Robert and his family
Robert’s love for his family is a major force in his life, and something that he appreciates even more after living in California for five years. He is incredibly loyal and would do anything for those he loves.
Robert has three sisters and one brother. He has three children and seven grand-children.
His children and grand-children are very important to him and he loves them very much. Fortunately we get to see quite a lot of his eldest son Jason’s three children: Daragh, Mattia and Camilla (pictured above in a bouncy castle on Mattia’s fifth birthday). Jason’s partner Terese is very much part of our family too – we love her frankness and gorgeous accent. Robert’s always happy to babysit and is great with children. He likes to go to the toyshop with them when it’s their birthday or at Christmas, he says it’s to help them choose their gifts. He always arrives home with very large bags and a contented look.
It’s great when Jason’s in town with the kids and needs a breather: he brings them over, has a cup of tea and the children play with Bob. Jason calls it ‘the magic of Grandad’ because. if they’re feeling fractious, as soon as they see Bob they relax. Daragh even sneaks some tea if he can – both Bob and Jason love their tea and Daragh has obviously inherited that!
I like when we babysit and not just because I get to watch Wallace & Gromit – seeing Robert with his grandchildren always brings a smile to my face. There’s an image in my mind of Bob sitting on the couch between Daragh and Mattia, and they’re holding hands. Just watching TV, but holding hands. It’s a beautiful image.
Bob’s daughter Ayesha has a son and daughter, Luke and Lia, and his son Daragh has two children, Dylan and Ashley.
Going back into the past a little, Robert’s father – also Robert – was an accountant and a talented violin player, apparently. He was also a champion bird breeder, winning prizes over several years for his beautiful budgies. Robert’s grandfather – also Robert – was the conductor of the orchestra of the Royal Theatre Dublin. He was a bit of a authoritarian, I hear.
Robert’s mother Rita was a librarian before she married, and it was she who taught him to sing harmonies and the first chords he played on guitar. Hearing her play ‘Love Me Tender’ on the piano was brilliant – she learned it just for myself and Robert: it’s one of our favourite songs to do together. Mrs Bolton and I, when we finally did meet, got on very well and we still miss her. She could ice a gorgeous cake, crochet a beautiful blanket and had a sharp sense of humour.
Carolyn, Robert’s older sister, left Ireland as a young woman to live in the US where she met and married Shep. Apparently herself and Bob were mad as brushes. Her fiery red hair was an indicator of her protective nature towards her younger brother and he always remembers her facing down his tormenters when he was little. She wasn’t much bigger, I’m sure. She has four children and lots of grand-children, and is a tornado of activity.
Ritamary, Robert’s younger sister, has two daughters Majbritt and Bronwyn, both of whom visit Robert regularly. With Robert’s well-being foremost in her mind, Ritamary is my right hand in this situation: she not only came to the UK with me to visit all the neuro rehab facilities but instigated the trip. She’s a strong but tender lady with indominable spirit and ferocious loyalty to her family. We both adore her.
Next in age is Anne who is married to Brendan and they have eight children. Naturally she’s very involved in their progress. We see her when she can visit and she keeps us in her prayers.
Eamonn. the youngest, is an accountant by profession, but also a talented guitarist. He did some of his best work with Robert and I when we returned from the US. He’s modest so it’s hard to get him to play. Always kind and generous, Eamonn is indespensible in Robert’s recovery programme – there whenever he’s needed. He’s married to Zita and they have one son, Edward. Both Zita and Edward visit Robert regularly. Their love and support is invaluable.