4 August 2008

Timothy Lewis Cupples

I said in a previous blog that I would write about each of my boys. I will start with the baby of the three – Timmy who is pictured alongside this article. I owe Timmy a lot – a new car to be exact but that has already been covered in a previous blog. I owe him more than that though because he is a credit to himself and his mother, and her partner (now husband) George who formed his character after I’d left when he was only two years old. After that I would see Timmy (and my other sons) every couple of weeks when I would travel up to Glasgow to make sure I kept contact with them. It was tough for all of us but we had some good times especially later on when we all went off on holidays with loads of friends. Even then I could see where Timmy was going – he could, in that wonderful Glaswegian saying, start a fight in an empty house !

On holiday he would fight with his good pal, Jamie (as well with everybody else). On one occasion, we heard a crashing sound from the apartment upstairs where all the boys were living. Timmy was about eight or nine at the time and him and Jamie were arguing about something trivial. Suddenly, this almighty crash filled the air and all the adults ran upstairs to find that Jamie, totally pissed off with Timmy’s behaviour had simply pulled the wardrobe over on him whilst he slept on his bed. It was the only way Jamie could get one over on this little reprobate. I have videos of these holidays and the tapes are filled with me castigating Timmy for this or that, telling him to get away from the edge of a 300ft cliff, telling him to eat his food, telling him to stop hitting Jamie with a deckchair ! Despite this, these holidays were wonderful and the videos are treasured visual memories.

As Timmy grew older it was obvious that he had a particular penchant for getting into trouble, usually not of his making. This worried me as I’m sure it does for all parents, particularly those estranged parents who don’t see as much of their children as they would like. He would get his nose broken by some creeps who had asked him for a light for their cigarette and when he’d replied that he didn’t smoke, they simply given him a good old ‘Glasgow kiss’. This was Timmy’s version !

When he joined the Air Force, he was always in trouble for forgetting to salute higher commanding officers and invariably when I phoned him he was either in the sick bay or at home nursing a broken ankle or a broken foot, caused by him dropping the bombs he was supposed to load onto the jets at his base in Leuchars, Fife.

Only a few weeks ago he was dragged off of a plane coming back to the UK from his mate’s wedding in Cyprus after a bit of ‘horseplay’ on the way out. Timmy reckons it was a case of mistaken identity but nevertheless he was strip searched, banned from the airline for life and had a fund a new plane fare home. That’s my boy ! I used to joke that if they ever sent Timmy off to one of the world’s trouble spots, the war would either escalate immediately he got there or would finish pretty quickly. How prophetic was this ?

His job in the Air Force is usually (he says) one of monotonous monotony. But last year he was sent off to the Falklands where Britain still patrols the skies heading off the Argentinean jets who occasionally stray into’ British’ territory. He was looking forward to it immensely but it turned out to be an extremely barren place and a boring posting…apart from the time when he went into an Army drinking den, the patrons of which did not take too kindly to a poncy Air Force man entering their establishment. Timmy’s story is that two of them ambushed him but he held his own and was put on a charge for beating up two Army commandos, a charge later dismissed on the basis of self-defence.

And so to Afghanistan. Timmy’s philosophy, and one which I admire immensely, is that he would rather, as a single guy, volunteer for these postings rather than have someone, married with a couple of kids, be forced to go. And so he is off to that far off trouble spot in March 2009, followed by a tour of Iraq upon his return. In the meantime, he has done some free-fall parachute jumps and will soon take his HGV licence, presumably so he can move more bombs faster. The mind boggles !

Timmy – you’re a great boy and a terrific son and I’m very proud of you.......but look after yourself.

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