My mother spent her war working in the canteen at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, that’s where they met when my father came home from his traumatic times and what I pray were more pleasurable ones. Her war was equally disturbing, facing ariel bombardment at both work and at home.
Her father was one of the first to own a house in the area where she was raised and that house, which was to become my home, was one of many to be bombed. Number 306 Wickham Lane was lucky though, the incendiary device did not however explode and was carried, so I was told, by a cousin of mine two hundred yards to an Ordnance disposal unit.
When there was only the three of us there she ruled that house, her hand sheathed in a Methodist glove with even the TV banned on Sundays.
My personality was built around these two, one my father being an introverted man more interested in the construction of ‘wireless sets’ than me and the other, my mother, finding God where ever she looked. This may account for many of the idiosyncrasies I showed then. One in particular stands out as an example. In a Junior School photograph there is the whole of my year on the stage in uniform bar me. I am at the end seated in the front row dressed as a cowboy. I have the full regalia, a Stetson, waistcoat, guns and holster wearing a sheriff badge, if you find that troubling then imagine how I now feel seeing it. I not sure why I wasn’t a Marshall! The thing that really does upset me though is the unanswerable question why am I also wearing Carpet Slippers with no spurs?