This music by Ludovico Einaudi took me on a reverie.
Just a brief post that I think I’m writing for myself as much as anyone who might be vaguely interested. It’s a fast-paced voyage around my father. It’s a list thing. I like lists.
Here he is:
Arfon Roberts, born in a small village in the shadow of Snowdonia.
- Miner’s son
- Semi-pro footballer: Featured regularly on the back pages of The Daily Post either saving goals or letting them in
- Did National Service working with radar and sonar on Welsh lakes and reservoirs
- Trainee teacher at Bangor Normal College
- Teacher on The Wirral
- Carer to his wife, Dorothy Ann, who, in 1973 had a negative reaction to anaesthetic whilst having a simple dental procedure
- Decision maker: Arfon chose to plough himself into his work after Dorothy Ann pulled through a month-long coma. Her mind had been erased
- Settler: Arfon had to tutor, guide and lead Dorothy Anne back to a state of relative normality. She had forgotten him, their two boys, her wider family, her language, her natural role: mother and teacher
- Grafter: Arfon worked six days a week (five days in secondary schools in Prestwich and Bury, Manchester, a day tutoring to earn extra cash to make up for the loss of Dorothy Ann’s earnings)
- Hugger: Always keen to embrace his sons
- Fisherman: He found serenity at the riverbank. He could think, reflect and plan. He was never bitter about what happened to Dorothy Ann. The Law Lords had said it had been an Act of God, so who was he to argue? In English law, apparently that’s that. The Law Lords proclaim it, and that’s job done. Crack on then
- Passionate about teaching: as well as leading Humanities at his last school in Bury, he represented teachers as local elected president of the NASUWT
- Retired: in the photo above, Arfon completes decades of teaching and opts for a retirement of gardening. They got him a tankard and a pen. He was buzzing
- Life and soul
- Pipe smoker (of an evening)
‘My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing’.