The 3 Jays

Chapter 17

When I got up in the morning, despite all of the events of yesterday, I felt quite excited at the thought of having my first, very own party. After a hearty breakfast, I began to help dad with the preparations. He told me that usually, the Christmas decorations would come down on 12th night, which was the 6th January, but because I had missed out on New Year and the latter half of Christmas, dad decided he would leave everything up until after the party.

I Looked in the dining room and already there were lots of covered plates of food on the table.

At about 10.30am dad told me to put my coat on because my party day was about to start. I was a bit confused, but nevertheless, did what I was asked.

About 20 minutes later we arrived at this place and when we walked into the foyer, I had the biggest smile on my face, because there to greet us were Owen and his family, together with two of Owen’s friends from his birthday party, that I went to and got on well with. Hannah and Amber had invited a friend each as did Declan. In total there was 10 kids in total.

The first order of the day was to have a pizza party that dad had arranged. It was a good job that there were 6 adults to keep control of us kids because after a while we were becoming a little rowdy.

After the pizza party we went downstairs to a 10-pin bowling alley. I was so excited at all that was going on around me, even though I had played before at Owen’s birthday party. In the end we split into teams of 4 and had 4 lanes to play in.

Bowling one handed was a little awkward, especially as I noticed most of the others used their other bowling arm for balance.

I can’t say that I was a natural, but that didn’t matter. Each of the 3 in my lane gave me lots of encouragement and tips. Even though I came last, I didn’t care, I had a great time.

Every now and again, I would wander over to dad, and give him a one arm hug, for no reason, but I think inwardly he knew that it was because I loved him, for the fun he was providing me with.

I was a little sad when the games were over, but more than happy when dad said that they were all coming back to ours for the remainder of the day.

When we arrived home, I took the ‘gang’ upstairs to my ‘boy cave’. Owen helped me up the stairs. Everyone was impressed. Declan and his friend played with the train set – no surprise there. That left 8 of us. While 2 played on the computer games console, the rest of us (6) played with the racing cars. After a while, we all swapped so everyone had a go on the two games consoles; that is, apart from Declan and his friend, who just wanted to play with the trains.

Time passed quickly, and then dad called, through the intercom, for all of us to come back down.

When we arrived downstairs, we all helped ourselves to refreshments, before dad introduced us to Arran, who was hired by dad to be our Karaoke DJ for the afternoon.

I think, we kids were a little shy at first, but after we watched the adults making a fool of themselves with the mike, we then relaxed a little, and we all then took turns in ‘belting’ out a tune or two.

After a while, the boys wanted to go back upstairs again, and I went with them, while the girls continued to sing songs downstairs.

At about 7 o’clock, dad called us down again and took us all into the garden. We were all standing there in out coats when I noticed Oscar, and a friend of his, with what looked like a large panel, set on a table.

Suddenly, music began playing and then Oscar pushed some buttons and a huge firework display began to take place. I was totally gobsmacked and frequently looked over at Dad, with a proud look on my face.

The display lasted about 10 minutes and I immediately thanked Oscar and his friend for doing the display.

Dad asked us all to come into the dining room. The adults took the chairs and us kids either sat on our parents lap, or on the floor.

I was not expecting dad to make a speech, but he did.

He said, “Thank you all for coming here today to help celebrate the first real party James, my son, has ever had.”

Speaking mainly to the adults present, he continued. “When James was kidnapped, you all rallied around which made his recovery easier. I will be honest with you all now. There were times when I did not think James was going to survive his injuries, and it was only with the help of all of you that kept me sane, in my darkest hours.”

By this time the two friends of Owen were whispering to me, asking me all sorts of questions about what had happened. It was only then that I noticed, in the room was one of the doctor’s that treated me, alongside one of the nurses.

Dad continued, “Thank you so much for giving up your time today to make this day a memorable one for James.”

By the time dad had finished his speech and sat down, I noticed tears had begun to fall down his cheeks.

I immediately went up to dad and instead of sitting on his lap, much to his surprise, I began to speak.

“Listening to my dad as he was speaking to you all just now, he missed out some important facts, that some of you know but others don’t. On Boxing Day, I was kidnapped, and what dad didn’t tell you was that it was him and his friend Oscar over there, and some others, that tracked me down. I was taken into a cellar with a friend of mine and we were beaten and had other bad things done to us, so bad that my friend died.”

There was a noticeable gasp amongst those present. Maybe, I didn’t need to go into as much detail, but there was something inside of me that believed I needed to get it out of my system. It was only then that I noticed, standing in a corner at the far end of the room was Dr William’s, who smiled and nodded for me to continue.

“After my friend Richard, had died, the men threw his little body into a cabinet, and it was then I knew that I was going to die as well. I was beaten so badly with a belt and I received a couple of broken ribs, a fractured skull and my arm, as you can see, was broken. While the men were doing other horrible things to me, one of them wrapped my head in clingfilm, as they did to Richard. I soon lost consciousness and I was told that, according to a medic, I had died. What my dad didn’t tell you is that he refused to give up on me, and brought me back to life, when everybody else had given up on me. Before Christmas, dad told me that if love is shared then I would receive love back in return. In this room, I am feeling a lot of love from you all and I thank you for that. Without my dad, I know that I wouldn’t be here tonight. Dad, I love you more than you will ever know. Thank you for my party, but more importantly, thank you for giving me the opportunity not only to live, but for giving me the chance of one day, making you proud of me.”

With that I fell into dad’s arms, and it was only then that I noticed all in the room was clapping.

Before everyone left, the ladies present, helped dad clear up, while us kids went back upstairs for one last game. The two girls and two boys who didn’t know my history kept asking me questions about my ordeal, but all I told them was that it was not very pleasant and left it at that.

One of the last to leave was Dr Williams. He told me that what I had said, was to take an important step in my recovery. He went on to say that he could not have written a better script for me to say.

When everybody had left, both dad and I were exhausted. I cuddled up to him in his favourite chair and I thanked him repeatedly for all he had done for me.

Later, just before bed, dad reminded me that tomorrow was a Sunday and that we were due to go to church. He also said that Auntie Carol and family, were coming around afterwards to take down all the Christmas decorations.

It must have been only a matter of minutes after my head hit the pillow than I fell asleep. I didn’t even remember dad coming into my room to tuck me in and kiss me goodnight, but I bet he did.

The next morning after breakfast, we went to church. I lit my candle for Richard and said a short prayer, and as we walked back to our pew, I wiped away a little tear.

I don’t know how some people knew, but many came up to me before Mass to wish me well after my ordeal, including the priest.

Afterwards, Owen and his family did come back to help take down all the decorations and boxed them away. In a way, I was a little sad because the place looked not as cheerful. Of course, us kids went upstairs to play in my ‘boy cave’. And naturally, Declan only wanted to play with the train set, which as far as he was concerned, was now his!

When we were called back down, lunch was served in the dining room. We had roast lamb, roast potatoes and veg. For afters, Aunt Carol served up one of dad’s chocolate gateaux and cream.

Monday began as normal, lessons in the morning with Ruby, and then off to an appointment with Dr Williams. This time, Dr Williams didn’t need to speak to dad, so we were able to leave early and went home.

I sat on dad’s lap, in his favourite chair and told him that Dr Williams wanted me to talk to you about Richard. Dad pulled me closer to him in one of his hugs and I took a few long sighs before I began to speak.

“I really miss Richard, dad. I doubt I would have been here today; had I been picked to go first instead of him.”

At this point I was expecting dad to say something, but I think he knew that it was best to let me get what I had to say out of my system, without interruption.

“In my dreams, I still see the terror in his eyes as he slowly died dad. He was my best friend at the Home, in fact he was the only friend that I ever had. We were always able to talk to each other about what was happening to us. We even planned to run away together, but he was chosen to go to ‘a party’ and never came back. Although I was really frightened in that cellar, seeing Richard again really made me happy, even if it was for just a short while. He told me that he had been passed from one group of evil men to another, until they got tired of him, because he could not perform as well as they wanted. I…I…I wish…I wish you could have arrived sooner dad, then perhaps Richard would still be alive today, and then perhaps you would have allowed him to come and live with us.”

With that, I started to cry again. Still, dad didn’t say anything, but just hugged me tighter. When I had managed to stop crying, I sat up and turned to face dad to ask him why he had not said anything.

I looked at dad’s face and he had tears running down his face and I knew then that words were not necessary. To me, his tears meant that he had also lived with the torment, that of if only he had managed to find the cellar sooner. His tears started me off again, and I just lay back into his chest. Nothing was said. I was just happy that I now had a new dad, and more importantly, I was loved.

When we had both recovered, dad reminded me that I had still not opened my present from Santa. I quickly got off his lap and ran to my room to fetch the drone.

Dad helped me assemble it and loaded the batteries into the remote-control box. Dad looked at the box and told me that the drone was really for indoor use and once I got the hang of flying it, then perhaps he would buy me an outdoor one.

I gave dad a funny look. He continued to keep up the pretence (a new word I had learnt from Ruby), that the present was from Santa and not him. The more he studied the box the more I began to believe that perhaps he didn’t buy me the drone. Perhaps it was a present from Santa after all!

After a few crashes, I finally got the hang of flying it around the room. I even managed to navigate it up the stairs, around our bedrooms and down again. Later in the evening, while dad was asleep in his chair, I even managed to land it on his head without waking him up, which made me laugh.

A few days later, dad said, “Tomorrow afternoon, we are going to have a small service at the cemetery, and afterwards, Richard’s ashes will be placed in my wife’s grave. In this way, Richard will not be alone, he will always have someone to look after him.”

This made me sad again, because with all the fun I had been having, I had almost forgotten about Richard.

The little ceremony at the cemetery was nice, but when it came for me to place Richard’s ashes, that were inside a box, into the ground, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t want to let Richard go. With a little encouragement from dad, I eventually bent down and placed the box into the hole that had been made. The priest said another little prayer and then it was all over. Dad hugged me all the way to the car and I silently sobbed all the way home.

That night, I had another nightmare. I dreamt that it was me who had died and not Richard. I woke up in a sweat and went and climbed into dad’s bed for comfort.

The next morning, I found him in the kitchen with what looked like a swollen eye. Dad told me that during the night, I had another nightmare and had hit him in the face with my plaster cast arm. I of course apologised, and he jokingly said that he was going to report me for GBH to a parent!

The days went into weeks and not only had I regained my strength, but it was time to have my cast removed from my arm, which I was glad about because I found it impossible to scratch my itchy arm with the plaster on it.

After it was removed, it felt weird not having the heavy cast on my arm. However, I did notice that the arm that I had the cast on, was a lot thinner now compared with my other arm. Dad told me the technical term for this, which I didn’t understand. In the end he just said, when he referred to muscle loss, “Use it or lose it.” This I understood.

A week later, dad sat me down after lunch, for a chat.

He asked me the most stupid question an adult could ever ask a child. He said, “James, would you like to come with me to our villa in Italy?”

He told me that he had received a few days ago, my passport. He showed it to me, and I was so happy to see my new name on such an important document.

Dad went on to say, “I have checked with your doctor at the hospital, who said that you can fly, but you must be careful, because the pressurised cabin in the plane, may cause you some problems.”

He then took out a large map of Europe and placed it out on the table. Because dad was a little worried about me flying, he had come up with two plans.

  1. We would fly to Paris and stay there one night to see if I had any after effects of flying. If I was okay, we would then take another flight the next day to Naples.
  2. If after the flight to Paris, I was beginning to feel a little sick, we would then travel the next day to Naples, by train.

 

Dad then asked me another stupid question, “Is that okay with you, James?”

Of course, it was okay with me, my only question was, “When are we going?”

Dad said, that if I really wanted to go, I would have about an hour to pack, before the taxi came to take us to the airport.

I was so excited, I started to dance a little jig, on the spot, before running upstairs to pack.

When I went into my bedroom, I found a medium size bag was waiting for me on my bed. I stood there wondering what I would need to put into the bag, when dad came in and gave me a list of things to pack.

On the list it said, “I would like you to pack the following: underwear, socks, a couple of pair shorts and t-shirts, a nice shirt, a woolly jumper, because it can get cold in the evenings in Italy at this time year, your slippers, toothbrush, deodorant and also put together your medicines, that we need to put into a clear plastic bag before we go. When we get to Italy, I will buy you some Italian designer gear that you can leave in our villa, when we come home.”

I set about putting everything on the list onto my bed. When I was satisfied, I had double checked everything, I proceeded to pack my bag as neatly as I could. About 15 minutes later, dad came in, looked at my packed bag, and said I did a good job.

Dad then took my medicines and placed in a plastic bag and then put them into his holdall, which he was planning to take inside the cabin, on the plane.

He then asked me to get changed and put on some nice clothes. He also said that I should wear a warm coat.

When I came downstairs with my bag, I was surprised that dad had only packed a small holdall. I asked him why he was not bringing a suitcase of clothes and he just laughed and said that he always kept a wardrobe full of clothes at the villa, so all he ever had to pack was his toiletries.

Dad did say, “I have had packed some essentials, as we are staying one night in Paris.”

Just then a car horn sounded outside, and dad said that our taxi was waiting. He asked me if I had everything that I wanted, and I said, “Yes sir.”

He looked at me and said, “Are you sure? If you want to skype Owen every night, you might want to pack your laptop and charger.”

With that I ran upstairs and brought down the two items and slid them into my bag. After locking up, we went and got into the taxi.

The closer we got to London City Airport, the more excited I got. By the time I walked into the terminal, I couldn’t contain myself any longer and asked dad where the toilets were!

After checking in, dad changed up some money and then we went through passport control, dad then said that we had about half an hour before it was time to board. I ran to the window to look at the big planes and kept asking dad if this plane or that plane was the one, we were going to fly in.

After about 10 minutes, dad called me over and we went to have a fruit juice and a cake, I think he only did this to calm me down a bit.

Not long after that our flight was called, and we made our way onto the tarmac and walked to the plane. We climbed up some steps into the plane and the stewardess pointed us in the direction of our seats.

Dad gave me the window seat and told me to put my seat belt on, while he put his holdall in the overhead compartment.

As I had only experienced flying on a small plane at Southend, I thought this plane was big.

Dad said to me, “City airport only has a short runway. Therefore, the big planes cannot land or take off from here. This airport is central for London, so really it is mainly used for business people travelling to and from Europe.”

It was soon after he had said this to me than the door was closed, even though the plane was only half filled. As we taxied to the take off point at the very end of the runway, the stewardess began her emergency procedure talk. As she was doing this, I looked around the cabin and noticed that not many passengers were taking much notice. She then sat down in her seat and buckled up.

No sooner that she had sat down, the engines began to roar into life, and I was pushed back into my seat as the plane accelerated fast down the runway. I immediately grabbed dad’s hand for comfort as the plane took off up and above the city of London.

Not long after take-off, I heard a big bang and asked dad if something was wrong. He laughed and said, “It’s okay, nothing to worry about, the noise was from the landing gear being retracted into the plane and the doors closing shut.

I don’t know how long it was after take-off, that the roar of the engines subsided and apart from a noticeable hiss, it was relatively quiet.

As it was a clear day, I was fascinated as to just how high up we were. On the plane at Southend, we only cruised at about 1,000ft. However, the captain of this plane said we were flying at 35,000ft!

Very soon, two stewards came around with a light refreshment. I thought it so cool to eat something at this height.

About half an hour later, I whispered to dad, “Dad, I need to pee!”

Dad said, “Go on then.”

I must’ve looked a bit shocked because he just smiled and said, “Come on, I will take you to the toilet.”

“They have one on the plane?”

Dad did take me, and I found it very strange. It was far noisier in the toilet than in the cabin and I laughed as I pulled the chain because I thought my pee would eventually fall on someone’s head down on the ground.

No sooner had I got back to my seat than the seat belt sign came on and the captain announced that we were shortly going to land in Paris.

I really enjoyed the whole experience of landing, watching the buildings getting bigger and bigger as we approached the runway.

When the plane came to a stop, dad asked me how my head was. I said I felt fine and soon we were able to get off the plane. Once we got through customs, dad hailed a taxi and mentioned some hotel in French, and we were off.

What I did find strange was that the cars drove on the right side of the road, whereas in England we drive on the left. I also found it funny that the steering wheel of the car was also on the opposite side to the ones in the cars back home.

We arrived at our hotel and dad booked us in. The room, according to dad, was rather basic. It had two single beds and a nice bathroom. We left our bags on the bed, went to the toilet, and then dad said that we were going out to explore.

It was dark, but dad seemed to know where he was going. One thing he wanted me to fully understand was that abroad cars didn’t always stop at crossings, so I was to be very careful whenever I crossed the road.

We walked about 15 minutes, when we turned the corner and I came across a giant pyramid shape structure. Dad told me that this was called The Eiffel Tower. We had to wait a while, but it was worth it because we were soon in the lift. It travelled up the Tower quite fast. We only managed to get to the second level, because of some maintenance work, which prevented us from going higher. However, you could see for miles and miles. Paris, like London, looks great at night, all lit up.

Dad looked at his watch and decided that we needed to get back to the hotel. When we arrived, I looked at my watch and must have looked sad, because it said that it was almost 9pm.

Dad laughed and said, “I am sorry James, I forgot to tell you that France is one hour ahead of England. It may be 9pm here, but it is only 8pm back home. This is the reason why we came back to the hotel, so that you could Skype Owen. I will leave you two to it and go and have a shower while you two chat.”

When dad had finished his shower, we went out for a meal. We found a nice French restaurant to eat in. I looked at the menu, but I had no idea what to order because everything was in French. Dad kept it simple and ordered two roast chicken meals and it was delicious. I think it was the gravy, certainly not out of a packet! For afters, we had some French pastries, and they were very tasty indeed.

Dad remembered a French friend he once knew. He told me that his friend once said, “The English are very particular with their cutlery, whereas, the French are very particular with their food!”

It was late when we got back to the hotel. I took a quick shower and it was soon time for bed. I must admit the days excitement had caught up with me.

Before I fell asleep, dad asked me how I felt and to make sure I tell him if I felt a little sick, or my head hurt in any way. I said, “I’m okay, thanks, dad for bringing me here, I’ve had a great time.”

Dad said, “Son, you have not seen nothing yet, wait until tomorrow. Sweet dreams.”

Dad woke me the next morning at 7 o’clock. I felt quite tired and he said that it was all down to something called my body clock. “In England it is only 6 o’clock in the morning, but over here it is 7.”

As I showered late last night, dad said that I didn’t have to have one this morning. Dad must have got up early because he had already shaved and showered.

When I was ready, we went down for breakfast. I was expecting a nice fry up, but I was disappointed to see that all what was on offer were something called croissants, ham, cheese and jam. Dad could see my disappointment and he just smiled and said, “When in Rome!”

All I could come up with was, “We’re not in Rome, we’re in Paris!” that remark got me a playful clip around the ear for my cheek, but we both laughed.

As we had to be out of our room by a certain time, dad arranged for our bags to be kept in a safe place, while we went sightseeing before our flight this afternoon to Naples.

Dad wanted to take me to his favourite church. We took the train to a place called Montmartre. A short walk from there we came to a very impressive church called the Basilique du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre. I could immediately see why it was dads favourite church, it was breath-taking. It was set on the crest of a hill and we had to climb a load of steps to get to it.

Three steps from the top, I heard a someone cry out in pain. When I turned around, dad had a man in a serious wrist lock. He then took his wallet out of the man’s hand before pushing the man away, who then fell about ten steps backwards. The man had three others with him and looked like they were going to attack dad, but he gave them one of ‘his looks’ and they thought better of it and ran towards their friend.

Just then two police officers spoke to dad, who told them in French what had happened. The two officers shook his hand and walked away in the direction of the men.

I asked dad what had happened, and he just said, “The man tried to pick my pocket, no big deal. Let’s go inside, I want to show you something.”

As we walked to the entrance of the church, I held dad’s hand, and suddenly, I felt so safe, and I couldn’t love him any more than I did at this moment. If that incident had happened to me, I would’ve been so scared, but dad just dealt with it like a person would swat away a fly and carried on as if nothing had happened.

After we had a look around the inside of the church, dad paid a small fee and we proceeded to climb to the top. Once there, the view was amazing. As it was a clear day, you could see for miles and in the distance I could see the Eiffel Tower, that we went up last night.

After a little rest from the climb, we began our descent. Once on the ground dad took me to a little place that he knew that made the most delicious desserts. We sat down at a table and the waiter came to take our order. Dad said something in French and a short while later he returned with a stack of Crêpes, covered in hot chocolate sauce. It was an amazing tasting experience. I think dad ate one, and I had all the rest.

After we made our way back to the hotel, dad paid the bill and asked the man behind the counter to call for a taxi to take us to the airport, which he did.

After we booked in for our flight, we had a little time to just sit and talk, which was nice.

Dad asked me once again, “It is not too late for us to travel to Italy by train, James. Please tell me the truth, it is very important. Are you feeling unwell in any way?”

“No, dad, I’m fine, apart from having a full stomach.”

“So, James, I know you have only had a very brief time in France, what do you think of Paris?”

“I think it has been a great experience, dad, thank you for bringing me with you. I think Paris is a great place, it’s just a shame that it’s all full of foreigners!”

“James, we are in their country, so we are the foreigners!”

“Oh yeah.” I giggled, “I forgot about that.”

Just then our flight to Naples was called and it was not long before we were up in the air once again.

I was glad when we landed, because it was a bumpy flight and I thought more than once that my digested Crêpes might see the light of day, one way or another!

Once we got through customs, it took about an hour’s drive in a taxi, before we arrived at dad’s villa. It had a gated entrance and the outside looked a lot bigger than I had imagined.

When we got out of the taxi, a plump woman of about 50ish came out of the door to meet us. Dad and the woman spoke a little in Italian before introducing me to her.

The woman’s name was Maria, and as I later found out, she looked after the place when dad was in England. Embarrassingly, she kissed me on both cheeks and gave me a big hug. Maria spoke a little broken English and she told me to put my bag in my bedroom and then come down for some refreshments.

Dad smiled and led me up the staircase to a long corridor. He came to the first room and said that this was his bedroom and that I could have the choice of any of the other five. Dad suggested that I have the one opposite his, and I was more than happy with it when I entered. The room had a big double bed, an ensuite bathroom, and a huge double door that led onto the balcony. Dad said that in the morning I would be able to have a fantastic view of the sea. The room also had a built-in wardrobe.

I turned and hugged dad and thanked him for bringing me here.

Dad went on to say, “James, this is important. Here on the wall is a control for the air-conditioner, it also doubles up as a heater. If you are cold, turn the dial to the right and when you are hot in the summer, you turn the dial to the left. One word of advice James. Never leave your window doors over there open after sunset, because this area does tend to attract some big insects, especially in the summer.”

Dad then took me on a tour of the villa. First, he showed me the large kitchen and most importantly, the fridge, which was always stocked up with drinks and snacks.

He then showed me the main living area, which was huge. It had 3 big leather settees and two leather armchairs. Over the fireplace there was a massive TV screen, which dad said had, ‘Sky’.

Next on the tour was a cinema room, with three rows of soft chairs and a big screen.

Dad then walked me down a corridor that led to a gymnasium. It had loads of equipment in there as well as a large matted area and a punch bag.

He then asked me to open the outside sliding doors, which I did, and my eyes grew larger and larger when I walked outside and saw a swimming pool, which was covered, and according to dad, was being heated.

Just then Maria came out with a tray full of refreshments and we sat down by the pool and consumed them.

I told Maria that the snacks were delicious, which earned me another round of hugs and kisses from her.

Maria then left and told us that she was going to prepare our evening meal.

That evening we sat down to a traditional Italian meal. I must’ve looked a little stupid because I closed my eyes after every mouthful, trying to savour every morsel of food.

“Dad, how come Italian food tastes a lot better here than in England?” He said something to Maria in Italian, and she laughed and thanked me.

Dad said, “In England, Italian, Indian and Chinese restaurants tend to cater for what English people like to think authentic foreign food tastes like. I am pleased you liked the meal.

He then said, “Please say the following to Maria. Grazie Maria, il pasto era delizioso, la migliore che abbia mai assaggiato.”

I managed to say the phrase after a couple of attempts, and Maria dabbed her eyes, got up and then kissed and hugged me all over again. I looked over at dad and he was laughing. I thought to myself that I didn’t know what I had just said, but I knew I wasn’t going to say that again!

Later after Maria had gone home, I Skyped Owen and told him of dad’s fabulous villa. After that, I climbed up onto dads lap and snuggled into one of his wondrous hugs.

After a while, I asked dad if I could ask him a personal question without him getting mad at me. He spun me around on his lap, so that I was now facing him with my legs straddling one of his.

“James, I thought we cleared this up some time ago, you can ask me anything, you know that. I have never got mad with you, even when you smashed your laptop, so tell me what is on your mind.”

“Well…it’s just…how come you have a big place like this and choose to live in a small house back home?”

Dad laughed and said, “Our house back home is where your granddad and I were raised. It is where your great grandparents lived, and I lived there with my wife. So, you see, the house has a lot of memories for me.”

“I see. I just thought you would have preferred to live mainly out here and only go back to England for holidays, not the other way around.”

“But, James, had I done that, then I would not have answered the door that day when we first met,”

“I’m sure glad you did answer the door to me that day dad, I didn’t fancy my chances on the streets had you not been in.”

“Now, I think it is time for you to go to bed, you have had enough excitement for one day.”

After I got ready for bed, dad came in to tuck me in for the night. He was just about to lean forward to kiss me goodnight, when I flung my arms around him and thanked him for being my dad.