Jude, like so many others I met your father at Aston university. I never quite worked out in the early days what he studied or what he was interested in but we always seemed to be bumping into each other.
It was clear early on that your Dad had a huge appetite for life. There was no question of him ever taking a backseat, if you were with him and part of the gang you were in for the ride and boy was it fun. After we left university we all went our separate ways but rarely a weekend went by without some form of reunion. It was always great to see Chris. He was sharp, intelligent, great company and merciless when he felt you had behaved in a way inconsistent with the values we lived our lives by. Its fair to say I took some stick at times but it was always given in a way that only endeared him further to you. I never had a brother but if I had I would have wished him to be like your Dad. We all loved him.
As was often the way our lives drifted apart for some years as we both travelled and worked overseas. Then Chris found himself in Singapore at the same time as I was living in Sydney (just down the road). He was often down in Sydney for team meetings, some of them actually required, and would stay at my flat in Bondi the weekend before or after when he wasn’t flying back to London to see your Mum. We both loved everything that Sydney had to offer and we had some fantastic times. I’ve got some wonderful memories to keep. My particular favourite was a weekend trip up to the Hunter Valley, a few hours north of Sydney to see the vineyards. Bizarrely I had a walk in wine cellar in my modest flat so I thought it would be a good opportunity to stock up on some quality Semillion. We had such fun, driving round in the convertible (my mid life crisis was in full bloom – see the movie Sideways when you’re old enough or ask your Mum !), stopping at the vineyards and getting advice at the various cellar doors. By the end of the Sunday we’d manage to buy plenty and had worked out your Dad had bought more than me for storage at his “Bondi weekender”. After getting lots of guidance on the way in which our wine should be kept in peak condition it soon became clear that he had taken the advice about quarter turning the bottles weekly very seriously. Barely a week went by when I didn’t get a call, email or text from all corners of the globe reminding me of that quarter turn. I still giggle about it now.
A few years ago we had a lovely afternoon walking with you round Hyde Park and I can’t tell you how much you reminded me of your Dad – an impish smile, those dimples, that sense of fun but most of all that desire to wrap up all around you in your affection – you were most insistent that we all come back with you for a family dinner. We all went away from that day bowled over by you and what a fantastic job your Mum & Dad were doing. I have no doubts that your Mum will continue to help you turn into a young man who would make his father very, very proud.