* Photo supplied. The Julian Hall we knew: they had their ups and downs, and their blazing rows, but Julian Hall was adored and idolised by his three daughters. Claudia, 17, left, Nadia, 27, second right, and Liana, 24, far right, are pictured last year at Mr. Hall’s house in Dockyard during the last Christmas they would spend with their father.
* Photo supplied. The Julian Hall we knew: they had their ups and downs, and their blazing rows, but Julian Hall was adored and idolised by his three daughters. Claudia, 17, left, Nadia, 27, second right, and Liana, 24, far right, are pictured last year at Mr. Hall’s house in Dockyard during the last Christmas they would spend with their father.
I spent the first 13 years of my life (before boarding school claimed me) living under my father's roof, mostly at our house on Mount Hill.

It was a golden time I would often refer back to as "the Camelot years". Whilst dad's reputation for being strong and steadfast was most certainly deserved, I found him to be a pushover for a moping child.

On the days he worked from home, if mum was away, I would come into his bedroom claiming that I had a "tummy cake" (meaning stomach ache, words which we would both use into my adulthood). He would let me stay home from school and we would tuck up into bed watching the news, the Young & The Restless (his favourite soap-opera) and eating cookies and potato chips.

At the age of 11, with my mother caring for her dying father in England and my sisters with her, I was left to live with my father, who promptly took me out of school on a month-long business trip to Toronto, New York, Antigua and Jamaica. He said I would learn far more from this "life education" with him than I would in school.

My father never liked driving and was deathly scared of motorbikes. I am still not quite sure how, but whilst visiting him for the summer at the age of 17, I convinced him into being my pillion passenger. I can still feel him gripping to me and yelling "INDICATE! INDICAAATE!" in my ear. I WAS indicating!

When I was 20 I experienced an existentialist crisis of sorts and my father flew me to New York to be with him. We spoke for hours and he told me of his own crisis at the age of 21 and promised me it would improve.

He shared with me the deep regret that he had never instilled in us the faith in God that had carried him through the darkest times in his life, which we all knew were deep and plentiful. He wrote me shortly after I returned to London saying, "please at all times be good to yourself. Life really is the better choice; meant to be enjoyed, not endured."

My father loved a good party. He made a fuss of special occasions and we always knew to expect a grand dinner with champagne and conversation and my father regaling us with stories until 1am.

Holding court on the couch

This past year he was determined to hold Christmas at his house in Dockyard which was inconvenient for us as everyone else lived closer together. I have never been so delighted to lose an argument, because it would turn out to be his last Christmas with us.

The next day at his Boxing Day soiree he held court on his couch, just as he used to in earlier years. The Senate had passed the Bar Amendment Bill days previously, returning my father his practicing certificate, and I remember distinctly feeling the gentle breeze of a return to the days of Camelot. Sadly, it was not to be. My father never wore his wig and gown again. Yet with his practicing certificate in his possession, he died a lawyer. I take great comfort in that.

I followed both my father and mother's path to a law degree at the University of London. As an actor I've had more than my fair share of stage fright, yet I've never been more nervous than when my father came to hear me moot. And of course I lost - the only case I lost in my mooting career.

Yet he was still very proud. He always said his dream was to call me to the Bermuda Bar, a dream that now is forever lost. One thing he hadn't taken into account when I set out on the path of law was the expertise I would gain at arguing. Our strong wills and legal minds meant our arguments with each other could make the heavens roar.

Walking in my father's footsteps is a truly daunting task. The fear of disappointing him always loomed heavily over me. It still does. He was very proud of us, but equally hard on us. When my conflicting passions of law and theatre were plaguing me during my first year at law school he wrote me saying, "The issue of "disappointing" me or anyone else MUST take a distant and inferior second place to the goal of pursuing your dreams and making your life choices AS YOU THINK FIT and with the minimum prospect of regret... I love you lots, and always will, whatever you do and whenever you do it. I want only the best for you and your sisters."

In my darkest moments without him to turn to for advice or encouragement I will have these words to guide me through.

Footnote: The day after my father's death, amongst his belongings, I found a collection of his 'Through the Looking Glass' columns that he wrote for the Bermuda Sun (and later the short-lived Bermuda Times) in the late eighties. I, therefore, take great honour in writing about him in this same newspaper.