Today is my fatherâ€™s birthday. 59 years ago today in a mudhut on the shores of Lake Victoria in Tanganyika (now Tanzania), he came squealing into this world and became the scion of the Haile family. I have always been fascinated by his childhood, spent in an alien country during the sunset of the British Empire and for many years have pestered him to take me back to where he was born. Maybe, when I have the ice out of my system, we will finally go.
Though I would find it hard to admit to his face (I am English), I do seem to have inherited more than just the gene for height and blonde hair from the chap. He was an Oxford Blue in Fencing and apparently was pretty handy at the Butterfly and that combined with my mother (who would be upset if I didnâ€™t mention she was an Oxford Blue in Rowing), seems to have given me a little natural ability in the physical stakes, which is helpful considering my current profession.
Moreover, as I get older I do find myself drawn to interests that once were his alone. I now read less fiction and more history, I have started to devour books on philosophy, religion and science. One of his many admirable qualities is that he can talk fluently about a wide range of subjects and this is certainly something I aspire to. His support for some of my more crazy career decisions has always been unstinting (and at times financial) and I donâ€™t thank him enough. Happy Birthday Dad, and thank you.