Keith said he’d visited every country in the world, apart from Portugal. He’d served in the navy. Home was a 1970s built estate in Alton, Hampshire. A world of BMXs and smooth tarmac for his four kids but for him a cul-de-sac of twitching curtains, responsibility and conformity. The sea was a refuge, from the navy he moved to work for the shipping firm Sea Containers and then to a pressured desk job with Sealink ferries. But he lost this job and began to drink heavily. These were Ally’s teenage years. The rebellious but thoughtful, open-minded and logical man evaporated. ‘It was almost like he went on strike with the world.’ In 1997 he died of his alcoholism. She found this set of his slides stored in a crystal Ferrero Rocher box, the chocolates long gone but the box, a reminder of another apology from Keith to his wife Anne. Occasionally Ally gets the transparencies out, she projects them onto a wall. The slide show, although it has no voice over, has helped narrate her dad’s life where conversations had been lost to his illness.

17 Feb 2013