My Dad was not a gardener. Valiantly he went through the motions, mowing the scrappy lawn, growing a few tomatoes, hacking back every now and then. His favourite job was leaning on his spade whilst laughing and joking with the passers-by. On one occasion he thought he would try to grow mushrooms. After getting an appropriate book out of the library it was soon decided that it was far too complicated and much easier to pop across the road to the Spar. That was my Dad, all or nothing.
After he was taken devastatingly ill, suddenly and unfairly, I wandered up to the greenhouse at the top of the garden. Previously I had believed this ramshackle self-build was for newspaper reading and escaping non-specific stuff. Much to my great surprise, languishing atop the bench in a plethora of pots, were hundreds and hundreds of marigold seedlings. Earlier that month my Mum had mentioned that she rather liked marigolds. He must have sown the whole jumbo bag in one go. That was my Dad. All or nothing. For his Peggy. For hours I stood and pricked these little love tokens out into pots, most probably weeping, clinging to the fact that somehow I was helping. Just keeping things ticking over. In denial of the fact that he would never come home again to plant these treasures in the garden.
My Dad was not a singer. This fact never held him back, in fact it underlined his resolve. He loved to sing loud and he loved to sing hard. All or nothing. Today, would have been his birthday. To mark this occasion I am having my first singing lesson. I am going to sing loud and I am going to sing hard. I shall give it my all.