I must have been a strange dad to be bringing three kiddies up on my own.
A day or so after my ex-wife had gone (she's not really under the patio) my son and I were standing in the living room looking at where she's locusted the house. He'd be about seven years old at the time. We looked at the empty picture hooks on the wall and I asked him what he thought we should hang there now. "The heads of our enemies" he suggested.
When he was eight he wanted to know if he could pick my broadsword up and swing it around. Using two hands he could barely get the point off the floor. Those broadswords are bloody heavy.
He's six feet two now and built like a rugby player. He's running a call centre in Paris.
My eldest daughter, Hannah Ruth, was always the most organised. Although some might say bossy. When she was ten she actually made a rota of household duties and stuck it to the 'fridge door.
A few years ago she rang me up on Christmas Day to see how I was doing. I told her I'd got a pizza for dinner but I'd burnt it. Two hours later she was at my front door with three Christmas dinners on plates wrapped in cling film. She'd walked three miles through the snow to bring them to me. She also brought some booze and a packet of ciggies. Then she rang her boyfriend and told him he'd better work out some way to pick her up.........or else.
She got in trouble with a street gang once. Knives were waved around. I knew where these people lived though. She came 'round to see me and told me she'd handle it herself. "And for Gods sake dad " she said "Don't go blowing their house up. I know what you're like". So that was another plan out of the window.
She has her own business now and a lovely georgian house south of the river. Seems to be paying the mortgage so that's alright.
Then there's Natascha Maria, my youngest. The first time we went to Bavaria she was absolutely terrified of flying. By the time we got to 30,000 feet she had her camera out and was taking pictures out of the window with a big grin on her face.
She joined the ATC and now has her private pilots license for single engined prop 'planes. She wanted to join the RAF and fly helicopters for MERCs (Medical Evacuation Response Teams) but her eyesight's not good enough for her to fly combat missions (she wears contact lenses) so she gave that idea up.
She's training as a doctor now although she hasn't decided on a specialty yet. She'll be nineteen in July. Speaks french, german and is pretty good with her spanish. She likes to travel.
So they're doing alright despite having a weird dad.