I can’t stop thinking about life, not just the one I am enjoying now, but the life I have enjoyed from the moment of my birth, for which I am eternally grateful!
Right from that beginning when I popped out, into an alien world, things when right. I had, so I was told much later, no serious birth defects, no spare fingers, no blue skin, no spins bifida and no malfunction of eyes, ears or even my bowels. Had I been aware of all this, I would no doubt have been a very happy chappie, but apparently I hollered quite a bit, just to make sure everyone was aware that I had arrived. According to Jacqui, I’ve been hollering ever since, but I try to ignore statements like that, putting it down to sheer jealousy of my natural eloquence!
Even when the war came, four years later I, like most kids of my age really rather enjoyed the experience – we were too young to be subjected to the fear that our parents were going through, for us it was a period of collecting shrapnel after an air-raid, staying up late at night and watching the searchlights trapping German aircraft, or going to see the WAAF girls at a nearby site, inflating and launching a balloon, designed to keep the enemy planes at bay. My schooling went on just as it would have in peacetime, apart from the occasional gas-mask practice and ‘what to do if you hear the siren’.
At the end of the war I was old enough to take my ‘eleven plus exam, which I passed, resulting in my joining the faculty at Fairfield Grammar School in Bristol, a new life, but again something I enjoyed immensely, learning all sorts of new things about science, geography, English and above all art. I suddenly found that I was rather good at that and I took to it with gusto, quite the opposite of my efforts at maths! I would regularly get exam marks at somewhere between zero and 10 per cent when it came to doing sums. In fact, I’m much better at maths now than I ever was then – now I can see the reason for using this skill, because I can relate it to my everyday life. At school we were made to do algebra, etc., with no idea as to what it was used for!
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Because of my skill at school as an artist, I took the entrance exam for the West of England College of Art, a branch of Bristol University, which I passed, enrolling for their Commercial Art course because I thought I would have more opportunity to make money in the world of commerce than as an academic or teacher. I was to be proved right, as I spent the rest of my working life as a Graphic Designer, adding the skills of Professional Photographer, Copy-writer, Illustrator and Photographic Retoucher as I went along, thinking every day, as I went off to work, how enjoyable it was to be making a very good living, literally going what most people did as a hobby!
It was early in my career that I mat Jacqui, fell in love, and married her, another really great choice on my part, as we are still together, fifty-six years later. During that time we have enjoyed a life filled with adventure, joy at having made three kids, experiences (both good and bad – no life can be pure honey all the way) and an excitement about the world around us. We have visited, or lived in, many places around the world; Panama, Pitcairn Island, New Zealand, Aden, Naples and Spain, as well as Australia of course and we still enjoy travel, though now more of it has to be through the eyes of the television camera – we’re not quite as mobile as we used to be. We are still enjoying life, in a small country town of two thousand people, where we have many friends and some beautiful scenery to look at.
We’re reasonably fit, considering our ages and we don’t have time yet, to think about dying – there’s still much too much to enjoy out there – just give us a little more time to do it, we’re not as fast as we were!
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