My father loved clothes, particularly jackets and waistcoats. Going through his clothes was always going to be difficult. We did not plan it, is just happened on a wet October Saturday with nothing much else to do. His jackets and waistcoats we put aside for resale or charity. However there were other items for which the option of resale was less obvious. His collection of ties was uniquely personal and colourful. They included his Liberal Democrat tie, a Newcastle-under-Lyme tie with coat-of-arms, a tie commemorating the dispute about the Newbury bypass and a regiment tie from his National Service. His shirts were not especially personal or unique; he favoured easy-care shirts in shades of yellows, pinks and lilacs or simple check designs.
These shirts and ties called out for a better purpose than being stuffed at the back of a charity shop. My father’s love of colour left a legacy of vibrant and playful fabric that could be reworked into something new. My first idea was to collect fabrics in shades of yellow to make a cat for my daughter. I had already made a cat in memory of a friend’s partner who had tragically died from a stroke three days before my father’s death. The cat was made from his shirts as a memorial present for his young daughter. I used a pattern from AngelLea Designs. For my daughter’s cat I selected a favourite yellow waistcoat of my father’s, a yellow check shirt and his Liberal Democrat tie. In the last photograph I have of my father he is wearing the check shirt.
Paddy the cat, named after Paddy Ashdown my father’s favourite Liberal Democrat politician of recent years, captures my father’s love of colour and honours his political values in a playful way. The Liberal Democrat tie makes great cat ears. For anyone who knew my father Paddy is recognisable as belonging to him. Paddy might be a simple cat, but he resonates with memories of the different ways in which my father remained true to himself and his values.