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Silver wedding celebrations

My father was a gardener and in the late 1940's and early 1950's, he worked in the gardens of a big house on the outskirts of Preston, Lancashire.

His duties were many and varied, with surplus fruit, vegetables and the occasional brace of pheasant, (the result of him having to accompany the men of the house on shooting parties), often forming part of his meagre weekly wage.

I was only a small child at the time, but dad would sit me on his knee when he returned home from work, and tell me about his day.

 Dorothy and father

Dad and me

He was passionate about flowers, plants and shrubs and always tended them with loving care as if they were his own. The only part of his job which he hated was going out with the shooting parties, when he would have to disturb the pheasants as they flew into the open air to meet their fate.

To dad, all wildlife had a right to live, and I would ask him to tell me about "his robin", It was a story I'd heard many times before, but never tired of hearing over and over again.

Dad would explain that each day he sat in the potting shed to eat the cold lunch mum had prepared and packed up for him. As he took a bite if his sandwich on one particular cold winter's day, a little robin appeared in the doorway. Dad threw some crumbs in its direction, and although cautious at first, it edged nearer and nearer until the bread was in its reach.

As the days went by, the robin would return to share dad's lunch with him, and dad suddenly realised that it had only one leg, although this didn't seem to worry the little bird at all, as it hopped and flew around the shed, becoming tame and fearless.

The years passed, dad changed jobs and eventually retired, and of course, I grew up and the story of dad's robin was a distant memory, but one I never completely forgot.

 Dorothy wedding day

Dad and me on my Wedding Day

In 1996 dad developed a blood clot in his left leg, gangrene set in and the leg had to be amputated. He was very ill and very frail, his life hung in the balance. Slowly he began to improve, but I was heartbroken by the loss of his leg.

However, if I was upset, dad certainly wasn't, as he tried to do things to the best of his ability. I was so proud of him, and it was then that my mind went back to those long ago childhood days when I'd ask dad to tell me about his one legged robin.

 Silver wedding party and dad

Dad on his 90th birthday

Dad lived for a further eight years, leaving us suddenly, early one morning at Easter, 2004, having just celebrated his 90th birthday.

Several days later, as I sat in a funeral car behind the hearse carrying dad's body to its final resting place in Preston Cemetery, the driver had to halt in order to check into the site office, and I couldn't believe my eyes when a robin flew in front of the hearse and settled down on a nearby bush and began to sing.

Coincidence, you will probably say, and I would be the first to agree. However, a little part of me just can't help wondering, and hoping, that it was the spirit of that one legged robin, come back to say it's final farewell to the lovely, gentle man, my beloved dad, who had cared enough to share his lunch with a little one legged robin, all those years ago.

Meet The Author...
Dorothy Roberts
Who Am I?

Born with a rare and complicated heart condition, I wasn’t expected to live more than a few years. However, that was way back in 1948, and I’m still alive and kicking!

Against all the odds, I went through mainstream school then found myself a job as an Office Junior working for a firm of Solicitors, where, over the next thirty odd years, I progressed to a Senior Secretary, until I had to call it a day, owing to my failing health.

In 1970 I met my husband, Ken, whilst on holiday in Torquay - a place neither of us should have been, had we not been let down by our respective friends. Who says that holiday romances don’t last? Ours certainly has - it was obviously meant to be, as last year we celebrated our Ruby Wedding Anniversary.

Things haven’t always been easy, but we have had many good times together, although, sadly we don’t have any children. However, life goes on for us, be it at a fairly slow pace these days, which gives us time to take in and enjoy all that this beautiful unspoilt area of Mid Wales has to offer.

My main hobbies/interests are reading, writing, our garden and wild life, especially the many birds that visit our food station every day. During the summer months when the holidaymakers arrive, we run a weekly Coffee Morning and Good as New Sale in order to raise funds for our local Church.

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