Worthing, Herring Seagulls, Dad and Welsh Rarebit

by hillaryshort

A view from Worthing Pier

I am still in Worthing. The town that I couldn’t wait to leave when I was a child. I have many happy memories here. Worthing is a seaside town on the South Coast, it is situated approximately 10 miles West of Brighton. It is known as a town where old people come to retire. Santa Barbara always reminds me of Worthing. Most of these memories include my Father. This week has been a time of reflection as I watch him struggle to breathe, even with his oxygen. The water retention due to his heart failure and his inability to get out of bed because of his sores on his heels. I know there is nothing I can say or do at this point to make a difference. I listen to the doctors comment on how they cannot find where his infection is coming from, even though they have him on two strong anti biotics. I listen to Dad complain he is cold even though the room has no air and is like a furnace and he has a fever. I see the jaundice and dark pee in his catheter bag that resembles coca cola. We don’t comment. Stay positive Mum and Paddy say.

A family of Herring Seagulls

The small, private room where my Dad now lies, dependant upon others for his comfort, feels stifling. I sit in the chair by the window. I love to watch the herring seagulls flying outside his window. Free from the confines of life. One of grander, bolder herring seagulls loves to sit on the window ledge and look in at my Dad. He doesn’t take an interest in the seagull. The only concerns are his cleanliness, moisturiser on his legs, hot and cold sweet foods.

Welsh Rarebit

Mum said that his favorite food in the last few months has been Welsh rarebit. Here is a Delia Smith recipe:

Welsh Rabbit (Rarebit) with Sage and Onions
Rarebit or rabbit? I like the latter, which (so the story goes) is what the hunter had for his supper when the rabbits had escaped his gun.

Serves 4 for lunch or as a starter or 2 as a main course
1 level dessertspoon chopped fresh sage
1 rounded dessertspoon grated onion
8 oz (225 g) mature Cheddar, grated
1 rounded teaspoon mustard powder
4 tablespoons brown ale
1 large egg, beaten
4 large, thick slices from a good-quality white sandwich loaf
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
a pinch cayenne pepper

You will also need a grill pan or baking tray lined with foil.
This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Two.


Begin by mixing all the ingredients together, apart from the bread and cayenne pepper. Now place the bread under the grill and toast it on both sides till crisp and golden, then remove it to a toast rack for 3 minutes to get really crisp.

After that, divide the cheesemixture into 4, spread it over the toast – right to the edges so they don’t get burnt – then sprinkle each one with a light dusting of cayenne pepper. Then back they go under the grill, 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the heat, until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling, which will take 4-5 minutes. Serve it just as it is or with some salad leaves and a sharp vinaigrette dressing.

Today is Thursday. I return to America on Sunday. All has been said and done. It will be painful to leave knowing that I will probably never see my Dad again. The memories and love will last forever. I remember the Saturday chores I would share with my Dad. We would polish the silver, wash the car and polish the shoes. I remember our trips to stay with his parents and trips to the pub with my grandpa and uncle Rolf. I remember our road trip up to Carmel. Most of all I remember Dad always being kind and generous and never raising his voice to me. I feel the love.

Dad, me (baby) and Lynn

One of my favorite poems:

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Dark Night” by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.