Friday, 25 April 2014

Dad's Eulogy from my brother Graham

Dad was born John Wyllie Macaulay on the 25th May 1925 and would have been 89 next month. Everyone knew Dad as Jack or Jackie.

Dad will always be remembered for two things; his pipe and a glass of whisky or as he termed it his "wee dram"

Dad grew up in Maryhill and may explain his love for Partick Thistle which he managed to pass on to us. Dad would be taken to Firhill and then lifted over the turnstile and this was subsequently done with Kenneth and I when we were young we would be taken to the games and lifted over the turnstile.

By following Partick Thistle Dad taught us a very valuable lesson in that it wasn't always black or white or even green or blue, it could be red and yellow. Dad taught us that it was perfectly acceptable not to be "one of the crowd" that we could in this case follow a football team that wasn't the popular one and to stand up for what we believed in.

In the past few days we have been going through a lot of the documents that he had kept and came across a school report card from North Kelvinside  which he attended. In first year after his first set of exams Dad was ranked 2nd in the class of 33. This was amazing to read because Dad had always told us he didn't do well at school and encouraged the 4 of us to work hard at school which we did and we all went on to third level education. 

Dad joined the Navy in 1943 at the age of 18 and served on many different aircraft carriers. Dad was discharged from the Navy in 1946 and then took up an apprenticeship to become a grate builder. While working on a fireplace in a house Knightswood he met the love of his life Myra McRobbie.

Myra and Jack were married on 28th February 1949 and in December of the same year the first little Mac appeared, Jacqueline who was then followed by Kenneth, Gale and myself.
Dad then switched his craft from grate building to become a tiler, this was because he would tell everyone he had a "flair" for it after laying the last kitchen or bathroom floor tile.

Dad was a very proud man and took great care in his work. He worked for amongst others Norman Campbell tiling company and whenever they took on jobs the request was usually we will give you the work as long as Jackie Macaulay is doing the job. The great legacy for the family is that Dad's work is still scattered around Glasgow, he worked on the swimming pool on the QE2, Queen Street Station, Drumchapel swimming pool to name but a very small examples. There was a time when if you drove through Bearsden and saw the front steps tiled with "Rustic Red" or "Autumn Gold" chances were that Jack had tiled them.

We always had a laugh when we were out for dinner, because whenever we went somewhere to eat in Glasgow, chances were that dad had tiled the bathrooms. However, on the few occasions he didn't do the work himself he would immediately excuse himself and go and inspect the work of someone else. Dad would then return with a whole list of why the tiling job was particularly bad.
Dad cared very much for the family and when working at a time when the building trade was required to work on Christmas day would wait until all the kids had gone to the living room to see what Santa had brought, Dad would then head off to work at the risk of getting the sack.
Dad worked at a time when the man earned the living and the woman stayed at home bringing up the kids. Jack and Myra always put the 4 of us first and knew that our education was so important to us all.

Dad worked very hard and took on additional jobs or "homers" as they were called to bring additional income. He would do evening jobs and also worked week-ends to provide for us.
Dad finally made the decision to become self employed, he was always afraid that he wouldn't have enough work. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Dad never advertised and always had work through recommendations, he was so busy he took on additional folk to cope with the work.

Everyone can remember showbiz double acts, Morecombe and Wise, The two Ronnies etc, but the tiling trade had its own celebrity couple, Jack and Jake. Jake was our Golden Cocker Spaniel who travelled with Dad on his jobs. Dad would get most of the tiles for his jobs at the CTD and between the smell of the pipe and the scent left by the cocking of his leg ( I am referring to the dog here and not Dad) everyone could tell that the tiles were delivered from the CTD with that unique aroma of pipe smoke and pee.

We had a unique alarm clock in our house, this involved being woken to the sound of scraping, and by that I mean the scraping of burnt toast over the kitchen sink. Cooking wasn't one of Dad's strong points, but he more than made up for it in being a truly wonderful Dad.
I couldn't talk about Dad without discussing his driving.

There are numerous stories to tell but I have picked out a couple which I think are worth telling.
Dad learned to drive at a relatively older age compared to most people. There was a time when he had his provisional licence and Kenneth and Dad were heading to Johnstone to do a job. Dad was on the motorway (which he shouldn't have been) and was driving in his Morris Minor. Kenneth was watching the speedometer reach 85mph and said to Dad that the speed limit was 70mph. Dad turned to Kenneth and said "Oh I thought that you had to be above 70mph"

Another time was when we headed off to Firhill to see Partick Thistle play. On this particular occasion he didn't have his usual parking spot and we were parking beside the canal. As we are looking for a place to park there are lots of folk getting out of their cars and walking to the ground. Dad then finds a parking space and then starts to reverse in. As he does the car goes over a little bump. There is a lot of shouting and as we look out, the little bump was someone's foot. The guy was very annoyed and approached the car. dad rolls down the window unaware of what he had done. Dad as always had his pipe in his mouth. As the guy approached Dad he just grabbed my Dad's pipe. The look on his face was priceless as he couldn't believe that someone had the audacity to take his pipe. Everything was calmed down and we went to the game staying several yards behind the guy limping to the ground.

Everyone has heard of Alton Towers and the scary rides that are in the theme park.
Well we had our own "White Knuckle Ride" and it usually took place every time we got into the car with Dad.

The White Knuckle Ride was as follows:
Driving as closely as possible to the curb without touching it, for the most part, it was only every touched when we turned left. As well as driving as close to the curb as possible, the car was about one foot away from the car in front. So you have the picture, now while all this is going on Dad would then decide to light his pipe. This then involved balancing the steering wheel between his knees while searching his pockets with both hands looking for his pipe followed by looking for his tobacco. Dad would then fill his pipe, remember we are about 1 mm from the curb and about a foot away from the car in front. Once the pipe is filled, the lighting of the pipe then followed. This meant that the car was filled with pipe smoke as all the windows were up, Dad didn't like the cold. The car would become so filled with pipe smoke it was impossible to see out the front window.
However, in saying all that, we were all brought and returned safe and sound but not without the odd scare.

Dad and Mum were great dancers, and whenever there was a party everyone would step back and give Myra and Jack the space to do their jiving. In his latter years when he went to Frank Downie House, he would love teaching everyone how to dance.

Dad had a brilliant sense of humour - when he was tiling he would always tell the lady of the house that there was a 50p piece under one of the tiles. When I was working with him the lady would pull me to the side and ask me which tile had the 50p piece under it. I would play along and say that it was back luck to reveal it.

When Dad moved down to Dumbarton he took great delight in telling everyone at St Augustine's he was Father's Father. He also took on the role as bouncer at the coffee mornings in the church. He took great joy in charging everyone their entrance money.

Before Dad went to Frank Downie he spent a short time in a home in Cardross. Dad had to go out to the back to have his smoke, while out he would then run to the front of the house and ring the front door bell and then dash back around to the back acting all innocent.

Dad was cared for very well in the Frank Downie House and to the staff and carers we are extremely grateful. Sandra, Caroline and Kate are here today who cared for Dad for a lot of the time he was at  Frank Downie House.

Dad was a very proud Pappa of his 6 grandchildren, Graham Barry, David, Matthew, Hannah & Eve. He was very proud of what they have all achieved in their lives and loved them dearly.

We have a new generation started now with Alana and Hailey and I am sure Graham and Matthew will have great stories to tell them about their Pappa as their children grow up.

I have tried to give you an insight into Jack Macaulay, our Dad, was he perfect, not at all, was he a good Dad, he was the best. A wonderful man who always put his family first.

Mum passed away 15 years ago on Holy Week and it is very symbolic that Dad passed away on Holy Week as well.

Dad would want us to be happy today and to celebrate his life.

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