Five years ago today my Grandfather died.
My father left when I was eight and my two Grandfathers stepped in to fill the void and take his place. I was always closer to Pop, mainly because Granddad Pullen, though a good man, wasn't as warm when my sister and I were young. He'd been away a lot when my Mother was small and I think he was at a loss of what to do with us!
Pop always treated us as adults, he spoilt us rotten too, and he was always willing to talk, often over vast ranging topics and he really helped shape the way I am today and maybe my politics. I know he was a fan of Churchill and I convinced him once or twice to vote Libdem in local elections but apart from his Republicanism and love of Cromwell I knew little of his politics.
We used to talk for hours over Red/white wine about history and debate ideas and he would help me with my History and German.
He above all taught me to be a Gentleman and it is something I try to maintain and there were several words of wisdom I cling to;
Courtesy costs nothing.
Sometimes you are the statue, other times the pigeon.
You can slide further on Bull sh*t than you can on gravel.
I won't bore you with stories from his time fighting Generalfeldmarschall Kesselring or crime in Brixton as a Police Sargent but needless to say he had a good time and saw many amazing things.
I was in Edinburgh when he fell... My Mum told me not to worry... I called Medway hospital on the Monday and they wouldn't let me speak to him - I planned to see him on that Saturday but it was not to be. I should not have gone in to work that Wednesday, I should have charged my mobile and got the call earlier...
I missed him, I was almost home when I got the news that he had gone.
The next day I sat in the chapel of rest with him and promised him I would be a better man, that I'd pull myself out of the rut I'd found myself in... I'd like to hope that I have.
I have a mortgage on the house that had been his, I have a better job than before, I married Sam (though he was not fond of her) and I have a fantastic daughter that he would have adored with another on the way. I think back to that day I last saw him or to the funeral and think of what has happened in those five years and often think; What would Pop do or say or think? There have been many times I've needed his counsel. I miss him everyday.
Five years isn't that long a time yet it seems like an eternity.
I hope that he would be proud of me and that I've done the right thing. One day - if we are both wrong - we may see each other again and I hope that on that day we can chat, have a drink and I can tell him all about my family.
Until then, tonight I shall raise a glass of Rhinessen in fond memory of him.