is the story of a one in a million type coincidence, which
I still find hard to believe, several days after the event.
To start with, I have to give you several pieces of background
father: My father, Jeffrey Wood is 78 years old this
year. He takes a keen interest in how my business is working,
i.e. am I surviving financially (he has helped me out numerous
times) but he knows virtually nothing about 'Wyenot', what
I actually do with it and how it works. He knows it is my
living but he never visits 'Wyenot.com' unless I send him
a specific link to look at, and I never talk about 'Wyenot'
amongst my family. My own family are probably the only people
in the world who never look at it. When I see them in Essex,
it is one of my few chances to completely forget Ross-on-Wye
and switch off from local issues, so I simply do not talk
about it and 'Dad' had no real idea of what I do for a living.
am sure that Dad will not mind me saying that he has a completely
and totally eccentric personality. He is one of life's true
individuals. I guess that this valuable asset has been passed
on to me to a certain extent, genetically. When I was little
for example, Dad used to sing out loud on the bus and I
wanted to hide___ things like that. I love him dearly and
I am very proud of him. Dad is also extremely clever - I
would say, to genius IQ levels.
retired from his work, at the age of 75, when Mum died but
he was (and is) a highly qualified, well respected in the
field as a Naval Architect and Ship Surveyor, who travelled
virtually every country in the world with a coast or a navigable
river during the course of his working life. Sometimes just
for one day. I remember once, he had a job in Hawaii so
he left home on Thursday, flew to Hawaii, carried out the
job, which took a couple of hours and was back home by Sunday.
This was just one of thousands of similar jobs. Another
time he spent six months in Bolivia. He had an office in
Singapore, worked in Australia, Indonesia and so forth.
I remember the first time he went away from home. It was
on a trawler off Iceland for two weeks, and I cried because
I did not want him to go. (Now, of course, he goes to Asda
like everybody else.)
worked for Dad for many years. Dad trained him as a Naval
Architect, they became close friends and when Dad retired,
Elliott took over in the business of naval architecting
and surveying ships and boats. To relieve the boredom of
life since Mum died and Dad has retired, Dad sometimes accompanies
Elliott on 'jobs' both as a friend and consultant.
friend, Nick: Nick and I have known one another and
been friends since 1976, when I first relocated from Essex
to Ross. On Monday last, it was his birthday and so we met
for a drink in the Saracen's Head at Symonds Yat - the pub
which is very conveniently and literally next door to where
he lives. We talked about life, the universe and eventually
the conversation got on to our dads.
your dad ever visit you? asked Nick.
'Sometimes, but he rarely stays long,' I replied. 'It's
usually just for half an hour just before Christmas, although
recently, being the eccentric person he is, he decided one
day to come and visit Tina and I but failed to tell us he
was coming. He drove the 150 miles to our house, Tina was
at work and moments before he arrived, unaware that he was
coming, I nipped out to Morrisons to get some milk or something.
Dad arrived, found nobody at home and so he posted a note
saying "Where were you when the old man called?"
through my door and drove the 150 miles back home. He had
forgotten to bring his mobile phone and I missed him by
and Ros of Kingfisher Cruises: advertise their pleasure
boat business on Wyenot. They have also become my friends,
yet I have never spoken to them of my dad. The fact that
Dad is a Naval Architect and Ship Surveyor, living in Essex
had never entered into our conversation.
week: on WNTV NEWS I ran a film sequence about Symonds
Yat East - Nick's Rose Cottage, The Saracen's Head and Ros
and Gerald's Kingfisher Cruises etc.
chance in a million: On Wednesday morning, I had just
dropped Tina off at the White Lion for work and was in the
garden chatting to landlord, Dave when my mobile phone rang.
It was Dad...
'Is Symonds Yat anywhere near where you live?' He asked.
'Yes - only a couple of miles,' I replied.
Do you know a pub called the Saracen's Head?'
'Yes - I was in there on Monday night with my friend Nick,
who lives next door'.
'Good,' said Dad. 'Elliott and I have a job there tomorrow.
Do you know 'Kingfisher Cruises?'
all the ship surveyors in all of the world they could
have called to do the pre compulsory 'MCA' survey hull thickness
measurements on their passenger boats, Gerald and Ross had
called Elliott and My Dad. We met up in the Saracen's Head,
Nick provided coffee and Tea and Dad and Elliott began the
'MCA' survey of the two Kingfisher Cruises pleasure boats.
just thought this an incredible coincidence- especially
following my evening with Nick on Monday!
coincidence occurred when I first found out what had happened,
I called Ros to explain that it was my dad coming to work
on her boats. When she answered the phone and found it was
me calling, she said, 'That's strange. I have just come
back from a tourism meeting where we were talking about