Eric Walford, the Father Figure
Eric Walford appeared in a TV programme called the ascent of man. It was a series of seven programs and one of them was all about sight made by Dr Branowsky where he was shown on the programme, using his white stick.
He was very good with it, and being 6 foot 4 inches tall had a long stride and walked or rather marched along very quickly. Anyone dawdling along the pavement in front of him, soon got rapped on the back of the ankles by his stick and moved out of the way.
I used to read to him quite often, minutes of meetings, letters and articles that he needed to refer to at meetings, committees and his work, and dad used to record it onto a cassette tape machine so that he could write notes in braille for his talks and meetings. Dad was often at meetings most nights of the week from the talking newspaper to the RNIB committees, the Boys Brigade evenings, BB band rehearsals and staff meetings.
When I was young. He used to sing bedtime songs to me like Scarlet Ribbons and the Skye boat Song, and he would recite Edward Lear’s The Owl and the Pussycat to me and I still remember all of those words.
Dad always did everything the right way. He used to polish his shoes every day and I grew up seeing that as the proper thing to do. He was very disciplined and I grew up with everything having to be in its place. Dads corner of the lounge had his things in exactly the same place and they were NOT to be moved.
The tins of soup could not be mixed with the tins of friut. Although we did have some strange dinners sometimes when they got mixed up by accident, but as a child, no toys could be left on the floor. No shoes could be left in the doorway, and the biggest crime was anything left on the stairs, or on the top landing. Everything had to be picked up and put away properly, as a matter of extreme safety.
Dad also used to wear a shirt and tie every day, even at weekends. At all times was always properly dressed. In fact, even on the beach. He would sit in a deckchair in his shirt and tie, blisters appearing on his forehead, but the tie was never removed…