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Ronald Basil Girdler

1925 - 2017


Helene Girdler

1927 - 2020

Dad kept very fit during this time, despite the fact that he tended to be a little over-weight. We bought a tandem cycle from my cousin Vera and her husband Larry, and Dad and I used to cycle to Shalford and many other places on this. On one occasion, we spent a week-end with my Aunt Liz and Uncle MO at Great Yarmouth, where they owned a fish and chip shop. Peggy and Mum travel led there by public transport, but Dad and I cycled there and back on the tandem, taking 2 days each way and staying at a youth hostel overnight. Dad was in his middle-50s at this time, and he was still playing tennis with me occasionally, but his favourite sport was golf. On one of our many visits to Shalford just after the war, he and I decided to go to Bramley Golf Club to see if we liked the game. We hired 2 sets of clubs and proceeded to hack our way around this beautiful course. Despite our terrible scores I beat Dad by 154 strokes to 156! - we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and visited Bramley and other courses on many future occasions. Dad played golf from time to time until he was in his late-70s. One other very memorable sporting event that Dad and I attended was the Olympic Games in 1948 at Wembley, just after I was demobbed from the R. A.F. We had season tickets to attend every day of the athletics events and saw many of the great athletes of that era, such as Fanny Blankers-Kohn and Emil Zatopek, win their events.

Dad was always very good at telling stories, and our children still have happy memories of the many times when he would relate to them various stories about the adventures of "Ginger and Blackie" All these stories were made up by him, often on the spur of the moment. and they all ended happily or had a good moral purpose. He always amazed us with his capacity to think of yet more stories about Ginger and Blackie, and his grandchildren really loved them, especially at bedtime when we often had to call him downstairs in the middle of a very long story so that the children could get some sleep! He also told rnany other amusing stories to us, and we often had tears running down our faces from laughing at the amusing way in which he described a funny incident on television or in a film - or events In his childhood e.g. when he was with a group of boys playing "Scrape halfpenny" on Shalford Common.

They asked any new-comer he wanted to win a halfpenny. and when he agreed they explained that the rules of halfpenny were that he should be blindfolded and that they would place the half-penny on the ground in front of him. If he could then grab for the coin and get it in his hand, then he could keep it. Unluckily for the unsuspecting boy, however, after being blindfolded he was led to a suitable part of the Common where he was placed immediately next to a very runny fresh cow-turd and then told to grab !

When Dad was nearly seventy years of age he developed intermittent claudication - a condition caused by blocked blood vessels – in his leg and his doctor advised him to give up smoking, which he did after having smoked at least twenty-five cigarettes a day for of his adult life. He retired from work when he was nearly seventy, in 1961 and he and Mum lived happily together until he had a stroke around 1966, which affected his speech so that he was never able to communicate again. Although he could understand all that was said to him he was unable to reply in sensible sentences a very frustrating experience for concerned. On 1st September 1968 Mum died tragically and very unexpectedly following a stroke at the age of 68. She evidently collapsed after returning from the shops one day, and Dad sat with her all night in the dining room. He could not speak on the phone and possibly thought that Mum was just asleep, but my sister Peggy phoned the next day and from Dads’s limited replies she guessed that something had happened and went to Colindale to investigate. Mum was taken to Edgware General Hospital and died about 2 days later from the results of a cerebral haemorrhage. The hospital said that she must have had very high blood pressure for some time, but Mum never complained about anything and no-one realised how ill she was. In addition, the last 2 years of her life  must have been quite a strain after Dad's stroke. The house in Colindale was sold Dad to live with my sister and her family in Hemel Hempstead. He had another stroke around 1969-1970 and finally died following another stroke on 14th January 1972 aged 80.

Dealing with the two children of Arthur and Louise Girdler. I, Ronald Basil, was born on 31st October 1925 and my sister, Peggy Louise a few years later.