the next chapter. (right, I have to get up and turn a light on!)

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    • I am so glad you got in touch because the one thing I have been most concerned about when I started this story, was being respectful about my host country and portraying Turkish people in a positive way. Thank you for all your kind words and you can be sure I will be keeping in touch!

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  8. This post really brought up a lot of memories for me. Your dad and my dad—very much alike. Both gardeners who wanted the happiest life for their girls. It seems that many of the people who commented had the same kind of dad. Aren’t we a lucky lot, having dads who encourage us to follow our dreams.

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  9. Wonderful post! Wonderful. So many great details to personalize the story, like banana sandwiches (never had one). Great writing. People respond so deeply because everything is so deeply felt by you. Keep writing. That’s your ticket out of the clean-up crew. – Kaye

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  10. How dare you write a post that got me all choked up at the end?!!! You are supposed to provide my doses of laughter as I read your blog out loud to my mom over skype!
    Your dad is awesome!! Super happy for you!

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  11. Your Dad is a very wise man and you are a very blessed young woman to be loved so well. He’s right you know … follow your heart. It is the essence of who you are. Your heart is not your enemy. So many of us lock our hearts away because of the pain they contain. The only problem with trying to protect yourself that way is that with your heart locked away not only do you not feel the pain, but you can’t/don’t feel the love and joy around you as well. That’s the deal 🙂 From my own experience I have discovered when I gave my heart a voice I was able to release the pain it carried and receive love and joy in it’s place. What comes to mind is the movie “Shadowlands” about C.S. Lewis. He falls in love late in life and doesn’t realize it until his wife is dying with cancer. At one point she asks him — “Is it worth it?” He replies “Is what worth it?” Her response was “the joy now is part of the sorrow then”. His answer and mine are YES, it’s worth it, most definitely!! I look forward to reading more as you follow your heart!

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  12. How wonderful for your dad to be so sensitive, and to know your heart so well. Makes me wonder how much he thought about you and what you needed at this time. So heartwarming! 🙂

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  13. this is the most beautiful post so far…. first I thought the allotment was gorgeous, then your memories of going there with your Dad, then your Dad giving you valuable advice to follow your dream. This Dad of yours is a STAR!!!!!!! the best EVER!!!!!

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  14. oh my, I’m sitting here blubbering now!! and can I just say…I LOVE your dad!! what a sweetheart. and I’m learning all sorts of new British words and phrases 🙂 okay, it’s off to bed now for I must make it into the office tomorrow even if I’m not quite 100%…..thanks for sharing this story. it’s been so fun to read!!

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    • All my blogging friends love my Dad and his allotment as I write about him often. Sadly he had a stroke in October which left him semi-paralysed so not as active as before but we know we’ve been luckier than most and remain optimistic about his recovery. Him more so as he can’t stand my driving! Marianne sent him a beautiful picture which he was tickled pink with. It has pride of place in our conservatory!

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      • oh no, sorry to hear about his stroke. I hope he can recover. what a sweetheart that Marianne 😉 I’m sure it is just lovely. she takes great photos!!

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  15. Oh Dallas was not expecting this….your Father sounds like he was one uber enlightened man!!!! Creator bless him….
    I adored my Father too. he was my BUDDHA & my Rock…..
    Sherri-Ellen & Nylablue
    (zzzzzzzzzzzzzz her; not me….)

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  16. What a precious memory!! I used to listen to Nat King Cole also with my Father…
    At my last wedding my Father & I danced to “Unforgettable”..I could barely waltz due to my bone disease but I did my best…it was magical to dance with my Father once again…
    It is so touching how Natalie has sung with her Father thru the magic of technology…
    it must be a Father/Daughter thing, lol…

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  17. LOL my middle name is ‘challenges’ it seems…I could write a book…I have 3 health issues that when they flare up together act like Multiple Sclerosis…it is a challenge for sure…however I soldier on!! Life is short & I want to live it as best I can even with the challenges 😉

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  18. Pingback: Save The Last Dance For Me | Crazy Train To Tinky Town

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