‘I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father's equal, (even Batman) and I never loved any other man as much.’
My father, Steve Le Galloudec has been my hero for many years. Pop’s, as I call him, came into my life when I was a little boy living in the highlands of Scotland with my mother and older sister. When my mother, Jane, met Steve he was in the RAF based at Lossiemouth. Within a few months they only had eyes for each other and were deeply in love, six months later my mother was walking down the aisle in a beautiful white dress and marrying the man of her dreams.
Pop’s very quickly stepped into the role of being a father and he treated my sister and I as one of his own. I remember shortly after Pop’s had moved in and I was, well, being a truculent child at the dinner table. I shouted profanities towards Pop’s for some reason and before he could clip me round the ear I fell off the chair and face planted the kitchen floor pretty hard and ended up with a big bruise on my face. When mum returned home I ran straight up to her before Pop’s could get a word in and said he had hit me. Mum looked at the bruise on my face and confronted Steve in an angry manner while I sat back and waited for the fireworks. Pop’s obviously protested his innocents and it soon became clear what had actually happened. Mother was not best pleased with me and it took a lot of grovelling to get back into her good books.
One of the other great memories I have of Pop’s and I’m sure or at least hope other people can relate to, is the tickling! My father would hold me down and tickle me to death... well obviously not death, but at the time it felt like it. He would continue to tickle me until I would be laughing and crying at the same time. Every time he tickled me my life would flash before my eyes and yes, I was that child who would have a snot covered face, crying and running to mum shouting, “Pop’s has just tortured me. Tell him!” Well over the years he has just been the best dad anyone would have hoped for and it just got even better when I grew up and was at the age where I could go down the pub and have a few beers with him. We would tell stories from our time in the military and the pranks we pulled on our friends. It was great having a father I could be friends with, however, his role as a father would not be finished just because I was all grown up. In fact one could say it was just getting started.
Growing up he has been the influential voice of reason and someone to lean on, especially when my life got turned upside down. I was severely injured in 2007 and my father became an even bigger part of my life than ever. He gave me someone to talk to and I would unload on him all the issues that became prevalent post injury and some of them you would only want your dad to hear.
A year post injury and the Army vs Navy rugby match was taking place at Twickenham and I decided to take my dad as I knew he was a huge rugby fan. We made a day of it and as neither of us had to drive we decided to have drink... or three. Knowing that dad was ex-RAF I brought him an Army rugby top to wear for the match. He reluctantly wore it and I made sure I took a picture so I could show it to his RAF mates. I think the Army won, however I don’t really remember that much about the game for some reason.
I decided to challenge myself by signing up for the Kilimanjaro trek in 2009. As part of my training I needed to climb Mt Snowdon and as my dad was still very fit I asked if he would like to accompany me along with some of the other lads who would be climbing Kilimanjaro with me. It was a great weekend away having some father son bonding time and we laughed lots, I only wished my father was coming along with us to climb Kilimanjaro.
Due to work constraints my father couldn’t get the time off to climb Kilimanjaro and as I had actually signed up first without him we wouldn’t have been able to get him on the trek even if he did have the time. So when the opportunity arose in 2011 to climb to Everest Base Camp the first person I thought of was my dad. So together we signed up for the challenge of a life time and I knew just having my dad there with me as support, I would reach Everest Base Camp. After 10 days of trekking and many people going down with diarrhoea and vomiting, my dad being one of them, we got to Everest Base Camp and that day will be something that is etched into my memory for ever.
A few years ago my parents moved to Spain so they could enjoy retirement and run a small finca (farm). Even though there is an ocean between us it does not stop us from visiting them and when my father and I get together it’s just as if we have never been apart and we go back to drinking and reminiscing about old times and generally annoying Mother!
So as you can see my father has been a huge and influential part of my life and I do realise that my life would have been far harder had he not been in it. I have so many lovely stories about my dad, probably enough to fill a book, but that aside I am most grateful for the unconditional love he gives me and I could not have asked for a better role model than my father, Steve Le Galloudec.
I know I am one of many when I say we do not praise our fathers enough, so cherish and love them as its inevitable that one day they will not be here to comfort and talk sense into you. So seize the moment and call your father and tell him how much he means to you. I know I will.
Pop’s, I am so grateful you took the hit all those years ago and married mum. Also thank you for the life lessons you taught me and above all loving me for who I am, I know that couldn’t have been easy. Lol
This blog is dedicated to the hero that is, Steve Le Galloudec
Till next time folks