This post has nothing to do with running. But, since I mentioned our 2nd 2nd wedding anniversary the other day, and subsequently shared a couple of pictures from it, I would like to share with you today some photos from a very memorable, wonderful, amazing FIRST wedding, that we had some 5 months prior to our SECOND also amazing and wonderful (Bali) wedding. We had this first one in New Zealand, specifically so that my father could be a very special part of it, as fate cruelly predicted that he wouldn't be around for the wedding in Bali in May 2012. So, here are a couple of snaps from that beautiful day, one that I feel so blessed to have had. I treasure the memories from this day and think about the day and the people who were there (especially my father) often.
Today’s post isn’t so much a post about running, although running will certainly feature in some of what I write about. Today I am thinking about (as ever) and celebrating the life of my father, Nick. Today marks the two year anniversary from when he passed away, all too young. I miss him everyday. He was a great and wonderful man. I won’t be able to do him justice in my not-so-eloquent blog post, but here are some of the things that made up that much loved man; father to me and my brother, and husband to my mum.
1) He was an adventurer, and loved to travel. He went extensively to Europe, to Africa a couple of times, to Australia a few times, to India and other parts of Asia, and he emigrated to live and work in New Zealand (from London) in recent years. I know he wanted to see more of Australia and many more places in this world, so I aim to see as much of this world as possible, on his behalf (and mine too, ok).
2) He was intelligent and wise. He loved to do (and finish!) those insane cryptic crosswords (that are definitely in the too-hard basket for me). If I ever had a tricky question or problem about life, i.e. practical matters, job and career things, study issues, running or race questions etc, then I would ask him or seek his advice. (Although nothing too personal or about my love-life hey – after all, we’re Adderleys!)
3) He always supported and encouraged me, in whatever I was doing or was about to embark on, no matter how ridiculous it may have sounded (or maybe he kept that to himself anyhow), such as: potentially buying a cleaning business with all my savings (lucky escape that I didn’t), starting a mobile spray-tanning business, or quitting my original course at uni to rethink things all those years ago.
4) He was keen sportsman: always active and playing sports, his favourites being: golf, running, and walking/hiking, but he also liked to go fishing, cycling, skiing, and play tennis. I remember him going on his annual golf trip away with his friends to battle each other for a coveted trophy they took turns in winning each year. On other years, Dad and I would join our friends on a skiing trip to the French Alps. If it weren’t for my dad, I may not have picked up running at all. He was a keen runner, and I have vivid early memories of him sitting down, puffed out after a good run, with a pint of squash (cordial) in hand, on a Sunday morning in London. He ran the London Marathon back in the day too, and got an awesome time of 4:11 (one that I’m still yet to come close to matching), and countless other runs and events. I miss talking to him about running and times in races etc. Everytime I run, I think of him, and especially when I cross the finish line of races – I’d love to be able to tell him my time and talk about the run with him. He also climbed up to the TOP - the SUMMIT - of this mountain (Mount Taranaki) in New Zealand!
So incredibly proud of him, for this and for many reasons.
5) He really appreciated good food and good wine and good beer. He was an excellent cook, and would spend hours making a good meal, on a Sunday or at Christmas or a special occasion. He would also make a completely different main dish too, for when I was vegetarian as a teenager, or if I wasn’t eating red meat at the time, or whatever I was doing, so if he was cooking a Beef Wellington for Christmas dinner he’d make me a whole steamed salmon, for example. I still have cravings for his awesome tiramisu too. He loved good wine and good beer, and would never just drink for the sake of it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him drunk or off his head, maybe the most he would have had would have been a few glasses to a bottle. But he never drank anything strong, or ever drank too much, his joke being he was ‘one pint Nick’ (so, I guess being a lightweight must run in the family!). He never smoked either, and he worried about those who did smoke (although in a non-judgemental way: he would FULLY support those trying to quit and would tell them often but not in a pushy, overbearing way that ‘we are all behind you’ or ‘you have our full support’).
6) He was an animal lover and a lover of wildlife. He was a veterinarian so his career was in helping animals, but he also got involved in conservation work. For example, check out this adorable baby Kiwi bird that is named Adderley as a tribute to and now in memory of my father:
My dad found this kiwi’s egg during a conservation trek and now he has been released back into the bush. Nick couldn’t be there to release the chick into the forest so I was so honoured to go on his behalf and do so. It was one of the coolest things I have ever done, without a doubt. So proud of my dad. He also went on a month-long trip to rural Northern India on a volunteer program to neuter/spay stray dogs, with a couple of other vets.
7) There are so many more things I could write or say about him. He was ultimately a great man. A man I love and respect so much. I wish I knew him more as a friend as well as father (especially later in my life and now), as his many many friends may know a whole lot more and have different aspects that they would remember about him, but I am so happy and proud to be his daughter. I miss you Dad, you are forever in my heart and thoughts. Wish you were here.
It's Christmas morning here in China, so Merry Christmas everyone! I kicked off today with the annual Christmas run, a tradition started by my dad and his good friend Bob Smith, and one that I hope to carry on every year, even though I am running solo. (Let's pretend that I wore this santa hat for today's run, rather than my usual cap - it just didn't work with my hair in a ponytail though...)
Then a mini feast of some of the leftover huoji (turkey) and Christmas cake from last night's banquet put on by the school, and fruit and toast.
Last night we were invited to a dinner in a special private dining room here at school, and they went all out and produced a HUGE turkey complete with stuffing and vegetables, many different Chinese dishes, red wine, and Christmas cake. Awesome! There was the usual 'gambei'ing and people trying to get us to skull our full glasses of red wine, but have learnt my lesson with that one, and now just do sneaky sips when they ask for me to 'down in one'. Surely girls can get away with that, yes?
We're working today, but hopefully will celebrate properly this arvo or tonight. Merry Christmas everyone!