Boofys and Battleships

18 12 2014

My Dad; Frank Arthur Hall 20th April 1930 to 17th December 2014

Sadly, my Dad passed away yesterday morning. Of course he had been poorly for over a year, stuck in a bed on his own apparently unable to walk, in a nursing home away from his wife, my mum. That’s no way for anyone to exist. Especially not Frank.

But up until that time he had managed really well, his loyalty and fierce protection to my mum in preventing any interference from “outsiders” regarding her ‘never spoken of’ dementia touches my heart. Their daily (sometimes twice) walks to the social club were legendary and Dads delight at having his children and Grandchildren visit never dimmed.

He and mum loved to dance and even latterly, with his poor old back crippled in pain he would try for a jive or a bit of a rumba. His busking ability on the piano was always welcomed and he gently encouraged Alistair out of his shyness to the point where the two of them would busk along, Dad on the keyboard, Alistair on his guitar, mistakes and missed notes making not one jot of difference.

His ability to fix anything on the planet with epoxy resin earned him the title “The Resinator” and this fixing talent didn’t stop there. As a child we caravanned  and spent many weekends away at some little club site or the other. Looking back I suppose money was tight and so savings were sought and boy did he find them! His ingenious ideas and end products delighted him and embarrassed me in equal measure!

Imagine the scene (circa 1976-1980) caravan club members ( all a bit Margo and Jerryish from the Good Life) with all the mod cons and latest accessories out of the club book magazine: roll along water carriers, extending wing mirrors, vent boards (not quite the right name but something like that) to stop the eddys , anti snaking devices and many more I’m

And then there was us! Dad made his own accessories, all of them!! Where other cars had these nice neat extending mirrors that discretely clipped on, our car had some big old mirrors most likely resinated onto a bit of teak he had lying about it the garage and then bound round with a yard of thick elastic from the sewing box!

The water carrier (always the children’s job on such holidays) was made out of mums old shopping trolley wheels with a plastic carrier and some crocodile clips. Worked fine when it was empty but always came a cropper once the weight of the water was in it.

The vent board, a particular favourite of Dads was a bit of wood angled onto the roof of the car and held in place with some angled brackets and as his piece de resistance was painting it to match the colour of the car. So clever, but a child’s eye view doesn’t always appreciate the cleverness or the creativity, I’m ashamed to say at that point I wanted us to join the Margo and the Jerrys!

photo-9His skills were without doubt incredible. Every year in the 6 weeks holiday he would build us our own extra large paddling pool: wooden ladders and planks of woods wrapped in sheets of plastic became the sides, the old red tarpaulin the body of the pool and without fail a set of step ladders with a piece of boarding wrapped in plastic attached to it and a hosepipe attached by jubilee clips became the water shoot.

Dad was the only person I knew to make up strange words for things and then use them in everyday conversation as if everyone knew what they meant. I mean why would you call turkey Grenklin and then offer everyone Grenklin sandwiches as if it was the most natural thing in the world. IMG_2826


And his Boofys were legendary too. He Boofed me as a child and he Boofed all of his grandchildren, we all loved it, even that pre Boofy anticipation when you knew you loved what was coming but had a moments nervousness of the slight discomfort that accompanied it. If you’ve never had a Boofy, let me enlighten you. Take one portly bellied man, take a small child and hold at arms length and then with much strength pull the child in and Boof them off your belly!!! That belly of his played host to all manner of entertainment, his painting a face on it and making his belly button sing Ying Tong Didle I Poe springs to mind!

He was a good kind man, a good dad and a good Grandad, for me and my children. I know that Kirt will have his memories of playing endless games of Battleships and Squares with his Grandad. And Candace will remember always her Grandad being one of the first to slide all the way down the stairs on a nylon sleeping bag, made even more hilarious as her dad had just told us to stop it as someone would get hurt!

For a man who could be quite serious at times he certainly had a knack of joining in the fun. Thank you Dad, for all that you did for us with a kind open and generous heart. Thank you for teaching me all that you did and thank you for making those god awful piano lessons just a touch more bearable by sitting in the armchair away from the piano and out of sight of the old bat of a teacher with your glasses upside down on your face and your tongue poking out!!!

Rest in Peace Dad you’ve more than earned it x



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