Was school easy or difficult for you? How so?
I was born in 1946 when the men had returned from being soldiers in the second world war and caught up with life. They were naturally busy producing children and we were the baby boom years. There were 47 children in my class at the primary school, and yes, it was the survival of the fittest. I had no brothers and sisters, so perhaps it meant that mum and dad had more time for me. We had no money, and my parents never had a chance in their school life. Mum went to work at the age of 13 and dad was about the same. Dad might have made it to a better school, but that was only for those with money and a working class boy did not have chances.
So that was the background, but I was the one that made it. I was not a genius, definitely not, but I managed to pass the right examinations at the right time and eventually arrived in high school. We were still the baby boomers, but the fittest had now been filtered out. It was not easy, but I just did it, no big problems. The only subject I really hated was physcial exercise, although quite enjoyed land hockey and was even chose for a match in the school team. I could have perhaps tried for university, but I stayed in my comfortable little world and joined the commecial class to learn typing and shorthand and all the little office jobs that were necessary. If I had been 30 years later I might have become a computer expert – who knows.
List some of your favorite types of animals.
Cats, Dogs, Birds, Duck billed Platypus, Apes, Gorillas, and even humans. Yes I am an animal friend.
What is your favorite large city you have been to? What is the one thing you remember most?
There are many: Paris, Vienna, New York, my home town London, but the longest impression that remained was Leningrad, now known as St. Petersburg, on a visit in 1966. It was my last year at school. I never returned to school after the visit as it was the end of my school days. We had the chance of a Baltic Sea Cruise and included was a two day visit to Leningrad. Do not forget this was 1966, the days of 100% communism in Russia, and it was an experience for me. The photo shows the fountains of the Winter Palace just outside of Leningrad and it was breathtaking. The photo is black and white, it was mum’s Brownie box camera, but if it were colour you would see the fountains in black and gold colours.
I was surprised to see how women had equal jobs as the men. We were used to see male road workers with pneumatic drills on the streets in our country, but in Leningrad the women worked with the men – equality for all.
We saw uniforms everywhere and the local beer seemed to be sold in a tank wagon parked at the side of the road. The people queued and had their glasses filled from the tank. We were forbidden to take photos when entering Leningrad harbour because the naval base was next to it – perhaps too many secrets. I would go again if I had the chance. It seems that after communism collapsed the fountains and many other installations were suffering from negligence, although I am sure Mr. Putin has now put things back to how they were.
What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.
Autumn is an inspiration for all of us, particularly if you have a camera with you. Even a simple drive home from the supermarket this morning was inspiring. The colours are changing on the trees, so take a photo as long as the leaves are still there.