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Camberwell to Cambridgeshire – a lifetime journey


From the Flats to the Fens

CAMBERWELL TO CAMBRIDGE A LIFETIME JOUR&EY by

Mike Mulholland I thought I would write this autobiography and record a few facts about my life as I know that my family are interested in family History and the recollections of my fairly varied life I hope will be of interest to them.

Dedication I dedicate this autobiography to my wife Mary, she has been the mainstay of my life through thick and thin during over 50 years of our marriage, without her care and concern I am quite sure I would not have survived the various traumas and tribulations have been through.

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I&DEX Page Chapter 1

Early days and the War

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Chapter 2

After the War

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Chapter 3

Off to work

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Chapter 4

In the Army

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Chapter 5

Marriage

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Chapter 6

Demob and return to civilian life

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Chapter 7

Our first house purchase

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Chapter 8

A change of direction ***

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Chapter 9

Moving out of London

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Chapter 10

Up the hill to the White Cottage

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Photographs

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Chapter 11

Hygienic

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Chapter 12

Guernsey

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Chapter 13

My Masonic career

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Chapter 14

Continuing on ***

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Chapter 15

My Kidney transplant ***

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Chapter 16

Heading into retirement ***

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Chapter 17

Return to Caterham

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Chapter 18

Adieu Caterham – Hello Cambridgeshire

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Chapter 19

Reflections

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Chapter 1. - Early days and the War According to my birth certificate, I was born in Camberwell at St. Giles Hospital, South London; also as shown on that certificate my mother and father were living in 82 Wakefield House, Peckham Hill Street, and Peckham on the assumption that I was living with my parents, was my first home. This was a typical London County Council four storey block of flats, a common design at the time, I do not recall much about the details of these particular flats, although when later working in the area 30 years later and our company being situated in the Peckham area and having to drive past Wakefield House on most days on the way to central London, the actual block of flats had survived the war and were still in existence, I would imagine very much looking the same as they did in those very early days but probably having been modernised to some extent internally, the only feature that I can recall as a very young child is that the bath was situated in the kitchen and by means of having a board placed over, it then doubled up as a kitchen table. I was the eldest of five boys, there being approximately only one year between the ages of the five brothers. In order of age, there was myself, then Tommy, Terry, Peter and Bobby he was born in September 1940 in Petersfield, Hampshire a year after the commencement of World War II, although I am too not sure how my mother came to live there, probably she was herself evacuated to get away from the war time bombing raids as it was the policy at the time to evacuate all expectant mothers from central London to hospitals in the country mainly to free up hospital wards for those injured in bombing raids. Evelyn our sister was born after the war, on Boxing Day 1947. It’s hard to believe that my mother had five children by the age of 25 with only five and half years between the eldest and the youngest. As far as I can recall, although my memory is very vague regarding my exploits at that young age, I lived in Wakefield House until 1st. September 1939 and would have been attending school at Sumner Road, Peckham where my grandfather Tom Reynolds was employed as the caretaker. The evacuation of schoolchildren at the beginning of the war was based on whole schools being evacuated as a group, and our particular group from Sumner Road left Victoria Station to arrive at a final destination in Southwick nr. Brighton, Sussex where I was eventually boarded with Eileen and Sid D’eathe, a childless couple in their mid 40’s who lived in their bungalow at No.15 Millcroft Avenue, Southwick, nr. Brighton situated on the South Downs. They were both extremely good to me, I still have in my possession a letter addressed to my mother from them offering to adopt me permanently if any thing happened to either or both my parents during the war. Aunty Eileen as I knew her was the local Secretary for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) so I was in pretty safe hands. I cannot recall very much about the details of staying with them as I was still less than 5 years old, although I do remember they had a Morrison Shelter delivered, to their house, this was a contraption similar to a solid metal table manufactured from sheet steel and angle iron which had to be erected into one of the rooms in the house, large open steel mesh being fixed vertically down the sides of the

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table between the legs the idea being that if there was an air raid warning, one would get into this shelter and stay there for protection, it probably afforded reasonable protection if a bomb had been dropped in the vicinity, although it would not have been much help if the house had sustained a direct hit. I can also recall the gas masks we were issued with, in fact we all had one supplied in a cardboard box when we entrained to be evacuated, it had to be carried everywhere in the early stages of the war although this practise was discontinued after about 6 months, in fact I have still got the label in my possession that was also attached to me, with my name inscribed on it in the event that we got mislaid or lost on our journey from London to Southwick. I stayed with Aunty Eileen and Uncle Sid until May 1940 this coinciding with the fall of France and the evacuation of our troops from Dunkirk when it was then considered too dangerous for evacuees to stay anywhere in the vicinity of the South Coast, in actual fact it became a prohibited area to most of the population, the south and east seafronts being covered with barbed wire and other defences to deter invaders. I was then re-evacuated inland to Guildford – 42 Woodbridge Road – That is the only detail that I recall with regard to my evacuation to Guildford, except to remember that I had been very happy at Southwick and quite spoilt by the D’eathes but I was very unhappy at Guildford, unfortunately I cannot even remember or recall the names of the people I stayed with. The only incident I do remember is that of having a dartboard thrown at me in a fit of temper by one of the other evacuees who was staying at the same residence and I had to go to the hospital with a nasty gash on my forehead. I returned to London in March 1941 to stay with my mother, who by that time had moved into 101 Wyndham Road, Camberwell to live with her parents, our granny and grandfather Reynolds. Quite a few of the evacuees had returned to London by that period as the bombing was not so intense, but this situation soon changed. With our grandparents lived our mother’s youngest sister Ivy who was about 21 at the time and we all resided there until the middle of 1943. I remember Wyndham Road quite clearly, it was a very large Georgian terraced house that had seen better days and had been requisitioned by the local council, I’m not too sure if my grandparents had a flat there or rented the whole house, they only lived in rented accommodation throughout their whole life which was quite normal in those days. I do remember there was a large milk bottling yard adjacent which would keep us all awake at night, also a monumental stonemasons yard – Harvey’s – Whilst living there I would walk a mile down the road to Comber Grove Infants school, I was 7 years old at the time, although my memories of the house and the school are very vague. In 1943 we left this accommodation to live in 5 York Close in Lilford Road off Coldharbour Lane, Camberwell, a block of Church Army Housing flats and whilst I was away from London having been re-evacuated my grandparent’s house was destroyed by rocket i.e. the whole terrace of eight houses completely flattened by a V2 rocket, my grandparents being trapped in the Anderson Shelter – this being a semi-submerged shelter made of corrugated iron and covered in earth which most people had constructed in their back

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gardens at the outbreak of war – they were trapped in this shelter for over 10 hrs but thankfully they were rescued unharmed but badly shaken up.

My parents were offered accommodation in the Church Army Buildings, York Close, in Camberwell early in 1943 and I can recall going with my father, who was home on leave at the time to see the empty flat before moving in, it was a second floor flat with three bedrooms on the 3rd floor, we thought at the time how lucky we were to get such a flat offered to us, although the flats had only been built in 1935 it had gas lighting, a black coal fired cooking range in the front room, and a wash copper heated by a coal fire in the kitchen for washing clothes and with an complicated system of plumbing to siphon hot water from the wash copper to the bath which was not very reliable. This unreliability unfortunately led to a tragic accident, in that on one occasion the system was not working properly and my mother was carrying a bowl of nearly boiling water from the copper to the bath, when my sister Evelyn, who was only about 4 years old at the time and whom my mother believed was tucked safely up in bed, had come down the stairs unbeknown to my mother and got under her feet making my mother trip with the bowl she was carrying, which caused her to spill the near boiling hot water over young Evelyn causing severe body burns, fortunately not touching her face, my father swept her up in a blanket and virtually ran to the local hospital, Kings College about a mile away to have her attended to, she had to have treatment and skin grafting for several years afterwards attending the famous burns unit at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead where many of the wartime pilots were treated, but unfortunately she still ended up with severe scarring to a large percentage of her body. There was no electricity, only gas installed in the flat so we had to rely on the British Relay wireless system for our entertainment, this was a system working on the same principle as cable television in the present day, except it was radio instead of television being transmitted, one had the choice of only three programmes i.e. The Light, Home and later the Third programme relayed through to a simple loudspeaker, at least it avoided having to rely on a wireless worked by chargeable accumulators which was the alternative option in those days if you did not have electricity. Coal for the fire and copper had to be carried up the stairs from the front door by the coalman, delivered in 1cwt sacks, and was tipped into a cupboard in the kitchen. The flat was decorated throughout, the living area and stairways with a dark green gloss dado and the remaining walls and other paintwork cream gloss, with gloss painted ceilings above, the bedrooms all in cream non-washable distemper this colour scheme continued throughout the estate until quite a few years after the war, you were then given permission to decorate the flat yourself, given a small amount in cash by the Church Army landlords towards the cost, my Dad took the opportunity to wall paper the living room walls, and also removed the old fashioned oven type fire and replaced it with a grate and tiled surround.

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I attended Crawford Street School during the 18 months when I lived at York Close during the war years prior to being re-evacuated in July 1944, but I do not recall much about this period of my schooling. I remember quite clearly a large bomb site across the road from the flats being cleared and turned into an Emergency Water Supply (EWS) it held over a million gallons of water – the capacity being marked on the eternal walls – this would be used for fire fighting and water supply if the mains were damaged by bombing, a church now stands on this site, having been built since the war. after we moved from the district. On the same corner fronting Coldharbour Lane there was a large factory, in pre-war times it had been a furniture factory but during the war the company that owned it manufactured lifeboats and the completed lifeboats were stacked outside the factory on the pavement awaiting delivery to the various ports, to be subsequently fitted to ships. I also recall on one occasion, seeing a block of houses across the road going up in a ball of fire, a gas main having been hit adjacent to them. Whenever there was a siren indicating an air raid warning, although there was a large underground shelter in the grounds of our flats, we normally went downstairs and stayed in the ground floor flat of neighbours i.e. Mr and Mrs Robb, he being a London taxi driver – again although there was utter devastation around us, York Close and the adjacent Canterbury Close and two very large blocks of LCC flats opposite were very lucky, in that no damage was sustained by either, also the school I attended escaped damage, although we did not think that so fortunate at the time. After the air raids we would collect pieces of shrapnel, shell cases and other munitions and metal debris, I never did remember what happened to all the rubbish we used to collect. When the V1 doodlebugs, and following those the even more devastating V2 rocket attacks began to be directed onto London I was re-evacuated early in 1944 to Henleyon-Thames or at least a hamlet Middle Culham 2 miles outside Henley with my brother Terry. We were evacuated with a Mr and Mrs Morris, I recall Fred Morris the husband, was a tractor driver and farm labourer employed by the adjoining Middle Culham farm, their house being a tied cottage owned by the farmer. The house was quite primitive but well built, it was situated on the Henley-on-Thames to Maidenhead main road, having no gas or electricity, heating by coal and wood fire and cooking and lighting by oil lamp, I always recall the candles that we took up to the bedroom when retiring for the night. The toilet facilities were very primitive being of a bucket type privy down the end of the garden with old telephone directories being used for toilet paper. There were two other evacuees boarding with us at the time making four in all i.e. Derek Yandle who I have not heard of or contacted since, and another lad whose name I cannot recall. We attended the village school in the village of Remenham, a two-mile walk across lanes, footpaths and fields in all sorts of weather. It was only a small village school, with about 30 pupils consisting of two classes, the classes, being heated by a big unguarded pot stove in the middle of the class – the health and safety people would not be too keen about that now - I remember we would listen to the school radio programmes and the stories the presenters told and we always seemed to be singing a lot, particularly “Jerusalem” and other patriotic songs and hymns. I was a member of

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the Remenham Church choir, the Church being adjacent to the school and would walk the same journey backwards and forwards, two trips, on a Sunday for Matins and Evensong i.e. a total of about 8 miles, to sing in the choir after changing into a cassock and surplice. I recall the Rector’s name at the time was the Reverend Rees-Jones and his wife, who was a very formidable looking lady, she being the choir mistress, used to rule us choirboys and girls with a rod of iron. We would look forward to the occasional wedding or funeral service when we would get paid a small fee for participating in the choir at the ceremony. There was various collecting schemes organised during the war, one popular scheme, was to collect waste paper for the war effort and you were promoted through the ranks depending on how much paper, by weight was collected, I believe I rose to the rank of “Lt. Colonel,” a cardboard badge was issued to denominate your rank and the fact you had collected this waste paper and your new rank was publicised in the local newspaper. We would also collect rose hips from wayside bushes so that they could be used to make rose hip syrup, for this we were paid 2d. per. pound We had a lot of fun helping in the farm, particularly during school holidays and at harvest time we would were paid 6d. for every rabbit we caught when the corn was being harvested, when the combine harvester got to the centre of the field, all the rabbits caught in the middle would start making a run for it, one had to be quick, I think my liking for stewed rabbit stemmed from those days. I also remember helping on the large threshing machine that was powered by a stationary tractor and riding on the tractor carts full of corn being driven in for storage to the barns. On one occasion we built a telephone system from the cottage to the farm a distance of about 500yds making the use of old baling wire we had found, the farmer was quite impressed. Another task was building an enormous tree house in a yew tree in the garden of the Morris’s house, we spent hours up the top of this tree which I remember was quite some height, but we had no fear or danger in those days or indeed any supervision. We had some marvellous times making our own enjoyment and walking and travelling around by ourselves, I was the eldest of the evacuees living with Morris’s at 9 years old, and we all seemed to survive without a care in the world, I don’t recall us even thinking of London or home. One of our treats was to catch the bus into Henley every Saturday morning for the Saturday morning ABC Cinema Club 6d. admission at the ABC cinema, it was normally packed, I rose to the dizzy heights of monitor and got free admission every Saturday, a serial was shown every week with a heart stopping end to each episode, one spent all week wondering how it would turn out and if the hero would survive, of course he always did. We spent Xmas of 1944 at Middle Culham and I remember at nine years old how thrilled I was to get a Kaleidoscope for my main and only present, it was a triangular type telescope looking affair, which you shook up, and when you looked through it you saw reflected geometrical patterns, probably this item would cost about a £1 today, Xmas was one of the few occasions when we were allowed into the front parlour, this room was always kept spick and span but never appeared to be used during the year, the only other occasion when we were allowed to enter the room was when on one occasion my parents came down and visited, my father being on leave at the time. Before leaving Middle Culham I recall the

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celebrations and fireworks that celebrated VE day held in the town centre of Henley and going into the town that evening with the daughter and son-in- law of the Morris’s, the son-in-law worked for Stuart Turner one of the largest employers in town who were engaged in the manufacture of water pumps etc. Soon after in June we all returned to London and I somehow recall taking a kitten back with me and meeting my mother in a reception centre in Kennington, I don’t recall what happened to the kitten, I don’t think my mother was particularly enthralled by it. I only wish that I could remember more of my war time escapades as I have been always amazed when I see and hear people being interviewed in the media, they being of a similar age to myself or younger who lived through the war years and seem to have immediate recall about a host of events and every little detail that occurred to them, and other associates during this period of their life, I’m afraid I’m slightly sceptical about their long term memory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Chapter 2 – After the War My parents were still living at 5 York Close when I returned from Henley and although I do not recall much about the early years after the war I do remember the local sweet shops and that sweets were still rationed like most food items, the allocation being 4ozs per week – there was Meads at the rear of the flats that was run by two sisters, Day’s in Kenbury Street and Money’s – along the road in Flaxman Road, the shop I was later employed by as a paper boy etc. I never did understand why it was called Moneys. I know that as soon as I returned to London I attended Crawford Street Junior school again where I had attended during the war before being re-evacuated, this school was about a mile walk from home and although the school had survived during the war there was an enormous amount of bomb damage surrounding the premises, most of the houses and businesses around being completely destroyed, it was amazing that the school virtually stood alone untouched amongst the devastation. We, and when I say we I mean the rest of my school friends spent many an hour on the way home from school raking over the ruins to see what we could find although we did not have the benefit of metal detectors in those days. A lot of the time we used to take home a sack of firewood made up from plaster lathes or chopped up floorboards and later I used to chop up the salvaged floorboards into sticks and call on neighbours and local houses to sell the chopped wood for firewood and make few bob. We, that was one or other of my brothers, always made a point of visiting my grandparents on a Sunday morning, my Mothers parents, they lived in a flat, in what had been some very grand Georgian houses at the top of Camberwell Grove, they were requisitioned and owned by the Local Council at that time, but are now very sought after and expensive properties returned to private ownership. The reason one of us always made a point of visiting my grandparents is that we got a weekly sixpence pocket money each, given on our visit i.e. 2d. from my grandfather, 2d. from grandmother and a similar amount from Aunt Ivy, my mother’s youngest sister who lived with her parents at the time, I also recall the mongrel dog they used to have called Peg. It was quite a walk to their house mostly up hill, a distance of about two miles but obviously we thought the effort was worthwhile for sixpence i.e 2.5p. On a Sunday afternoon for several years we were all bundled off to the local Salvation Army for Sunday school at Loughborough Junction, although we were not aware at the time, it was obviously the only chance for my parents to have a bit of privacy in such a crowded household i.e. basically eight of us lived in one small room. Also some Sundays one or two of us would quite often go to visit our other grandma, my father’s mother who lived near the Nags Head in Holloway and this involved boarding a 35 tram at Camberwell Green and travelling right through central London, under the Kingsway subway which had been specially constructed for trams, I remember that whenever we visited my grandma, who rented a basement flat in a large house, she always got the best china tea set out for us to have tea and biscuits which seemed quite

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posh at the time although there was no pocket money involved. We also used to make a point of visiting Uncle Alf and Aunt Nellie – my mother’s sister, who owned their own bakers shop i.e. Pristons, the other side of Camberwell Green next to the Regal Cinema, baking all their own bread and cakes on the premises, if we visited them, we would always be assured of a couple of nice cakes each and a fresh loaf and cakes to take home. Another trip I would make quite regularly on my own and looked forward to was on Sunday mornings, to the East Lane open market in the Walworth Road catching the No. 34 tram at the top of our road and mooching around the market on my own watching the various Dutch auctions for china and meat, the Sarsaparilla seller, and the man who would appear to turn brass into silver demonstrating the process on an old penny, I would particularly like to go around the junk stalls at the rear of the market, they were like our present day boot sales which did not exist in those days. The point was in those days I was probably only 10 – 11years old but I would travel all over London on a tram and public transport by myself without a worry, most Saturdays I would travel into Brixton and wander around Electric Avenue, Granville Arcade and all the big stores to see the latest products, using my push bike and never have to worry about it being stolen, indeed up to the age of seventeen when I progressed to motorbikes I never recall having a lock and chain for my bike, just parking it outside any place or shop I wanted to visit and without being concerned about the safety or security of the cycle. At 11 years old, after taking the 11+ exams, in September 1946 I was accepted into Loughborough Central School in Minet Road – I was in a unique position as I was the first pupil to attend the school whose parent had been a pupil. The school opened in 1927 and my mother entered then, in her 3rd. year, at least four teachers were still teaching at the school when I commenced there who had taught my mother in 1927. – It was a mixed school of about 300 pupils; it had a good name and a smart uniform with a school badge with the motto “Fight” being worn. Incidentally I was not allowed to wear long trousers by law until I was twelve years old as this was prohibited due to clothes still being on ration. We were given the opportunity of a good education and the discipline was quite strict, those were the days when one was in awe of the teachers. Miss Archer taught maths Mr Banks French, who would rub chewing gum in your hair - boys and girls alike - if you were found chewing in his class, Miss Oriel taught English – she had been a pupil at the school in the same period with my mother. Mr Hallam taught English but dropped his aitches when he spoke, which made it a bit difficult, Mr. Lovegrove - woodwork, which, my favourite subject - Mr Silcock teaching Science – we would make a practice of stealing carbide to put in the ink wells, no biros in those days, to make an awful stink, also there was a Miss Smith the art teacher who was our form mistress for a couple of years, evidently her boy friend had been killed in the First World War and she never married. Miss Evans the music teacher, who had also been a teacher in my mother’s time – she was responsible for a number of pupils including myself taking part in the chorus of a production of Mahler’s 8th. symphony which was performed at the Royal Albert Hall and subsequently

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broadcast on the radio and conducted by Sir Adrian Boult. I was also in the school choir, which performed at assembly, which was held every morning, and on occasions I had to sing a verse of a hymn solo to the whole school; one was innocent and had no nerves in those days. I recall coming down from my bedroom on Boxing Day 1947 and finding a baby crying, unbeknown to all five brothers who were sleeping in the house at the time, my sister Evelyn had been delivered by the midwife at home during the night and we had not heard a thing, and actually as my memory recalls I do not even think any of realised that my Mother was even expecting a baby, those sort of topics were not apparently discussed then, and certainly not in the presence of children in the naive ways of those days . Quite often I would go on the bus all the way to Maida Vale in north west London with my dad to help him clean a couple of cars, which seemed a long way from Camberwell, he did not have to pay any fares, as at that particular period he was employed as a tram driver, In fact he may have been a conductor at the time but got promotion to driver later. I quite frequently would hang around Camberwell Green tram depot and watch my dad play snooker in the canteen. The cars he cleaned I can recall, were two very smart Armstrong Siddely saloons belonging to the Managing Director of a large shoe shop chain, and my father would polish them inside and out and he would get about 10/- for this task which was quite hard work seeing that with the travelling and the time it took to clean the cars it could take up to 4 – 5 hrs, if I was lucky I might get 6d.out of my dad sometimes for helping him. But mainly I went for the ride as it entailed going right through the centre of London i.e. Marble Arch, Buckingham Palace, Park Lane etc and it would be the only opportunity I would have to see such sights. At the age of 13 I started a paper round with Money’s the local newsagent delivering papers morning and evening mainly to the LCC flats opposite and would be paid 5/- for the morning round and 2/6 for the evening round, later on I would go in early 6.30am and mark up the papers for all six rounds delivered by the shop and I also collected the evening papers dropped by rail at Loughborough Junction Station for which I got another 2/6 week, I would also go round debt collecting, for outstanding newspaper accounts, for that I would get 6d. in the pound on the monies collected. At about the same time I started helping on a milk round on a Saturday and Sunday, going straight on to the milk cart after the paper round, this was with the United Dairies, it was firstly with a horse and cart – but the milkman soon graduated to a 3 wheeled electric milk float – the milkman’s name was Ginger - for this job I got paid 7/6 plus tips which would amount to about 5/- for a weekends work it was pretty hard work, particularly for a slight 14 year old i.e. lugging crates of milk, which were all in glass bottles in heavy metal crates in those days, climbing up the stairs of four storey flats – no lifts. At Christmas time I did quite well, I would get Xmas boxes from the paper round, the milk round and also something extra from the milkman, this could amount to over £35.00

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which was considered a fortune in the circles I used to move in, I suppose it was, when you relate it to the fact that my father would be lucky to bring home £5.00 a week from his tram driving - so all in all I was considered quite wealthy by the standard of the day, although I had to contribute now and again to the finances of the house. I remember I was quite dismayed on one occasion when I had to withdraw £3.00 from my P.O. Savings book to buy a new raincoat. As a school boy and until the motor bike bug bit me I was a very keen cyclist and a lot of my pocket money and earnings was spent on maintaining my push bikes I remember that my pride and joy was a Raleigh Lenton, at one time I cycled to Brighton and back on my own, I was only 14 at the time, my friends did not believe me until I produced a photo taken on Palace Pier on my arrival in Brighton. – I quite often cycled to Box Hill on a Sunday after finishing the milk round having to meet up with a crowd of friends from school who had gone on earlier. I used to hang around with a small crowd in the evenings at the other end of Lilford Road, they were all pretty keen cyclists, I was very keen on a Doris Eaton a very pretty girl and went out with her for about eighteen months and she was considered quite a catch by the rest of my mates, mind you she was two years younger than me and it was very platonic in those days. Later on whilst working for Philips I went on a cycling holiday with a friend, a fellow apprentice, Peter Girdler and we visited thirteen different youth hostels at 3s. 6d per night for bed and breakfast – one had to do a nominated domestic task before leaving in the morning i.e. some weeding, clean the baths or a kitchen stove etc. the Youth Hostels we visited stretched all the way down to Cornwall. We made one stupid mistake on our route when intending to visit the Isle of Wight and thinking we had caught the ferry to the Island, we spent an hour cycling around Hampshire before we realised that we had got on the wrong ferry, we did eventually make the Isle of Wight. I was also an avid reader and would spend many an hour at the library in Minet Road near the school, the books were housed in the basement of the original building which had been gutted by an incendiary attack during the war, apart from reading all the motor books they stocked I was a keen reader of the Captain Hornblower series and loved the Dennis Wheatly stories. My other reading matter was the comics at the time i.e. the Adventure, Wizard, Rover, Hotspur, Champion and of course the Eagle which came about a bit later about 1952, those I could not afford to buy at 2d.each I would borrow from the newsagent I delivered papers for and then put them back in the rack in a couple of days time for onward resale. I only wish I had kept those copies of the Eagle especially No. 1 issue which I used to purchase as they would be worth a fortune now.. . . .

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Chapter 3 – Off to work I think there was possibly to many distractions in my final year, and I was probably to busy earning money on my various rounds and after school jobs. I took the School Certificate in several subjects in 1951, this was the last year of the old school but I did not particularly excel myself with my final exams at school certificate, I think there was possibly to many distractions in my final year, the only subjects I excelled in were woodwork and technical drawing both of these subjects I really enjoyed doing. When the time came to discuss with the careers teacher what my intentions were after I left school with regards to employment, I indicated that I would like an opening in woodwork or technical drawing – these were the days of full employment, one assumed one would have no problem getting a job anyway - I was eventually offered two interviews, one as a pattern maker for castings in a foundry i.e. making wooden patterns or an apprenticeship as a draughtsman with Philips Electrical. I decided to go for the drafting job and was interviewed and got an offer of a five year draughtsman’s apprenticeship with Philips Electrical Medical X-ray Division at Balham, I considered myself quite fortunate in getting such a position with a reputable company as Philips. I started work with Philips in August 1951, my first duties were carried out in the drawing office at the Brixton branch in Bleheim Grove, at the top of Brixton Hill, I would cycle to the office, probably about four miles there and back, operating the print machine for producing the blueprints for the various products and filing drawings and parts list, basically I was employed on 6 months probation before the five year indenture papers were issued, I remember the work I had to carry out at the time was not too complicated in that the main duties were obviously to print drawings and other paperwork and also change the carbons on the travelling arc lamp on a rather antiquated dyeline printing machine. My starting wage I recall was 11d. per hour i.e. 5p. in present money 8.00a.m.–6.p.m. £2. 1s 3d. less tax etc £1.17s. (£1.85p). I continued carrying out these duties for the next 6 months after which I was then transferred to the machine shop/press shop, the idea being that I would spend 6 months in each department of Philips, by this time I had worked out my probation period and my indentures were signed for a five-year apprenticeship. I began attending Wandsworth Technical College on a one day a week basis with a view to taking the Ordinary National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, my tasks in the machine shop consisted of operating milling machines, lathes and shapers and also quite a large amount of tedious and boring press work which just consisted of pushing a pedal at the right time, the only consolation was that I was on bonus pay depending on the number of units I produced in an hour and although it was not a fantastic amount at least it improved my earnings at the time. I remember one embarrassing incident in the workshop, on the 6th. February 1952, the day that King George VI died, I had just started to grind some tools on the grinding machine when the factory hooters went to denote 2 minutes silence to commemorate his memory and although I switched the grinder off it obviously continued rotating and made a horrible

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From the Flats to the Fens

noise all through the silence. One had to clock in on arrival and departure, they were very strict in those days, if one was more than 3 minutes late in the morning or after lunch you lost half an hours pay and at knocking of time, midday and evening, you were not to go to the washroom until 3 minutes before time to wash your hands or clean up, obviously there was an almighty rush at the 3 minute grace period. The following 6 months, I still continued to be employed at Brixton I was transferred to the assembly shop, which consisted of assisting in assembling, arc and spot welding machines and the very large high frequency furnaces, which I found very interesting, although this occurred over 50 years ago, looking at modern designs, the basics of these types of machines does not seem to have changed to any great extent. Nothing much happened at Philips during these days. I was then moved onto their branch at Holdrons in Balham High Street, which was a factory that had been formed and converted from the ground floor of the departmental store known as Holdrons, probably having been requisitioned during the war, this was the factory where the sheet metal work for the apparatus made for Philips and assembled in the other branches of the company was produced and I was assigned to the Tool Room. By this time I had acquired a motorbike, i.e. a BSA 500cc side valve ex-dispatch riders bike. I purchased it from the liquidators of my Uncle Eddie who lived in Holloway North London and was the owner of a medium sized building firm that unfortunately had got into financial difficulties, going bankrupt owing over £17,000, at the time, we thought it a fantastic amount, thinking of Uncle Eddie as being very comfortably off. At the time of purchasing the bike I did not have any licence to drive and the bike which I purchased from the liquidators of the Company for £30.00 inc a sidecar and it had to be collected from Holloway, so taking the No.35 tram from Camberwell to Holloway, I pushed this enormous motorbike complete with sidecar attached by myself from there to York Close in Camberwell probably a distance of over eight miles, all the way via. Caledonian Road, Farringdon Street, Blackfriars Bridge, Elephant & Castle, Walworth Road and on to Camberwell Green and home, god knows how I managed it, I was only 17 at the time. My first task was to remove the sidecar, which I managed to sell for £15, making only £15 paid for the motorcycle, I managed then get the bike running, bearing in mind this was a 500cc motorcycle, I had a few practise runs in the courtyard of the flats where I lived, no tax or insurance. With self instruction and study of the Highway Code I eventually managed to pass my driving test Group G – I failed the first time – the actual test was taken at Lewisham, around the side roads in Burnt Ash Hill, the examiner just walked around in those days and stepped out in the road when he required you to carry out an emergency stop, he must have had a lot of faith. I got a lot of help from a Fred Archer as regards the maintenance of the bike, he lived round the corner in Lilford Road and it was he who purchased the sidecar from me. I always considered his family was quite well off, because his was the first house that I visited whose occupants possessed a television set and in actual fact I viewed the Coronation on his television in June 1953.

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From the Flats to the Fens

One of my pursuits was to go to evening classes in woodwork at my old Infants school in Crawford Road; I was always very interested in woodwork, my favourite subject at school, I my first project at evening classes was a tool makers work box which I made to contain the tools that I used for my training at Philips, when I was in the tool room, I made a complete set of precision blocks, a sine bar and set of gauge blocks to fit inside the case and in fact had this box with all the contents until very recently when I decided to dispose of it. At the woodwork classes I also built a large dolls house for my young sister Evelyn, I remember wiring it up with a low voltage electric light system and wallpapering all the walls, I always wondered what became of that dolls house. I was about 18, not feeling very bright and I took it upon myself, without telling my parents, to visit Kings College Hospital Accident Unit which was around the corner from where were living to report to them that I had a nasty pain in my stomach area, I was whipped into a ward, signing the consent form to agree to have my appendix removed as obviously the diagnosis was appendicitis, my mum and dad, being only informed after the operation had been carried out were quite shocked, I spent 10 days in hospital and then had to take it easy for a few weeks after the operation. It was about that time that I ceased assisting on the milk round, it was intruding too much into my social life at the weekends, and I had already stopped working on the paper rounds after I left school. I would travel out and about quite lot on the motorbike mainly in the Kent area, but unfortunately as none of my contemporaries could afford a motorbike at the time or had the inclination to drive or own one, I spent quite of a lot of the trips travelling on my own. I would maintain and strip the bike right down and take all the parts of the engine etc. up to my bedroom, which I shared with two of my brothers Terry and Tommy, I can’t imagine how they put up with the smell, cleaning the parts with petrol, not only that, there was a gas fire in the room that was lit at times. Later on I sold my first motorbike and graduated to a BSA Star Twin, it was a great improvement. I remember I got a wonderful set of aluminium pannier boxes made up with the assistance of the welders in Holdrons where I was working at the time, I was just sneaking them out of the back entrance of the factory after they had been manufactured when I saw the Works Manager coming into the premises on one of his frequent visits from the main factory, luckily he did not see me so I was still safe with my apprenticeship. I then decided I should graduate to driving a car, my father at the time had a Morris E. type van, a company van, as he was working in the position of Works Manager for a cleaning company, Clean Walls, based in central London, although he had not passed his driving test at the time having a paid driver to drive him. I began to learn to drive with the aid of the Moody boys, neighbours of ours in the flats. I had no formal lessons, first of all I could not afford a driving school and not too many people were taught professionally in those days. I would to my Dad’s local pub “The Paulet”, to ask to borrow his van and quite often would tell him that Alfie Moody was waiting outside the pub to take me around, but in fact there was no Alfie and I would drive around by

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From the Flats to the Fens

myself, no “L” plates for practice, although he did call my bluff a couple of times, in fact when the time came to take my test, Lenny Ester another friend who was going to accompany me had not got out of his bed, the test being timed for 9.00 a.m. in Lewisham, so with no more ado I jumped in the van and went for my test alone, when the test examiner asked me where the instructor was I told him that he had gone for a cup of tea – luckily I passed this test first time. After passing I came useful to my Dad in that I then chauffeured him, mostly weekends visiting the jobs and sites he supervised, my father was always full of advice on how I should drive but had not passed the test himself, he actually took the test on three occasions before passing, after the second occasion he was nearly in tears to my mother wondering how I could pass first time and he was unable to pass, it mainly it hurt his pride as he was a very proud man. He eventually passed but unfortunately lost his licence on a couple of occasions before he died. I still kept my motor bike, but I also bought a Singer Bantam Car for £10.00, it was a peculiar little car, we had lots of fun in it, mainly on trips down to Horsmonden in Kent where I regularly travelled down to with a little crowd of mates from the flats, by that time several of my friends were driving, in actual fact Horsmonden was the downfall of the car in that I collided with a Co-op milk float that was on the wrong side of the road in Horsemonden and wrote my car off. I always remember it was a Co-op milkman, insured with the Co-op, as I was, and they had to pay, as the milkman was prosecuted for driving with undue care and attention, the Co-op paid out £30.00 insurance. We also had to phone my Dad to come down and pick us up from Horsmonden. Also Tom my brother had purchased an old London pre-war taxi-cab with cast iron artillery wheels in fact he purchased three of them one after the other i.e. when one broke down beyond repair he would buy another, the going rate then was about £10.00 to purchase – if only we had those 3 cabs now – why I mention the taxis is that the sequel to the crash with my Singer car is that I acquired a four wheel flat bed trolley from work which had cast iron wheels and a tow bar with a crude steering mechanism on the front wheels, and by cutting the trolley in half made an ideal towing ambulance, which we hitched onto the taxi’s rear bumper by rope, we towed the wreck back to Camberwell and dumped it in Mr Evan’s milk yard, at the rear of our flats, with a view to getting it back on the road later - luckily I had taken the rear cast iron wheels from the trolley as during the course of the journey from Kent two of the cast iron wheels shattered on the way home and needed replacing. Unfortunately before we could get started on the repairs, a scrap metal merchant saw the car and cleared it away – perhaps Mr Evans had something to do with it. Another means of transport I had at the time was a Mini Motor which consisted of an engine fitted to the rear wheel of a standard push bike, the roller rotating against the rear tyre, it was very hard on the tyre, wearing them out very quickly, the engine propelled the bike along at about 12 mph, there was various other contraptions based on

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From the Flats to the Fens

this idea and they were quite popular at the time as they did not require a driving licence or taxation etc. although the stated top speed was suppose to be 12mph, in actual fact I got pulled in by the traffic police for exceeding 30 m.p.h. alongside Clapham Common on my way to work one morning, I remember the incident because it was the day of my 21st. birthday and when the police asked my age and I said “21 today”, they took no action and waved me on. I was still continuing my progress with my apprenticeship, by this time being transferred to the main factory of the Philips Medical X-Ray Division at Nightingale Lane, Balham into the tool room, I was so interested in the making of jigs and press tools that I had contemplated considering tool making as a career instead of being a draughtsman. I was then transferred to the coil-winding workshop where I spent most of the time operating an engraving machine, engraving labels etc. the labels to be attached to the various apparatus that Philips manufactured, and I was able to earn a bit on the side engraving private jobs. My next workshop experience was in the assembly shop, helping assemble Geiger counters for testing of radiation, diagnostic X-Ray machines and image intensifiers. My last spell in manufacturing was 4 months in the prototype workshop where all the new ideas were hatched and mock-ops made, which was also very interesting. Finally I got transferred to the Drawing office for the final twelve months of my apprenticeship under Mr Fred Doe who was the Chief Draughtsman, it was a relatively small drawing office only having about 6 draughtsmen working there and after a couple months working in the office I could see draughtsmanship was my forte. One of the most important events of my life happened in April 1956, in my last year as an apprentice with Philips and whilst in the drawing office I met Mary, my wife to be – I first recall her as a shy girl of 21 who walked through the Drawing Office with errands, she worked in the planning office upstairs as a typist - but we were both as bad as each other, our original contact was by notes passing through a third party, mainly Elsie Brown the clerical assistant in the drawing office. Eventually I plucked up courage to ask her out for a date and we first went out together on June 1st – within a couple of months I was whisked up to Aberdeen by her to meet her parents, presumably to get approval. Mary was a very good dancer ballroom dancing - and on one occasion when we were debating what to do one particular evening Mary suggested the Streatham Locarno, the local well known dance hall, I said “I will give it a try” – she not knowing that I had never danced before, but she soon found out – I subsequently had lessons at the Victor Sylvester dancing classes at the State, Kilburn whilst I was in the Army, Mary would travel up to the barracks to meet me, but I don’t think they made any difference to my proficiency in ballroom dancing, indeed I’m sure Mary will tell you they didn’t.

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From the Flats to the Fens

Chapter 4 – In the Army My apprenticeship with Philips ended mid August 1956. Within seven days of it ending I received my call up papers for National Service, this had been deferred due to the fact that I was an apprentice, as normally I would have been called up at the age of 18. I had to attend a medical in Tavistock Square, London where I was adjudged A1, then interviewed immediately afterwards on the same day after the result of my medical was known, putting my preference down for service to enter the RAF, but when my papers arrived by post I had been posted to the REME No.1 Training Battalion, Blandford in Dorset and told to report for duty on September 6th. 1956, armed with my travel warrant, I travelled to Blandford Forum to be met at the station, along with other squaddies, to be shouted out by a corporal telling us “you orrible shower“ to get into the lorry parked outside the railway station. We were transported to Blandford Camp. No. 1 Training Battalion. I was placed in “C” Company with about 35 other raw recruits in typical army barrack rooms, the finer points of barrack room procedure being explained to us including how to lay out our kit and make up a bed army fashion by the platoon corporal, a Corporal Skuse. The initial training was mainly square bashing, how to fire a gun and physical exercises which was going to take 6 weeks, to endeavour to get us into some semblance of trained soldiers, I also had to take a trade test as a machine shop fitter carrying out an exercise to cut a large bolt and screwed nut on a lathe which I managed to pass, although I had never done this operation before. We then had a passing out parade at the end of that period, the six weeks passed pretty uneventfully, I would go on guard duty some nights guarding the armoury and spend the time writing to Mary, I felt I had to do this because she had given me a beautiful writing case set when I left Philip to go to into the army. On one occasion I had to report to the guard house and told to be dressed in best battledress and boots within 15 minutes and was filled with trepidation that I was in some sort of bother, when I arrived at the guard house my Father and Mother and sister Evelyn were there - they were touring the area in their car on holiday and decided to pop in to ask if they could take me out to tea, it was on a Sunday which was a nice surprise. I managed to keep my nose pretty clean otherwise, passing the fitness test, running 5 miles with full pack in 60mins, a mile in 6 minutes and 20 press ups. As I had completed an engineering apprenticeship I did not have to go away for 20 weeks trade training after the initial 6 weeks and after taking and passing the trade test at Blandford as a turner fitter, my rank thereon was Craftsman Mulholland – Turner/Fitter Class II in fact 6 months later when applying to take a trade test for Class 1, I was automatically upgraded due to the fact I had passed the appropriate exams i.e. City & Guilds Machine Shop Engineering Final before going in the army, this already qualified me for Class 1 and better still I found that I was owed 6 months back pay i.e. 26 weeks at 7/- per week as my pay at the time in the Army was only 35/- a week, this was quite a bonus. My training being over we had to state our preference for a permanent posting and I put in for an overseas posting. So when the postings were

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From the Flats to the Fens

displayed on the notice board I got quite a shock to see that I had been posted to Albany Street Barracks in Regents Park Barracks, London with the War Office Car Company. I then went home for a 7 days leave before reporting to Albany Street where I had small workshop to myself sectioned of in the main workshop with a large fairly modern lathe, shaper and drilling machine and bench, I was more or less left to my own devices. My main tasks in the workshop were to make the flag staffs to fit on the limousines as most of the cars in the workshop were used and driven by the drivers of the Royal Army Service Corps, to which the REME was attached, these drivers driving around high ranking officers being based in the War Office, I also manufactured the red star plates denoting the rank of the officers being carried in the vehicles and the fitting wing mirrors. The main tasks I carried out on the lathe was in machining of brake drums for the cars and heavy lorries. Garaged in the barracks were a fleet of highly polished lorries, which were known as the Queens Baggage Fleet and whenever the Queen and her entourage travelled up to Scotland, Sandringham etc. this fleet of lorries were employed in transporting their luggage etc. Soon after I was posted to London all the squaddies in my unit anxiously gathered around listening to the radio as it was the time of the Suez crisis and we were fully expecting to be seconded to go over there to take part in the action, although it was not to be. I had the opportunity of going home most nights but I did not bother, first of all I could not afford the fares and it would have entailed approx a 5 mile cycle ride there and back, unfortunately I had disposed of my motor cycle prior to being called up, as Mary, wasn’t a motor bike fan and was under the impression I would be posted abroad. It was quite good life in the Army in those early days as there was usually a demob party every other week i.e. discharges were on a two-week cycle and also the food was good and plentiful. I normally avoided guard duties as those in the army who lived in Scotland would carry out a guard duty in exchange for my allocation of rail warrants which I obviously did not require, in fact the guard duty, if I did have to carry one out, consisted of acting as a breakdown squad in the event that any military vehicle based at Regents Park Barracks having a mechanical break down or getting involved in a accident, it must have said something for the drivers and the standard of maintenance for the vehicles, in that I was never called out to fix a vehicle or tow one in, whilst I was on stand-by duties. Being a Londoner I had to spend my first Christmas in the barracks to give those who lived a long distance away the opportunity to go home, and although Mary came up to the barracks to see me, I was only allowed to spend a few moments outside the main gate with her and she spent Christmas Day with my parents and brothers in York Close. We had the pleasure of the officers serving us Christmas Dinner and waking us up on Xmas morning with a cup of tea. It was about that time Mary and I decided that we would get married, I never formally proposed to her and we never got engaged as such, for one thing I would not have been able to afford a ring, but we agreed that we would get married later that year, we

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From the Flats to the Fens

travelled up to Aberdeen at Easter time for her brother John’s wedding to Audrey his first wife, who unfortunately died at an early age with cancer. It was rather a grand affair, or at least I thought so at the time, as I we had to hire morning dress for the wedding; John at that time had just completed training to be a Church of Scotland minister. Whilst we were in Aberdeen we made preliminary arrangements for our wedding, the date being set for October 26th it originally was going to be November 2nd but this was All Saints Day and the church would have been dressed in black – not a good omen. By agreeing to be married in Aberdeen Roman Catholic Cathedral, Mary already being a Roman Catholic convert, and if we wanted the full nuptial mass I was required to become a Roman Catholic convert also, this entailed a series of instruction at the Roman Catholic Church in Nightingale Square, Balham, adjacent to where Mary used to live. Though most of the instruction seemed to consist of talking about cars and football, I was confirmed into the Catholic Church during that summer – Incidentally Mary had become a convert because previous to meeting me she was engaged a Catholic The plans proceeded for our wedding, although it was only through the generosity of Mary’s mother that most of the items required got paid for, both Mary and I only had, what we stood up in. I of course was still in the Army – Mary by that time was living in a flat in Fontenoy Road, Balham. She had originally come down from Aberdeen with a friend Bev, probably after breaking off her engagement, only a few days after her 21st. birthday, her and Bev rented a flat in Endlesham Road, Balham when first arriving in London from Aberdeen – the reason for living in Balham was that Mr. and Mrs Gray, family friends of Mary’s parents lived in Balham and had found the accommodation for them. Bev did not stay very long in London, going back to Aberdeen about three months after her arrival, probably because Mary started going out with me within a few weeks of arriving in London and she was left on her own - Mary then moved to a flat in Gaskarth Road for a while and then on to Fontenoy Road. It was about this time that Mary and I went down to Brighton for the day, one of Mary’s first remarks “where is the beach” as she was used to the glorious sands that they have in Aberdeen, not the stony shingle of Brighton. Whilst in Brighton I decided to try and contact Eileen and Sid D’eathe the couple I had been evacuated with at the very beginning of the war and with whom I had lost contact. We eventually traced them, they had moved from Southwick where I had stayed as an evacuee to a bungalow in Mile Oak, not very far away, and more regarding them will crop up later in my story.

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From the Flats to the Fens

Chapter 5 – Marriage My Mother, Father, sister Evelyn and brothers Bobby and Tommy, who acted as my best man, drove up to Aberdeen for the wedding which was held at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Huntley Street on October 26th. 1957. The reception held at the Douglas Hotel in the centre of Aberdeen – looking at the wedding photographs recently it is quite frightening to see how many people who attended the wedding are unfortunately not with us any more. A 8mm coloured cine film was also taken of the wedding, which was quite innovative at the time, although no film or photographs were allowed inside the church in those days. During the wedding reception Mary and I went up to Woodend Hospital, Mary in her bridal dress to see her grandma – her mother’s mother - who was in her eighties and ill at the time, a photograph and report subsequently appearing in the local paper. After the reception, where Tommy and myself had great difficulty with the Scottish dances, Mary and I were then carried shoulder high through the streets to Aberdeen Station – ½ mile away, to board a train to Glasgow for our honeymoon. I remember trying to dispose of the confetti discreetly that had been stuffed into our suitcase by helpful guests, so that none of the other passengers in the train would realise that we were honeymooners, when the whole lot blew back in through the window going all over the carriage, which was most embarrassing. We stayed at a private hotel/guest house on Kelvinside opposite the Botanical Gardens, with many winks and nods from the staff. After the honeymoon we travelled back to Aberdeen, although one embarrassing episode for me was that I had lost my travel warrant that I had been issued by the army to travel up for my wedding and Mary’s mother had to bail me out for the fare back to London.

After the honeymoon and on returning to London we made our home in the top floor flat at 37 Fontenoy Road Balham where Mary had been living previously to our marriage, one item of good news, in a sad way, was that the elderly tenant who had lived in the middle flat downstairs had passed away whilst we were up in Scotland and we had the offer of this larger flat which we took. It required a considerable amount of redecoration and bringing up to date. At this time I became a living out soldier, which enabled me to draw living out allowance and also of course marriage allowance that brought my total weekly income to about £8.00 and thankfully Mary, was still working. I was able to cycle back and forwards most days a distance of 5 miles from Regents Park Barracks to Balham except on the few occasions I got caught to carry out a guard duty. Sadly six weeks after our marriage Mary’s father died, he had not been in the best of health, we received the news via my Dad coming over to our house in a thick pea souper fog to let us know the sad news, then taking Mary and myself back to Putney,

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From the Flats to the Fens

where they lived, so Mary could borrow the fare from my mother to go up to Aberdeen to see her mother and attend the funeral – in actual fact the £10.00 she required was the amount that my mother intended to give us for our delayed wedding present. Tommy my brother had to walk in front of my Dad’s car to guide him in the fog, it was so dense, a common occurrence in those days, at that time we did not have a phone connected, it was considered quite a luxury then, so the only way my father could contact us was to drive over to our house. Four months into our marriage Mary discovered she was pregnant, of course I still had 7 months of my National Service to serve, and subsequently a baby girl followed – Jackie being born on 3rd. November 1958 a couple months after I was demobbed. The last three months of my army career was very interesting, in that due to a policy of civilians taking over, my role as turner/fitter in the REME workshops was redundant and being at a bit of a loose end, I was placed on secondment to the weights and measures inspectorate, with a Warrant Officer and a fitter we visited every army establishment and office in a thirty mile radius of central London, checking their scales and measures and ascertain they were registering the correct weight, my very technical job!!!! as a part of the team, was to carry the sample weights to and from the inspector’s vehicle to the scales to be inspected, the only consolation was that I made quite a few pounds in travelling and subsidence expenses, soon after this exacting task I was demobbed in September 1958 from the Army completing my two years National Service. I must say that I enjoyed my time in the Army I did contemplate at one time signing up as regular, but in the end deciding against it.

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From the Flats to the Fens

Chapter 6 - Demob and return to civilian life After my demob from the Army I was offered re-employment at Philips in Balham as a Mechanical Draughtsman where I had served my apprenticeship, I know at the time I was very disappointed as the starting wage offered was only £11.00 per week and I was under the impression that I was worth a lot more – obviously not - I started back in the drawing office with Norman Watt as the Chief Draughtsman – at least I was on familiar ground and knew the majority of staff who were still there from my pre-army days, it was unbelievable that two years had passed since last working there. By this time Mary had left Philips and until a couple of months before the baby was born worked for Mobil Oil on the Albert Embankment in Central London near Vauxhall. Unfortunately after Jackie was born in the November, due to some unexplained reason, probably jealousy, as she wanted a little girl but only had boys, our landlady Mrs Greaves who lived in the bottom flat of the house we lived in made our living at Fontenoy Road very uncomfortable, finding trouble and problems for the most minor of reasons, thereby putting Mary in a very awkward situation whilst I was away at work during the day. I had also started attending evening classes at Wandsworth Technical College to take an Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering during three evenings a week, having to cycle there and back to Wandsworth straight from work and getting home quite late, again there was no phones in those days or at least not in our household. We therefore started looking around for alternative accommodation and eventually moved to a basement flat in a large terraced Georgian House in Lansdowne Road, Croydon; it was subsequently demolished soon after we left and the RAC Headquarters is now situated on the site. I remember when we vacated Fontenoy Road I had carried out a considerable amount of decorating and other works to the flat, one of the fads at the time was to flush panels all the room doors, I made a point of removing all the panels from the doors I had previously affixed panels to, even removing the wiring from under he floorboards to a couple of electric points I had rewired and taking all the materials away with us, I was so upset in the manner we had been treated by our landlady that I probably would have scraped the wallpaper off the walls, if Mary had not have stopped me. I always remember the Croydon flat, in that electricity was included in the rent, but we were not allowed to use any power, only lighting, we used to connect an electric one bar fire to a illicit power point, we were always frightened out of our wits if a knock at the door meant the landlord was outside, and rapidly disconnected the fire. Another incident I recall whilst at this flat was at Christmas time and I got involved drinking on the day Philips closed down for Xmas, I remember we all used to go down to the local pub and normally I did not drink any alcohol normally i.e. I could not afford to, but obviously being Xmas one joined in and I remember the fad then was for blackcurrant and rum, quite potent, on returning to the factory I was fooling around in

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one of the workshops probably quite inebriated and knocked myself out on my of the work benches with an enormous purple bruise on my forehead and had to be taken home by one of my mates and that is where Mary found me laying on top of the bed feeling sorry for myself when she came home, unfortunately her mother was staying with us at the time and was not very impressed. Whilst we were at Croydon, Mary by that time after the birth of Jackie, had returned back to work, we had to manoeuvre the pram with Jackie on the train at East Croydon, travelling in the guards van, alight at Balham station and then push the pram at least a mile up Balham Hill to leave Jackie with the baby minder, who lived in Cathles Road, i.e. she actually owned the house that contained the flat we eventually moved into after leaving Croydon. Our stay at Croydon was not very long, it was not a particularly pleasant flat and was costing £3.00 a week plus our fare into Balham so was quite an expense out of our meagre income. We started looking around for cheaper accommodation nearer our work and luckily we were offered a first floor flat in Cathles Road by our baby minder, a young black couple, which was considerably cheaper and immediately available, the only drawback was that we had to give four weeks notice or pay £12.00 in lieu of rent to vacate the Croydon flat, which was more than I was earning in a week at the time, so with the help of Bill Bryant a very good friend of mine, we did what one was could call a moonlight flit and with a van borrowed from brother Tom, loaded it up with our furniture, goods and chattels, although it did not consist of very much, in actual fact the landlord chased us in his car on our final visit to remove the last of the furniture but we managed to shake him off, for several weeks later after vacating Croydon and whilst living in our “new” flat we were always apprehensive if there was a knock on the front door thinking that it may be our previous landlord calling to collect his back rent. We were quite happy living at Cathles Road but it was rather cramped so when we heard early in March 1959 that we had the opportunity of obtaining a marvellous flat which consisted of a large lounge, kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms in Chestnut Grove, Balham near the tube station, for less than the rent we were paying for our present flat in Cathles Road we jumped at the chance, this flat was again found for us by the Grays who had recommended Mary’s original accommodation when she arrived from Aberdeen, the Grays living opposite the new flat. We were very happy after we moved to 62 Chestnut Grove, although there was quite a large amount of decorating and other improvements to make, we were quite pleased in that we had running hot water, a first for us, it was heated by the means of a back boiler on the coal fire in the kitchen a rather ancient idea but quite effective, it was still a vastly superior place to our previous flats and Mrs Godwin the landlady was very kind and helpful and of course we had the Grays opposite. With both Mary and I now working, and Philips my employers always gave a salary rise at Xmas time we were

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reasonably okay as regard finances and managed to start buying furniture and carpets etc for the new house, albeit on never-never, I know we would have a tin money box with a number of slots for putting money aside for the various bills i.e. gas, electric, rent, HP etc, it was quite sometime later on in our married life that either of us had bank accounts. In moving, our baby minders had changed and Jackie now two years old would be perched in a seat fixed to the back of my pushbike and I would cycle with her to a childminder who lived adjacent to Tooting Common probably about 2 – 2 ½ miles away in all sorts of weather before cycling back a similar distance to start work. To supplement our income I started working weekends for my dad, wall washing in the various hospitals and factories that Clean Walls the company he was employed by as a works manager, they had numerous contracts with, hospitals, ministry buildings, post offices etc., wall washing was physically very hard work particularly if one was not used to it, I had only been pushing a pencil around during the weekdays, I was only paid £2.00 for a whole day Saturday or £4.00 for Sunday but if I worked the whole weekend it meant I was approx 50% better of than what I earned at Philips during the week as I was still only on £11 per week less taxes, the extra funds were most welcome. Taking Jackie to the baby minder on the bicycle was getting too much for both of us, particularly if the weather was not to good so as our finances were getting a little better I started to look around for some wheels, I was quite fortunate in that a chap named John, the son-in-law of Mrs Godwin our landlady, being married to Joyce her daughter, sold me his old 1938 Ford for £10 at least you could say it was working, there were no M.O.T’s in those days, so from there on we had some transport. We took our first holiday away in that car, staying at a bed and breakfast in Lynton, Devon – I remember saying to Mary, as there was two ways into Lynton, one up a steep hill, one not, she was navigating, whatever we do we must not take the steep hill down otherwise the car will not make it back up – we did, and I had to make a five mile detour to avoid returning up the hill. I also remember having to patch a hole in the tyre with old bits of leather – tyres contained inner tubes in those days, because I couldn’t afford the three pounds necessary for a new tyre out of our holiday money – but all in all we had a great time. Soon after this journey realising the Ford was on it’s last legs I started to look around for more reliable transport and it was about this time that my brother Tom had to go into a sanatorium suffering from tuberculosis, in fact all of my brothers and sisters subsequently contracted TB over a period of the next five years and they all spent up to nine months being cured in a sanatorium. Luckily I was the only one of the six siblings in the family who did not contract the disease, probably because I had not been living at home for the last 4 years. When brother Tom was diagnosed as suffering from TB he was in the process of

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buying a second hand Bedford mini-bus on hire purchase, I therefore agreed to take over the payments during his time in hospital in exchange for the use of the van until he recovered so at least Mary and I had some reliable personal transport and I was able to transport Jackie in more comfortable means to the baby-minder. I was also able to visit my parents in Putney at the weekends and take Jackie over to see them. We even ventured up to Aberdeen in the Bedford on one occasion. My father started up his own business in April 1960 forming the Hygienic Wall Cleaning Co. based at the Elephant and Castle sharing a yard and offices with Harry Dunn in Keyworth Street – Harry, a friend of the family had his own company at the time, Dunn’s Floors. My father and Herbie Roe a Canadian and drinking partner was a fellow director and also my Dad’s eldest brother John who was owned a french polishing company at the time, I believe he helped financed the start of the company. Tommy by this time being out of hospital, more or less recovered from TB, and his mini bus, that I was making use of at the time was required as transport for the newly formed Company so I had to give up my means of transport, and again I was on the lookout for wheels, and decided to purchase a 10 year old Hillman Minx NPD 500 it was considered quite up market at the time because it had a radio fitted which was quite rare accessory in a 1949 car. This was a good solid little car, we drove up to Aberdeen on at least two occasions and toured all over Western Scotland i.e. Fort William, Inverness and across to Skye, Mary’s mother accompanied us on one occasion. About this time I was getting rather disillusioned at Philips, people were getting promoted over me, although I admit it was partially my own fault as my progress at evening school was not too brilliant, I suppose I had too many other things on my mind, such as married life. My other ambition was to be put onto monthly staff status, and have my monthly salary paid into a bank account, which seemed an impossible goal for me; I was married nearly five years before I even got involved with bank accounts. I then decided to start looking around for another job and eventually to my delight got selected for a interview board at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) at Harwell for a job as an Electro-Mechanical Draughtsman – I went for the Board and passed although I was a little embarrassed in that I was asked the definition of an XRay and could not give one although I had been employed by Philips X-Ray for nearly 11 years. I was offered the job at the princely sum of approx. £950.00 per annum approx £18.00 per week less stoppages subject to satisfactory security checks – these I passed and started at Harwell at the end of January 1962. In the first instance I was found lodgings with a butcher’s family in Reading until I was able to find more permanent accommodation for Mary, Jackie and myself, and I would travel into Harwell by works transport, going home to Balham by car every weekend.

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Chapter 7 – Our First House Purchase

As soon as I settled down working at Harwell, I went house hunting with the help of staff at Harwell and purchased a detached 3 bedroom house with detached garage and a large garden in the centre of Grove, a village near Wantage in Berkshire for £2450 at a 95% mortgage i.e. only putting down £125 deposit which Harwell lent me interest free, repayable when the house was sold, they also paid all legal charges etc. Mary, Jackie and I moved into the house in mid April 1962, I think Mrs Godwin our landlady in Balham was very upset when we told her we would be leaving as we had always got on very well with her and her son Malcolm. Very soon after we moved into Grove, Mary discovered that she was pregnant again. Grove was a very small village at the time, no more than 250 residents – it now has up to 5000 houses - we lived next to the local church and vicarage and opposite the village school and hall, Mrs Bourne the vicar’s wife was a very kind and a typical vicar’s wife of the old fashioned type and although Mary and I were not of her religion, both of us being Catholics, she Church of England, there was nothing she would not do for us, and later on when I was to lose my parents she was particularly kind to Mary Jackie and baby Fiona over the Christmas period whilst I was up in London. We would travel up to Putney nearly every month to see my parents but soon after moving into the house at Grove my trusty Hillman Minx was deemed beyond economical repair, an old army expression, by this time MOT tests had started and unfortunately the rules were now rather more stringent as regarding running a vehicle, otherwise I may have been still able to run NPD 500. Hearing of my predicament my Dad offered to give me a Bedford CAV van, this type of van was quite popular at the time, the only problem was that this particular vehicle had been written of in an accident, the offside upper section had been very badly damaged but the vehicle was only a couple of years old, I collected it from his works yard and drove it in that condition down to Grove, i.e. no windscreen and a quarter of the front missing, and then replacing the damaged area with a section that I literally sawed of from a similar dumped body that I had seen on a bomb site in the Elephant and Castle area, I got a friend from work to cut out the defective section of the bodywork and weld the section in from the salvaged part and then with a splash of paint and new windscreens it was a perfectly roadworthy vehicle, i.e. it passed the MOT, and we were able to travel up to London again on our weekend jaunts. Working at Harwell was very interesting, the pace of life and the lack of any urgency were apparent after working for a commercial company like Philips – but I was involved in quite a series of interesting projects and the other draughtsmen working alongside me were a great bunch of colleagues. I had a weekly trip into Oxford and then Abingdon to attend technical colleges to study for a HNC in Mechanical Engineering whilst Mary acting as a wife and mother and found a few friends in the village and frequently walked into Wantage – a couple of miles, for, for the shopping etc.

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The first Christmas living in Grove we drove up to my parents and whilst in London on Boxing Day there was approx. 6 inches of snow, a foretaste of what was to come, I was unable to start the van to go back home so my Dad had to take us back home to Grove, Mary being heavily pregnant with Fiona, Dad driving in terrible conditions and obviously having to get himself back to Putney again. Three weeks later our second daughter Fiona was born and by that time there had been more very heavy snowfalls in the area, the surrounding roads were atrocious. I had been unable to get into work for over a week, the works bus that I normally travelled to work on could not make it into the village but Mary somehow got to the local hospital in time, Then Mary’s mother decided that she had to come to see the new born baby, travelling all the way down from Aberdeen, I hiked 10 miles to Didcot Station to meet her, not knowing how we would both get back to Grove, luckily we managed to get a lift from a friendly Land Rover at the station and eventually got back to the house – fortunately the conditions improved slightly before Mary’s mother was due to return. Not much else happened during that year, Mary now had the two girls at home and life was pretty peaceful and quite in the village, Mary went to bingo and we got involved in some of the local events, the building of the new housing estate had now begun leading to the present day population of approx 10,000 as against probably 2 – 300 when we were living there, although it was 40 years ago. In actual fact when we made a nostalgic visit to the village a few years ago we had a problem finding our old house because it was completely surrounded by new houses and shops etc., when we lived there, there was only one shop in the village.. . . . . . .

.

. . .

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Chapter 8 – A Change of Direction I now come to the period that was to change my life completely, my Mum and Dad had informed us that they intended to take a cruise on the Greek liner, the Lakonia, for Christmas 1963 so they would not be around at home that Xmas, this was the first holiday away that they had taken since their marriage over 25 years ago. Mick Battle who was employed by Hygienic, my father’s company, and who was acting as his driver at the time, Dad had lost his license through some misdemeanour, took my parents down to the liner moored in Southampton and actually went aboard with my youngest brother Bobby to see them off. – So when I heard the news on the radio the following Sunday that the Lakonia was in flames in the Bay of Biscay I knew that my Xmas plans were going to be drastically altered but at that time did not fear the worst. We had packed the van and were due to leave the next day to travel up to stay with Mary’s mother in Aberdeen to spend Christmas and New Year with her. I immediately phoned my other brothers in London but they had no further news than was being given out on the radio, so I thought it would be best to go up to London to the Greek Line offices in the West End to try and get first hand information, as it was obviously a very bad fire with the liner well alight and all sorts of rescue operations were going on. When I arrived at the shipping office it was chaotic with the media and other relatives there and very badly organised, at one stage my parent’s names were given out as being saved and alive, but this proved false information. The eventual outcome was that my mother’s body was recovered from the sea and buried in Gibraltar and 3 weeks later, after she had been buried, when visiting Scotland Yard I identified her from a photograph, a scrap of her coat she was wearing at the time and her wedding ring removed from her after her death. My father’s body was never recovered, he was legally presumed dead about 5 months later. The Lakonia itself sunk whilst in tow 4 days after catching alight, the reasons for the tragedy were never fully explained although the general consensus is that the fire started in a hairdressing salon and that the crew panicked when abandoning ship, later stories were given of the crew survivors that were picked up by the rescue boats, as having their pockets stuffed with valuables taken from the passengers and their cabins. It is was ironic after all my father went through during the war, fighting through North Africa and Cassino and awarded the Military Medal that his life should end this way. There was subsequently a legal action to claim damages and compensation and although our family solicitor Harry Alkin was very generous in not charging any fees for his advice, a very small amount approx. £2,000 was awarded to our 16-year-old sister, peanuts in comparison in relation such a claim would be made for and paid out these days. Life had to go on, the aftermath of my parents death in that there was a 16 year old girl, Evelyn my sister, left an orphan and I was the eldest brother. Evelyn got along very well with Mary and our children and indicated that she would like to live with us and to avoid too much upheaval in her life after losing her parents, also to save her losing touch with her friends at school by moving away, we decided to move to

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London and taking over my parents home at Putney, a terraced rented council house in a pleasant part of Putney. The council Wandsworth Borough was very good and accommodating in allowing us to transfer the tenancy in my name, we also had Bobby and Peter still living at home with us, as they were not married yet. I obviously had to give up my job at Harwell and as I had no opening in London I mutually agreed with Tommy to start working with Hygienic Wall Cleaning my late father’s Company. After joining Hygienic I soon settled into the routine, a different life style entirely from rural Grove – Evelyn settled down with us okay and took the death of our parents in her stride, we sometimes felt she should have been more open to relieve her feelings, but it seems to be a Mulholland trait to keep one’s feeling to ourselves. I obviously had to put the house at Grove on the market, it sold very quickly the proceeds paying all my obligations and I was able to pay my deposit loan to Harwell and clear myself completely, that was the days before soaring house prices – Harwell was also very good in releasing me from my contract with them. Although I had worked there for less than two years I returned to the drawing office at Harwell a few weeks later where a presentation was made to me of a fountain pen set and a signed farewell card, which was quite moving. Working for Hygienic as I have said was a completely different lifestyle altogether, Mac a retired Ministry of Works employer who my father had taken on, took me around the various MOW depots and introduced and schooled me in the ways of their working and the basics of estimating for a job, most of our work in those early days was wall washing so estimating was relatively easy and most areas were priced at 6d. (2.5p) per sq. metre. Mac unfortunately, although he was in his late 70’s, died about 6 months after I joined the Company, so I was on my own from then on. One of the first tasks on joining the company I carried out was go to Mick Battle’s house, Mick used to be my father’s driver, Dad being without a license at the time of his death, and collect my father’s company car, as it was to be mine to drive, it was quite a change to drive from my old van, a Vauxhall VX4/90 it was considered quite an upmarket car, I would preferred to have obtained it in much less tragic circumstances. Another thing I had to get used to was the social life, as going round various depots canvassing for work, surveying and meeting all the clients meant quite a few long lunches, evenings in the pub, and with Mary getting involved going out to formal dinners and dances etc, having to purchase my first dinner suit, it was always long dresses for the ladies in those days, but we soon acclimatised ourselves and luckily we had Evelyn at home for a baby sitter. We then decided that as Mary was pregnant again with Stuart and myself travelling every day from Putney to Peckham was hard work we decided the need to purchase a house nearer the office and finally settled on a terraced 1930’s house at 148 Cranston Road in Forest Hill moving there in November 1964. Peter and Bobby by this time

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were either getting or contemplating getting married and we knew that Evelyn would not be living with us much longer as she had every hope of going to University, which she did in September of the following year. It was much easier going to the office, our new home being less than 5 minutes away. Stuart was born in April of the following year, I always remember because I had a few friends back the night he was born, including one of my friends playing on a kit of drums and so the babies head was well and truly wet, the only thing was that Mary was not there to assist. Cranston Road was quite a nice place we paid £4950 for it at the time and had quite a few improvements done to it, obviously I got it re-decorated inside and out by the company, I put in a new bathroom myself with all the associated plumbing, Peter Jollie a great friend of ours who tragically died on his way home after playing a game of squash at the age of 48, made and installed all newly fitted wardrobes for me. I had a conservatory built and a base laying party after the completion of having a base laid for a new garage with Peter and three other M.O.W. employees who had all helped with the project - they all ended up in very high positions in the Ministry, Stan Musselwhite, Stan Godman Chris Wicks, District Works Officers in the London area. The new concrete garage was to be erected on the newly laid base at the rear of the house. I don’t know why I bothered to have the garage built because I never did put the car in the garage. About this time I took the driving test for the Institute of Advanced Motorists mainly as a bet because one of the Superintendents with the MOW named Bill Copper at Whitehall who had failed the test and I had said to him it was easy, so he challenged me to take the test for a bet. It consisted of two hours driving in and around Crystal Palace, giving all the necessary hand signals which was required at the time, and also giving a running commentary of what obstacles and how your mind was reacting for five minutes, by a fluke I passed and was quite proud to affix the IAM badge on my car, at the same time I applied to become a member of the Veteran Motorists Association this was a lot easier, you only had to produce a clean driving licence and I started of with a No. 13 in my “V” badge denoting 13 years undetected crime in motoring. In the summer of that year we holidayed in Cornwall with Andy and Eileen Hughes and their three children, Stuart was only a few months old in a carry cot and we drove down and stayed in a caravan park at Praa Sands, I still have recorded on film where my car got stuck in the sands with an incoming tide, we had to get a friendly farmer to tow us off the beach with his tractor. This holiday in Cornwall whetted our appetite for a static caravan of own which I will relate more later. We would also go down to the Kent coast at the weekend again, with Andy and Eileen Hughes, Eileen being brother Tom’s sister–in–law, of his first wife Janet, with the kids, and sometimes with Teddy Sullivan and his wife Carol, Teddy being our works manager with Hygienic at the time, we had many a happy weekend, although with a few arguments with the kids in the car.

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May 1965 was my first trip to Guernsey when six of us including Tommy, Mick Battle, Maurice Findlay and Dave Akers went as supporters with the Commercial Casuals a rugby team that operated out of the Commercial Tavern near Herne Hill station, Johnny Duff a Ministry of Works foreman – long dead, would organize the trips, basically it was one long drinking session, we continued travelling with the rugby team for a couple of years and then told there was no room for supporters, so I began to organise an annual stag do independently, about 30 would go, usually Cup Final weekend and we then organised a weekend in October, but taking our wives or partners, which led to us having our family holidays, for nearly 20 years, going there for first 3 weeks in August every year, and making a life friendship with Toni and Margaret Nussbaumer and their son David of which more tales later will occur. Later on in November of that year I joined the Freemasons, Jack Bernard who was quite a character and had been a great friend of my fathers and at the time was the Works Foreman in the Tower of London introduced me to Freemasonry and apart from attending lodge meetings it got Mary and I involved in a round of Ladies Nights, which were very popular at the time. I have in fact got a birdbath made from stone recovered from the Tower of London given to me as a housewarming present by Jack Bernard when I moved into Redford Avenue. We often went up to London for Masonic Ladies Nights, it could be twice or three times a week in the season i.e., usually March, April time, these were in dispersed with the Ministry of Works Ladies nights at the same time. Although my own lodge only met four times year I built up quite a circle of friends and business associates whom I entertained as guests at my lodge and they in turn reciprocated which entailed me visiting their lodges. In particular a very good friend of ours Ernie Tate, a flooring contractor whose lodge met in Harrow would arrange for a chauffeur driven limousine to pick four or five of us up to attend his meetings and then arrange for all our wives to go for a meal at a smart restaurant in Greenwich – The Trafalgar Tavern, by chauffeur again, then later on after the lodge meeting and festive board we would return to his house, this was an excuse for further drinks and jollity into he early hours of the morning, this normally occurred at least four times a year, luckily it was a Saturday night lodge. This was the life we led around these times, also about this period Mary began to work at Hygienic so we led a pretty full life and even managed to lead a pretty hectic working life as well. Another episode was, that after speaking to a friend, Tom my brother asked me to go down to Cornwall with a view to purchasing a small caravan he wanted for a works site hut and whilst I was down there, the chap selling the caravan, who I stayed the night with, mentioned that he could get me a good deal on a brand new Vauxhall Cresta, I had a Vauxhall Victor at the time which was due to be changed anyway, so without more ado, I had the blank cheque for the caravan which incidentally was not suitable, so I purchased the new car with it instead, and stayed over another night to get it taxed on the road and insured so I could drive it back to London.

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My old car had not even got the spare wheel in the boot and I had to send the wheel down to Cornwall later. In we went down to Cornwall on our summer holiday with that car the following two years, once just with our children and stayed at Gwithian Sands in self catering chalets, the second time with Peter Jollie, whom I previously mentioned with his children. I recall on holiday with Peter, each chalet had slot meter television and we rigged the set up in my chalet so you did not have to pay and we all crowded into the one chalet to watch the free television. In mid 1967 I was admitted into Hither Green Hospital, isolation unit for 7 days, with a throat infection, which I suffered with several times previously, this had been a recurring disease over the last couple of years which would cause me to have a very swollen throat and a very high temperature, but my stay in hospital was of no avail for despite various tests it never was discovered why this complaint kept cropping up, and although the problem occurred several times subsequently it has not repeated itself lately.

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Chapter 9 – Moving out of London Towards the end of 1967 Evelyn my sister had now moved away from living with Mary and I, she was attending and taking a Degree course at University in Bath, and having the three children now we decided that a larger house was needed and also we wanted to move a further out from inner London. We finally found a detached four bedroom house in Wallington i.e. 5 Redford Avenue for which we paid £8,500, I always remember a remark made by one of the removal men when they arrived “Oh this is the house I would buy if I won the pools” it was a typical 1930’s style detached house and when we moved in was situated in a quiet little road. but three years later the road was unfortunately opened up as one of the entry roads into a large new council estate called “Roundshaw” that was being constructed on the old Croydon Aerodrome site. Mandy then entered our lives, she was a golden retriever, purchased from kennels in Chislehurst, an eight week old puppy, and when we got her home the children were very excited and would not leave the poor thing alone, but she soon settled down and became one of the family, we had to erect a lot of fencing in the back garden to contain her as she would be away at the drop of a hat. Soon after we purchased Redford Avenue having got the taste of caravanning from our holidays in Cornwall we decided to look for a static caravan on a seaside site and finally ended up purchasing a caravan on the Blue Anchor site at Seasalter nr. Whitstable, situated on the Kent Coast, we travelled down most week-ends during the summer the car loaded with the three children – Elen had not arrived on the scene then and a large dog. On one occasion I was bowling along the road when the car suddenly petered out and I spent quite a long while trying to find out what the problem was when I realised that Stuart, who was only about 3 years old and was sitting in the front foot well, had reached across and turned off the ignition key whilst I was driving. On another occasion the engine blew a gasket on the cylinder head and had to be towed into a local garage, then I had to phone Terry my brother to come and rescue us at the end of our weekend stay. On another occasion just before we were leaving Mandy the dog decided to run off and when we eventually found her she had jumped into one of the streams that surrounded the site and stank to high heaven and we had to put up with the smell al the way back to Wallington in an enclosed car. We had some good times on the Blue Anchor site and met some very good friends in particular Ivan and Madge both long gone, Stan and Dot Verrall, and their 15 year old daughter Jane who we are still in touch with to this day, 40 years on, unfortunately Stan died several years ago. Going to the club house on the site for our entertainment in the evening, they had a rather unique help yourself bar, dispensing your own gin and tonics the only thing was, one was prone to take an extra nip and drink it whilst waiting in the queue, so that system did not last for very long, there was also a good safe beach at Seasalter where the children would play for hours. We had mains electric wired with a meter to the van so could keep the kids quiet with the television when the weather was not too bright,

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after about a year on the site I purchased a brand new 22ft. Pemberton caravan, it had two separate bedrooms and pumped water and wired for mains electric and by that time mains sewage was connected to each caravan. We only had this caravan for about 2 years when I had the opportunity of buying a pretty but run down holiday bungalow about 2 – 3 miles from Seasalter in Studd Hill nr. Whitstable, it being offered as an executor sale for £2200, but it transpired that £200 cash to the agent would get the bungalow for £1800. It was detached with a small garage, of pretty basic construction on a corner site but needed completely renovating and rewiring but was still a very good buy, so for the last season down at the caravan I spent most of the time getting the bungalow into shape, rewiring, re- plumbing and redecorating it, we had quite a lot of fun there, it was only a couple of hundred yards from the sea and within easy reach of Whitstable, we had many a happy weekend in the bungalow until the children got tired of leaving Wallington at the weekends, having to leave their friends and go to the seaside, so we decided to put it up for sale, but more of Studd Hill later on in my tale. Around this period the breathalyser laws were being enforced, the children were growing up and requiring more lifts to and from their friends etc., and Mary was needing a car, although she had not taken the driving test, I spotted a nice little Austin A30 near our office at Peckham, for sale for £30.00 gave it the once over and purchased it for Mary to learn to drive in, I took her out for one lesson, which was not a great success on her, or my part, so I suggested that she should take a course of driving school lessons, in the meantime one of the Ministry of Works foreman, Alf Woolford who worked in the British Museum, said he was looking for a car for his wife, so I offered him Mary’s car, and when I told Mary what I had done she said, “what will I drive when I pass the test”, I foolishly said I will get you a new one, fully expecting her not to pass her driving test, however much to my surprise, she passed the test first time after only about ten lessons. so I had to purchase a fairly recent Morris 1100 which we saw advertised pretty soon afterwards, later we found out that this particular car had been put together out of two cars i.e. a cut and shut, we got shot of that fairly quickly, purchasing a brand new Ford Escort, this solved quite a lot of our transport problems and obviously made life a lot easier for Mary. About this period came the tragic loss of Mary’s mother, she had been ill for some time being diagnosed with bowel cancer, Mary travelled up to Aberdeen when she realised that her Mother’s condition was quite serious, she had not long to live, and fortunately Mary was present to see her mother’s last dying moments – Mary’s mother had been exceptionally good to us particularly in the early years of our marriage when we did not have a thing and although she could ill afford to buy items for us and help us financially in other ways, she did, and worked very hard for it. I’m into 1969 in my tale if not a little way ahead in some aspects, about this period we were getting rather desperate regarding baby sitters, Mary was a member of a baby sitters club at Wallington with a points system but because we were always out she was

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in serious debt with regard to the points she had to her credit, by virtue of the system, it ended up that if she was not out with me she had to go and baby sit somewhere to earn back points, so she decided that one solution was to advertise for a student to stay with us and for the student to pay for some of her board and lodgings by baby sitting, we did not get much response to the adverts and had nearly forgotten about them when Mary had a phone call from an American girl called Debbie who asked if there was still a vacancy, she was staying at the expensive Selsdon Park Hotel, Debbie came over for an interview and seemed a very pleasant girl, she was over from Reno, Nevada to attend Croydon College for a one year Art course, she then came to live with us, which led to a life long friendship and also with her parents. For a while Debbie relieved the strain on our baby-sitting problems but in due time brother Tom showed an interest in Debbie, and Debbie’s availability as a baby-sitter lessened when Debbie got out and about a bit more. Mary was pregnant again by now the baby being due in June 1970. Coming into 1970 nothing very exciting happened. During Debbie’s stay with us we had a couple of visits from her parents Betty and By Senior also Susan her sister and her brother By, we built up a wonderful relationship with Betty and By her parents, visiting them at their home in Reno, Nevada several times after Debbie went home at the end of her course in July 1970, they in turn over the ensuing years coming over to England with friends and groups from the States. On June 4th 1970 Elen was born – named after Mary’s mother, she was born on Derby day, I actually went to the Derby on that day with a party of other contractors and clients, I remember coming home and more or less taking Mary straight up to Carshalton Hospital as she could feel the baby coming. In those days it was not the custom for the father to attend the birth – thank God. It was about this time that Sid, Eileen’s husband, the couple who I had been evacuated with in Southwick at the outbreak of war, died. The reason I remember this is that very soon after he died we had a big christening party for Elen it was a lovely summer’s day, on a Sunday, and I went down to Brighton by car to fetch Eileen up to the party, although it was not really her scene, I had previously promised her that I would invite her up to our house, and before the party really got under way in the evening I drove her to East Croydon Station so she could travel back to Brighton. I also recall one tale from that christening party, in that Georgie Battle on going out to our garden said “Jesus Mike you have got a hell of a garden here” but the trouble was he was looking at the gas works sports ground to the rear of my garden thinking it was all our property. It was soon after this party, in August, that Evelyn my sister, got married to Mick Godley a fellow student whom she had met at university, although she was not living with us at the time having just finished university and passing her degree, she got married from our house. It nearly ended up in disaster as the wedding was booked for a Friday but come the day, the photographer, florist, car firm etc. all assumed it was a

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Saturday so we spent a frantic couple of hours organising flowers and photos and in fact, the before wedding photos had to be re-enacted after the wedding ceremony, our three girls along with Tracy, Tommy’s daughter acted as bridesmaids, the reception was held at the Aerodrome Hotel adjacent to Croydon Airport’s old terminal building. Soon after this Evelyn’s marriage we started to get the house moving bug again and having friends in the Caterham area i.e. Stan and Jean Godman and Dot and Stan Verrall, both obtained local newspapers and estate agents brochures from the Caterham area for us, we started looking around that part of the Surrey which was about 5 miles from our present home, we eventually decided on a brand new four bed detached house in Caterham, it was the show house, in Bradenhurst Close on Harestone Hill and after Stan Godman, a Ministry of Works surveyor by profession, had snagged it, we got the builder to carry out the remedial work, the builder was actually going to live next door to us, we moved in mid September 1970, although just before the removal van was about to leave Wallington we had a phone call from our solicitors telling us to hold everything as the funds had not come through, but we managed to surmount that problem in due course. We had to move in as Jackie had already started her first year at the local Grammar School, which unfortunately is not in existence now, two weeks before our moving date to save her any further upheaval. Although the house was brand new the garden needed completely landscaping and as the house was on a very steep hill we had it mainly laid out to grass. As soon as we settled down we had a bumper house warming party, we were noted for our parties, organising them at the drop of a hat, more or less starting the tradition at Wallington when we had a large enough house to accommodate our guests, we always had a house full for each party usually reinforced by the Irish contingent from my brother Terry’s extended family and on many occasions Mary’s relatives came down from Scotland. Amongst the Irish and the Scots we had some great singers, the smallest of reasons would be an excuse to organise a party. Xmas 1970, all the family stayed at the Great Danes Hotel, Hollingbourne nr. Maidstone for the Xmas break, Elen in a carrycot, that year about 6 inches of snow fell on Xmas day, we were more or less trapped in our hotel for a couple of days. I remember Colin Cowdery’s - the famous cricketer’s family was there, his wife taking part in the fancy dress parade dressed as a pregnant women with the notice on her – “I should have danced all night” Colin was away on some cricket tour, also Lance Percival who was booked to attend as the cabaret but had a bad car smash on the way down to the venue and Roger de’Courcey entertained us instead. Andy Hughes, Basil Casey, Tommy and a few other friends joined us with their families, what with the snow etc it was a great Xmas break but luckily the snow did clear sufficiently for us to get home.

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We lived at Bradenhurst Close for approx. three years. Newlands, the builders of the original house, built an extension on the side of the house adding a study/emergency bedroom and also a utility room which enabled us to make room for our first dishwashing machine which came in very handy with six of us in the family. In 1971 brothers Tom and Bobby drove an old London taxi cab across the United States from New York to Reno – 3,000 miles as a surprise present to By – Debbie’s father, from his wife Betty, she had made these arrangements with Tommy when she had come over here to visit Debbie on one occasion. The following year 1972 Mary and I arranged for the children to be cared for – Mickey and Monica Battle looked after Stuart, Jackie and Elen who was only just 2 years old and Fiona stayed with Janet my brother Tommy’s first wife whilst we went off to America to visit Betty and By via New York spending two or three days doing the touristy things there, going up the Empire State building, Circle Line cruise round Manhattan Island, touring the UN Building, Macey’s etc., after leaving Reno we returned to England via Miami where we found it so humid that we had to go in and out of the air-conditioned shops to try and keep cool. This was the first of many trips we had to the United States, the welcome we received from the Sprengers was fantastic, in that when we arrived at their house in Reno a big welcome party was organised for us with all the Sprenger’s friends and relations present. They drove us around the area to see the sights, on one of the days we went to the California State Fair in Sacramento, which was very impressive. This being our first trip to the States we were obviously very overwhelmed by all the sites, the welcome we received from everybody was fantastic. When we returned to England having been away for nearly three weeks it was some time before Elen recognised Mary. We also took the children to Guernsey on our annual holidays, we tended to go a bit later in the year then i.e. early September as we did not worry too much about the school term and I have covered our association with Guernsey later on in the book. On other occasions when we went on our various trips to the States and our weekend trips to Guernsey we were very fortunate in having Maude who was a cousin of my mother’s to come and stay at the house, who believe it or not thought it was quite a holiday to come and live at our house and look after the children she was very good with them and they all got on very well with her although she would not stand any nonsense.

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Chapter 10 - Up the Hill to the White Cottage Now in to 1973, we started getting the house moving bug again and in looking around the area we were given details of a very run down property i.e. the White Cottage, which was situated in Caterham on the Hill in Whyteleafe Road, although the name was a misnomer in that the cottage, as such, was a large six bedroom house in it’s own grounds, in fact some of the garden had been sold off to build four adjacent detached houses in the 1960’s. A rather eccentric spinster lived in the house, Miss Kilpatrick, she had looked after her father who had recently died and the family wanted to sell the house to realise some capital. I was fortunate in making an offer of £34,000 to purchase it and also to be able to pay for it without selling our present home because the White Cottage was unmortgable due to it’s dilapidated condition and required quite a few months of TLC before it was habitable, although unbelievably it was being lived in at the present moment by Miss Kilpatrick The house obviously had not had any repairs or maintenance carried out on it in the last twenty years. When I took it over the electric board cut the supply off because the wiring was condemned, the wood rot surveyor refused to inspect the house internally because of the smell and condition. Miss Kilpatrick had four or five cats which did not go out very often, we went right through it, completely modernising it, turning one of the bathrooms into a bedroom making six bedrooms in all, one for each of the children and a spare room, forming a en-suite for our bedroom, I did quite a lot of the work myself, although I had to employ plasterers, and a company to install a complete new central heating system, obviously the house did not have any form of heating previously, also the whole of the plumbing was renewed as the original was all very

ancient. As the house was called the White Cottage I had the whole of the outside walls painted in white. Bud Yule, who incidentally Mary had met in the street one day when she was having difficulty parking her car and had asked Bud to assist her in parking, and it transpired that Bud and his wife came from Aberdeen, Mary’s home town and now lived in Caterham, and have remained very good friends of ours. Bud who was a qualified electrician completely rewired the house, it was obviously a major job, I think Bud enjoyed coming round to the White Cottage as his wife would not let him smoke in his own house, he did a marvellous job in rewiring the house, even refusing to accept payment for, it although I did make sure that he was reimbursed. On reflection, many good features i.e. roll top cast iron baths, cast iron fireplaces etc were taken out and destroyed as was the custom in the 70’s these items would be worth a fortune now. The house renovation was completed just before September 1974 and in the meantime we had sold Bradenhurst for a good profit the only problem was the purchaser could not come up with the final sum due and I had to lend him over £2000 to complete the contract, payable over 3 years but it turned out okay eventually as I got my money finally and we were living in a beautiful mortgage free house. We also rented a two acre field at the rear of the house and a six car garage, the ground floor of the entrance lodge to the house, at a very nominal rent i.e. £4.00 per month from the Kilpatrick family, Miss Kilpatrick living on the first floor of the entrance lodge with the large garage below, the garage incidentally still having the

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apparatus that had been used to fill the gas bags on the top of cars so that they could run on domestic gas instead of petrol during World War II. Moving to the White Cottage we were much nearer to the children’s school and got quite involved in assisting with the social activities there, Mary was on the parents committee for a while and we enjoyed helping out at the Annual School Fair which was always well supported there was also cheese and wine evenings. It was a happy little school having been newly built after we had arrived in Caterham, the previous school having been spread around four different sites, Fiona, Stuart and Elen attended there, as did Daniella and Francesca our grandchildren for a while, before going to Italy. Just for the record it was about this time November 1974 that I obtained the personalised number plate I still hold i.e. MJM 444 which I purchased for £80.00 although it has cost me quite a lot of expense since then, as I have transferred it to quite a few successive vehicles at a cost of £80 fee a time for the transfer, the only consolation is that I was offered £4000 for this plate in November 2003. I always regret that about 1965 I was offered MUL1 and MUL2 for just over £200.this was before personalised plates became the vogue, I turned the vendor down because he had upped his price from £100.00 and I told him it was too expensive, I would not like to think what those two numbers would be worth now. Soon after moving to the White Cottage we had an attempted burglary, so for peace of mind we installed a burglar alarm. I am now up to January 1975 in my history, this month I was installed as Worshipful Master for the first time, in the Lodge of Sincerity. This was the Lodge I joined which I attended quite regularly as a guest of Ted Lamb, the Group Engineer of Ilford Hospitals who Hygienic carried out a considerable amount of work for, he was a member, although not a particularly good one, of the Lodge, as his attendance was rather erratic. It is rather frightening now to look back at the attendance book for that Installation meeting, there was over 90 attending, I had upward of thirty personal guests I had invited, those still alive could be counted on one hand now. I had many a good time in my outings with Ted and Ernie Tate who I have previously mentioned, they were both responsible for getting me into a few scrapes, we had several little societies, one was the G.S. Club i.e. the Get Stuffed Club which used to meet once a quarter for a good meal and consisted of Ted Lamb, Ernie Tate, Ron Smith, a fellow painting contractor, Reg Moore who originally worked for another company but came to work for Hygienic and Reg Lloyd a Ministry of Works superintendent, alas only Ron Smith who I have lost touch with and myself are still around. I still have an engraved pewter mug from the members of the GS Club when I went into the chair of Sincerity. Another society I was a member of, due to Ted Lamb was the Essex Local Yokels, which would meet at least three times a year and have a ladies night. It was another boozy type luncheon club of about 30 members but they were always very convivial occasions and in fact I became Chief Yokel for the year in

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1985. Ted was a great lunch man and many a visit to measure up work for him ended up in a very long lunch, Ted was also a keen member of Rotary and I used to go to Rotary meetings with him although I was not a Rotarian myself. Later on with a different group we had a TGIF club i.e. thank God it’s Friday which used to meet at the St. Georges Tavern near the War Museum in Lambeth on a Friday lunch time and once one had attended on 10 occasions you were eligible for a tie with the club logo. In August of 1975 we took the four children and a friend of Jackie’s, Sue Townsend, to America to visit Debbie and her parents, we first flew into Los Angeles staying at Long Beach and visited Disney Land in California, the Disney complex in Florida had not built then, we also toured the Queen Mary at Long Beach and I took the 3 eldest i.e. Jackie, Fiona and Sue to Hollywood to see the Chinese Theatre and the inscribed stars in Hollywood Boulevard, it was quite an adventure on the bus. We then flew from Los Angeles to San Francisco to stay with Debbie for a few days and then took the AmTrack train to Reno to visit Debbie’s parents, this was a marvellous trip taking about five hours through some of the most spectacular scenery in America, we travelled in a bubble top observation car getting a complete view of the countryside. Betty and By, Debbie’s parents accommodated us all in their house, the children in sleeping bags, thinking about it now we probably had a cheek descending on them for three weeks, seven of us, but I sure it was they who suggested we come over. Fiona and Stuart went on the summer school with the local children, which was a daily occurrence during school holidays, although they were not very happy about attending initially I think they actually enjoyed it towards the end. One of the highlights staying with Debbie’s parents was our trip down to Las Vegas to attend a large Shriners Ladies night, the Shriners being an offshoot of Masonry; we do not have a similar organisation in England. The children were left behind in Reno and Mary and I flew down to Las Vegas with Betty and By and stayed at the Las Vegas Hilton the Ladies Night being held there and attended by over 1000 people from all over the States, my biggest recollection is of Mary and Betty creeping into their respective bedrooms at 6.00am in the morning having stayed up all night playing the one armed bandits, By and I having gone to bed hours previously, all they had for their trouble was a cardboard cupful of dimes and pair of very dirty hands. The whole trip was a great success thanks to Betty, By and their friends and I will never forget the sight of the seven of us loaded down with parcels and luggage at San Francisco airport, when we were due to leave to go back to London. It was soon after returning from the States that I was in trouble over assisting Jackie to learn to drive, although she was taking formal driving lessons I would accompany her in the evening in Mary’s car to give her a more experience, we were returning home on one of these occasions when I said to Jackie “are you going to make the turn into the entrance gates of the house okay”, she said “I will try” and my retort was “no good trying you’ve got to make it” with that she turned into the entrance way, and the car, Mary’s car by the way, hit the 6” square solid wood post, head on causing the post, the

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gate, and the car, to collapse, Jackie ran indoors in tears, I of course got the full blame. Although Jackie did successfully go on to pass her driving test soon after. About this of time that I got involved with the Trafalgar Club, this is a lunchtime club meeting at the Café Royal every other month, mainly consisting of fellow painting contractors in the London area, approximately fifteen to eighteen of us would sit down for a pleasant meal with aperitifs beforehand, port, brandy and cigars to finish off at the table. The meetings were chaired by Benge-Abbot a great character, the MD of Abbott’s of Harrow, another large painting contracting company, after his death, his son Peter took over for a while, after the Chair was occupied yearly by one of the members in rotation by, election, for many years I was Secretary/Treasurer, we had some very good members, Norman Thompson, Jimmy O’Niell, John Hanifan, Jimmy Woodward, and others, sadly the above names not with us any more We also had trips abroad organised in conjunction with the Trafalgar Club, accompanied by our wives, going to Marbella, Portugal, Miami, Eliat, Guernsey and other places on very pleasant trips, the club is still going strong, but has spread it’s wings now as regards membership i.e. also members outside the painting industry, the trips away seem to have lapsed, retiring from the Secretary’s job after 16 years I was made an Honorary member of the Club and still attend on a casual basis. I now come to the episode with regard to Eileen D’eathe who was the lady I was evacuated with at the beginning of the war. I kept in touch with her after renewing her acquaintance, she having moved to Mile Oak nr. Brighton from the house I lived in when I was evacuated with her and her husband in Southwick, I would pop down and visit, her mainly in the evenings particularly after her husband Sid died, I remember on one occasion, she lived on a fairly steep hill, parking my car outside her bungalow, about fifteen minutes later there was a knock on her door and a neighbour informed me that the car had ended up at the bottom of the road, on the opposite side and knocked down a fence and a wall, there was superficial damage to the car, obviously I had not engaged the parking brake properly. Eileen who had lost her husband Sid a few years previously was getting rather eccentric and I had a phone call from her neighbour saying that she was wandering around the streets in a lost and dazed fashion. So I went down to see her, she had got a bee in her bonnet about her neighbours and was adamant that she could not live in her bungalow any more. I suggested to her that she should move down for a while to my holiday bungalow at Studd Hill, which at the time I had on the market in the process of selling. She moved down there and liked it so much that she offered to purchase it. As it was being sold for a similar value to the value of her bungalow in Mile Oak I arranged for the necessary sale and purchase. She continued living in Studd Hill and was very happy

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down there for a couple of years, then her mind completely started deteriorate, so I arranged for her to be admitted into a local nursing home and advised to take over her affairs, as power of attorney, unfortunately after approx three months in the home she suffered a cerebral haemorrhage and died in Maidstone hospital. It was very sad really, when Mary and I attended the funeral we were the only mourners there, over the years I had met several people whom she had been friendly with but they had all drifted away, the final outcome of this saga was that Eileen, with no known relations, that I was the sole beneficiary of her estate and although she had very little funds the bungalow in Studd Hill was included in her will and I had to go through all the procedure of selling it again. Xmas 1975, Debbie and Jim were getting married and I decided with Tommy and Susan, Tommy’ second wife, an Australian girl, to attend Debbie’s wedding in Reno as a surprise. We had great difficulty in arranging flights at short notice and had to go via Calgary and San Francisco, catching a bus that took nine hours from San Francisco to Reno. Bob Clarkson a friend of Betty and By’s was in on the secret, and he me in Reno when I arrived and I stayed the night before the wedding with them. At the same time I had obtained an original Beefeater’s uniform complete with hat from Jack Bernard a Foreman of Works at the Tower of London, for her father to wear at the wedding, this uniform took quite a lot of explaining to the customs officials at the Canadian border. I remember when I landed in Calgary in Canada on my way to Reno, I had to stay overnight at a hotel in Calgary and it was 20oC degrees below. The wedding was a great occasion and Debbie, Jim and all the family were amazed that we had made the journey, our arrival being a complete surprise I actually returned home and arrived back on Christmas Day morning, in time to open the presents with the kids – it was quite an adventure. New Year 1976, and Fiona decided that she would like to go to boarding school, a scheme being offered by Surrey County Council for children in their third year, to attend boarding school for just one year at a Sheephatch nr. Tilford, in Surrey, which was a converted wartime army camp consisting of hutted accommodation, unbeknown to me she had already asked her mother, who said she could not go, so she approached me and I said she could, Mary was quite annoyed but said, okay you go, but if you cry to come home you will have to stay, she did cry, she did stay, and later enjoyed the experience, we visited there most weekends to see her, going down with our friends the Cooney’s a local couple, who also had a son boarding there. It was the Cooney’s who fenced off the field at the rear of Whyteleafe Road with a view to them keeping a pony there, this was the time of the great elm disease problems and Dennis Cooney helped to fell four large elm trees in the field that were diseased, I actually purchased an old farm tractor, which ran on gas oil, from a farmer in Smallfield, to haul the logs up from the woods at the rear into the field. I always recall Dennis collecting this tractor from the farmer and driving back through lanes which were not much wider than the tractor, no road tax, insurance, number plate and possibly no brakes. We had great fun with this tractor especially Stuart who used to drive this enormous thing around the field, he was only 10 or 11 years old at the time.

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Aunt Eileen & Simba 1946

Evacuee – Southwick – age 4

,

VJ Day street party – Southwick - 1945

Sid and Eileen – Mile Oak 1974

Bomb damage Millcroft Ave 1943

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Consecration Courage Lodge - 1980

Grand Lodge Honours – 1994

Philips – Nightingale Lane, Balham

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National Service – REME –Blandford - 1956

Freedom City London - 1982

Debbies Wedding - Reno - 1975

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Greek Line – T.S.S. Lakonia - 1963

The Bentley -1979

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Mary – 19

Mary & Mike 1956

Mary & Mike 50th.

Samantha

Ladies Night - 1985

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Grandma Mulholland

Mary’s Mother & Jackie 1959

First trip Guernsey 1967

Lynton 1959

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The original Cobo Hotel

Our children 1977

The Mulholland Clan - 1978

Guernsey Wedding – David & Julie Nussbaumer – 1986

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Our Wedding – Aberdeen - 1957

The Brothers - 1947

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Evelyn’s Wedding 1970

Evelyn & Mick Graduation 1970

Best Man – Terry & Kathleen - 1963

Restored Gravestone

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Mary and her three brothers

The Grave Gibraltar – 1985

The Reynolds family - 1963

Masonic meeting – Reno- 1975

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40th. Wedding – Betty and By – 1986 Savanna – after the Storm -1990

The White Cottage - 1974

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The Family

Our Children

Our Grandchildren

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Our 50th

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Chapter 11 – Hygienic As previously told Hygienic began life as the Hygienic Wall Cleaning Co. setting up premises in Keyworth Street, Elephant and Castle in April 1960 by my father, leaving his job as Works Manager of Clean Walls Ltd., and naming the new Company a similar name, although after my father’s death the name was altered to Hygienic Decorating and Cleaning Co. to take account of the fact that the company was engaged in more decorating work rather than cleaning. Tommy and Terry two of my brothers had joined the company from it’s inception, Terry’s duties mainly consisted of driving the van around various sites delivering plant and materials and Tommy supervising and carrying out the physical work while Dad and his partner Herbie Rowe visited clients obtaining the work and socialising, my father made quite a few contacts whilst working for Clean Walls over the years so had quite a lot of support and assistance when he decided to go it alone. Clean Walls mainly made their name by the special process of cleaning non - washable distemper then in vogue, using a almond smelling dough to clean the surfaces, there being quite a large programme of hospital cleaning in those days, i.e. cleaning down the ceilings, walls and woodwork, rather than re-painting them. After a couple of years my father felt the yard and premises were too small at the Elephant and Castle that he shared with Harry Dunn the flooring contractor and obtained and rented new premises at Scylla Road, Peckham Rye, it was an old builders yard, it also contained a house and a flat so Terry and Tommy were able to have accommodation and live on the job. Later on Tommy moved out of his house in Scylla Road and subsequently Grandma Mulholland my father’s mother moved from her house in Holloway, North London into there for two or three years until she went into a residential home. When I came on the scene after my parent’s death, my two brothers Tommy and Terry were still been working for the company, though at the time Terry was in hospital recovering from TB. My father had approached me on several occasions previously to join him in working for Hygienic and although I always got on with my father socially, I never felt it would work out business wise, I think we were both too head strong or stubborn to agree, so in the end fate directed me, also Mary had not been very eager for me to get involved, I think she enjoyed the quiet life we were having down in the country at Grove, although she adapted very well later, when I finally had to participate. Tommy took over as managing director and I became a director and started visiting the various clients, mainly the Ministry of Works with the aid of “Mac” an ex-Ministry of Works building foreman whom my Dad had taken on previously to his death. The Ministry depot staff was very supportive in those early months, my father was very well liked by all he had dealt with, as he was quite a personality.

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My mother had been working in the office up to the time of her death, so her sister my Aunt Nellie, who originally had the bakers shop, volunteered to take over the duties my mother previously carried out for the Company, an offer we gladly accepted. The Company was not very big at that time; the turnover in the year of his death was in the region of about £90,000. A couple of years later the turnover had increased substantially, my main task in Hygienic, was to run the Ministry of Works, or it subsequent changes in title, contracts, which consisted of over 50% of the turnover of the Company and entailed travelling all over London and the Home Counties visiting the various depots, of which there was about thirty, socialising with the Ministry staff liaisoning with them as regards the work, measuring the work, keeping an eye on the running and sorting out the final accounts, later on a lot of the work went over to measured term contract which entailed the need to employ a qualified quantity surveyor, and we had an employee, subsequently made a director, Terry Smith working for us who dealt with this side of business. We also had many lump sum contracts valued up to £100,000 and regularly worked in most of the large buildings in London i.e. Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament, Somerset House, which we painted outside completely at least four or five times, during the period the firm was I existence, we also had large contracts for most of the Post Offices, Telephone Exchanges and all other types of Government Buildings it was a pretty extensive portfolio and when one looks back it was difficult to imagine the amount of work we carried out in this particular field, we were probably one of the larger companies in London for this type of work. In that period also, we had separate branches in Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh and sub branches in Chatham, Kent and Brighton. We also formed a separate joinery company, Supreme Joinery, a car repair company also the Ajax Building Co. and a retail shop The Paint Pot, so it was a pretty extensive business, there was also a specialist Decorating Co., Decorating Masters, now known as DML which is still going as a very strong and active company under the management of Steve Thorpe the son of Dave Thorpe one of our ex works managers who was the Managing Director of Decorating Masters for many years although the Mulholland family have now sold their shareholdings in this company. If working at Hygienic got boring in the day to day routine there was always the odd incident to liven things up, I remember an incident when I was parking my car to go to a Lodge meeting, actually it was the day I was to be installed as Worshipful Master – in Sincerity Lodge - I was listening to the news on the car radio before going into the meeting when I heard a news item announcing that Big Ben had stopped, I had a bit of a sinking feeling in my stomach as I knew at the time we were, that is Hygienic, engaged in painting the internal of Big Ben including all the chamber containing the clock mechanism, luckily in those days there were no mobile phones, so I was not available, I later discovered what had happened, that in setting up the necessary scaffold to paint the clock room someone had forgotten about a part of the mechanism

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moving every hour, this had occurred and knocked a pair of trestles into the works thus stopping the clock, luckily no damage was sustained and the clock was re-started within 2 hrs. The following year Debbie and Jim our American friends who were over on a visit to the UK after their marriage and I was able to take them to the top of the clock tower, which entailed climbing 365 steps, and showing them the clock workings. I always remember, because at the time it was the occasion of the visit of the French President and we saw the procession pass by from the top of Big Ben. Mentioning the accident with regard to Big Ben there are other incidents that stick in my mind, on one occasion I got a phone call to say that our men had had an accident at Waterloo telephone exchange and a gallon of emulsion paint had spilt on the main frame to the exchange putting out about 2000 lines in the Waterloo area, that accident cost about £7000 luckily we were insured a similar accident happened in the Whitehall Telephone Exchange, I also recall we had to replace two sheets of 2” thick plate glass to the Crown Jewels display cabinets in the Tower of London which had been etched with a concrete floor sealer that we were treating the floors. On another occasion a 4” thick marble table top had to be replaced in the Royal Kitchens at Buckingham Palace which had been broken when a scaffold board was dropped at a great height on it, more serious a 2000 year old vase was badly damaged in the British Museum, when again a scaffold board was dropped on it, and the curators in the museum not very happy when I told them it was old anyhow, still they say accidents happen. We were in particular very friendly with Harry Jones and his wife, the Superintendent of Works responsible for the maintenance of Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Kensington Palace and other Royal residences in London and we carried out a great deal of work to these buildings particularly in Buckingham Palace mainly in the Kitchens, Riding School and the Royal Mews. Harry Jones lived in a house in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, Mary and I were invited to his house socially on several occasions even having an invite to his daughter’s wedding in the Chapel Royal St James’s Palace, with a reception in the Royal Mews, On one occasion Betty and By were invited with us to Harry Jones house and Harry took them around the Royal Mews to see the State Carriages letting Betty sit in the carriage for By to take a photograph but unbeknown to By, Betty had taken out the batteries so no pictures. Harry Jones left the palace and Peter Jolly another friend of ours took over so we still continued to visit the house and after a river trip down the Thames, which Peter had been with us, also Margaret and James we went back to Buckingham Palace at the Jolly’s house for coffee. Another venue was Jack Bernard’s house, who lived in the Tower of London and we ending up in his house, quite often have a private viewing of the Ceremony of the Keys held at 9pm in the Tower. Although the work side of Hygienic was always interesting with plenty of variety, the social side of the business could be quite hectic as entertaining the customers being a large part of the business. Two big functions every year i.e. the Superintendents of Works Dinner and then the Foreman’s Dinner, were held at Olympia where we would

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make up a table or two totalling 10 to 15, couples i.e. clients with their wives and entertain them. During the working day it was normally one or two long lunches per week taking clients out also Friday lunchtime onwards was considered the end of the week work wise. When I first commenced with Hygienic the usual meet was down at the Enterprise pub in Holborn with other contractors and clients, then sojourn onto the Mo Club in the old Covent Garden, of course one had to find a private club for afternoon drinking as all pubs closed at 3 pm in the afternoon. Then the clientele changed that I dealt with and it was then over to the East London to the Tiger Hotel near the Tower of London, then normally onto the Carter Club near St. Paul’s, a few years later, it was two or three years going down to Swanley Depot, pub lunch and drinking with clients and other contractors, back up to London to the Carter Club, then back to Bill Boyce’s local, for a while Mary came over late at night by bus with the three young children to drive me back in the car. Then for a few years we drank in St. Georges Tavern near the War Museum where we had a society called the T.G.I.F Club – Thank God it’s Friday and all wore ties to denote the fact, in the latter years of the company I would finish up in the Montpelier public house at Peckham. In the earlier days of all these excesses before breathalysers etc one used to drive home and between drinking sessions without a care in the world. It was rather unfortunate the demise of “Hygienic” when it all came to an end. Tommy the leading light of the company and the Managing Director unfortunately became blind, he had already lost his sight in one eye previously ten years ago, this was probably due to the fact that he was subjected to ammonia being thrown in his eye in an attempted wages snatch, I was with him at the time, Charles Steed one of our fellow directors was driving when an attempt was made to snatch the payroll which was approx £5000 at the time, in fact only the small change was in the attaché case that was snatched, I had over £4000 in my pockets this being the bulk of the payroll which they did not get, unfortunately they fired an ammonia gun at Tommy who was carrying the brief case whilst I got into the office with the money in my pockets, these robbers were subsequently apprehended and put on trial at the Old Bailey to which I had to give evidence. We had another incident previous to this when robbers burst into the offices and snatched the payroll, which was very frightening at the time, as Mary was there with Stuart, who was only 2 – 3 years old when it happened. Getting back to the company’s demise unfortunately due to Tommy’s failing eyesight and subsequent blindness I was left to control the company, at the same time still trying to get the work carried out and control the supervisory staff and work force which was quite considerable, it was all too much, also at that time due to very fierce competition we had lost quite a few lucrative contracts and unfortunately I did not get the support that was needed from the company supervisory staff during this difficult time and as it was badly affecting my health and personal life, I decided enough was enough, the only option was to put the Company into voluntary liquidation, obviously this was not a decision that was taken lightly as most of the employees had become very good friends.

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The companies in Birmingham and Manchester and Supreme Joinery had gone there own way previously, and Edinburgh, the Paint Pot, Rye Motor Co. and Ajax Building had already ceased trading by that time. I spent six months after deciding to cease trading, shutting down and finishing all the current work in hand as best we could, also assisting the liquidators in gathering all the outstanding monies due to the Company on various contracts, although we did not manage to pay everybody off 100%, we made a good try, but in hindsight it was the best thing I did in deciding to close the business for my future sanity and health. The saga of Hygienic nearly being over I faced early retirement, it was not very pleasant having to preside over the death throes of a company that had been your whole existence for the past twenty years, one is of the opinion that lots of people had been let down and there was recriminations amongst people you thought friends, but I in turn thought that I had been let down by people we had employed and could trust. It was also ironic that within 5 years three stalwarts of the company i.e. Reg Moore Charles Steed and Terry Smith all who incidentally worked in the same office were dead.

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Chapter 12 – Guernsey My connection with Guernsey started approx in 1965 when I went on my first trip with the Commercial Casuals, rugby team, in fact there was only half a dozen of us who were not rugby players and I recall the cost was about £18.00 per head, £11.00 for the return flight from Gatwick and £6.00 three nights full board in the hotel and the remainder to pay for a coach at Gatwick and Guernsey airport, we would have a whip round for drinking at the bar for the whole weekend which would come to £10 and would get drunk as a sack at 2/- for gin and tonic and beer 1/- pint, one could not go far wrong, those were the days. The first time I went to Guernsey, the Cobo Bay Hotel was just being completed, the carpet still to be laid in the reception area, we stayed in rooms and dined at the Rockmount Hotel next door, which Toni and Margaret Nussbaumer were tenants, the hotel being owned by Randalls the local Guernsey Brewery - but the Nussbaumers were the owners of the Cobo Bay Hotel, Margaret would stay up most nights running the Cobo residents bar and listening to all our drunken banter, she was only a young woman, in her early 20’s in those days, for a couple years we accompanied the rugby team but due to the demand of people wanting to join us I began organising a separate trip, with no connection with the rugby club. About 1968 Albert Jaggs, a good friend and a Ministry of Works building officer organised a weekend at the Cobo Bay in the October with some members of the stag party and their wives, there was about 10 couples who actually went on that occasion, the following year Mary, I and the family commenced having our annual holidays over there, the first and second years with Maurice and Vera Findlay and their two girls, another good friend and ministry man, the second year being 1970 we also had Elen with us, at 3 months old., in a carry cot. Those early years we would fly over by plane from Gatwick, and then hire a car which was ridiculously cheap, in later years I would take my own car on the ferry, the first year I drove my car down to the quayside at Weymouth, the car a white Volvo estate was lifted onto the ferry by crane, there was no roll on – roll off ferries in those days, we continued having our holidays in Guernsey, always the first three weeks in August, after Maurice Findlay ceased going, we were joined by Bill Boyce and his wife Ann and Ann’s mother, then after Bill’s death by Ann with George and Hilda Vallis. We continued holidaying in Guernsey for nearly 20 years until our children considered themselves too old to go away with their parents on holiday and made their own arrangements, on recalling the names of the people who have been to Guernsey with us on the stag do’s and holidays etc. I have totalled well over 300 names; unfortunately many of them are not with us now. For Christmas 1977 we had been invited by Margaret & Toni to stay with them as their guests, with the children and Bill and Ann Boyce so we decided to accept their kind invitation and had a marvellous time, opening our presents around the Xmas tree in the hotel foyer on Xmas day. We flew back home despite entreaties by Toni to stay for the New Year but on the way home I said to Mary let’s surprise Toni by turning up for the New Year, I cannot remember what arrangements we made with regard to the children

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as they stayed at home, although Jackie was 18years old, but we got back on the plane the next day phoning Toni and Margaret from Guernsey Airport to pick us up. I think she was quite shocked but took it very well. I did in fact go over to Guernsey for several New Year celebrations over the years, but usually on my own, as it was not always convenient to get someone to look after the children. We returned to Guernsey on several special occasions, their son David’s engagement, 21st. birthday and wedding, sadly I have also travelled over to attend funerals in particular Bob Hurley’s who was Toni’s bar manager at the Rockmount and a great guy, the saddest occasion being for Toni himself who sadly died at Christmas time 2001 after a suffering cancer for quite a long period. We made many great friends with the locals in Guernsey the Bamptons, Brian and Val who had a small private hotel in St. Peter Port, “Wiff” I never did find out his proper name, who was a skilled stone mason, born in Guernsey, also George Head a North Sea diver, we had some marvellous times with him, Ralph Browning a special needs school teacher who was as mad as a hatter at times, there was so many characters over there. Two of our good friends who are alas gone now were Bob and Daphne Hurley, Bob previously mentioned was the bar manager of the Rockmount and Daphne was Jill of all trades over at the Rockmount. I was a country member of the Guernsey Sporting Club for many years, purely a social member I would add, and when in Guernsey we would make a point of attending the Club then getting back to Cobo Bay for Sunday lunch which was always a great atmosphere. Often I would go out with Toni in the morning to do the shopping i.e. to visit the various stores and wholesalers, ordering and collecting supplies for the hotel, quite often there was the three of us, Toni, Bill Boyce and myself and when the shopping was finished we would call at various pubs, one the Longfrie which was owned by Keith Hunt, known as the oldest rocker in town, we would hold a kitty of champagne in stock behind the bar at the then unbelievable price of £4.00 a bottle, bar prices, this would keep us going for a while, then we would move on to the Dolphin pub which incidentally was also owned by Toni, continuing on with the same arrangement as regards the kitty of champagne. Sunday lunchtime would start at the Dolphin onto to the Houque Fouque, another of Toni’s hotels near the airport, then we would finish up in the Sporting Club in town – Toni would be driving us all, and keeping up with us as regards drinking – those were the days. I had many trips with Toni and quite often Margaret and Margaret’s parents Phyllis and Jack and usually other friends of Toni’s – unfortunately Jack died several years ago – to the other Channel Islands i.e. Sark, Jersey, Alderney and Herm, Toni had a very powerful 35ft. motor launch and we would go at the drop of the hat mainly to Sark and land and visit the local watering holes, usually having a good lunch. On one occasion we had been having a good drink all day and Toni decided he wanted to take his boat out one evening, the only problem was there was a force 8 gale blowing at the time but nothing would deter him from going, so I was also invited, so off we went, over to Sark – Toni was in terrible trouble on his return being castigated by Margaret for taking a

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father of four children i.e. me, out in such atrocious conditions. There was another incident worth recounting. Toni had a diner in the Cobo for Sunday Lunch who’s cheque had bounced for the payment of the meal for him and his party, he happened to be the owner of the Swan Public House in town, so Toni, I and Bill Boyce drove over to the pub one day, Bill and I went in, ordered drinks, and then asked the publican if he sold off sales, we ordered a bottle of scotch, gin, vodka and a few beers gathered it all up and gave him his bounced cheque and a copy of his lunch bill and I said, “that should pay for it” and shot out of the pub, Bill Boyce still wondering what was going on, we all jumped into Toni’s car which was ticking over outside and drove off. A sequel to this, was I returned to the Cobo Hotel went upstairs, showered and was standing at the bar when the irate publican from the Swan came charging in, he then stood next to me demanding of the barman, “where is Toni Nussbaumer and that grey haired nit who had been in his pub”/ he thankfully did not recognise me as the culprit because my hair was still wet, darkened by the shower that I had just taken, previous to coming down to the bar. On another occasion when we travelled to the USA to see our friends in Reno we flew down from San Francisco to Los Angeles to have dinner with Toni and Margaret in the Beverley Hills Hilton where they were staying and flew back to St Francisco the next day. Bearing in mind the marvellous times and memories Mary and I enjoyed in Guernsey over the past 40 years we decided that to celebrate our 50 years of marriage we would celebrate our Golden Wedding anniversary in Guernsey, inviting the whole of our immediate family i.e. Jackie, Fiona, Stuart, Elen, with their other halves and our six children, also including Margaret, James’s wife, we all travelled over to Guernsey on the Thursday, David Nussbaumer arranged a beautiful banquet for the Friday night, the day of our Golden Anniversary, Margaret Nussbaumer also joining us, Our girls and Stuart arranging unbeknown to us a professional photographer to take photographs commemorating the occasion and also the opportunity to photograph individual photographs for the whole family. We all had a marvellous time returning on the Sunday it was particularly interesting for those of the family to see the island who had not been to Guernsey before.

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Chapter 13 - My Masonic Career I was initially introduced to Freemasonry by being invited and attending Ladies Nights when I first came back to London after my parent’s death. I could see that the members who attended these functions all appeared to have a good time and I was approached by one or two people to ask if I was interested in getting further involved in Freemasonry, in the first instance Reg Lloyd who was a Ministry of Works (MOW) Superintendent of Works and had been a great friend of my fathers offered to propose Tommy and myself into his Lodge that met at Twickenham, but when he approached the Lodge he was informed that he had not been a member for a sufficient time to recommend new members, so I left the matter for a few months and then Jack Bernard who was also a works official with the M.O.W at the Tower of London and had been a good friend and drinking partner of my father offered to propose me into his lodge, The Lodge of Three Lights, which he did, a friend of his Ernie Beard an asphalt contractor offering to second me – the only trouble was that when I attended the committee meeting to be interviewed for membership, Jack was in hospital at the time, and I had never met Ernie before and I was afraid someone would ask me if Ernie had arrived and I would not recognise him, anyhow things turned out okay, I was subsequently recommended, interviewed by the committee and proposed and accepted into the lodge. I was initiated into Three Lights Lodge, the meetings being held at the Lyons Corner House in Tottenham Court Road, in November 1965, half a dozen friends came as my guests i.e. all Superintendents from the MOW and I had to give my first speech ever, we later retired to the MO Club in Covent Garden i.e. Men Only Club, which Ida deHeer ran and owned, Ida was Jack Bernard’s lady friend and subsequently his wife, they were both in their late 70’s. when they married. The Mo Club a small drinking club of which there were several in the area, at that time pubs were not allowed to open in the afternoon and one would use these type of clubs to enable one to get a drink out of pub hours i.e. the subscription in the MO Club was 2/6 a year and it was a lively little club and the scene of many a convivial afternoon. I progressed in Three Lights Lodge and attended several other Lodges as a visitor, there being lot of cross invitations in those days, a lot of business revolved around meetings with like minded people who attended these lodges although it was never admitted to. I then joined Sincerity Lodge No. 174 in November 1969, after attending there several times as a guest with Ted Lamb a hospital engineer from Ilford, a great friend, this was a very old lodge – it celebrated it’s 200th Anniversary the year before I joined. In 1975 I became the Worshipful Master of Sincerity i.e. before becoming Master in 1977 of my mother lodge Three Lights. As Master, apart from running the Lodge for the year and all that entails, I hosted a Ladies Night at the Connaught Rooms in Holborn with over 250 guests attending, Mary was Madam President, again in 1978 I had a another Ladies Night as Master of Three Lights, where there was a similar number of guests. I had 40 personal guests including a contingent from Scotland and also Toni and Margaret came over from Guernsey, in actual fact it was nearly a disaster for this Ladies Night in that

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initially the mini bus to take us there was late in picking us up, then the driver got involved in an accident on the way there, we arrived with 10 minutes to spare before the meal was due to start, we were supposed to have been in attendance an hour before sitting down to greet all the guests, over 200 – I was not amused. In 1980 Gordon Woodcock, a metal window contractor, a good friend, asked me if I would be interested in becoming a Founder member of a Lodge, which was to be called the Lodge of Courage. It had been my ambition to be a founder for quite a while, I gladly agreed, the opportunity had been offered to me before by the previously mentioned Reg Lloyd but again because I had not been a mason for more than three years at the time I was not eligible. As a founder member I donated the sum of £100 to help defray the costs of forming the Lodge, all the founders in office purchased the regalia of the office they were to hold i.e. myself as Assistant Director of Ceremonies The consecration meeting, which over 200 freemasons attended was presided over by R.W.Bro Churton-Collins the Provincial Grand Master for West Kent. I was duly made a founder member of Courage Lodge, becoming the first Assistant Director of Ceremonies, going through the Chair of this Lodge in 1985, later I was Treasurer for about four years but it was not a job I was very happy to carry out, soon as I managed to get somebody else to take over the position, I did. I was honoured with promotion to Provincial Grand Junior Deacon (West Kent) in 1992 and promoted to Senior Deacon in 1995. Gordon Woodcock who had originally approached me and had been the first Worshipful Master of the Lodge died suddenly in 1992. Unfortunately when I moved up to Christchurch I found the travelling to Bromley too difficult and decided I would have to resign from Courage Lodge and at the same time West Kent Masters Lodge as I could not attend on a regular basis, the members kindly voted to make me an honorary member of Courage Lodge but subsequent to that due to lack of support from members later the Lodge had to hand its warrant in and cease to exist due to lack of members, in actual fact of the 19 founder members who founded the lodge in 1980 by 2005 there was only four still alive, luckily including myself. One pleasant incident I recall in 1August 1975 when on our visit to America that year with Betty and By I attended a special Lodge meeting arranged in my honour, although I did not realise it at the time there was over 300 masons attending, a demonstration degree was carried out which differed quite considerably from what I was familiar with in London and although the Grand Master of Nevada was also attending, I was the guest of honour, after the formal meeting there was a festive board, this not being the normal procedure in American Lodges, but Monty Barber and Bob Clarkson, two very good friends of By Sprenger wanted to arrange this to emulate the manner in which they had been entertained, when they attended a Lodge meeting in London previously, over 250 sat down for this meal and I was presented with a illuminated certificate, I in turn presented Monty Barber the Worshipful Master of the host Lodge at the time with an engraved tankard.

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I joined West Kent Master’s Lodge in 1981 this was a Past Master’s Lodge i.e. no degrees were worked, you only became Master of this Lodge by selection from one’s peers, so my chances of being Master in this Lodge were very slim as most of the hierarchy from the Province of West Kent were members however I did occupy the office of Junior Deacon soon after getting my Grand Honours and as stated previously resigned at the same time I resigned from the Lodge of Courage in 2004. In 1981 I became a Scrutineer of the Porch, this being a voluntary office and entails checking in the eligibility of members who attended Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communications of Grand Lodge held at the headquarters of English Freemasonry, it was subsequently decided to found a new Lodge i.e. Scrutineer Lodge which only Scrutineers were eligible to join so I became founder member of this Lodge at the consecration held in 1992, presided over and consecrated by Michael Highams who was the Grand Secretary at the time. This Lodge only has two meetings a year to coincide with the March and September Quarterly Communication meetings of Grand Lodge and the method of selecting and proposing a Worshipful Master was by seniority in having served the office of Scrutineer, I was very fortunate in that my turn came in the year 2000 so I was the millennium Master, in the same year I was also Worshipful Master for the second time of my Mother Lodge, Three Lights. Whilst Master of Three Lights the members had to face up to the problem that had been looming for some time, that due to lack of membership and support the lodge would soon be in trouble and was in danger of extinction. I started the ball rolling and the lodge subsequently amalgamated with it’s daughter Lodge, the Lodge of Kindred Lights calling the new Lodge the Lodge of Three Kindred Lights which now meets in Clerkenwell Masonic Centre and appears very successful. Again unfortunately I have had to tender my resignation as travelling down to London since moving up to Cambridgeshire has become impractical and although I had to think long and deep before resigning from my Mother Lodge I had no option, kindly the members have agreed to make me an honorary member. Whilst Scrutineer I was a Steward in 1992 at the meeting to commemorate the 25 years of the Duke of Kent being Grand Master and 225 years of English Freemasonry, this was a very large meeting held at Earls Court with over 11,000 people, it was a very impressive occasion made even more memorable in that I was issued a free ticket worth £40.00 for the after proceedings and dinner hosted by HRH Duke of Kent. In 1982 I was appointed secretary of Sincerity Lodge, an office I was to hold for 17 years, although I was a little dismayed when for the first meeting I took over the duties, the summons were lost in the post and none of the members were informed of the details of the next meeting, I would have relinquished the office three years earlier after 14 years, but on handing it over to my would be successor Nigel Bowdery, who was unable attend the meeting at which he was to be invested as Secretary as he was on holiday, sadly died of a sudden heart attack six weeks later, he had received heart surgery the previous year, I had to recover all the books and records from his house and widow and continue in office for another three years until a suitable and willing brother

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could be found to fill the post. In 1985 whilst Master of Courage Lodge I was honoured with London Grand Rank and held a celebration dinner in the Wig and Pen. I enjoyed being secretary of the Lodge although the task was made a easier by the fact I was computer orientated, computers had started to come into vogue and affordable about this time, getting interested in computers when I retired, as a hobby, the previous secretary W.Bro Paul Sommers having kept immaculate lodge records, albeit hand written, had a very good hand which was not my forte. Apart from keeping all the records up to date I completely revised the ritual book and reprinted it, after umpteen committee meetings to decide the right format. I also updated the Lodge History, as the previous author had stopped at the year 1887, and I re-printed it to take account of events up to the current time. I also traced the history of the other 15 lodges named Sincerity in the English Constitution and published a booklet on these facts, all made possible by the power of the computer. Being Secretary kept one pretty busy. I later organised the 225th. Commemoration of the founding of the Lodge of Sincerity when over 280 people attended, many of the guests were members of the lodges descended from Sincerity of which there were 77 lodges at this date, but unfortunately since then several of those lodges have had to hand their warrants in due to lack of support and members At this special commemorative meeting we had a special demonstration of a lodge meeting in the costume of the day as held in the late 1700’s this being near 1768 the year of the lodge’s formation, it was a huge success. I joined Queenswood Lodge in 1989, I had attended this Lodge as a permanently invited guest i.e. a PIG for nearly 25 years, it was only when brother Tom, who had taken a Masonic career down a different path than myself decided he would like to join, having lost interest in his own Lodge, I felt quite guilty having attended so many years as a guest, so decided to join also, with the intention of assisting Tom, who was blind by this time, to take office in the Lodge and go through the Chair as he had never held office previously, but due to circumstances beyond our control, I took the chair of Queenswood in 1992 and Tom followed a couple of years later, I had the pleasure of installing him, also after I came out of the Chair, I took over as Lodge Secretary, a job I held for three years. When I was previously a visitor to Queenswood I also joined the Chapter attached to the Lodge in 1983, having been originally exalted into Teddington Chapter in 1977, but did not attend Queenswood Chapter on a regular basis, until I became a joining member of Queenswood Lodge. I had decided to resign from Teddington Chapter as the travelling was getting too difficult, through West London to Twickenham on a Friday night in the rush hour traffic, where the Chapter met. I was installed in the Principals Chair of Queenswood Chapter in 1986 and as soon as I came out of the chair became Secretary of the Chapter for about eleven years, I received London Grand Chapter Rank in 1998 and promoted to Senior London Grand

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Chapter Rank in 2002. To my complete surprise I was also honoured and promoted with the rank of Active Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 2005 and appointed and invested by the Marquess of Northampton, holding this office entailed taking an active part in Supreme Grand Chapter for twelve months and one of my duties was to assist in escorting the newly installed 2nd Grand Principal into the Grand Temple. Just to round up my membership of Lodges, I was also a member of Probus Anti Meridian Lodge meeting at Welling in Kent – I joined this Lodge soon after I finishing with Hygienic, as it met during the day, it was mainly a lodge for retired people, but I found that I did not really have the time and not much in common with the other members of the lodge, so decided to resign, probably about three years after joining and on becoming a Founder of Scrutator Lodge. In 1994 I was honoured with Grand Rank Honours although I knew my name had been submitted I was quite surprised to be awarded an active rank, indeed it was two weeks after I was notified that I was honoured that I realised I had got an active office, I was appointed and invested as Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies by HRH Duke of Kent the Grand Master on 27th. April 1994 i.e. my birthday, it was quite an occasion, it also coincided with the date of Three Lights Lodge Installation Meeting, so I was able to make a grand entrance into my mother lodge later on in the afternoon. Being an active officer entails dressing up in a tailcoat five times a year and attending Grand Lodge and parading in with the Grand Master or Pro Grand Master, all very formal and impressive, usually there are about 1500 members in attendance on these occasions in the Grand Temple at Great Queen Street. On one occasion I had to attend with a very high Masonic dignitary, the Reverend Peter Heywood to assist him in carrying out the presentation of a new banner to a Lodge, the Lodge of Prosperity who meet at Clerkenwell Green, their original banner having been destroyed by fire at the Lodge premises, I was acting as his Director of Ceremonies and presented him to the Lodge, although I was very apprehensive he was a very charming man to get on with. In 2003 I was appointed a Visiting Grand Officer over three London Lodges, which consisted of visiting, helping them with any queries and reporting to Metropolitan Grand Lodge on their workings, unfortunately I could not cope with the travelling etc. after moving to Cambridgeshire due to my determination to keep attending the four London Lodges of which I was a member of, also the expense of travelling to carry out these duties would be too onerous. Unfortunately I later found that even maintaining contact with my other London Lodges was difficult. After moving to Christchurch I joined a local Lodge in the Cambridgeshire Province, meeting in the town of March, which is local, i.e. Caldwell Lodge, giving me the opportunity to make friendships with local people and I have enjoyed some very good meetings there.

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Chapter 14 – Continuing On In 1977, Mary and I travelled to America, it being a big occasion for Betty and By Sprenger he was to be the Potentate for the Shriners that year, his inauguration ceremony was in January held in the main Convention Arena in Reno there were over 2000 people attending, they put various acts on the stage and at one time we had to appear on the stage as representatives from London England. This was also the year that we purchased 6 Whyteleafe Road, which was a very large Edwardian house up the road from the White Cottage, it had been formed into three self contained flats, two of which were occupied, I paid £25,000 for this house which at the time was a snip, two of the flats were occupied, one by a Mrs Susman, an elderly Jewish widow who was very sweet and always insisted I had a tot of whisky when I went to collect the rent, and a widower who lived in the small flat but died soon after the purchase. I did let the ground floor flat to other tenants but in hindsight I should have kept the flat empty because Mrs Susman died within two years and I would have made considerably more profit, if I had been able to sell the whole property as a vacant lot, when I finally decided to sell the property six years after purchase, No 6 was eventually demolished and there are now two expensive detached houses on the site, so probably a killing was made by someone, although I cannot complain too much as I nearly trebled my original purchase price. I don’t think too much happened the rest of that year, I went as usual with the stag crowd to Guernsey in early May, this had now become very popular, I had to restrict the numbers as due to the size of the hotel and the plane, which only held 30, it was always a problem. I remember in the summer of that year Tommy’s wife Susan, his second wife divorced him and I took possession of the car she had been using, which was owned by Hygienic anyhow, it was a Jaguar XJ6 with a SUE 103 personalised number plate. I was rather keen to take it to Guernsey, our method of travelling over there in those days was for I and three of the children to travel with me to Weymouth and go over on the ferry and Mary would fly with Elen from Gatwick, as she was not very keen on the ferry boat, I would consider the sea crossing a part of the holiday, when Bill and Ann Boyce started going on holiday with us, Bill would join me on the boat trip, and Ann would go with Mary. That particular summer I remember Peter Jollie and his family, who had previously joined us on holiday in Cornwall 1967, were staying at a separate hotel in Guernsey. The Jaguar, that I kept for about eighteen months, was a very nice car to drive, but it was nothing but trouble mechanically, in the final stages I would use it for high days and holidays only and purchased a small Honda Civic for work and everyday car which was great fun to drive and very practical and economical in the London traffic. I

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n January 1979 I decided to exchange the Jaguar for a 1969 Bentley T2 similar to the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, but with a Bentley radiator. It was maroon and supposedly had a personalised number plate, I soon discovered that the registration number TUB 855 should have had a G suffix and the vendor had just conveniently altered the tax disc to line up with the number plate, I later transferred my MJM 444 number plate to the Bentley. This car again was only used for high days and holiday, I did not attempt to take it over to Guernsey with their restricted roads, as it had a fairly basic but large engine it was still practical to carry out do it yourself repairs to it. When our American friends came over from the States they were suitably impressed. It had fitted an 8-track cassette tape system, which was getting obsolete even then and Debbie brought over the tapes from America that could be used on this player, these were getting very hard to obtain in England. I know Debbie’s parents were amazed at the cost of the petrol, the Bentley having a 28 gallon tank, it cost approx £60 in those days to fill up the equivalent cost in the States would have been nearer £10. At Whyteleafe Road we were having quite a few changes made, the first major item was the conversion of the loft space to make storage and play areas for the children, one of Hygienic’s carpenters built a absolutely first class stairway to the loft area, which was enormous, I had it completely painted out and it was divided up into areas, one section for each of the 4 children, we had a working model railway and it was great fun. The other major item was the complete refurbishment of the kitchen, with all Neff appliances and we had quite a job to get it finished in time for Jackie’s 21st. birthday party, I remember that I got so frustrated with the speed the tiler was working, that I would get set too and carry on with the tiling myself, in the evening when I got home, to try and move the job on. We invited all the relations from far and wide to the party, even David Nussbaumer was over from Guernsey, it was held in the Essendene Centenary Hall, this hall was built on the site of the old St Francis School that the children had attended, although Jackie was too old to attend there, when we originally arrived in Caterham. Jackie by that time had completed and passed a Hotel Course in management and catering at Bournemouth and was working as a restaurant manager for Trust House Forte at the Heathrow Post House. It was also about the time that we unfortunately had Mandy our golden retriever put to sleep in that she had suffered with her rear legs failing and when I took her to the vet, he said, although he could give the dog another injection to keep her going for another couple of months, it was not really fair to her, so we decided the kindest course of action was to have her put to sleep, it was a tough decision, Mandy having been one of the family for over 12 years, she had grown up from a puppy of six weeks old with all the children, the hardest thing was having to tell Jackie and Fiona on their return from their holidays in then Yugoslavia, which they had been away on, when the decision was taken. It was on that holiday that Fiona met her future first husband Tonci, a waiter at the hotel she was staying, also by that time we had been introduced to Peter Jackie’s husband to be, an Italian, whom she had met whilst working at the Forte Post House Hotel at Heathrow airport.

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Going into 1980 Stuart left school about this time, he was always enthusiastic about cars and mechanics, he was driving a Mini around the field at the rear of the house and had a FSIE Yamaha moped, of which Mary was terrified every time he went on the roads with it. He applied for a job at the local Rover agent in Caterham for an apprenticeship and I remember the day he got the acceptance letter for his apprenticeship at Layhams he was so excited, we were of course pleased because getting a job or a good job was not too easy in those days and it meant it kept him out of mischief and gave him an interest. A few months later i.e. about a week after his 17th birthday Stuart passed the car-driving test having learnt 90% of his driving in the large field we had at the rear of the White Cottage, this took the strain off Mary as the moped was forgotten about, although in fact he had a rather nasty accident in the Mini soon after passing his test but thankfully no injuries. Life went on as usual going to Guernsey for our holidays and also on other occasions, we also went to the States on a couple of trips, one in early 1980 to attend Bob Clarkson’s inauguration as Potentate of the Shriners when I his motto for the year was “let us grow in 80”. In February 1982 I was made a Freeman of the City of London, my very great friend Jack Bernard had proposed me for the honour and on the 3rd February 1982 I went to the Guildhall in the City of London to be sworn in as Freeman, I went along taking the Bentley of course with a host of friends including Albert and Marion Hodges, Dave and June Thorpe, Jack and Ida and also Jackie and Fiona with Mary, after the impressive ceremony and being handed my certificate, which informed me I was able to drive sheep over London Bridge we went to the Barbican Pub where I had laid on drinks and a buffet for about 100 associates and friends, later on retiring to the Wig and Pen Club where a few of us had a meal. One of my guests was Peter Jollie a great friend who we had previously gone away on holidays with, and at that time the Superintendent of Works at Buckingham Palace, two weeks later he dropped dead in the street after playing a game of squash with one of the reps in our company, it was very tragic death in that he was only 48 years old at the time, his wife June also died suffering from cancer 3 years later, also at the age of 48years. I subsequently attended Peter’s funeral, which was held in the Chapel Royal St. James’s Palace because of his royal association, the chapel was packed to capacity. Mentioning the Wig of Pen, this was a marvellous very ancient club opposite the Royal Courts of Justice and it is rather interesting to record how I became a life member of this old club. We carried out a considerable amount of work at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand and the Wig and Pen being opposite, Jim Montague, who was the Superintendent of Works of the Law Courts at the time was a regular attendee at the club and on one occasion I was invited to lunch with a fellow painting contractor Ron Smith of South London Decorators, which also included ”Monty” as Jim Montague was known in our company, when the time came to settle the bill Ron Smith discovered

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he had no funds on him, so I ended up picking up the tab, I said to Monty if I’ve got to pay the bill at least I should be made a member of the Wig and Pen, so he approached Jo Brennan the owner, a very good friend of his and in no time I was made a life member for £10.00, the going rate being £25.00 at the time, in later years the life membership would cost about £700 and annual membership £200 so I had a good deal, the only problem now is the club has now closed down, but we had over 25 years of good drinking and meals on that membership – in actual fact when Monty retired from the Ministry of Works the club owner gave him a case of the best brandy in appreciation of all the custom he had brought to the club. In October 1982 another big event in our life occurred in that it was our 25th. Wedding Anniversary, as we were by that time well noted for our parties at home we considered the best place to celebrate the event was in our own house, although we had been to Guernsey the previous weekend with quite a few friends and had a dress rehearsal. We had a marvellous time celebrating our 25th; all the relations came from up North as well as the Irish contingent, a piper John Lunney attended, although I think his pipes were hidden before the end of the evening, James and Margaret’s brother dressed in kilts for the occasion, it was a wonderful day and night and we had some fantastic presents in particularly a group photograph of the children given to us as a present from our 4 children to update the one previously taken of us six years earlier, when Elen did not look particularly happy. We got so many gifts, particularly crystal, that we had to buy a very large display cabinet costing over £1000 to display them, but it was well worth it. One of the things I do remember was Val Bampton, who came over from Guernsey, brought two live lobsters and as we put them into the pot after dropping one on the floor they made an awful noise. Sam, Mary’s brother made a speech at the celebrations and I recall Bobby my brother saying to Sam, who tended to go on a bit, remarking due to the length of Sam’s speech - it will save you having to make a speech at their 40th In 1983 we arranged to go to Ireland for Grace Battle’s wedding, Grace being the daughter of Mick and Monica Battle, Mick having worked at Hygienic, I had promised her, when attending the wedding of one of John Battle’s boys, that I would take the Bentley over and use it as a her wedding car. So we picked up John, Sally and a couple of their boys, Mary decided that she would fly over as she could not stomach the ferry trip, the wedding was to be held in Waterford, Southern Ireland, we set off and arrived there okay, unfortunately a thief broke into the car boot and stole a trolley jack and wheel from the boot whilst the car was parked outside the wedding hotel. We took the bride in grand style in the car to the wedding and the reception and after the wedding was over toured around Ireland going to Westport to visit Sally’s house and then up to Kilkenny to visit John’s parents, we heard a few slight knocking sounds from the front wheel of the Bentley but were unable to investigate as I had no jack or spanner due to its previous loss but carried on our way home, crossing again by ferry, unfortunately about 50 miles from the coast on the Welsh side near Port Talbot after coming off the

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ferry, the wheel decided to come off, this was twelve o’clock midnight, there was no mobile phones then, we all had to sleep in the car until 8am the next morning, when we could raise a garage, then get the car towed in, it required a new wheel, brake disc and other repairs so I had to leave the car there and hire a car to get us all back to London and then had to return three weeks later to collect the car and £500 worse off, not a very successful trip. Elen started at Woldingham school this September, she had to take a full time boarding place although she was only living a couple of miles from the school, because there was not any vacancies for day pupils, we had already put a deposit down for her to go to Lingfield Notre Dame School but decided that Woldingham was a more suitable school. Our reasons for sending Elen there was that we were not very impressed with St. Bedes at Redhill where Stuart and Fiona had attended, so it was rather embarrassing 3 years later when the head teacher from St. Bedes, Dr. Dineen, took over Woldingham and asked why we had sent Elen there. After the first day Elen was very happy at Woldingham and spent the last two years of her full time education in the sixth form of Caterham School, which at that time was a local boy’s private school but later amalgamated with Eothen the local Girls private school. In April 1983 I went on a trip with Kenny Malcolm a great friend of ours from Guernsey who was the bar manager of the Rockmount Hotel next to the Cobo Bay, he was the father of Emma Head another good friend and we possibly made our friendship with them because they originally came from Aberdeen. Kenny was an ex professional footballer who had played for Ipswich Town Football Club and had been invited to a reunion dinner, so on his way through from Guernsey he asked if I would like to come along with him, although I did not have any particular interest in football I thought it would make good and interesting weekend, we drove up in style in the Bentley to the Portman Road ground, the home of Ipswich Town Football Club, we had a marvellous time, a sit down banquet and were treated like royalty, free tickets to watch the First Division game, I cannot remember the opponents, we were then invited into the directors suite for after match drinks, I also met some old Ipswich players, although not being a football fan I vaguely remembered some of them from my youth as being famous, we even had our photograph taken as a group on the pitch, appearing in the programme for that Saturday’s game, I hope nobody was wondering who the fellow was on the end or when did he play for Ipswich, I also went up to Ipswich the following year for a similar do. The next big event to occur was Jackie’s wedding, as previously said we had already met Peter her husband to be and they informed us they had decided to get married in June that year i.e. the 4th, which was also Elen’s birthday, Peter’s mother lived in Bolzano, Northern Italy where Peter was born which was mainly German speaking, also he had some cousins and aunts who intended coming over, his father had died quite a few years ago, we decided the best thing was to accommodate them in the 1st.

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floor flat of 6 Whyteleafe Road the house I had purchased, a short distance from the White Cottage, this flat had just come vacant as Mrs Sussman the previous tenant had recently died. The reception was to be held at the Copthorne Hotel, near Gatwick and the wedding at St. Francis Catholic Church, which was just across the road from our house, Stan Godman a good friend of ours, who unfortunately died a few years later at the age of 60 yrs with Alzheimer’s disease, who also lived in Caterham agreed to drive the Bentley i.e. it was only about a ¼ mile from house to church, it was a glorious day in what had been a very poor summer, after the wedding we all retired to the Copthorne Hotel nr. Gatwick where the reception was being held, hiring a bus for the trip, it was about 20 miles away from the church. We were very grateful to Toni Nussbaumer who was Austrian and had come over from Guernsey with Margaret his wife, he acted as interpreter for the German speaking Italian party. After the reception we all went back to the house and continued partying until early in the morning, Brian Bampton who was over from Guernsey slept in the Bentley. One incident that is quite often quoted, that early next morning on hearing the door bell Mary answered the door and seeing the priest there and Mary in her nightclothes said “Jesus Christ” and Father Benyon the priest said “no I’m sorry it only his representative”. I suppose this was the last big gathering we had at Whyteleafe Road, soon after that, in January 1984 we were on the move again. We started to get the itch again, with Jackie having flown the nest and Fiona indicating she was going to get married later in the year we decided that a six bedroom house was too big for our needs we therefore decided to look around and had always fancied a bungalow but they appeared very expensive in the Caterham area. We then went further a field and made an offer, which was accepted for a bungalow in Kent. We had a couple of upsets in selling the White Cottage but on reflection I am still of the opinion that it went too cheap, I would not like to estimate what a property of that calibre would be worth now, particularly in that the two acre field at the rear and the Lodge later became available due to the death of Miss Kilpatrick. The bungalow in Kent was situated in Chelsfield Lane nr. Orpington with a large kitchen and four good bedrooms and in its own private plot, unfortunately it had the name Hilgay with all its unfortunate connotations, I went through quite a considerable amount of trouble to get it renamed and called “Garthdee” after the area in Aberdeen were Mary came from. After we moved to Garthdee we sold the Bentley which was not being used very often and had only just scraped through it’s MOT, the only reason I feel it passed was because I left a girlie calendar from Hygienic on the passenger seat and the MOT tester said that looks nice so I gave the calendar to him and I think his mind was more on the girls than the car. We had to have some cosmetic work done to the bungalow, we put in newly fitted furniture in all the bedrooms, we were going to change the bathroom suite which was in a rich plum colour but did not get round to it, but managed to obtain the services of a gardener who came twice a week, everybody always admired the garden.

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In the summer we flew over to Split then by boat to Jelsa on the Island of Hvar, this is were Fiona met Tonci and the main idea to meet Tonci’s relations and parents and see the island in general. We were made very welcome on this beautiful island and everybody made a fuss of us and later in that year we had Fiona’s wedding to arrange, again we had a foreign contingent over for the wedding, Tonci’s friends, as best man his brother-in-law Evo and a couple of other friends, the wedding held in November, it was practically dark when we had the wedding photos taken outside the Church in Orpington, the service being quite unique as Mary’s brother John who was a minister in the Church of Scotland assisted at the ceremony with Father Bob Garrard who had been a priest at Caterham, he has since resigned from the priesthood since Fiona’s wedding to get married himself. The reception was held at the Bromley Court Hotel, the usual party ensued after the wedding. We also had the normal big family party the night before the wedding; a wedding always appears a bit of an anticlimax after this. Easter time in 1985 we went to Gibraltar with a quite a few friends including Jim Searle, Pam, Bob Costello, Linda Rice, Roy Service, Barry Stockbridge, Bill and Jean Murphy and Terry and Kathleen it was a trip that I organised, having not been to Gibraltar for quite some time and whilst there I obviously visited my mother’s grave and due to the poor condition of the original gravestone previously erected decided to have a new one to replace it, at the same time to re-letter the gravestone to indicate that my father had also lost his life in the tragedy, but was not found. Luckily I had found a local stonemason in Gibraltar who regularly maintains the gravestone for a reasonable fee and sends us photographs from time to time so that I can see it is being kept in good order. We had a great time in Gibraltar probably highlighted by the fact that when we got home the hotel wrote to say that they had not charged for all our extras which were quite considerable, amounting to over £400, I wrote back and said if they could give us a proper breakdown and who owed what, we would settle our bills, they were obviously unable to sort it out, I heard no more from them, unfortunately we have not had the opportunity to return to Gibraltar since. Soon after returning from Gibraltar we decided to have a joint 50th Birthday party, as Mary and I were both 50 in the April of that year, i.e. Mary on the 17th, I on the 27th. Sending out Invitations we had a great party, there must have been at least 100 attending all the usual crowd i.e. from Scotland and also quite a few from Hygienic i.e Reg Moore, Charles Steed Terry Smith and many other It was sad to think that within a few months they were to all be out of a job and sadder still the three above named had passed away within the next four to five years. In the summer of that year I went to see Fiona who by this time had settled in the Island of Hvar after her marriage and had got a job as a courier with, as it was then called Yugotours, I travelled over there with Elen, who was going to stay on for six weeks for the summer holidays, she was only 15 at the time, Mary was unable to go with us because by that time things were getting rather fraught at Hygienic, one of us had to

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stay to keep and eye on things, Mary thought that it would be best if I got away for a break. We flew into Split and then on to the Isle of Hvar an hour’s trip on a hydrofoil or two hours on the ferry and stayed at the Adriatic Hotel in Jelsa. Fiona and Tonci had started making plans to build their house overlooking the bay by then, I agreed to help them out financially on the basis that we would have the use of one of the three flats during the summer. The method of building over in Yugoslavia was quite different from here, in that one room more or less is made habitable, move in, then build out from thereon, also one would not get by the building inspector if the same construction methods were used over here, I flew back to England, Elen continuing her holiday. A couple of weeks later we went on a pre-arranged trip with the Trafalgar Club to Guernsey although by this time I could see the writing on the wall as regards Hygienic, this trip had been arranged quite some-time previously by the Trafalgar Club, it would have been very awkward to have not to have gone, without showing loss of face, so Mary and I went along. Much to the upset of David Nussbaumer, the trip was booked to stay at the St. Pierre Park Hotel, the top hotel in Guernsey; it had only been built about 5 years previous. There was about thirty couples in the party including Norman Thompson, George Henderson, Alan Ward, Tommy, Dave Thorpe and Don Barnes and their respective wives and partners, anyhow David got the last laugh, as when we were due to go home, having booked out of the St Pierre Park Hotel the flight from Guernsey was cancelled due to fog and as the St. Pierre Park was now fully booked as the inward flight managed to land, David accommodated us for the night at the Cobo Bay Hotel with breakfast next morning. Soon after we returned I took the decision to take Hygienic into voluntary liquidation, Terry had to travel down to Devon to get Tommy to sign the necessary papers as Tom was on a rehabilitation course in Devon and Hygienic went into voluntary liquidation on 24th. October 2005 after 25 years in business. I could not see the point of carrying on for the reasons previously stated it was the end of an era, all rather sad.

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Chapter 15 – My Kidney Transplant One of the most traumatic things to have happened to me was the fact that I was informed in August 1983 that I had kidney problems and would eventually require a kidney transplant. It all started, or was diagnosed at the time that Johnny Shannon, who worked for Decorating Masters and had been a well known TV actor, and myself decided to go to the Royal Masonic Hospital at Hammersmith, the hospital were offering more or less health M.O.T’s, John who wanted to have one but did not fancy going by himself, convinced me to go along with him. We went to the hospital in the morning, had full medical examinations and a variety of tests, then ended up seeing the specialists in the afternoon to be given the results and told how we had faired and if there was anything wrong with us, as John and I were sitting down we had made up in our minds that we obviously were the fittest out of the eight or ten people who were waiting to hear their results, when much to our dismay we were the only two called back in, John with a minor nose problem and myself told to see my GP as I had a kidney and high blood pressure problems, both linked. My GP referred me to Dr Bending Renal Consultant at St. Helier Hospital at Carshalton where I attended the renal clinic on a regular basis and I was told, it was a matter of time before I would have to go on dialysis and a have a kidney transplant, this being late 1983. I attended the clinic on a regular basis until early 1993. It was then decided that chronic renal failure was imminent so as I had opted to have CAPD, which was a method that could be self-administered, but more frequently than haemo-dialysis. I had to be admitted to hospital to have a catheter fitted for the CAPD solution to be administered this was a minor operation but when I came to after the operation the ward sister said “by the way Mr Mulholland we have repaired your hernia” with which information I was quite amazed as I had not had any discomfort, at a later date when I had a meeting with the surgeon, he said “I believe you were a bit annoyed about your hernia repair”, I said, not annoyed just surprised, he said, “I assure you it needed doing otherwise it would have interfered with your subsequent kidney transplant”, the nurse told me not to carry any thing heavy or shopping after the above operation and Mary’s reply was that he never done that anyway. Then in April of that year on attending a routine clinic with Mary I was rushed into the ward and emergency tubes were inserted into my upper chest, as I required haemo-dialysis urgently, as it was too early to use the previously fitted catheter. I remained on haemodialysis for about 5 weeks and then went over to the CAPD method of dialysis after spending a week being trained on how to administer it. The supplies for this, which consisted of 30 large boxes of fluid a month with other bit’s and pieces were delivered to my house and dialysing entailed sitting at home three, four times a day for about an hour pouring fluid in and out of the abdomen, it was okay once you got accustomed to the process and in time I managed to co-ordinate the times of having to deal with my dialysis with my volunteer driving job with the Surrey Ambulance Service. This continued for about six months when one Monday morning about 8.30 on November 8th I had a phone call, although I had a

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pager issued to enable me to be called in emergency, this was before the common usage of mobile phones, to say that there maybe a kidney available to suit me and I was to get up to the hospital within the hour, Mary was at work so I picked up my bag with toothbrush etc which had already been packed for just this moment and got a cab to St Helier. In actual fact I had some work allocated to me for that day to carry out for the Ambulance service, scheduled to take patients to and from hospital, so I rang ambulance control to tell them that I would be unable to carry out these duties, and the duty controller said “I’ve heard some excuses, but never heard that one before - I think she was joking. On arriving at the renal ward I was informed they had a horseshoe kidney, which consisted of two kidneys joined together and could be split if possible, to enable it to be transplanted to two recipients or if it was not possible to divide the kidney the whole kidney would go to the one person, whoever was the best match. They actual managed to split the kidney and I received one half and Pat Jennings a lady of about the same age as myself received the other, although I was told later that if they were unable to split the kidney I would have received the whole kidney as I was the better match of the two as regards my blood group etc. After the transplant I obviously felt pretty groggy but was discharged from the hospital after 9 days. I think one of the reasons was that the physiotherapist who came up to see me thirty six hours after the operation started giving me vigorous exercises etc and I was whinging on and decided to get walking around the hospital to avoid the physiotherapist and the exercises. All the staff were very good in the hospital, Mary was a little upset as she had a terrible cold whilst I was an in-patient and was advised not to visit me until she was better and I was in the position of ringing her up and asking how she felt, rather than the other way round. I was very fortunate after the transplant, I had very few problems apart from the odd infection and I obviously had to attend the clinic on a regular basis. I have in fact helped out by giving a talk three or four times to the patients at the Patient’s Education Programme which is a series of talks to let the patients know what they are in for, if they have a kidney problem and maybe awaiting a transplant or have to undergo dialysis. I have also kept in touch with Pat the patient who had the other half of the kidney and her husband John; we make a point of speaking to each other and exchanging cards on our anniversary date i.e. 8th. November. Also when I first attended St Helier in those early days in 1983 Dr. Michael Bending was a newly qualified consultant, he remained there throughout my treatment and I always or 95% of the time dealt with him for my consultations or problems giving the obvious advantage of continuity of treatment. Unfortunately I had to severe that link in 2003 moving to Cambridgeshire, but I am sure that the same good care will continue at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where I now attend as they have a very good reputation although being a much larger hospital I get the impression that I am more of a number and name than a patient.

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Chapter 16 – Heading into Retirement After the demise of Hygienic and whilst we were very happy at Orpington Mary was always very concerned, because Stuart at that time was working at Layhams Garage as an apprentice motor mechanic, he was coming home on the motorway to change after work, then going back to Caterham to see his friends, then coming home back along the motorway late at night. So despite liking the area and the bungalow very much we decided to go and view again property in the Caterham area to where we felt we should move. We always had a yen to live in Woldingham Village, it was considered a very up market area and we had some good friends who lived there i.e. Dot and Stan Verrall whom we had met in our caravan days down at Seasalter, although unfortunately Stan had passed away by this time, we eventually managed to put an offer of £175,000 for a modern four bedroom bungalow “Savanna” in Park View Road with three bathrooms and nearly an acre of grounds, we did debate between that property and a cottage called the Red Cottage which was on the right side of the road i.e. overlooking the valley but decided that Savannah best suited our requirements, in fact the vendors of Savanna moved into the Red Cottage. I had great difficulty in selling the bungalow at Orpington it was on the market for not much more than we paid for it and I had spent quite a lot of money in modernisation particularly the bedrooms, at one stage I was in the unenviable position of being the owner of three houses i.e. Garthdee, Savanna and 6 Whyteleafe Road. We had to leave Garthdee empty over a very bad winter and on one of my visits I found a burst pipe and the whole of the floor area awash it being a bungalow, luckily there was no long-term damage. In the end things resolved themselves and we happily settled down in Savanna with Garthdee sold. After Hygienic ceased trading I purchased Mary’s car from the liquidators of Hygienic and also an old Honda Accord Executive that had been my company vehicle prior to the Mercedes, which had to be sold off, so we at least had wheels. Dave Thorpe who was still running Decorating Masters an associated company of Hygienic and which I still had a 25% shareholding, offered me a job as a consultant, it sounded rather grand, but it meant basically that I went round measuring tenders and quotations that he had enquiries for, this was on a freelance basis in that I got paid for the actual hours of work engaged on this task per week plus travelling expenses which suited me fine, I did not want to become deeply involved again. As a matter of fact a few weeks after completely breaking ties with Hygienic Dave Thorpe and I were offered the opportunity of taking over Wise Decorators a company owned by George Henderson of D & R Scaffold, a great friend of ours, but I decided that I had had enough of running a decorating company and declined, so Dave did not go ahead. In fact Dave Thorpe took quite a large hit when Hygienic closed down as approx £200,000 of Hygienic’s debt was guaranteed by Decorating Masters and although Decorating Masters was basically owned by the directors of Hygienic, bearing in mind that money had been earned due to Dave Thorpe’s running of Decorating Masters, it must have came hard, but it luckily took us off the hook as regards personal guarantees to the bank. Getting back to my

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retirement the consultancy work only took up a couple of days a week, we decided we would visit Fiona in Yugoslavia as it was still called then and drive the Honda car over to Hvar and give it to Fiona for her use on the island, as by that time Dave had permanently loaned me a Mercedes which had belonged to one of his reps Jimmy Smith, I subsequently purchased this vehicle from Decorating Masters as I eventually sold my shareholdings in that company for the vehicle plus £13,500. Unfortunately three days before we were due to leave on our trip to Hvar a red light showed up on the dashboard of the Honda and as I knew that there was plenty of oil in the car, I had to practically remove the engine to get at the sump to clean it and the sump filter out and then take a chance that the car would be okay for a 1400 mile journey. We set off well loaded, for by this time Fiona and Tonci had started on the construction of their house, we took a variety of materials and items with us that they could not obtain in Yugoslavia, we drove through France, Belgium, Germany and Austria and into Italy, my first time driving on the continent. In Germany an amazing coincidence occurred when I stopped off for an overnight stay outside Munich, when we saw Keith Peek a member of my Sincerity Lodge, with his wife, eating in the same restaurant as us, at first glance I did not recognise him but he was on his way to Greece, his car fully loaded up, even a couple of beds loaded on top of the roof rack, he was travelling over there to live. In Italy we stopped of in Brixen northern Italy to visit Jackie’s husband Peter’s mother and relations who we had met at the wedding and we were made very welcome, we them continued our journey in torrential rain and went on through to Yugoslavia passing through fierce electric storms into Split were we stayed overnight before going on the ferry to Hvar Island, a rather epic journey and I was amazed we had no problems at all with the Honda, Fiona kept it for about a year when unfortunately the engine caught alight and it never did get repaired. Soon after we came back, Betty and By came over from America to stay with is for a few days, although in fact By was not in the best of health even then, he had to cancel going out with me, due to low sugar levels in his blood, at short notice to a previously arranged Masonic meeting with myself and Charles Steed held at Bromley. As far as I can recall we did travel to the States a couple of years later to stay with them, it was in April and I took them and some friends out for a meal to celebrate my birthday, but sadly that was the last time that we were to see them, they both died in 1994, Betty with cancer passing away in June of that year and By in November with siroccos of the liver, they had been wonderful friends and we had many great moments with them in America and the UK. In April of that year I stayed a week with Toni and Margaret in their flat on the seafront at Torremolinos, Toni had been over from Guernsey with Margaret to go on a hospital appointment and to sort out some various business matters, one I remember was to ratify his position as an Honorary Austrian Consul in the Channel Islands, they were

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then continuing on there way to Spain, he had lightly said, you ought to come over and join us for a few days, so I thought no more about it, but after they had left, I said to Mary, why not, she was not particularly interested in going so I booked a cheap flight, Margaret picking me up from Malaga airport. Toni and Margaret took me out and about visiting all their watering holes and we rode out into the hills in their little Citroen CV2 they kept garaged out in Spain. I spent a week with them at their sea view apartment, I remember Toni getting up every morning to do at least five circuits around the building the apartments were housed to keep fit. On another occasion Toni was over in London for a doctor’s appointment, I took him up to town for the appointment then we sojourned back to the Montpelier pub, it being a Friday lunchtime, we cut it very fine, as I was due to take him to Gatwick and fly with him back to Guernsey, I can’t remember what the occasion was in Guernsey I think it was David’s engagement party, we caught the plane literally by minutes. January of 1987 and Fiona who was pregnant gave us the good news that she had been admitted to the maternity ward in Split, Mary was anxious to be there at the time and made immediate arrangements to fly over to Yugoslavia to visit Fiona in hospital, our first grandson was born i.e. Antonio and both well, Mary stayed on for four weeks helping out and I joined her for the final week to see the new grandson and accompany Mary back home, in actual fact while Mary was away we had a considerable amount of snow in Woldingham making it very difficult to travel. In the summer of that year I went to stay with Fiona and Tonci, the idea was to spend a few weeks working on the apartment in their house that we had designated would be for our use when we wanted to come and stay in Jelsa, it was only a shell at the time, so I loaded up the car mainly with paint, flooring material, carpet tiles and wiring, the poor old vehicle being well and truly loaded when I set of to Jelsa. Getting to the Yugoslavian border I got some very peculiar and inquisitive looks as my car was loaded up with all sorts of the above goods, luckily I got through customs with not too much trouble. I spent most of the six weeks working on the apartment, chasing out for electrics and of course decorating, I went over on the ferry with Tonci to Split to purchase furniture, kitchen units, appliances and bathroom fittings carrying a carrier bag full of dinars and bought all the purchased goods back on the lorry we had borrowed and when I left to go home we were still awaiting the tilers to come and tile the bathroom and kitchens. I had a bit of a disaster going home, just before entering a six mile tunnel through the Austrian Alps I burst a tyre and on looking at the damage it was no wonder, it had worn right through the tread, I should have never even thought of starting off from England with the tyre in that condition. Worst still when I opened the car boot there was no jack or wheel brace to remove and replace the spare wheel with, so I stood at the entrance of the tunnel with the spare out on the road and when I spotted a car the same model as mine i.e. W123 Mercedes, which luckily being in Austria was quite frequent, I gave the thumbs up sign, within about 15 minutes a motorist stopped whom I was able to communicate with, fortunately he spoke English, I got the wheel changed, not before

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some disparaging remarks about mad Englishmen with bald tyres and no tools, he also gave me a large cigar, I still thought I was going to be in trouble through the tunnel as my low fuel light was on all the way through, but I managed to get refilled before I ran out of petrol in the nick of time. Nothing much happened until the end of 1987 I suppose really we were in retirement mode, I was still carrying out consultancy work for Decorating Masters but it was not taking up too much of my time. I was spending quite a lot of my spare time re-writing and printing the ritual book and update of the history for Sincerity Lodge, by that time also I was getting quite interested in computers. In September of 1987 we had the “Great Storm” which affected Woldingham very badly, on the eve of the storm I was attending a lodge meeting with Ken Cross another very good friend and ex Ministry employee at Dymchurch on the Kent coast 60 miles away, it was a very rough ride driving back, quite windy, but I did not think too much about it, I got home and went to bed about midnight, on waking the next morning I realised there was no power, on looking out of the window the top of a large tree had been blown down right up against the bedroom window, on looking out into the garden, at least five large trees had also been blown down from the house next door, laying on the lawn, also the green house had all its glass panes blown out, but luckily there was no structural damage to the house itself. Evidently this was the worst storm in over 500 years and had caused widespread damage throughout southeast England, the main road out of Woldingham was blocked for over week but neither Mary or I had heard a thing, the electric was restored within 12 hours, the phones within a couple of days, it was very scary time. In December of that year our second grandchild was born i.e. Daniella to Jackie and Peter, both were well, they were at the time living in a house in Winifred Road, Coulsdon so we were able to see them quite frequently and Daniella’s christening party was held at our Woldingham house. We had another trip to Jelsa in the summer of the following year, driving of the ferry at Split the car would not start and we were pushed off the ferry to the quayside, having a Mercedes, the local taxi drivers helped me, a Mercedes being the standard taxi in Split, a duff battery was diagnosed, one of taxi drivers took me to a supplier and I managed to get a battery, another taxi driver fitting it. My troubles did not stop, in that driving along the autobahn on the outside lane near the Belgium/German border, I hit, what I thought was a shoe box in the middle of the road, I was doing 80-90 mph, the “shoebox” was in fact an iron parking wedge from a lorry trailer, fortunately I managed to pull over to the hard shoulder with not too much trouble and discovered that I had completely sheared off the sump pan from the bottom of the engine. Due to the efficiency of the Germans I got the car towed into the nearest town Aachan by the German AA and a new sump fitted and the car back on the road in just over two hours, and caught the ferry only one hour late after our scheduled sailing – a lucky escape.

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Chapter 17 - Back to Caterham Soon after this escapade we again got itchy feet and decided we should move, although Woldingham was very pleasant, in some ways it was very inconvenient, one was quite isolated and it entailed having to travel into Caterham for any needs, another reason was we thought it wise to capitalise on the increase in property prices that had occurred particularly in Woldingham where prices had doubled in the three years we had lived there, having paid £175,000 for the bungalow, we were told we could possibly get approximately £400,000 for it we therefore put it on the market and very soon obtained a buyer, unfortunately the sale of their property fell through at the very last moment and I having committed us to purchase of a property in Caterham – Hightrees, rather than lose it, took out a bridging loan, which on hindsight was not a clever thing to do particularly as bank rates shot up substantially in the intervening period, I got rather desperate at the time, first of all trying to off load Hightrees, putting it up for sale, but this had no result in a falling market. To endeavour to try and stem some of the outgoings in having to pay the interest money, I took up taxi driving with Catax, a local taxi firm and although I had not engaged in this sort of work before enjoyed the experience, one of my first jobs was to chauffeur the local Chairman of the Council to a large function in Croydon. The house we purchased in Caterham was a 1930s detached four bedroom house, it was half the price that a similar house would have cost in Woldingham, the saga of selling Woldingham went on for quite a time, first of all the proposed purchasers found one or two faults with the house which I agreed to pay for, then they reduced the offer price which in the circumstances I had no option other than to accept, though I still made a substantial profit on the final deal, we then finally agreed to move. On the day Stuart, I also a friend of his, who was assisting, as we were self-moving, there was a violent storm, a tree actually came down when we were at the house, narrowly missing our hired van, so I decided we should go back home as it was obviously unsafe and dangerous to continue. I later decided to go back up to the bungalow in the evening, as I was not very happy about the situation, when I turned the corner into the road where the bungalow was situated, I could not believe my eyes, two enormous fir trees had crashed straight through the roof of the bungalow, right into the lounge. I phoned the vendor, and told him the good news i.e. I had moved out of the bungalow, the bad news was that he had two large trees through his lounge roof, fortunately for me as we had exchanged contracts the damage and subsequent repairs were his responsibility. He said, quite rightly, there is not much we can do this time of night and we agreed to meet on site 10 o’clock next morning, when I arrived he had an insurance loss assessor, a builder and a surveyor, I said you were on the ball, he explained that he had had a similar experience previously in that when he was selling his house in 1987 the same thing had occurred during the “Great Storm”, but in that instance the house had been completely destroyed, so he considered himself quite fortunate in this instance. Six weeks later we completed on the bungalow at Woldingham, so finally that saga was over, I had not done to badly as the price had doubled in the three years we had lived there.

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The house at Hightrees was in quite good condition, the Reeves, the previous owners had been ardent DIY fanatics and as Hightrees was empty for about eighteen months whilst the continuing saga of selling Woldingham went on I took the opportunity too tidy up the utility area, also build an en-suite bathroom off the main bedroom, complete with power shower, the only problem was that I went away for a couple of days and on returning to the house, after having great difficulty opening the front door, found the ground floor awash. Where I had replaced the floorboards upstairs after my handiwork with the plumbing I had put a nail right through the water pipe feeding the new bathroom, this also brought down most of the hall ceiling, I suppose one learns by their mistakes. Whilst this was in progress we made another trip to Jelsa, this time joined by Margaret from Aberdeen and Val Bampton a friend from Guernsey. I remember on leaving Woldingham the car was well loaded, along side the passenger seat there was even a whirly gig clothes drier. We had a good trip down to Split, stopping at our usual places in Munich and the Austrian Yugoslavian border to break the journey, then carrying on down to Jelsa with no mishaps although we did not realise that Val was really frightened about the shear drop at the side of the roads, as she was sitting in the car on the side nearest the edge of the road, also Margaret was a little miffed as she fell asleep when we were entering Austria and woke up just over an hour later to be told she had missed a whole country, that was about the time of time it took to drive through Austria. When we purchased Hightrees, also included in the sale were a lot of bits and pieces, as the people selling the property were going into an retirement complex where there was limited room for storage, one of the items was a motor scooter which was in very good condition, I found it very useful particularly in driving to the taxi office to pick up the cab I was going to drive for the shift. Working for the local taxi firm Catax could be quite boring at times, I would drive the vehicles owned by the taxi firm and the deal was that 30% of the fare taken was yours, this was okay if you picked up trips to the airport etc. but on some occasions you could wait on the taxi rank at the station for probably an hour then find you would only pick up a fare to go less than one mile, a fare of ÂŁ1.40 meaning you would only receive 40p. for one hours work, to add insult to injury maybe no tip, it was quite demanding work at times and could be quite stressful. This probably led to me finally having to stop working for Catax when one day I got up during the night to go to the toilet and collapsed after coughing up blood, Mary of course was very worried and called an ambulance, I was rushed into East Surrey Hospital and diagnosed with a burst duodenal ulcer, although they must have thought that I had been involved in a fight, as the right side of my face was a big yellow bruise caused by striking myself on the lavatory pan when collapsing, luckily I did not need surgery to cure the ulcer but this was probably a warning. About this time as I was rather flush with funds from the sale of Savanna, I decided to purchase a new Mercedes as the one I was driving at the time was getting rather tatty, this being the car that I purchased from Dave Thorpe, having taken it in part exchange plus money when I sold out my shareholding in Decorating Masters, the car was now over seven years old.

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About the same time the troubles and war started in Yugoslavia, Fiona and Antonio came to stay with us and later as the situation deteriorated, Tonci her husband, in fact the island of Hvar where they lived did not get affected by the civil wars, but of course it completely ruined the tourist trade, which the islands more or less fully reliant on, so subsequently there was little on the island. Into 1991 and in April of that year Jackie had her second child, our third grandchild i.e. Francesca, Jackie and Peter were still living at Coulsdon so we were able to see quite a lot of them and the grandchildren. We did not reside too long in Hightrees, although it was a nice little house it was not really our scene, I think we had been spoilt in our previous houses in that we had always had lots of space and when we saw advertised by the local estate agents in July 1991, an open day for 200 Godstone Road, out of curiosity we went to view it and decided it was for us straight away, It was fortunate that I had funds to be able to make an offer without being reliant on the sale of Hightrees, we put in a offer of £175,000, £20.0000 below the asking price, with tongue in cheek, though the housing market was very depressed at that particular time, it was accepted, at the same time we approached Jackie and Peter as we knew they wanted to move back into the Caterham area into a bigger house to see if they were interested in purchasing “Hightrees” me taking their previous house in Coulsdon as part – exchange, they agreed this would be a good idea, they in turn proceeded with the purchase of our old house, myself taking on responsibility for the selling of their previous home in Coulsdon, all rather complicated, at the end of the day we did not realise what was expected for the house at Coulsdon which reduced some of the gain made from Godstone Road but it all resolved itself in the end. As with our previous house moves, we moved ourselves in, mainly with the help of Stuart and his friends. We moved into Godstone Road in September 1991, it was a much larger house than Hightrees, five bedrooms, a very large kitchen and lounge and a four-car garage, although one of the first things I installed was a power shower to the bathroom and en-suite as I had been spoilt at Hightrees with the shower installed there. At that time we still had Fiona, Tonci and Antonio living with us. I remember we had a big house warming party the following Easter on Good Friday as it fell on April 17th. Mary’s birthday, of course the usual crowd were they’re including a contingent from Scotland. I had ceased working for Decorating Masters or DML as it was known now, the amount of work had increased and I was not interested in working full time for the company, Steve Thorpe who was managing director of the company by this time decided they needed to employ a full time surveyor to take on the work I formerly carried out, Terry my brother, who had been working in his own business since finishing with Hygienic took the position on. Mary was working DML as their office manager and travelled into Dulwich every day by car, I was normally at home by myself during the daytime, Mary leaving about 7.30. in the morning and not back until 6pm. So soon after moving into

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200 Godstone Road and after dealing with all the little jobs that are required in a new house I got a little bored at home and volunteered for the local Tandridge Volunteer Service as a driver using my own car, giving people lifts etc. who had no other means of transport, I stayed on this panel for a few months but found it rather a nuisance being called out at odd times, sometimes to only drive some one less than a mile journey and other times to assist them shopping in the supermarket which was not quite my scene. I then spotted an advert in the local free paper for volunteer drivers to work for the Surrey Ambulance Service, this seemed more interesting although when I applied it was more akin to applying for a full time job, entailing a one hour interview, a full medical and a driving test in my own car, I was accepted and started with them, continuing for over 11 years, visiting most of the hospitals in Surrey and surrounding counties including Redhill, East Grinstead, Royal Marsden at Sutton, Crawley, Horsham, Dorking and Leatherhead and in the last two to three years driving approximately 3000 miles a month i.e. 36,000 annually, mainly ferrying patients backwards and forwards to the Royal Surrey Hospital at Guildford the main cancer unit for the whole of Surrey. I enjoyed carrying out this work I met some very pleasant and brave people, unfortunately many passed away during or soon after their treatment which of course was very sad, one was always whinging about the mileage rate that was paid to carry out this work, but looking back it was sufficient, and also gave a small income, there was always a good esprit-de-corps amongst the other drivers and I made some very good friends. Jackie had a baby boy – Stefano our fourth grandchild - in September of that year and Fiona was still living with us, also Tonci and Antonio, as the war was still raging in Yugoslavia, I remember we had a house full for Xmas and soon after that another gathering at 200 Godstone Road, Stefan’s christening. Soon after Peter who had taken a job in Italy as General Manager of a 5 star hotel and all his family who moved from Caterham to Rome joined him, so we missed their regular visits to us. About this period Fiona’s marriage was going through a bad time, unfortunately Tonci could not seem to settle down to the English way of life and the outcome was that Fiona and Tonci divorced, Tonci returning to Croatia, not long after this we were introduced by Fiona to Andy a local supermarket manager. Also about this time I was informed by St Helier renal unit that my kidney’s had not got much useful life left in them, and that I would probably be on dialysis within 4 – 6 months, a prognosis that was subsequently proved right, so Mary and I decided that we would have a short break away, as we did not know what limitations I would be under or how long I would be on dialysis, we opted for a weeks break in Malta, a country we had never been to before, booking a nice hotel and taking all our summer gear, but unfortunately when we got there we had to go out and buy anoraks etc. as it was so cold, wet and windy. However we enjoyed our stay there and met some very nice

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people, hired a car and did all the touristy things, we did vow to go back there again when hopefully the weather would be better, but have never got around to it. Soon after we came back from Malta I had to go into hospital as mentioned in the chapter on my Kidney problems and start dialysis, the Ambulance Car Service had to take me into the hospital for my daily trips although I soon got fed up with that, the hanging around after treatment and convinced the consultant I was fit enough after dialysis to drive myself, when I went on to Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) I was able to resume driving for the car service and on the odd occasion actually dialysed myself in the car. I decided to sell the Mercedes as it was really too big and expensive to use for the Ambulance Service and Mary’s car needed to be changed also, we exchanged both the cars for two Vauxhall Corsas being more suitable for our needs, apart from the fact they were more economical to drive, we virtually got the two new vehicles for the trade in value of the previous cars. In October 1997 we celebrated our 40th. Wedding Anniversary and held a great party at 200 Godstone Road, as usual Margaret, James and all the family joined us, it is rather frightening to look back on what is only just over 10 years at the time of writing to remember those who are not with us now but were there at the party i.e. Johnny, Sam, James, Mick Godley, Kathleen, Bill Murphy, Barry Stockbridge are amongst those I can remember. Tommy made a very good speech; he had been the best man at our wedding. A rather peculiar thing occurred when I had to order a new toner cartridge for my laser printer, the courier came to the door with this enormously heavy box, I said to him I only ordered a toner cartridge, he said well they sometimes put them in different boxes, I said leave it here and I’ll sort it out. When I opened the box I found it contained a brand new laser printer machine worth £850.00, I contacted the suppliers and told them to come and change it for my required toner cartridge, but I never did hear from them and have still go this state of the art printer now and making good use of it, actually printing this tome with it. Fiona and Andy decided they would get married announcing their intention to hold the wedding ceremony in Barbados to which we were invited to attend, with the generous support of Andy; Stuart, Elen Mary and myself and Andy’s parents, brother and sister all went to Barbados to witness the wedding, it being held on February 14th 1998 – St. Valentines Day, most appropriate, we had a marvellous fortnight in Barbados staying at the Almond Beach Resort which had five restaurants and ten swimming pools, it was a holiday of a lifetime we came back after two weeks, with Antonio, leaving the honeymooners there to stay another week.

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Toward the middle of that year we had decided that 200 Godstone Road was too large for us and began to look for a bungalow in the Caterham area, a coincidence was that when I called to pick up a patient with the Ambulance Car Service in White Knobs Way, a little cul-de-sac immediately opposite where we lived, the patient commented that she thought we lived in a very nice house and on informing her that we were looking for a smaller place she said “oh my next door neighbour has recently died and the next door bungalow is for sale” so we put a note in the letter box of the vacant bungalow “to whom it may concern” and managed to purchase the property at a good price. White Knobs being right opposite us we were able to move ourselves with the aid of Stuart and his friend again. Although it was not the easiest of moves pouring with rain all day, also there was a lot of confusion to obtain the keys. The bungalow needed a considerable amount of work carried out to get it up too scratch, all the external cladding and barge boards had to be renewed in white plastic. We also had a small conservatory built, the garage doors renewed and electrified, new kitchen and bathroom, the whole of the bungalow completely re-decorated mainly with the aid of Fiona and Andy and the garden sorted out, when completed it was a very comfortable place, we were very happy there. White Knobs Way being a quiet little cul-de-sac with a park at the end. I was also fortunate in that I was able to engage a reliable gardener, Kate who came along a couple of hours a week too keep the garden up to scratch doing a very good job. Nothing much happened during our time at White Knobs, Mary decided to give up working in DML in East Dulwich, it entailed a 40 mile car journey every day, she decided she had had enough but soon got bored staying at home deciding to look for work locally and volunteered to work in the local Cancer Shop eventually became an assistant manager there, running the shop when the manager was ill, on holiday or maybe waiting for a new manager to be appointed, but she enjoyed the work very much and made a lot of good friends whilst working there. In 1999 we travelled to America with Tommy and Cecilia to attend a surprise birthday party for Debbie’s 50th. Birthday, flying into Reno via St Francisco, we had a marvellous time, the only problem was that during the flight to the States my legs became badly swollen and I assumed it was just fluid retention, this swelling persisted all the time I was in the States and on flying back I did nothing about it, but on having to attend a routine check up appointment at St. Helier's renal unit two weeks after my return from the States, Dr. Bending my consultant at the Renal Unit noticed the swelling, he went ballistic in that he diagnosed straight away that I had deep vein thrombosis (DVT), he sent me to have an ultra scan, where his diagnosis proved correct, I was treated for three months with Warfrin to get the swelling down, Dr. Bending definitely was not amused, letting me know that I was very fortunate that it had not affected my transplanted kidney. Prior to that on a previous visit to the hospital on a routine clinic appointment, I was kept in as

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an in- patient as I was diagnosed with prostate problems, unable to pee, having to have emergency surgery to relieve the prostrate and to stop the kidney being damaged, which entailed having a catheter fitted for three months, causing complications, so 1999 was not a good year medically for me. I now come to the sad case of Mary’s brother Sammy who had been very ill for quite some time; we had noted a serious deterioration in his condition and health, having not seen him for a considerable period. When we travelled up to Aberdeen in July of that year to attend a party organised to celebrate James’s 60th. and Margaret’s 50th. which was a great family occasion, we obviously knew there was something amiss and a few months later he was diagnosed as suffering from Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (CJD) also known as mad cow disease, it was a very distressing time and in the finally it was a blessing in disguise that Sammy passed away. The following year we had another sad death in the family i.e. Kathleen my brother Terry’s wife who was also Fiona’s godmother, she had been ill for some time suffering from cancer, although at times we thought that she was on the road to recovery, in fact her appearance right up to the time of her death belied the fact she was ill, unfortunately I had not seen Kathleen for quite some time prior to her death but Mary and Fiona visited her on several occasions. On a happier note our next big event at White Knobs was Elen’s wedding, we had met Ian her fiancé previously and in October 2001 Elen said they intended to get married the following October, visiting various venues finally deciding to hold it at Addington Palace, this being the former residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury, the only date left in the booking calendar about that time was October 26th. coinciding with our 45th wedding anniversary, so we decided to go for it. It was a fantastic wedding all the family was there, alas there have been deaths since then, we of course met Ian's family who came up from Ilfracombe in Devon. Six months later Elen announced they were expecting a baby and India Mae was born on 21st. September 2003 i.e. on my brother Terry’s birthday. Elen by then had moved to a town house near Greenwich from her maisonette in Tottenham where she had been living prior to meeting Ian. Jackie and Peter moved around to several hotels since they had been living in Italy, first in Rome, Peter being the General Manager of a large hotel in Fiuggi south of Rome, then on to Turin where he was General Manager in the Hotel Meridian built into the old Fiat factory and finally Milan to the Hotel Excelsior Gallia which we visited on several occasions particularly Christmas 2002 with all the children i.e. Elen, Fiona and Stuart and all the other halves and grandchildren where we had a wonderful time and get together, Mary and I have also travelled over i.e. for Stefan’s Baptism and First Communion and Mary has visited several times by herself. In the summer of that year

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(2003) Daniella and Francesca came over to Caterham for three weeks, Daniella went of with Fiona, Andy and Antonio to America to visit Debbie whilst Francesca came with us to Guernsey - we had promised David and Margaret Nussbaumer we would visit them on several occasions but had not got round to it, so we took Francesca on a visit of nostalgia, David and Margaret made a great fuss of us insisting that we stay as their guests for the six days, they could not do enough for us, we had a wonderful time while we were there. Daniella and Francesca then came up with us to Christchurch a small village in North Cambridgeshire for a weekend after our return from Guernsey, to visit Dawn and Stuart, Dawn a mother of three boys who Stuart had met 3 years previously, they had moved up there from Caterham the previous year. I think that is was then, when we decided after looking around the area to move up to Christchurch as told below. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . .

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Chapter 18 – Farewell Caterham – Hello Cambridgeshire Stuart had moved up to Christchurch in Cambridgeshire with Dawn and her three boys in April 2002, the main reason being that he was able to afford to buy a nearly new four bed-roomed house at considerably lower price than he would have had to have paid in the Caterham area, luckily he was also able to transfer his job, engaging in the same work that he had been employed in down south, but working a different area. We travelled up to Christchurch to visit them on a several occasions, Mary so liked the area and the peace and quite that I gradually came over to the idea, coming to the decision that we also should move to Christchurch. We looked around the area and found a suitable property very quickly i.e. "Homestead" in Green Lane, which was at a considerable saving to amount we sold our bungalow for in White Knobs, and the whole deal went through from offer to completion of contracts in three weeks, we were very fortunate. Stuart and Dawn’s boys helped move us up to Cambridgeshire. The week before we moved Mary's eldest brother John, a Minister in the Church of Scotland, unfortunately succumbed to cancer, he had been ill for a considerable time although at one stage we thought that he was in the clear, but it was not to be and his death was not unexpected, we had joined in a large celebration with him and his wife Elma, their silver wedding celebration the previous March held at Crieff Hydro, near Perth, he was obviously not 100% fit when we saw him there, although he looked and acted very well. The sudden death of John made a hectic week for us specially Mary, in that John's funeral was in Elgin 600 miles up country in Scotland, the funeral being on the 17th. September, we moved to Christchurch on the 19th. and to add to the confusion Elen's baby was born on the 21st. i.e. a very hectic week by any standards. Another nostalgic visit was to Aberdeen in April 2004, after 64 years James has decided to move from Garthdee Drive to a small village outside Aberdeen Portlethen and Mary thought it a good idea if we travelled up and paid a last visit to the house she had been brought up in as a child which had many memories, so we went from Peterborough to Aberdeen by train to have a last nostalgic look round. We did not know at the time that James had made plans to move, that he had been diagnosed with cancer, we were not told until he came down to Christchurch to celebrate Mary and my 70th. birthdays in April 2005, we organised to have a joint birthday party with Stuart to celebrate his 40th. Birthday which is also in April, though we kept it a surprise for him, having organised several of his friends to attend whom he had not seen for some time. Jackie, Peter and their children were staying over with us Christmas they had arrived from Milan as a surprise a couple of days previous to Xmas day, in the early hours of the morning after arriving from Stansted, Stuart collecting them, without Mary knowing, although I was in on the secret as Stuart loaned my Renault Scenic MPV to pick them up, We had a great Christmas, 19 of us sitting down for Xmas lunch. Peter went back with the two girls just after, Jackie and Stefan staying on for the New Year,

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and that was the last time we saw Peter. We then had some terrible news on March 24th. 2006 in that Peter had taken his own life the previous evening by jumping down a 7 storey stairwell in his hotel in Milan, unbeknown to us he had been suffering from severe depression obviously we were all distraught to hear this news, I got to learn at 8.00am that morning after returning from taking Debbie and her friend to the station, Debbie from America had been staying at “Homestead” with us for 3 – 4 days with her friend Gretchen. We all flew over to Milan for the funeral, there was over 500 mourners attending as it paraded through the streets of Milan from the Hotel to the Church, with the family and mourners walking behind the hearse, the children were very brave and composed and it was a wonderful service. Obviously Jackie had to resolve what she was going to do, as she was residing in the hotel and after many complications and dealing with the complex Italian legal system she is now settled into a new home in Orpington, near Fiona and her family, Stefan at a local school, Francesca completing her schooling in Milan and Daniella at University in Southampton studying for a degree in criminal psychology. James’s condition unfortunately deteriorated from this time onwards, Christmas 2006 was rather muted, we knew that his days were coming to an end, we lived in hope, but alas we heard the sad news that he had passed away on Boxing Day 2006, a week later we all travelled up for the funeral in Aberdeen, Jackie, Fiona and Stuart joining us. Again the extent of his popularity was obvious by the number of mourners at his funeral the chapel being filled to capacity. With the death of James Mary had lost all four of her brothers through tragic circumstances in that Billy her 4th. Brother had lost his life in a climbing accident in August 1953 on Lochnaga. Whilst living in Christchurch I got involved in lot of the local village life, fighting against planning permissions for property to be erected opposite us, driving for the Volunteer Service, taking people to the local hospitals. I also got deeply involved as Secretary of the Christchurch Action Team a committee formed to produce a questionnaire and Action Plan to plan future projects for the village, this involved attending numerous meetings and designing and producing a questionnaire booklet, all very interesting, I also took part in organising an Open Day in the Village Hall to give the parishioners the opportunity of seeing what was available in the community, also spending quite a lot of my time producing a web site for the village and posting items of interest onto it. Elen and Ian moved to Ely from Greenwich in the last 4 years, about 20 miles from us and they had another baby in May 2007 – Fletcher, so we see our two youngest grandchildren India and Fletcher quite frequently, also Fiona and Andy visit us on several occasions, also due to her unfortunate changed circumstances Jacqueline and her children now come to see us quite frequently.

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It was our intention to stay in Christchurch for ever, or at least while we were in a position to still look after ourselves, but unfortunately I was diagnosed with (MSA) Multiple System Atrophy in August 2006 a debilitating disease affecting my mobility, so regrettably as my mobility will deteriorate even further, the wisest decision was to look for a bungalow in town, not so isolated as Christchurch village. We put “Homestead” on the market and found several suitable bungalows, and had to let them go, but alas had quite a lot of difficulty disposing of “Homestead” eventually after 15 months we found a buyer and in the meantime decided to purchase a pleasant two bedroom bungalow in College Gardens, March our nearest town, the bungalow being ½ mile from the town centre this we hope will be our final move!!!!!!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Chapter 19 – Reflections Well this is the saga of my life there are many more stories I could add but probably the casual reader would consider them too trivial, also quite a few stories I cannot tell or have forgotten or remember. All I know is that I will be able to live the rest of my days recounting all the happy memories that my route along the road of life has encountered, my early boyhood as an evacuee, my memories of school and early expediencies of work, national service days and my short term in the Oxfordshire countryside at Harwell, the house we have lived in. No one knows what is in store for them, my forced relocation up to London after my parent’s tragic death was a great upheaval, in mine and Mary’s life but we seemed to have coped and made many new friends an acquaintances during the period helping run Hygienic, indeed although you would not give house room to some of the people that one had to do business with, it is surprising how many true friends we made and still keep in touch with, that originally were clients or acquaintances that were contacted through the business. In retirement I have had my ups and downs as regards health particularly the traumatic event of a kidney transplant, but there again I am obviously more fortunate than the many great friends, many quite younger than ourselves, and relatives who are not with us now. We still treasure our friends and consider ourselves extremely fortunate in having so many around us, also it is a great comfort to us that we are blessed with 4 wonderful children and of course our six grandchildren and may Mary and I be spared many years to come to enjoy life, our family, and our friends.

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Biography of Michael Mulholland

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