Roland Daniel was my maternal grandfather, always known to me as “Dats”. He was a born gentleman, with a deep rich speaking voice. Roland was married to Pearl (née Lynd), who he met when she working as an actress, and he was directing plays in the theatre.
I first remember them when I went to visit them in their home in Portslade (a suburb of Brighton and Hove) as a very young boy. Later they moved to the quaint fishing village of Brixham in Devon, and it is there that I really got to know them.
I always looked forward to our holidays to see my grandparents. I remember there was always the background sound of a typewriter, coming from the kitchen, which barely seemed to pause for breath. This holiday experience started in the early 1950s, when I went to Brixham with my parents, Tom and Barbara; and my brothers Paul and Jeremy (Jed).
When in my twenties I would often stay with them on my own. Not all young people have the sort of relationship with their grandparents that provides them with an ideal environment for a their annual holiday. I was lucky enough to be able to continue to enjoy spending my spare time with them. Dats was always friendly, supportive, but very firm in his expectations of me.
Always the typewriter working away in the background.
Dats liked an occasional social drink, but never seemed to overdo this. Far too much the gentleman. He had a very close friend in Earnest Knight, a successful artist who also lived in Brixham. I remember the time and effort he would put into our trips in my car to find suitable birthday presents for Earnest.
Roland Daniel had been a great success with his early works, before I was even born. He continued to write books until his health, in his late seventies, prevented him from writing any more.
Roland and Pearl had a very long, loving, and happy marriage. He was devoted to his wife, and when he was taken ill, she continued to look after him for years. This showed her undoubted love and respect for him, as she was by no means a natural nurse.