Judith writes about her father George Edward Hubbard.......

I was the eldest child. People, who knew both father and I, often said that I definitely took after him both in personality and in ways.

When doing a personality test for career prospects a few years ago, I came out strongly as an Architect. This pleased me greatly, except I was in my late 50’s and it was too late to take up that career. Give me Lego and I immediately build!

Father and I were close. We both had a rebellious streak and never took normal routes through life. We would both get up to pranks behind mother’s back. I remember a notable holiday at Heacham, in Norfolk around 1960. The game Bingo had just recently become popular and there was a Bingo centre near where we were staying. He and I went off several evenings on the pretext of a walk together but instead had a fun time doing Bingo! It was such an antithesis to our usual life, that it was totally therapeutic. We never said a word about ‘Bingo’ to anyone.

Father had a very sweet tooth; chocolates and sweets were a passion, which probably didn’t help the diabetes he developed in later life. I have to constantly keep in check, my own consumption. A box of chocolates could sit unopened on my shelves for a very long time, but once opened has to be consumed totally, straight away.

His approach to religion was highly personal and original; but he found the tedium of parish life crippling. This doesn’t mean father wasn’t a good and faithful priest – because he was. Just that his approach was different from the mainstream. His mother always wanted him to be ordained (like his brother Jack) and he eventually bowed to this. His vision of religion however was wider than most people’s. He could embrace and accept the other faiths he found in India with an openness that didn’t put him on the ‘convert the wretched heathen’ wagon. Instead he enjoyed dialogue and valued friendship in an age that was pre-multicultural/multifaith as we understand it. The whole of life has meaning and cannot be contain in a single creedal straightjacket.

Father had a love of ancient buildings which with his architectural skills, made him very acceptable to bishops! He was in the forefront of the project at Abingdon, did much by way of advising to other clergy/parishes and oversaw church restoration at Milton Malsor. There is something about an ancient site or ruin of any kind that kindles the imagination of times past and puts the present into perspective.

Both my brothers had very different and not very easy relationships with father; being younger than me, they rarely saw the more fun loving side of him. Those few years made all the difference. Robert with his problems was a severe disappointment to father. By the time Nicolas came along, father had run out of steam for family pursuits. Nicolas in particular always felt he had a grandfather figure rather than a father figure to look to. Other fathers played cricket or kicked a football around – my brothers had little or none of this.

Father’s later years were not happy ones. His marriage with my mother had been fraught with difficulties since the mid-nineteen-fifties. There was a twenty year difference between mother and father which never made things easy. These days they would have divorced, but being products of their upbringing, generation and being ‘clergy family,’ divorce was not an acceptable option. All credit to all of us, that we stayed as sane as we did.

He loved cats and teased them unmercifully but they always came back purring for more! Nick my brother has the same gift – cats adore him, yet he can treat them in a very rough way.

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