When I was a very young kid I would sit on his lap, play with his ear lobe and maybe I’d get an extra strong mint from the jar! He smoked and had a magical mechanical ash tray in which centrifugal force dispersed the ash into a hidden compartment.
In many ways he was an early adopter – a 1966 Austin (in which I was later to honeymoon), home ownership and long distance commuting (he left London and took the train from the Sussex coast each morning). He was always interested in me and valued whatever I was doing.
Each spring, when I grew up and he grew old, I used to dig a trench in which to plant his runner beans. Afterwards he’d ask about what was going on in my life, we’d have a cup of tea and maybe I’d get an extra strong mint from the jar.