|In 1958 we moved to London as Dad was posted to the Air Ministry in Whitehall. |
|We arrived at out new home just before Christmas and my first recollection was going into Croydon to get cutlery as we could not find it amongst all the crates. So that was our first Christmas in our new home.|
|I never knew how my parents decided which schools I should go to and It never occurred to me later in life to ask. The school day started by catching the 08:20 train to East Croydon Station and then a 130(?) bus to Addiscombe to School.. I remember the school reminded me of a large house with small classrooms a playing ground at the back and prefab classes behind that. I still have my old school reports and cant believe that I was being taught Latin. On fine days I would walk the 3 miles home instead of catching the bus/train. That started one day as a result of missing the bus to the station.
I know I was not an easy student and after not getting my maths home work which exasperated my Father as maths to him was second nature having got 98% at degree level and in my argumentative nature held up my 5 fingers and said what proof was there that this was 5 and not 2 etc and for this was punished. In much the same why that in this day and age there is an i in team it just depends the font you use to write the A doesn't the white bit inside the A look like an i . (I cant find the correct font suitable for the Internet but this is close enough to demonstrate my point).
After my 11+ exam and according to my parents, knowing the nomadic life the RAF instill on families so I was sent off to Boarding school. I know we visited 3 schools in all Hampshire, Devon and Cornwall and Devon won.
|Garden & cane|
|I know I must have been a challenging child - not that I was knowingly difficult but boarding school did not help my confidence. I can't remember the whole story but I do remember upsetting my mother, who was in the garden at the time. My Mother was not one for capital punishment but on this occasion and she picked up a gardening cane but I decided that this was not acceptable for what ever reason and snatched the cane from her and broke it in half. I do not remember the conversation but I know I was threatened with "Wait until your Father comes home". So locked my self in a storage room that could only be described as a Garden Lock up and then got into more trouble for refusing to open the door.|
|Neighbours and Friends|
|Opposite us lived the Derick and Geny Bown with their 2 sons Bruce and Malcolm. Next to them was a couple wish had a girl visiting from Wales so we did not really get to know them. Just down Hurlestone road was a family from Holland that I also got to know well. I got on really well with Malcolm and would go train spotting together as well as playing at each others house, going to see Crystal Palace when they were playing at home as their grounds were just up the road. On another occasion we went to a park with Dinosaurs near the motor racing circuit as we could hear the cars.
I remember Bruce had a girlfriend by the name of Carol, lived at the top end of Thornton Heath, and on occasions we all used to hang around together. On one occasion we travelled by Train to Southend-on-sea and I fell asleep and whilst I was asleep Carol plaitted my hair in the front. I had not noticed sow as walking around all day with this plait in my hair. I am not sure if Bruce had split up with Carol but I remember inviting her to join us on a day trip to Brighton and unfortunately was car sick all the way there.
Just around the corner from the house was a dance school that my sister attended where I became infatuated (?) with a dancer Mavis Middleton who also appears in the schools annual concert in the sketch the Green Door - after the hit song at the time. Needless to say, being much older than me she was not impressed.
|During the school holidays there was not much to do except play in the garden or visit friends houses. At weekends my parent would take us out to places such as Epping Forest, Addiscombe Park, sites in London including the museums from which my love of the Imperial War Museum came. My parents took me to see Othello in the newly opened Festival Hall and I still have the program. The Bown's took us on Family films at the Odeon Cinema at Thornton Heath Pond.
On another occasion my Dad took me to Farnborough to the Airshow and the only thing I remember is one of the aircraft accidentally went through the sound barrier and the windows in the control tower were shattered.
It was during the time in London that I developed my sense of adventure and there were time my parents knew of these trips such as using the trains/ underground to visit my Grand Parents and Aunts who lived in Lodge Lane, Romford. On other occasions I would walk the 9 miles to the Imperial was museum.
|Like all RAF postings one never knows how long one stays but my Father must have had a good ideas as to length as he started to build a large frame and converted a garden shed to house and to breed Budgerigars. I remember he made a collection of eggs at various stages of development stored in a liquid inside test tubes.|
|E & O E - please note that this is written many years after the event.|
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