Chip off the old block!

But this reader didn’t in­herit her dad’s psy­chic abil­ity

Chat It's Fate - - Contents -

Grow­ing up, it wasn’t un­usual to find a sev­ered hand on the kitchen ta­ble or a crushed torso in the liv­ing room.

My dad brought them home, but the stray body parts were made of bronze, which he re­stored.

The squashed torso was an Rodin sculp­ture some­one had tried to steal. Only the thief had dropped it as they fled, and it went un­der a car.

Dad was tasked with putting it back to­gether again.


His work had al­ways fas­ci­nated me, and in my 20s I fol­lowed in his foot­steps. Now, I re­store his­toric stat­ues. But that’s not the only way my re­mark­able dad John has in­flu­enced me. His life story is like some­thing from a movie, and in­spired my second ca­reer as a writer. Grow­ing up in Da­gen­ham, Dad’s French mother Lucy whom I was named after, was said to be a witch. ‘I once walked with her past a gar­den she’d cursed,’ Dad told me when I was a girl. ‘All the flow­ers and plants in it had died.’ I’ve no idea where her es­o­teric side came from, but it rubbed off on Dad. Se­verely dyslexic, he strug­gled at school and as a young lad ac­cepted an ap­pren­tice­ship with the cir­cus. While on the road, he learnt to read play­ing cards and gave ad­vice based on what the numbers said.

A gift

When he left the cir­cus, Dad was posted to Egypt to do his Na­tional Ser­vice. His troop did tar­get prac­tice in the desert, aim­ing at an­cient pyra­mids and sphinxes! ‘I didn’t know the sig­nif­i­cance of these struc­tures, but I knew they were pow­er­ful,’ Dad told me. ‘It felt wrong to fire at them.’ When he returned to the UK, Dad wanted to spend the rest of his life re­pair­ing and

Dad’s life story is like some­thing from a movie

restor­ing stat­ues. He trained at the Cen­tral St Martins, where he met Mum. Dad didn’t let his psy­chic side slide. He car­ried on card read­ing, and his rep­u­ta­tion meant peo­ple trav­elled from all over the world to see him. One client paid him with a bag of ru­bies! His gift could have been in­her­ited – Dad al­ways felt psy­chic pro­tec­tion sur­round­ing him at var­i­ous times in his life.

I shud­dered as he re­counted when he was work­ing on a me­mo­rial in Le­ices­ter.

Tee­ter­ing on a lad­der, Dad sud­denly felt the struc­ture move, ren­der­ing his lad­der com­pletely un­sta­ble.

Wit­nesses were shout­ing from the ground, but there was noth­ing Dad could do.

Then, out of the blue, he felt a kind of force push­ing him and the me­mo­rial into place. To the peo­ple on the ground, it must’ve looked like magic!

It sort of was...

I miss him

I’m proud that Dad and I worked on the same restora­tion projects. After WWII, he was paid £100 to go up Nel­son’s Col­umn in Trafal­gar Square to check if it was wob­bly. Years later, in 2006, I worked on it, too. I was grate­ful how much times had changed though, as I was pro­vided with scaf­fold­ing, whereas Dad used ropes! My dad also in­flu­enced my second ca­reer as an au­thor.

My first novel, A Rarer Gift Than Gold, fea­tures a cen­tral char­ac­ter who can read cards.

The plot sur­rounds the myth of alchemy, and is a con­spir­acy the­ory about whether parts of his­tory have been tweaked.

My main char­ac­ter is a patineur, a spe­cial­ist in restor­ing bronze and colours stat­ues. I link this lit­tle known pro­fes­sion with alchemy as, although two patineurs can have the same pal­ette or set of skills, the fin­ish of the statue will be dif­fer­ent. There’s a lit­tle bit of mys­tery in­volved. Sadly, my dad died last De­cem­ber, aged 86. I miss him ter­ri­bly. But, while I haven’t in­her­ited his psy­chic abil­ity, I know in my heart he is watch­ing over me. It’s in the cards!

He al­ways felt psy­chic pro­tec­tion around him in his life

For info about Lucy’s books, see her web­site www.lucy­ For more on bronze con­ser­va­tion see www. an­tique­

Hard at work: Re­pair­ing stat­ues

Top deck: Psy­chic abil­ity

Amaz­ing dad: My idol

So ded­i­cated: Dad’s foot­steps

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