Family, Family Matters, Life, Love, Poetry

“To Her Father with Some Verses”

Most truly honoured, and as truly dear, If worth in me or ought I do appear, Who can of right better demand the same Than may your worthy self from whom it came? The principal might yield a greater sum, Yet handled ill, amounts but to this crumb; My stock's so small I know not… Continue reading “To Her Father with Some Verses”

Family, History

Gagara Yasin

The year was 1956. I knew something was horribly wrong that night, when Ahmadu dropped the soup! Normally exquisitely self-possessed, immaculately groomed, and imperturbable, our man-servant and friend was disheveled, the color of cement, and shaking like a leaf with acute anxiety and palpable fear. Our little family—myself, Kay, and our imperious eighteen-month-old daughter, known… Continue reading Gagara Yasin

Culture, Family, Family Matters

Happy Birthday, Dad: The “Gremlin in the Petrol Tank” Edition

One of the enduring memes (if we had had such a word to describe them at the time) of my childhood would have been my Dad's invocation of the "gremlin in the petrol tank."  He was prone to bring it up in any situation where something unexpected happened and a thing that was supposed to… Continue reading Happy Birthday, Dad: The “Gremlin in the Petrol Tank” Edition

Family, Family Matters, History, Military

Occasional Quote of the Day–“Fear God, Honour the King”

When my father, who was quite a colorful character, died in 2007, he was the subject of several obituaries in the UK. This one, from the local newspaper, is my favorite because it’s the most personal and tells the most stories. Most of them referred to a verse from 1 Peter 2:17, which Dad, who considered himself an… Continue reading Occasional Quote of the Day–“Fear God, Honour the King”

Culture, Family, History

Occasional Quote of the Day: “O day and night but this is wondrous strange!”

My father was a remarkable man. Over the course of his long life, he met very few men whose will was stronger than his own. Here’s the story of one of them: Shortly after World War II, Dad was ordered to the ancient Northern Nigerian city of Sokoto to serve as the Assistant District Officer (that… Continue reading Occasional Quote of the Day: “O day and night but this is wondrous strange!”

Family, History

His Holiness Will Receive You in a Few Moments. I could Have Dropped Dead!”

One of the touchstones of my life has always been the story of how my dad met the Pope, in Rome, on June 5, 1944. Truth be told, my mother always pooh-poohed the whole thing a bit (not unusual for Mum to do something like that, especially for an event in which she wasn’t the main… Continue reading His Holiness Will Receive You in a Few Moments. I could Have Dropped Dead!”