This last week has been emotional for me and has churned up numerous memories.
Last Saturday, 23rd May 2009 I organised a birthday celebration for my late father who would have been 100 years old on the 21st May 2009.
Lots of family members turned up for a Mass at the church where he is buried in the family grave. I also had a brass plaque engraved to lay on the grave giving details of everyone's ancestry going back as far as I have been able to uncover and which also recorded their association with British India and the Honourable East India Company.
2009 also marks the 100th wedding anniversary of my maternal grandparents who are also laid to rest in the same grave as my father and mother. They were married in Bankipore, Patna on 29th December 1909.
After the church service we returned to my home where we enjoyed a selection of curries and Indian pickles that were made by my eldest sister, Janet. The weather was perfect for this unique celebration and we remembered our absent loved ones.
Yesterday, I learnt that a close friend of mine, Jack Shaw had died. Jack had been one of my teachers when I was at college studying to become a graphic designer. He also ran the college football team and he persuaded me to play for them, which I did for over 10 years under his guidance.
Jack was our "Liberal Studies" teacher who went on to become a broadcaster with BBC Radio Sheffield where he had a Sunday morning show. He wrote a number of books about religion and a couple of joke books that listeners had sent in to him for his Sunday morning show. I was honoured to have illustrated his books. Jack also encouraged me to write.
In 1997, the 50th anniversary of Indian Independence, he invited me to be a guest on his radio programme to talk about British India. He invited me on again for his last show when he retired from broadcasting due to ill health. Jack had a great sense of fun and was a real joy to be with.
Jack's legacy is this. He gathered together a number of 17 year old boys at college to play in his football team. I was one of those boys, and 31 years later all of those boys have remained firm friends. If it had not been for Jack, we would not have met nor endured lifelong friendships that today continues amongst our wives and children.