My Daddy Cool...

This is a bit of a tough one for me to write but today is the 17th Anniversary of my Dads death, I cant believe it has been that long and it hurts a little like every year does but I can say it gets slightly easier with time. Grief is an odd little journey and although everyone is different for me its a bit like a tightly wound spring inside, as time passe's it becomes more relaxed and less able to just unpredictable explode out...like in a packed M and S; been there. I'm not one to usually share about my Dad because (those of you who have lost someone will know) its others people's faces that get me I can tell they don't know what to do or say even after all this time. There is no right or wrong though and my advice is its always nice to hear a fond memory so share them if someone you know has lost someone, my Dad always said laughter was the best medicine "Cures coughs, colds and scabby holes". Most people think they have the best Dad but I know I did and I wanted to pay homage to him, and share what a fantastic person he was for everything he has given me and continues give to me; this is my version of him. 

My dad was born Alan Alfred Morse on the 3rd December 1949 into a fishing family, he was actually the runt of his school class at first but somehow ended up being 6ft 8in with size 16 feet...maybe school dinners were better then who knows. He went to sea from the then infamous North Shields Quay with my Granddad Pepper as soon as he could walk and I remember him telling me this was where he would spend every single school holiday. His love of fishing and the sea lead him to follow my Granddad into his chosen career, leaving school at 15 and becoming a full time fisherman. He had a great passion for what he did and full confidence that this would be the best route and age just 26 he decided to buy his own boat, saving a large deposit and then borrowing a third of a million pounds to fund it; in 1977 you can imagine this took guts to do.

Fishing was at its best, North Shields in particular was nearly all employed by the quay at the time and my dad would fondly tell me how you could walk straight across the Quays gut as there were so many Fishing boats moored there "Its the closest you will see to a man walking on water". He continued to do well extending his trawler "The Congener" twice becoming the biggest in the fleet at North Shields and several times winning the largest catch. In 1983 I was born followed by my brother in 1987 and we continued tradition by going to sea with him several times, now looking back its hysterical that he took us to Lego land...in Denmark...on his Trawler. Parts of the North Sea Dogger Bank have been know to experience hurricanes, I certainly am no fisherman's daughter suffering from bad sea sickness and crying for 4 solid days until we could see land again. My brother was much more keen, however things were taking a turn for the worst where fishing was concerned and my Dad was adamant that he would not follow in his foot steps to a dying trade. Due to the government and EU regulations fishing was not only a back breaking profession but one you could barley make a living from now. Long before Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall was shouting about it my Dad became Chairman of the Fisherman's Mission and travelled to the House of Commons to speak about how the government need to help not only the Fishing Industry but the fish. Here is an interesting video made by the BBC of my Dad speaking about the troubles in 1994 before he tragically died at sea (from a massive heart attack) on 25th June 1996 aged 46. 

There weren't many people who didn't know and immediately love Dad especially on the Quay fondly calling him "Big Al", he was also often referred to as a gentle giant which was very true but its not the best idea to start a fire for fun in your bedroom (true story soz again Daddy), then I knew what angry was. Although he was at sea a lot, the times he was home really counted and I will forever have these great memory's and particularly his great sense of humour. I remember him coming to pick us up from school standing in the yard and hoards of children were using him as a climbing frame while he swung them from his enormous arms with delight, or cheering me on at Netball not caring how others stared while he chanted "Ole ole oleee". Spending 3 amazing days every year on the boat with all our friends while the Fish quay festival was going on, my uncle said he was "the only person he knew who could drink 12 pints of snake bite and still pass a breathalyser test". Every year making pancakes for shove Tuesday and never not getting one stuck on the aertex ceiling, he false teeth coming out at a Halloween party while dunking the apple...people thought it was a joke, him teaching me poker and not being allowed on the roller coaster at Disney world because his legs were too long. His love of country music especially Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy", I don't care who you are that's a tune. I also chuckle any time I drive past our old house as he hilariously painted the front door the same colour as his boat "Congener Turquoise" I called it..."well there was some left over?!" he said. He was a total character and It is hardly any wonder that there was I believe over 700 people at his funeral.

My Dad would think it a shame what has happened to the North Shields Quay but thankfully it is now getting regenerated and I like to support it, one of my favourite shops is still open in the middle of the quay, an Aladdin's cave called "Whiteys" it sells double yolk eggs, the best bacon going, tuck shop etc cant recommend checking it out enough. I would also love the carry on my Dads "Fish Fight",for anyone else committed please see this link www.fishfight.net  and most importantly pick fish other that Cod and Haddock which are running low.
Obviously I wish my Dad was still here but I know he would be over the moon with Archie and Oscar, already carrying on his legacy by both being on the 100th percentile and Archie age 3 has size UK 1 feet! I will continue to tell them all about their Granddad Alan but I'm waiting until there a bit bigger because as he had a boat Archie is convinced he's a pirate! 
Thanks Dad for it all, miss you so much, love you lots like jelly tots....see you one day.

Ashlie Boo xox

Started young.

Holiday time Kids! Congener.

Fish Quay Festival.

Ceiling Shot!

Always Joking.

Ha haaaa biggest poncho they had...Delighted not!

Enormous feet!

Two of the best men I have ever known. Dad and Grandpa Surrey.


  1. Well done Ashlie, good read! x

    1. Thanks Cal and congratulation's on you First with honours degree! x

  2. whenever i play super mario i think of your dad. used to knock on phil even when i knew he wasn't in just to get invited in to play on the snes.

    1. Who is this? Very kind of you to say so, my Dad would let anyone try and beat him on Nintendo he he. x

  3. Lush, lush, lush account of your dad, and what a special thing to have a whole documentary about him. Thank you for sharing, Ashlie (I don't have tears in my eyes at all...). My particular favourite lines are...

    laughter was the best medicine "Cures coughs, colds and scabby holes" - I'll be using that one again.
    I certainly am no fisherman's daughter suffering from bad sea sickness and crying for 4 solid days until we could see land again...4 DAYS????! No bloody wonder you were crying, that is some serious boat trip!!
    I know he would be over the moon with Archie and Oscar, already carrying on his legacy by both being on the 100th percentile - a bunch of giants!

    Gorgeous photos too.

    Lots of love from your new fish-fighting-covert friend Hannah xx

    1. Thank you Hannah, really appreciate those specific and kind words! x

  4. Lovely bittersweet post that and great tribute to your Dad

    1. Thank you Danny, that is a marvellous word 'Bittersweet' and very apt. x

  5. Can literally feel the live you hack for your Dad. I'm totally in awe of you and I'm sure he is too. You rock and I hope you know it ❤

  6. *love *have bloody predictive!

  7. Crying my eyes out. You are everything you are because of your " Rhinestone Cowboy" play it often and talk about him always 🌟