Because when I wrote it, I didn't know if my mum had told the rest of the family, if the cousins and the aunts knew yet. And so many people read my blog, I did not want family learning it from here. But yes, it was my dad.
While it may not be true to say that he was never ill a day in his life, it would certainly be true to say that he was never ill as long as I knew him: yesterday he was in the middle of a business meeting, had (I guess) a heart attack and was dead by the time he got to hospital. He was brilliant, charismatic, affable, funny (funnier than me) and, by and large, a wonderful father.
My agent, Merrilee, told me last night that the first time she met him, at a signing in New York, she said to him, "Neil is doing so well. I bet you must always have known he'd be a success."
"Actually," he told her, "I thought I'd probably be supporting him for the rest of his life. Well... he wanted to be a writer."
And I thought, the best thing about that is I never knew.
Home from NY (writing this in the car on the way home. No I am not driving) and to the UK tomorrow with the family for the funeral. My assistant Lorraine has worked miracles making the airlines bend to her will in order to make this happen. (We were all meant to go over for my parents' golden wedding anniversary celebration at the end of the month.)
(1967: My grandfather, my father and me, in front of the azaleas.)