28th July 1965 and I am born into
world. I do not remember anything about, of course, but I think my Mum,
Dad, Kenneth and sister Janet were pleased to see me. Janet was now
two years old herself and I believe she considered me to be her baby.
Born in the North Middlesex Hospital in
only about a 5 minute drive from 20 Barrowell Green, which would be my
the next 21 years.
Obviously much went on in my early
years, I am told
Mum and Dad struggled for money, but they never made it obvious to me
Janet, even once I could remember things.
Mum was always around, she took part time
bring in some extra money so we did not go without things. Never one to
still she is always on the go, our house was always tidy and she always
routine and stuck to it. I think I get my tidiness from her. She always
or three purses in her handbag, each one had different money for
things and I could never work this out. She had a system though and it
Dad was obviously not around
as much. He worked long
hours to bring in extra money, but I remember dinner was always around
5.40. He would always seem to be decorating or changing something in
just trying to get it right. I remember him mostly saying No to stuff
were growing up, but he taught me Cricket and many other life skills.
it is nice to be able to go to him with questions about how to do
Now I do not remember this but my mum
has told me
about it. I very nearly did not make it past the age of 3. We were
round my Nan
Tarling’s house in Cromwell Road, New Southgate, now demolished
to allow for
widening of North Circular, although her garden wall remained for many
after it, but that is another story. Apparently we were just leaving
when I ran
out of the front door, straight through the front gate and headed for
A car coming along had to swerve out of the way and my mum managed to
and pull me back onto the pavement. Obviously in those days the roads
as busy, there were less parked cars and the cars drove much slower but
it was a close thing.
I have to thank both of them
for providing a sound
household to grow up in. I had a good childhood and always got what I
for Christmas and Birthdays. They both pushed me when I needed pushing,
especially with football when I did not want to join a team, and I know
are always there when I need them.
My earliest memories or what seem to be my earliest are
going down to the shops in Palmers Green with my mum. She would have
her bag on
wheels and I would walk on any wall that could take me. She had a nylon
carrier bag, brown and orange if I remember correctly. I have a strong
of it being used to get to get potatoes in from the old fashioned type
Grocers, situated half way down the parade of shops before the post
shop had an open entrance and large square open area in the middle. The
and veg were in boxes around the edges, and the green grocer would get
wanted, having weighed it in a big silver tray, and pour them straight
mum’s nylon bag. I do not remember much else from our shopping
trips and do not
quite know why this memory sticks out so much.
My mum worked as a cleaner to bring in
money, two big houses and a small flat. The small flat was Mrs
was the mother of Mrs Abraham, who lived in a massive house on Broad
third house was just off Broad Walk but also quite large and this was
Rosengarten. As you can see all three were Jewish and could obviously
I do not know exactly when I can
remember going to
these houses as we used to go with mum during the school holidays, but
have gone with her before I started school, but there was always plenty
Mrs Abrahams had the biggest house, the
housed a snooker table off the very large square hallway. Off this
two other very big rooms and a small doorway which led through to the
kitchen/diner area. Upstairs were, I think 3 or 4 very good sized
vastly different from anything I had ever seen before. Next door lived
owner of the Daily Express at the time and they had an indoor swimming
cannot remember using it much but I do know we went in there at some
The Abraham’s back garden was just
a haven for a
young boy. A Massive lawn area, I remember treating it like Wembley. I
play football on this immaculate grass and imagined myself in a big
the bottom of the garden was a large green house. I cannot remember if
much as it was not very well kept, but once again it was very large.
Just outside the back of the house was a
pond and to
the right of it was a built up rockery area. For some reason I think
was some sort of room under this rockery, perhaps housing pumps or
filters for the pond, and just further on from this was the garage
automatically. It was a different world but I do not remember ever
jealous or envious, I just enjoyed going there and playing games in the
Their children a boy and girl were much
me and we did not often see them but that was not the case at the
Rosengarten’s. Ashley and Eddie were about my age and we played
Going to work here with mum was like going round to friends’
The house, off Broad Walk, was not as
big, but still
much bigger than I was used to. They had converted the loft, which was
by a narrow set of stairs, and this is where I first noticed being
heights as I did not enjoy coming down them and looking over the
bannister at the
large drop down to the ground. Eddie I think had this room at the top,
was downstairs on the first floor, and they were joined later by a
Their garden was square, the lawn was at the centre of it and you had
steps to get to the lawn which had a sunken appearance. Around it were
beds which were to the main level of the rest of the garden. At some
think a lot of excavation was done, but it was again a really good size
played out there as much as we did indoors.
Mr s Bloomberg’s was the least
exciting. An old lady
who lived on her own in a small flat in Palmers Green. There was
nothing for me
to do there and I really cannot remember much about our trips there
watching the television.
As I say much of these memories are from
holidays but I am sure we went along before I started school.
So to school, Winchmore Juniors in
Highfield Road. I
must have started there around 1969 and left in 1975. It seemed a long
many of the years I cannot separate the memories I have from them,
earliest recollection must have been in what is now called Reception.
We were having a Music lesson and we
used to sit on
some carpets placed on the floor. I remember clearly having the
triangle in my hand
to play during the music lesson. I do not know why it happened, whether
too distracted to notice or not wanting to ask the teacher but I wet
short trousers were soaked and so was the carpet. Nothing else springs
but I do recall this situation quite clearly.
The school was a good size and on 3
levels if I
remember correctly. I loved PE of course and especially liked using the
apparatus in the hall. The ropes were great fun and I loved climbing up
down them. I was really good at this, and we used to play a game which
avoiding members of the other team who were trying to touch you. You
allowed to put your feet on the floor, so had to work your round the
benches and ropes. It was good fun.
Lunches were held in separate buildings
main school. These buildings were single story and many were used by
secondary school. I seem to remember never having a problem with eating
was provided but do clearly recall the lumps we had in the custard. My
favourite thing was a short bread biscuit which we often got served up
custard. I would collect as many as I
could from other people who did not want them and put them in my shorts
for later. One day, someone who knew I did this was kind enough to slap
the leg, smashing the biscuit in my pocket and leaving me with a pile
Assembly used to be fun as well, my
was “Morning has Broken”, we used to fight for the hymn
books as there were two
lots. One pile was old and falling to pieces and the other pile, the
ones were nice and in good condition. One assembly for me was not so
sitting on the floor at the front, crossed legged and with my hands in
listening to what the head teacher was saying, I felt something
hands. As I opened them up I felt a sharp pain and something fly away.
been stung by either a wasp or bee and burst into tears. My sister who
assembly as well was called to take me to the welfare.
It must have been early on at the school
remember taking my knights out fit to school. In the back hall there
cardboard castle for some reason. Maybe an art project or something and
anything small either, this was very grand and we were allowed to play
In those days we had a small bottle of
milk, and the
designated milk monitors would go to collect the bottles from somewhere
school. The milk was warm and I can always remember that taste, but no
seemed to complain and I always looked forward to it and drank it with
problems. Today the thought of it turns my stomach, how could we drink
I do not recall getting into too much
trouble but on
two occasions, that I remember, my behaviour was not what it should
The first time was again when I was very
maybe in year one or two. Me and a friend, Simon Gitter, were spending
playtime just inside one of the entrances. The doors were the type that
both ways, and we were holding onto the handles, lifting our legs and
backwards and forwards. I guess we were not allowed to do this as the
headmaster, Mr Martin, caught us doing it. As he shouted at us, the
ran off, whilst I stood there paralysed. Thinking quickly I said
“shall I go and
get him?” Mr Martin agreed to this. Now he may be foolish or he
realised that we had been scared off enough not to do it again, but I
intention of going back with the other boy and never did.
It was in my last year that the other
stands out. Mrs Bliss was our teacher and for some reason she was
me for something I had done or not done, “Harris what do you
think you are
doing?” foolishly I replied “nothing Bliss” having
taken offence at not being
addressed using my first name. Promptly I received a punishment which I
was to put my hands on my head and face the wall. It was out of
character as I
got on well with her.
I am sure I was in trouble at other
times but these
are the only two occasions which I can remember.
By this time Mr Goldsworthy had taken
over as head.
A much younger man that Mr Martin and he got on well with the children.
memory is not very good regarding the teachers I had but Mrs Nelson was
along with Mrs Bliss but that is all I can recall from the teaching
Playtimes were mainly football. We had
quite a big
sheltered area for people to go when it was raining or to keep out of
At the front of this were two metal pillars. We used these as our goal.
here I remember playing football with Frank McClintock’s
children. Frank was a
pro at Arsenal, and lived just down the road from Mrs Abraham’s.
Neil was the
oldest and in Janet’s year, Ian was in my year and his younger
and Jamie were in years below us. Neil did not play with us but Ian,
Jamie did. I used to think how great it was playing football with
children of a
I clearly remember talking to Frank at
one point. It
was not really a conversation but I was on the touch line for a school
match, either watching or substitute, and he came along and asked me
I cannot remember them being at school
all the time
I was there, maybe they left due to Frank changing clubs because I also
remember play times later in my time there. Again it was football
it used to involve teams of everyone else against me and Keith Tonge.
a good friend of mine and an absolute brilliant footballer. I do not
it was me and him against the rest but although nowhere near as good as
managed to win most of the games. I will
talk more about Keith later but it is surprising that my one and only
fight I had was with him.
He had been winding me up all day about
cannot remember what and it came to home time. I was walking out of
Michael Davis and Keith followed, still goading me. Just on the corner
Carpenter Gardens I snapped and hit him. We got into a bit of a scuffle
was more handbags than anything else, but I remember him getting a
from a fence I pushed him into. Anyhow it was all over within minutes,
our separate ways and next day everything was fine again and we
friends all through secondary school.
I mentioned football earlier and I can
some stories of the school football team. I was desperate to get into
so much so I put my hand up for left back, thinking it was my way of
in. Being left footed should be a good bonus. I played one match at
got absolutely roasted by their right winger and have never played in
I did get into the side, in those days
it was not
4-4-2 but more 3-2-5. The 5 would consist of Left and Right Winger,
forward, inside left and inside right. Inside left was my position and
many games there.
One match I remember quite well being
the old brother of one of our teams. I am not quite sure why he was
it was the biggest mistake ever. He gave us a penalty which never was,
disallowed a couple of their goals for no reason and effectively
allowed us to
win the game. It was embarrassing and he was never asked again.
There was an occasion where we were
being handed out
some new kit which had been obtained and the teacher said there were
sleeved shirts and the rest were long sleeved. He asked if anyone
short sleeved and for some reason I put my hand up. When I got it I
it was not the short sleeved I had seen the pros wearing but a long
which had had the sleeves cut down. So the arms were quite flappy with
elastic to hold them in. I had that shirt for the whole season and
It was a normal school event for the
to play the girls netball team at netball. How funny was that. As
we were allowed to go anywhere, but as we soon found out in Netball,
are dependent on your allocated position. We were all far too concerned
trying to impress the girls that we kept going into areas we were not
to, and got beaten quite heavily.
The school had a goat, which was kept in
a cage just
behind one of the football goals. I think its name was Billy but all I
remember of it was how much it smelt.
End of year parties in the classroom
were fun as
well. Tables would be pushed together and we would bring in our party
jelly, crisps, cakes etc. would be scoffed by all the children, with
thought for health and safety.
During my last year I started to notice
the first time. I fell for the girl I used to sit next to in class,
Dangerfield. I am not even sure if I ever told her but I do not think
remotely interested in me. I think other people knew I liked her as
comments were put into my autograph book as well left.
In our final year we went on a weeklong
Lower Farm in Somerset. I think I enjoyed the trip but got in trouble
for going into one of the girls rooms. I do not know why I did it or
they invited me in to get me in trouble but I got caught and punished.
Each night we had hot chocolate before
bed. The farm
was very isolated and quiet and I had trouble sleeping as I was used to
noise off Green Lanes. The weather was great and it was sometime in
May, so the
evenings were reasonably long and I remember us playing out on some
the sun set.
On the trip I had my first visit to
Brent Knoll, I
would go back as an adult. We enjoyed the walk up it and on the way
were told to walk diagonally and slowly. A few of the boys ignored this
tried to run down, ended up rolling and tumbling a long way. They were
trouble for that.
We visited Glastonbury Abbey, Weston
Bath, where we went to the Roman Baths and drunk the Spa water. It was
time away even if I did feel a bit homesick at nights. We had to keep a
diary during the day and write it up neatly at the end. I wrote two
home and received a couple back.
One of them I remember saying that Dad
my room before he went to bed forgetting I was away, and also how much
left in the house as I was not there.
On the way back we stopped at
Stonehenge. My first
visit there and the only time I have been where we could touch the
days the area is roped off but in those days you could walk freely
The Worzels must have been high in the
year as I remember very clearly the whole coach singing
“I’ve got a brand new
combine harvester” on the North Circular just approaching home.
All in all in think I enjoyed my time at
school, although I am sure there were many times when I did not.
During my time at primary school I must
Cub Scouts. I do not really remember too much about my time in Cubs.
was an old lady and I remember having to do bob a job once a year. This
involved going around to neighbours to see if they had any small jobs
needed doing. I hated it. I did not mind doing stuff but hated having
on people’s doors. When we did a job, they signed a form and put
a sticker in
the window with a tick on it so no other cubs would call.
There was also a cub camp I do remember
very well. I
must have been 8 or 9, I cannot recall the age but it sticks in my mind
was my first time away from home. The first night under canvas was
Everyone else got to sleep before me and I lay awake feeling very
scared. I worked myself up into such a state that I brought on a severe
headache, possibly my first migraine. Arkela got my things together at
point in the night and drove me home. I remember getting in the car and
have fallen asleep as the next thing I know I am back at home.
I went on my camps after that and went
away on many
other occasions, I have already mentioned Lower Farm and never had a
again, maybe I was just too young. I say I never had any problems being
after that but it is not strictly true. I always had trouble sleeping
home. Not to the extent of getting worked up or needing to return home
just getting to sleep. One example off this was staying at my Auntie
We would often go there during the holidays, just Janet and myself and
it was dead quiet. No noise like we had coming from the cars on Green
it was this quietness that I am sure meant I had problems getting to
was sharing a room with Tina and just remember laying there for hour
listening to absolutely nothing.
We played football matches with the
Cubs, I remember
a few games taking place over at Broomfield Park. It was after one of
matches that I recall coming home so hot and with such a bad headache
had to lay on Mum and Dad’s bed, which had a nice cool cover on
it, too cool
down, I slept quite a long time.
As a youngster I was always mad about
hero at the time was George Best and my team was Manchester United. I
he had a football skills show on at about 5.30 on BBC1 and we would
whilst eating dinner. 1974 and Manchester United got relegated, at the
time Colin and Gary Pearson moved in just around the corner and I
friends with them very quickly. They both followed West Ham. I am not
it was Manchester United getting relegated or the Pearson’s
following West Ham
but I then stopped following one United and replaced them with another.
Ham were now my team and they would provide me with many ups and downs
coming years. I have to say it has mainly been downs but they stuck.
We got into and won the FA Cup Final in
Fulham and then played the following season in the European Cup Winners
reaching the final but losing to Anderlecht. I remember many evenings
bed listening to the commentary on the Radio as West Ham played in
Europe. I am
not sure if Mum and Dad knew I was doing this but I never got told off
it. I can remember the tune to the
programme to this day.
Talking of FA Cup Finals one of my other
very strong memories was of the 1973 FA Cup Final between Leeds United
Sunderland. It is the first Cup Final that I can clearly remember
Leeds were very strong and Sunderland were in the second division.
won 1-0 and their goal keeper played brilliantly. I also remember
around my Nanny Harris’s house as she had a colour TV and of
course I clearly
remember having some really nice ham sandwiches whilst watching.
I was too young to go and watch live,
there was also
the hooligan problem at the time which did not encourage my dad to take
let Colin or Gary take me along. They would bring me home programmes
would fill myself with statistics and my room was covered with posters
Shoot, my weekly football magazine. I love records and statistics and
book for each of West Ham’s seasons. This had results, teams,
and various other statistics and it helped me cope with the fact I
watch it live.
In those days the only live matches on
were the FA Cup Final and the World Cup Final. We had Match of the Day
would have two main matches and did not include all the goals from the
matches. This was on Saturday night and it was a good format compared
in so far that if your team was on you got a decent half an hour
However if they were not you had nothing. The Big Match was on a Sunday
afternoon and this gave a better chance of seeing West Ham. It was a
programme so the main game came from your area and was followed by
highlights from regional matches. Being in London this did mean there
teams to choose from so if West Ham were not on the goals were not
those days the cameras were not at every ground, they only went to the
matches they were covering.
All games were played on Saturday at
midweek at 7.30pm. My Saturday afternoons would start at 1.30 with LBC
up the matches and doing interviews. They would not do a main
like Radio 2 would but I liked it as
they went round the grounds regularly for updates. My Radio would
either be on
the front garden wall or lent against the shed in the alleyway and I
myself amused by practicing my skills with my trusty tennis ball and
front wall or the shed wall at the back. In the 70’s Barrowell
Green had little
road traffic going through it so I could stand in the road and kick the
against the wall, and have enough time to move out the way if a car was
Having said that I could not get to live
games I did
see some albeit Testimonials and reserve matches at Tottenham. My first
match was Pat Jennings Testimonial against Arsenal. One of my
mum’s employers –
the Abrahams had season tickets at Spurs but they did not go to the
matches and they gave up their season tickets for myself and Dad to go.
Tuesday 23rd November 1976 and we sat in the old main West
Spurs won 3-2, Jimmy Greaves got two, Peter Taylor got the other,
Arsenal Malcolm MacDonald and Frank Stapleton were the scorers.
1st April 1978 saw my Dad
take me to
watch Spurs reserves draw 2-2 with West Ham reserves. We stood on the
the Paxton Road and The Shelf. Then followed Steve Perryman’s
Testimonial on 30th
April 1979, a bigger crowd this time and another 2-2 draw. This gave me
first sight of some of the West Ham first team and David Cross was one
scorers. A couple of weeks later and I got my first proper match
– Division One
fixture Spurs v West Brom, which Spurs won 1- 0 thanks to a Ricky Villa
It was almost a year later before my
another Testimonial, this time for Terry Naylor, who I would actually
against a few years later in the Turkish League. Spurs
lost this one 2-0 to Crystal Palace. I
really enjoyed the experience of the big stadium and watching football
but it was no Upton Park.
Birthday presents mainly had something
to do with
West Ham, Mum would enjoy her visits down to the West Ham shop to get
Shop in those days was a caravan in the entrance way to the ground. She
nearer than I had to the ground and I would have loved to have gone
It was the ideal time to have a birthday, just before the start of the
so all the new stuff was out.
Sometime in the 70’s, probably
around 75 or 76, I
got my first introduction to Cricket. I had always watched it on
played a bit in the garden with dad, but we never got to play it at
School. I remember the situation very well. We were at Cubs and doing
throwing of a ball into a hoop. My friend Paul Arnold, not the most
sporting person, seemed to be landing the ball consistently into the
asked him how he was doing this and he said it was through the training
having at Northampton Exiles Cricket Club. The Exiles played about 500
away from my house and I went along with Paul to see what it was like.
in love with the game straight away, I joined the colts section, played
games and got some great coaching from Malcolm Park and John Lawler. I
the team aspect but Cricket was also a bit more individual than
Paul Arnold did not stay long at the club, he was more academic than
but I stayed and loved it.
I soon found out I was an excellent
fielder. I am
not just bigging myself up here but from an early age I enjoyed
fielding, had a
very good eye, good reflexes and was quite sharp across the ground.
helped with this, his fielding coaching was great and he told all of us
will field for much longer than we will bat or bowl so we should enjoy
be good at it.
We played 20 over matches against other
and although we were not the best I really enjoyed it and made some
I would know for many more years. Botany Bay is one much I remember
probably because we had burgers after the game and were allowed half a
shandy but I also remember if for an umpiring decision. I was bowling
arm medium pace and delivered a ball, which hit the batsman’s
pads. John Lawler
was umpiring at my end and I was walking back to my mark and he said
I did and he gave the guy out. Now whether he was or not I do not know
ball must have been well dead by that time but I got my wicket.
My fielding was obviously noted at
senior levels as
towards the end of the 70’s I got a few call ups to play for the 2nd
and sometimes even the 1st Xl. I was sometimes picked but
it was a late call up due to them being short and in main it was my
that got me the game. Yes I did, on occasions, get the old few overs to
but mostly I batted number 11 and fielded. I really did not mind as I
fielding so much. I enjoyed these times and especially the away matches
cars there and back, the conversation was often quite amusing.
The Colts used to go on a tour of the
Isle of Wight.
We all felt very important it was like the professional teams going on
stayed at Olive’s guest house and we all loved it. On my first
tour one of the
older players, Lee Woolway, reduced me to tears. We were playing
Sandown and I
was field in the covers. Lee was maybe 18 or 19 and the ball was hit
covers I dived but missed it and it went for four. He laid into me
saying I was
just being lazy but it was something I always did and more often than
stopped them. I do not know why he rounded on me, maybe he was jealous
the attention I was getting at the club, I just do not know. I nearly
right up when I was fielding on the boundary later ad the ball was
there. I dived full stretch and almost took a wonder catch but just
hold on, I dropped the six and got a lot of praise for the effort, even
came up and shook my hand.
The tours were great, a week away, with
playing cricket and generally having a good time playing pitch and putt
going in the arcades.
Olive was nice, she ran a gift shop and
were the bedrooms we stayed in, and just across the road was the beach.
would drive down in a mini bus, all our kit and luggage strapped to the
and we were in looked after well by whoever was in charge. This ranged
years from Chris Park, his son Malcolm, John Lawler, Frank Matthews and
one year Alf Goddard was there.
The games were played mostly against the
Parkhurst School, Cowes School, Ryde Public School, Sandown Cricket
Ventnor Cricket Club, there may have been others but these are what I
My favourite fixtures were Sandown and
totally different reasons. Sandown was due to the tea we had there.
brought out donuts, apples (yuk) and a pie we nicknamed a cow pat. It
basically a meat pie but it was round and flat, hence the name, but it
large and I loved it. It was it was also an all-day game, starting at
Most of our fixtures at that age were 20 overs,
the Sandown and Ventnor games were afternoon ones starting at
which I was used to having played for the 1st and 2nd
xl’s, but this was the only all day game. It meant a lot of
tactics and a much better game. I hated the years when that was the
game I had
to miss, everyone had to miss one or two games depending on how many
Ryde was a lovely fixture. A public
school so the
ground was fantastic, pitch always good and outfield like a carpet it
was a joy to play on and one of the
loved the fixture.
One year was really good, we batted
first and I was
in when it came to tea. For some reason we were not finished our
innings so I
got the chance to keep the pads on and bat after tea, normally it was
between innings. To come off the field, have something to eat and then
resume your innings. This was something only the pros did and I felt
special being able to do it as well. I cannot remember how many runs I
that day but that stuck in my mind.
We got up to some things whilst away,
wouldn’t. A group of young lads away from home. I used to pretend
myself off the pier by running up to the metal railings and swinging my
over the top. I am glad I held on tightly and it makes me nervous just
about it now.
We used to go for midnight swims in the
sea, do not
know why, it was really cold but we all did it and had a great time. On
occasion on our way back from our swim though we had a really scary
Mark Polkinghorne and a few others, who were quite a bit older than us,
joined us after they had had a few drinks. On the way back there was a
lads in the high street who started to goad us. Most of the youngsters
want to get involved but Mark returned the teasing and all of a sudden
rushed us, most of us got into the guest house but a few were caught up
fighting. We were all on the stairs shaking and quite frighten, one of
group came off quite bad. Mark Hubbard was younger than me but much
looked a few years older, I think because of this they picked on him
gotten attacked quite badly. Nothing major but enough to be shaken up.
Needless to say Mark Polkinghorne was
sent to Coventry for the rest of the tour and he was not very popular.
shortly after this he left the club to play somewhere else.
By this time, of course, I had started
school. September 1976 to be exact and I only had to go across the road
primary school. Winchmore Secondary School was in the same road as the
School and most people went from the primary school to the secondary
of course did not and to my disappointment Ruth Dangerfield went
else. I never found out where she went and have never been in contact
Many new people came from other primary
course and I quickly became friends with Stuart Stevenson, Ian Nash and
Knott. We were streamed in those days and the classes were W at the top
at the bottom, in between were inchmor, so as you can see it spelt out
I was in I so I guess was considered to
reasonably bright, and I stayed in I all through my schooling. Keith
was in W
and whilst we played football together for the school we drifted apart
Girls were now becoming of interest but
I was very
shy and new little of what to do or what was expected. It ranged from
girls you liked them, this was normally a note passed on by your mate,
receiving a note back normally saying No. Most of the time giving nice
as to why, things like “ I used to fancy you but I am going out
with….” Which was nice as
they could have been a lot
nastier. For some reason I kept these letters of rejection. I would
up, get a piece of blue tac and put them on the wall behind one of the
football posters I had up at the time.
The only time I ever went out with a
girl at school
was when she asked me, Linda Jones was her name and we went out for
couple of months. Well I say went out in fact we only once went
somewhere and that was a school fayre. As I said I was very shy and had
where to take her or even where to suggest going. She obviously got fed
this and moved on.
This does remind me though of one
success, but it goes back to primary school. Mum and Dad were friends
Dennis and Shirley, they had two children Carolyn and Alison, who lived
Grove. We spent a lot of time with them and would have alternate Friday
around each other’s houses following them doing the shopping in
Dinner was always home cooked fish with cheese sauce and chips. Anyhow
Dennis, Mum and Dad were also friends with Mr and Mrs Taylor, cannot
their first names. They had two children, I think, there youngest Jane
age and I can recall even at that young age snogging with her.
before senior school they moved away to ways and I can recall very well
in their front room surrounded by packed boxes snogging with Jane
Now we were in secondary school we could
walk on our
own. Just by the cricket club are some white poles, Carolyn and Alison
walk past these from Ash Grove on the way to school. Janet and I would
them there and we would walk through the alley down to Highfield road
I cannot say I really enjoyed school, I
studying hard and I always came near the bottom of the class in tests.
in hindsight I might have been better off in N. I did love PE though
forward to those lessons, unless of course it was cross country. We
from a newly built sports hall, opened in our first year so the
Playtimes were mainly football, although
it had to
be a tennis ball and not a full size ball we were used to in primary
was good at avoiding trouble, there were little gangs which went around
you a grief and I think it was in the second year that they were going
giving people a “scanty”. This involved about 4 of them
grabbing hold of your
pants and lifting you up in the air. This meant your pants were pulled
into your backside and I am told was quite painful. I say “as I
because I avoided it altogether by going into the year 3 playground and
football with the older boys I know from Northampton Exiles.
At the end of the school day it was a
rush to the
Ice Cream van. I sometimes get reminded of it by the smell that is
given off by
the ice cream vans generator. I loved getting a hot dog with onions
nights, but during the summer nothing went down better than an oyster.
a wafer shaped in an oyster shape, top and bottom with meringue and ice
the middle. The ice cream van also sold something called a rocket,
which was a
raspberry flavoured Ice lolly, these two were very popular and tasty
and if you
were trying to impress and girl you would buy one and get your mate to
over to her.
I can remember some of the teachers but
them into years of when they taught me. Mr Martini was maths, Mrs
English, Mr Bruce taught Geography, Mr Firth was woodwork, Mr McClaren
metalwork teacher, Mr Degirman was our German teacher and Mrs Twomy
One Year Mr Bruce was our Football Team
he gave us the most memorable pre match speech I have ever heard. The
remain so clear to this day “ if you score more goals than them
you will win” –
Mr Twomy’s lessons were great. Not
because of the
French, I hated that but she would wear shiny blouses and when she
to the window you could see through the material that she was no
wearing a bra.
The great thing, however about secondary
the football. It was where I felt most comfortable. No girls to get
about, no difficult questions in the classroom which I could not
answer. Just a
bunch of teenagers, who were very good at football, good mates, from
of the school year and who got on well together. There was no class
here, Andrew Maracou, our left back was in E, Keith Tonge, Ricardo
in W and the rest of us were spread over all the other classes.
We were a great team. There is no
denying that and
from year 1 through to year 5 we kept pretty much the same group
the odd one coming in and going out. We won something every year,
cup or the league and some years both. It was great to be involved in
shared many special moments. It was also great to be often let out of
early when we had a match away from home.
We used to get our medals presented in
would have to go up on stage to collect them and this was also special
of the rest of our year.
I was a good player, but in that team
not one of the
best. Scouts would always be at our games I never got noticed, maybe I
good enough or maybe I would not play well when I knew they were there.
Tonge did get noticed and was on Spurs books for a while before moving
Brentford where he played a few matches before giving up. David Hatchet
Paul Smith were also picked up but never made it, David did play for
during the time when they were much higher in the league than now.
We had some good managers over the years
year 1 I was pretty much sub all the time. I think Mr Lecturn was in
us and he did not recognise what I could contribute. That changed in
Year when Mr Goode took over. I knew him from the Cricket Club, I very
man who got the best out of the kids. Year 3 was the Mr Bruce years,
think he kept us in year 4 as well, before Mr Ackroyd took us in Year 5
We used to play finals at the Henry
This was great, it had a few small stands and steps coming down from
changing rooms. For a couple of years Terry Yorath, who was at Spurs at
time, presented the medals. I scored in a couple of finals and the best
a 2-0 win over Stationers, where I hit one from outside the area with
I did not score many hat tricks but my
came 6th April 1979 away at Albany. We won 7-0 that day with
Dorigo, Paul Smith, Dale Smith and Robert Bootman getting the other
We enjoyed the Sports Days and Swimming
well. At that time Barrowell Green had an open air swimming pool. It
just being able to walk down the road and go for a swim. Yes the water
freezing but in the hot summer of 1976 it was great to keep call. Most
times it was cold when you first got in but you soon got used to it and
children, I do not think we ever felt the cold.
We would spend lots of days down there
summer holidays, either in the water or on our towels on the vast
concrete which surrounded it and it hurt your feet as you walked over
the far corner was a building with a sweet machine in it. I used to
getting a cherry flavoured “sucky sweet” from the machine,
I cannot remember
what they were called.
At the back was an open area just beyond
trees but still within the pool complex and had high walls to the side
back. Here we could play football or other balls games. It was a very
place to go until someone put a petrol bomb in it in the early
80’s and it
remained derelict for many years before they built some flats on it.
Anyhow it was at this Swimming Pool that
held its swimming galas. I was not much into Swimming but the whole
would go along and watch. I used to take my radio along so I could tune
Radio 3 and listen to the Test Match.
In those days I did not spend much of my
time out of
school with any school friends. I did hang around with Stuart Stevenson
school and during the holidays because he lived close to me, but Mungo
Southgate and Ian in Enfield somewhere. Stuart and I would cycle
which girls we liked we could see near their homes and we mucked around
local parks or down the Exiles fields playing tennis or Cricket.
A lot of my other spare time was spent
and Gary Pearson, they had a friend Barry Fryer who lived across from
a few other people whose names I forget. There was a big guy called
Zaidman who was a weightlifter and who knew Geoff Capes. Anthony would
stand on his stomach to show how strong he was.
During the summer evenings we would ride
in Barrow Close, playing a game where you had to keep pedalling and not
your feet down in a specified restricted area, two of the sides of this
curb on either side of the road.
We also were in a sort a gang, called
the Mongs. It
was not a fighting gang just a name we gave ourselves and we would play
football matches against a gang from the Larches, where Keith Tonge
some reason I got the nickname “TOAD” not sure why maybe as
I was much smaller
and younger than them.
I remember, as well, we used to have a
Firs Farm, where we used to hang out. It was an old tree, which had no
in it. We could climb up the inside and we made our base up the top of
We spent many hours together, mainly in
but also in the evening before bedtime. I hated it when my mum would
of our back gate and call me in. Being much younger than the others my
was much earlier. I would be up in my bedroom, which looked over Barrow
and still see them playing and feeling quite envious that I could not
there with them.
I got a paper round. I cannot remember when I
started or finished but it would have been around the end of the
70’s to the
early 80’s. It was a Threaders newsagents just over Green Lanes.
My round was
Farndale Avenue and I really enjoyed being out early when it was so
We would go in to the back
of the shop, mark up our
round and then deliver. After a while I knew the papers and house
that I could pretty much mark up without too much reference to the
Although you had to check in case people had cancelled or changed.
while I was out of the shop first and I think I was considered I
and reliable employee. I soon started to get extra rounds if someone
Sundays were the worst
though. Around this time the
colour supplements had started and the bag was so heavy that day. Also
people ordered two papers on a Sunday, and the bag strap cut into my
So now to the 80’s and so much
happened to me during
this decade. I suppose there were bigger and more important things but
stand out thing for me was 13th September 1980 and my first
Upton Park to watch West Ham. The match was against Shrewsbury in the 2nd
Division and we won 3-0, Cross, Goddard and an og won the match for the
and I have to thank brother-in-law to be Steve who took me and Janet
Christmas time was good as
well as we got quite a
bit of money from customers. I was expected that you knocked for your
Box but I was reluctant to do this. Whether it was because I was shy or
thought it was not right, I was getting
paid to do it after all. However many of my customers made a point of
and giving me some money for my efforts.
We went again on the 20th
watch the Hammers beat Derby 3-1 and on 13th April 1981 they
to watch Bobby Ferguson’s Testimonial against Southampton which
West Ham won
4-3. Janet was keen to go to this one as Kevin Keegan was playing for
Southampton at the time. Between then and the end of the season there
youth Cup final over two legs – West Ham v Spurs, we went to
both, and a couple
of testimonial matches as well.
I had the bug big time and by the time
season started I would be 16 and felt it was time for me to be allowed
to go on
my own. There was no problem with money, I had been doing a paper round
few years now anyway and getting there was fine on the train from
Hill to Moorgate, then the tube to Upton Park, following a change I
The only problem was my Dad, he was not
for me to go on my own. Anyhow I sort of got my own way and on 29th
August 1981 I sat off to watch West Ham
in the 1st Division play Brighton and Hove Albion. I was
and did not really know what time to get there but did not want to risk
getting in, after all West Ham had just been promoted and I was sure
would be a big crowd. In those days of terraces you could only buy
the seated areas. So there I am queuing at the turnstiles at 9.30 in
morning. To be fair there were others there already as well, but as I
later they only got there that early so they were sure to get their
The wait seemed like ages but at 1.30
opened, I paid my money and took my place on the terraces of the North
just spent the next hour or so taking in the atmosphere, you could
grass, and the pitch looked immaculate. Two penalties for each team
made it a
1-1 draw, it was not a great game but I loved it all the same.
I am not going to detail all of the
games I went to,
I am sure that would be very boring but I have to recall the next
Ham had. We were away at Tottenham and I had to go. Again in those days
pay on the door and I felt it would be
safer to stand on the shelf with the Spurs fans. What a night, I had
to a handful of games but this match became my favourite ever. We
played them off the pitch. We ended up winning 4-0 and David Cross got
all 4 of
them. It was really difficult keeping the fact that I was West Ham in
Spurs lot. I needn’t have worried as after the second goal went
in it became
very clear that there were many more West Ham in with me. My main worry
was getting caught up in any trouble, so I made my way from the centre
of the Corners where I could watch in a bit more safety.
I really enjoyed watching live football
and it was
great to be able to go on my own. A big problem though was two games
Sept, a Tuesday night and West Ham are due to play Southampton. My dad
really not keen at all for me to be travelling on the tube and train so
night. We had a few phone calls to his work to discuss the matter, but
adamant that I was going.
In the end, and I think for his peace of
left work early and joined me. It was another great game, West Ham
however all my Dad could think about was the chap stood a few feet away
heavy cold and sneezing in his direction.
I think after that Dad was Ok for me to
go on my own
and I did not miss a home game that season, when I could I would go to
Tottenham as well. It was great in those days, you could decide a few
before kick-off if you wanted to go and then pay on the door. Now you
plan weeks in advance.
The following season I missed one home
game. It was
the 9th October 1982 and West Ham beat Liverpool 3-1 and oh
would have loved to be there. Instead I had to listen to it through an
piece plugged into a radio at my sister’s wedding to Steve Clark.
listened to it in the church but I did not really care about god anyway
did not bother me.
The newlyweds went on honeymoon the next
day and I
promptly moved my things from my small bed room to my sister’s
larger room. My
Dad had to go away on business that day and I think my mum was a bit
her daughter leaving and husband away on business. So me moving my
sooner than Janet had left hopefully took her mind off the situation
her something to do.
Janet and Steve moved into a flat in
above Ironside Motors. Steve did shift work and was on nights a lot.
time we got a phone call, after I had gone to bed. Janet had heard a
was worried. I had to get up, dress and cycle round there to spend the
she could sleep without worrying.
Over the next few seasons I expanded the
would go to, I started to go to Highbury, and also to Wembley to watch
I then started to look around London for other matches when West Ham
playing and took in games at Brentford, QPR, Millwall, Leyton Orient.
It was not long before I expanded my
travels and started
to watch West Ham away and my first trip out of town was to Wolves
watched us win 3-0 and Brooking scored his 100th goal for
How could I afford all these matches and
Well by this time I had left school. I had not done very well in my
fact I failed all 5 O’levels I took and therefore had to stay on
in the 6th
form. The year was disrupted by our 6th form block being set
light, we think by an old student Adrian Hopson, but this was never
meant us spending our free time in a porta kabin and not in a plush 6th
6th Form was fun, it was more
lot more free time and you were not treated as children. I still did
as hard as I should of and played a lot of bridge when I should have
studying. Somehow though I passed my Maths and English O Levels and
technical drawing one as well.
I still had no idea what I was going to
do and I sat
my last exam on 30th June 1982. My Dad had secured me a job
summer in the Stores at STC where he worked in New Southgate, and I
there 1st July 1982, the day after my last exam. I worked
the stores and enjoyed Thursday afternoons when the security guards
with the pay. I think I got £71 for my first weeks work and it
was cash given
to me in an envelope. I had never had so much money.
The job itself was Ok, you had a trolley
around and a job list. You had to go around the store picking up the
items on the job list to put together a kit which was the sent to the
floor for assembly. Once you finished that you went a got another one.
enjoyed it there and was helped by the fact that most people knew my
helped me out.
As I said I worked hard and just as I
the end of my time there I was asked to go for an interview with one of
other Store managers there. I am not sure if my Dad had anything to do
this or if my hard work had been noted, maybe a bit of both. It was not
interview as such, just a chat which at the end Mr Shelton offered me a
time job in the stores. This was great as it really gave me some money
my football requirement.
My job now was in the metalwork stores
Tony Zamba. We would again pick items to make up kits but these were
screws, nuts, washers etc., instead of Capacitors, Resistors and the
There were four of us in the store, a
black man. Mr Shelton’s nephew Robin, myself and one other person
who I cannot
remember. There was also Clarky who operated the fork lift truck, which
helped him with following my successful training.
I was only in there for a few months and
I did get
bored quickly. I would find myself
staring out of the windows watching the office workers come and go and
After a while I must have demonstrated
good work and
reliability as they transferred me over to Building 8 where I had my
feeding a shop next door. It was quite easy, pallets would arrive with
them, picked from the main store, where I had worked in the Summer. I
have to locate the kits and then issue them out when the shop wanted
was great at first, I reorganised it to make it more efficient, had a
listen to and it was all great. However there was nothing to stimulate
me and I
soon got bored. The guys on the shop floor helped by coming in for
chats and we
played cards in the tea room at our break. Dion, Jimmy and Stevie were
to me and kept me going but the days were long with so little to do.
Jimmy was a
large man and very funny, Stevie was slight I build and I could chat
both of them.
It was around this time that I had my
relationship. In my last year at school, one lunchtime I was walking
the main building, when I overheard a girl say to her friend “is
that the one
you fancy” and the reply was “yes”. The comment had
been directed at me and the
girl who said yes I recognised. She lived over the road from me, at
so sort of the girl next door and she was the Sandra, sister of Kim
I was friends with and often walked home from school with, along with
girl Rosida Mohamed. Rosida I quite liked myself but never had the
Anyhow it took me over a year after
comment to actually pluck up enough courage to knock on her door to ask
out. Even though I knew she liked me. Anyhow I did finally do it and of
she said yes but I was still very shy and really did not know quite
where to go
I think our first date was down to the
Wimpy Bar and
I also remember going to see an Officer and Gentleman with her. She
more experienced than me and taught me how to kiss and this included
kissing as well. Wow this is great I thought.
Sandra was very slight in build and she
did not seem
to eat much. I would ring her every day to see how she was but my
those days was short and I did not really know what to say. Most of the
would ask her what she had eaten and I think it got to her a bit as I
thought I was checking up on her.
Most of the calls were made at
lunchtimes from my
Nan’s house. She lived just down the road from STC and every
lunchtime I would
walk down to see her and she would have a nice lunch ready for me,
like cheese on crusty bread or sausage sandwiches. She liked me coming,
company for her and I liked to see her as well, although over the years
were times I wanted to do other things at lunchtime with my work
felt obliged to see her knowing she probably would not see anyone else
if I did not go.
There was one occasion I was glad I did
go. I turned
up as normal and rang the bell. There was no answer, I tried my key but
door was locked from the inside. I peered through the letter box and I
see nan lying there on the floor in her night clothes. She had
collapsed in the
night whilst going to the toilet and had lay there all that time. I
go round the back and find a window slightly open, which I climbed
reach her. The ambulance was called and she was taking in for a check
have never been so scared or afraid, but I am glad I went that day
who knows what would have happened.
I think Sandra and I went out for about
before she finished with me. It was her birthday and I had been down to
Green and brought her a ring. I had booked a table at a local beefeater
really looking forward to taking her out to celebrate.
The night before she phoned me and said
to break up. I was devastated, I had never been in this position before
totally wrecked. I went up into my room and cried my eyes out. I think
a good few nights in that room moping and feeling sorry for myself. It
so much worse by the fact I could see her house from our front room
is a horrible experience and one that I am so glad to say I have never
I sunk myself into my football and
started to coach
some of the younger kids at my old club, Eversley. I helped my old
Tom Wilson, a lovely man and I really enjoyed coaching them.
Work took off as well, after a year in
the stores I
got recommended for an office job and joined the Material Control
working for Terry Poulton. Now much nearer my Dad, I got the know the
his department and these would be provide me with my social life for
few years as well as looking after my sporting needs as well.
Mick Loughlin was from the North East, a
fan and we would go to watch Sunderland play if we could. I remember a
Cambridge in a clapped out Ford Escort going up the A10. Mick was in a
relationship with Jan Mundy who also worked near Dad. Mick and Jan new
North, another Geordie, and there was Cath Harvey, John Blight, Dave
Ian Burns, Sue Griffiths, Sue Pearson, John Sweet, Richard Kendall and
others. Most of them were university graduates and I was invited along
nights out up town, cocktail parties and many other functions. We even
election party around Maurice’s.
Many of these people liked football so
we started up
a Friday night football session first on some gravel at Haringey
Stadium, which had some floodlights and then we secured half of the
pitch, which was fully lit on a Friday night. After this we would go
drink in the Cherry Tree pub and I really enjoyed those times. Of
course of the
years people left and it faded out, towards the end we could only just
enough for 3 a side matches but in the early days there would be at
enough for 6, 7 or sometimes even 8 a side matches.
One of the people who worked for Dad and
us was John Hagger. John was and is a lovely man, very easy to talk to
to earth. We shared similar views and one major thing we had in common
John was the instigator behind my
expansion of where
I watched West Ham matches and it was with him that I travelled to that
away match in Wolves. It was costly on the train in those days but at
Persil were doing an offer whereby you could get two adult train
the price of one. I got mum to switch to Persil and John got his wife
to do the
same and we collected the vouchers.
That first trip to Wolves was an eye
opener in terms
of the policing of hooligans. We got off the train intending to look
Wolverhampton, get some food and a ticket and watch the game. However
met straight away by the police, and marched off to the stadium, where
kept herded together and told there were no seats left for the game,
only. John and I kept our eyes open and took our opportunity to get
they were not looking.
We quickly went to the ticket office,
easily purchased two seat tickets, headed off for the town centre for
to eat and returned to watch the match.
I really enjoyed John’s company,
he would often give
me a lift home from Upton Park, passing his own house on the way. We
many interesting times following West Ham around the country. It was a
thing he was with me, he had travelled much himself before and knew a
things to watch out for. Had I been on my own at many places I would
into trouble. There was a cup game away at Birmingham on one occasion
we played rubbish and were 3-0 down when the West Ham fans invaded the
Within a minute me and John were the only ones still in our seats, it
around us. We left the ground and John was eagle eyed enough to get us
the train station whilst pockets of fans were fighting in little
the way to the station.
I remember a trip to Manchester, again
for a cup
tie. We managed again to get away from the main group and decided to
the Train to Old Trafford, it was quite away but this way we would not
caught up in any trouble. Sill me though, I thought I would be smart
a map of the city centre and was freely walking along towards the
looking at the map. John quickly took it off me and put it away,
he said “if we are from Manchester why are we looking at a
map”. He was right,
if there were any hooligans looking for trouble it would have been like
beacon to them.
It was that game which featured on the
programme about hooligans. There was so much trouble that day outside
ground and on the way to and from the train, but we saw none of it,
us away from it.
Again in Manchester, this time going to
Main Road to
watch us play Man City and again John warmed me about the dangers here.
close to the ground are terrace type houses which back onto one another
alleyway in between. These were hot spots for away supporters to be
down and beaten up in.
Another time walking across Stanley Park
he spotted some lads coming up to us. He told me quickly not to say
them. They approached and asked us the time, John quickly shook his
pointed to his wrist, which did not have a watch on and walked on. Once
of them I asked him why he had done this and he said that they were
check out our accents.
There was the time we were standing on
the Shelf at
White Hart Lane watching Spurs play West Ham. All of a sudden a pint of
gets thrown in the air just to the left of us. John grabs my arm and
as far as he can away from that area. Within about 20 seconds there is
massive fight going on there and apparently the pint of beer going up
West Ham hooligans signal to start trouble.
Work was going well and I was enjoying
being one of
the office workers, earning more money and being a bit more free with
movements. I could go round to other offices and chat to friends to
day up, in the stores we had to stay put. In our department we had to
requirements and ensure there was enough stock. If there was not we had
place a requisition, which the buyers downstairs would turn into an
It was very interesting work and I
enjoyed it. We
would have to make sure we were never overstocked and large value items
be ordered carefully. Normally we would get a new tab of requirements
month but sometimes things changed like new orders received or stock
been done and tabs would come out more frequently. It was very annoying
a new tab and find the orders you had placed now did not cover
we had to then chase them in, or they had found more stock and you had
orders out or cancel them.
I worked in a great office with many
helped me and made working very enjoyable. Ian Thorne was my age, an
fan, and we got on very well. We used to call him bucket, as after a
we got KFC on the way home and he ordered and ate a whole Kentucky
Watson and Ilker Salih were older than me but both watched and played
There was Phil Nimmo and Terry Kelly as well and Dave Greenway, Ian
Burns and Sue
Griffiths were the supervisors but I got to know them quite well from
regular evenings out. Everyone was great and you got a lot of stick and
a good grounding for me and taught me many things in how to mix with
people, something I think I lacked at school.
Sitting behind me was Bob August. Bob
was gay but no
obviously so. He gave me the most stick and would regularly embarrass
me when a
young girl would walk into the office to talk to me. He was nice with
and taught me a lot about life.
The most difficult person in the office
was the one
I had to sit next to and share a computer terminal with. Wendy Johnson
very strange women. She travelled every day from Osterly, was always
grumpy and I think she took advantage of me as a youngster but being
very aggressive and controlling. I was very scared of her and had to
work around when she was not using the terminal.
Whilst working for Terry Poulton I
learnt to drive.
It was around 1984, I had a private instructor and it was around the
ABC being quite popular as I always remember True being played on the
was very laid back and often seemed to not be focusing on my driving at
The first lesson we went out on the A10 and that was fun driving on a
for my first time.
I took my test but failed on a couple of
decided to change to BSM. My new instructor, a lady, took me out and
first 10 minutes told me what I failed my test on and was absolutely
After another 8 lessons with her I took my test and passed. It is a
feeling to pass. The next day at work Terry was seeing a customer and
he knew I
had passed. He took me down to meet the customer who was driving a
car, cannot remember what it was. We met him at the door, Terry Mobbs
was and Terry Poulton said to him “Hi Terry let Paul go and park
your car, he
passed his test yesterday” Great I thought, I was only young and
confident. So I nervously took the keys and parked his car whilst they
watched me. Thanks for that Terry I thought.
Having passed my test I thought it would
some more freedom but I could not afford to buy a car and my dad would
lend me his. So for about a year I never drove again. My dad had a
Marina at the time and felt it was not that easy to drive and would not
However after a while he brought a new Maestro, it looked like a
according to Mick Loughlin. With this safer car my dad was OK to let me
us all to work and also allowed me to pick him up from functions when
had a drink. However because I had not driven for so long he made me
couple of driving lessons to get used to it again.
It felt very strange telling the
instructor that I had
in fact passed my test but my dad wanted me to have some practice.
this I got more use of the car but only if Dad was with me or I was
up. This got on my nerves a bit and after a while and following a
good pay rises we realised I could afford a car and I brought a brand
Fiesta. It was maroon and we got it from the Ford Garage on Lancaster
which is no longer there.
This was great, I could now get around
no more buses or tubes. I could drive to West Ham and also get to play
and cricket without having to rely on others to drive me to matches.
I was also able to visit my Auntie Joyce
John who lived in South Mimms. I used to love visiting them and used to
up there but now it was much easier. I went more regularly and started
a weekly visit so Uncle John and I could play squash. It was also nice
because my cousin Lesley was there and we got on very well. She
played squash with us and came to a few football matches with me.
Another person who came to a lot of
with me was Jane Harwood. Jane was Terry Poulton’s secretary and
girlfriend. She supported Liverpool and Phil was not interested in
Jane and I would go and watch Liverpool play when they were local. We
really well and enjoyed each others company, so much so we would see
some evenings for a drink and spent many hours in her house listening
until the early hours.
We had a great trip to Blackpool
together as well.
West Ham were playing away at Preston North End so Jane and I went up
the day, had some time on the Beach and in the Theme Park, before
Preston for the match in the Evening and then driving home. It was a
but very enjoyable.
Jane joined us on a couple of family
family picnic at Walton on the Naze and a cousin’s day trip to
Alton Towers. I
used to get stick at the Cricket Club for going out with “my best
but it was not like that. We were just good friends.
Work changed a lot around 1985-86. Many
and departments were merged and changed.
I became a buyer, after material control
down. Things were being automated. Terry retired and we had some new
arrive as well. Offices were developed and new furniture arrived as
was a big change but at least I still had a job, although I knew
buying and had no training I did feel quite exposed.
Les Kerr joined the company and sat next
to me with
one of the buyers from the previous set up Colin Stephenson. We all
football and similar things and the 3 of us got on really well. Colin
up being Purchasing Manager but for now he was one of the boys.
Les was a big influence on me. We played
together and went out socially. He got on well with my mum and dad and
visits them today. It was Les who helped me leave home. There was no
could afford to on my own but in 1987 Les suggested buying a two
together. We looked around and after a couple fell through we finally
65 Palmerston Crescent in Palmers Green, opposite the Bus Station.
It was great having my own place and I
look back now
and think that I moved out from home without really thinking how my mum
were feeling. With children myself now I guess I should have been a
understanding about that fact their child was leaving home, although it
only down the road.
I never dated anyone during this time
but Les was constantly
trying to help me and encourage me to try. I remember we used to drink
Cherry Tree and there was a nice young bar maid. Everyone kept giving
saying I should ask her out but I was not brave enough. Anyhow one
thought I would just go for it, I knew no one would be in there that I
walked in, it was very noisy and crowded. I saw her and obviously very
nervously just asked her if she wanted to go out with me. She said No
and I can understand why. I never started a conversation or anything, I
came straight out with it.
Les never had any problems with the
always had someone he was seeing, although they would only be around
short while as Les gets bored quick, but he is so confident and is such
socialiser that he always meets some one else very quickly. I was
his ability to do this.
There is one story which always amuses
me. I really
liked this girl in the office, Debbie Oakes was her name. She knew very
liked her and I asked her out on many occasions. She was seeing someone
Gary but Les had told me they had split up and now would be a good time
This I did as soon as I got the chance but she said they had got back
I was gutted again, another rejection and found Les to have a chat
Whilst chatting I said to him “ I bet she
would go out with you if you asked” he laughed and I bet
him to ask her.
So off he goes and asks her out and walked back to where I was and you
see by his face that she had said yes. We both had a good laugh about
had told him not to tell me, which of course he was always going to do.
The story moves on with the fact that
before we had moved in together and Les was staying with me at my Mum
as we were waiting for our purchase to go through and he had given
his flat. He was without a car at the time and asked to borrow mine to
Debbie out in. How ironic, Debbie ended up in my car but not with me.
To rub salt into the wound Les had an
the car and dented my passenger door. We had to hide this from Mum and
making sure it was parked so that the door was always away from the
got Neil next door, who was a mechanic, to fix it on the quiet.
I am not sure to this day whether Mum
and Dad knew
about it, or whether Debbie knew that I knew Les had taken her out and
car. Les and Debbie never lasted long a couple of dates I think, and
off he was
with another woman.
There was another girl I really fell
Campbell was temping in our office and she was lovely. We seemed to get
really well and I would spend a lot of time at her desk and he at mine
chatting. The fax machine was right next to her desk and it used to
ages to send a fax so I could talk to her. We used to go off and have
together and would go to the pub for lunches. However, she would never
with me, despite me asking so many times. She was a Jehovah Witness and
not date anyone who did not have the same religious views. It was a
as I really felt for once I had met my perfect female.
All I had during this time was my
Football. Football now was being played on Friday nights with people
over on the astroutrf pitch at New River Sports Centre and also playing
Turkish League with Ilker Salih from work.
The Turkish league was a good standard,
matches were played at Hackney Marshes. Each side were only allowed two
players and I really enjoyed it. I played up front with a boy called
was a great player. We hit it off straight away and scored stacks of
together. One match we came up against the ex Spurs player, Terry
slower now obviously but he still knew how to tackle and you could tell
a pro. It was fun being up against such a good player.
During the Summer Cricket was my life,
Sunday would be spent at the club. I would get there around 8am and
on preparing the ground for the matches, cutting and rolling the
Getting on the Tractor to cut the outfield and then getting the
scoreboard and enclosure ready for the 2pm start.
Matches would be from 2pm to 7.30pm and
followed by drinks in the clubhouse or doing your bar duty and once
couple of months doing lock up as well. We would have nets on a
and quite often play mid week cup matches or local 20 over games in the
It was fantastic, we had a great bunch
of people at
the club and I probably miss that today more than anything else. I was
left arm bowler and a big hitting middle order batsman, and I have to
probably the best fielder at the club.
Many times after a match the opposing
say what a superb fielder I was and how many runs I had saved. I
cover point for the medium quick bowlers and on the boundary for the
I was very quick and athletic diving to make stops and hardly ever
catch whether it be straight at me or one hit a long way in the air. I
fielding, I would pray that we won the toss and fielded first as it
could be out there a long time. It is probably the one thing in my life
have ever been super confident of in my ability to do it and it really
when I returned to playing having given up for a few years to find that
although my mind knew what I wanted to do my body was not as it used to
My bowling was slow left arm. Not a big
the ball but I had a natural loop and got good flight and varied my
pace. I regularly
took between 60 to 70 wickets a season and remember one year being left
My batting was much more straight
forward. Not much
technique but I could hit the ball and scored quite quickly. I was fast
the wickets and never tried to never let the bowlers get on top. I
100 over at North London for the 2nd Xl and scored quite a
as well. My 100 was scored off only 66 balls and my quickest 50 was off
deliveries. I liked hitting the ball hard and a long way if I could.
Looking back I realise now I might have
runs had I worn a helmet. Many players did but I felt it weighed too
slowed down my running, however when I returned to playing after giving
a few years I did wear one and felt much more comfortable against the
bowling. As I had poor technique I was concerned facing the quicker
would often get out because of this, but the helmet gave me much more
confidence to get in line with the ball.
In the 1986 we toured Barbados. It was a
my first time abroad and the touring party numbered about 50.
got the wrong level of fixtures and ended up playing teams who were too
for us and most of them had played against England the winter before.
found this out we decided not to bother tossing a coin, we just agreed
them bat first otherwise the matches would have been over too quickly.
The bowling was very very quick, nothing
like we or
I had ever played against. The West Indians are very friendly people
really nice to us, but cross that boundary line and they are a
and are looking to hurt you as much as they can.
We have a picture of one of our top
lifting his bat up and already his off stump is flying out of the
keeper played one match for the oppositions and said his hands had
For my part I was lucky, I was batting
in one match
at the point where the only slow bowler we were to see in our 5 matches
on. Myself and Mark Boyle took full advantage of this and helped
some runs. I scored 32 which was to be our top score on the whole tour,
during this innings whilst not facing the slow bowler I faced some
which I never even saw, some of which cut me in half.
We played one match at the test ground,
Oval and that was nice to play there. Once again we got stuffed and I
fielding on the boundary in front of one of the stands. Their batsman
ball out to where I was fielding and I thought this was going to be an
catch for me. In England it would have been, but the thinner air over
makes the ball travel differently. I watched this ball sail over my
head, it even
cleared the roof of the stand.
The locals are very keen to challenge
you on the
beach. We played football on the soft sand with some of them and also
play beach cricket. This was an eye opener as well, this is played on
sand, with a baked or hardened Tennis Ball in between the palm trees.
again they hurl this down at you and it really hurts if you miss it.
All in the tour was great, although it
was very hot
but we all got on well together and had a great time. Barbados is a
My niece, Lindsay, was born 29th
September 1987. I would spend many hours around Janet’s, playing
and it was a fun and enjoyable. My nephew James arrived a couple of
7th December 1989.
A very low point in my life
came was on the 4th March 1988. My Nan Tarling, my mums mum
away aged 88. I said before how I once found her lying on the floor in
hall. After that she had got much worse in terms of looking after
had been moved into a home and it was sad visiting her there. She
who we were and just sat whilst we chatted to her. I have this memory
putting her favorite sweets into her mouth, she could not even manage
was very close to me. I am not sure if this was because she was my
Mum’s mum or
if because my other Nan still had her husband around, but it was Nanny
we used to spend holidays with and who was often over our house baby
visiting. As I said I used to see her every lunch time as she lived
the road from work and I am just very sad that she was not around to
see my children.
remember the day very well as I was woken up by the phone call, I think
Dad who told me and I must have gone into shock. At the time I was
friend, Jean Raynor, a lift into work. I was due to pick here up and
call I seemed to just carry on as normal. I got to Jean’s and
just burst into
tears as it finally struck me. We drove into work and I managed to get
Work continued with regular changes
taking place and
people leaving and new people starting. Les decided that after 3 years
living together he wanted to sell up.
still think of her most days, a lovely lady, very strong minded and
my dad a lot of grief for some reason, I do not think she thought he
enough for her daughter. She died of dementia and I miss her lots still.
We had started to drift apart,
was living together that did this, but we had many dis agreements and
out over silly things.
I brought a two bedroom flat in Severn
Drive and he
found something in Meadowcroft Road, Palmers Green. By this time my
at Cricket, Duncan Scott had started to bring his girlfriend down. Her
Karen Pegram and we all spent a lot of time together. Richard and his
girlfriend Kim were also around and although I had no one they made me
comfortable and never made me feel out
of place. They included me whenever they all went out wherever it was.
Karen, Duncan and I went on holiday to
1990 and we had a great time. None of us spoke French and it was so
first time Duncan and I went to get a drink. We looked in many places
find the one that was not too busy and not too empty so we would not be
trying to ask for two beers. We managed it in the end and whilst in
many places of interest, including the Bayeaux Tapestry. We went to
historic for their part in the war and also went to this Village on an
which is completely cut off from the mainland when the tide comes in,
it is out you can walk to it.
One of the funniest things to happen
while we were
away was when we brought some ready made lasagne for our evening meal.
it in the oven and played some cards. Once it started cooking we could
this lovely sweet smell. It could not be anyone else as we were in the
Gite in the Village. It was just us, some farmhouses, a church and a
was very isolated.
Anyhow we soon realised the smell was
the oven, had we left something in there. No we had in fact brought
Pudding and not Lasagne. I have to say it was the best rice pudding I
tasted and we could not finish it all. The local cats loved it.
Driving on the other side of the road
was fun and
confusing. Especially roundabouts, trying to work them out was doing my
in. It was not so much fun on the way back when we got off the very and
was still in French mode and on the wrong side of the road with a car
straight for us. We managed to avoid that an get on the left side again
that was a close one.
Living on my own was nice in some ways
but also very
lonely. I just wanted someone to spend my time with and some nights I
mind admitting I ended up in tears with my loneliness. It was nice
own place and being able to afford to do things. My sport was my life,
were great but I went home to an empty flat and I wanted some
Towards the end of the 80’s Duncan got
me to play
football at Old Minchendians. They played on Saturday afternoons and I
in the 5Xl with Duncan. I did well there and enjoyed it and it was not
before I went up through the teams and ended up in the 1st
was OK, the football was better but I did not know anyone and it was a
lonely. We travelled a long way to some matches and I think I left
couple of seasons.
At the start of the 90’s I was playing
Enfield Park. Paul Woolston who I knew from Northampton Exiles Cricket
playing for them and took me along. We played Sunday mornings and home
were played at Wormley.
I never really felt that I produced my best
At the Turkish team, Eversley, School and Old Minch I always felt
felt I did not have anything to prove. At Enfield Park it was
worked hard and my strike partner, Dave Bicknall appreciated that. He
run a lot but he did score a lot of goals and I felt this put pressure
Even the most easiest of chances I was missing and it affected my
I do not think the team played to my
which were having the ball into feet and playing off me. We had Mark
midfield who was a runner with the ball. Very good but it bypassed me a
Alongside him was Archie, he was very vocal and gave out a lot of stick
did something wrong. No one misses on purpose but every time I did I
on my back.
I think due to my hard work in the team I did
the managers player of the year award, but the players player of the
have been much more of a confidence boost.
James Farren was our goalie and got myself,
Woolston and himself a trial with Harlow. We went pre season training and I came third in the cross country. Harlow
were doing well and got to the third round of the FA Cup that year. For
reason I did not continue there, I cannot remember why, I certainly was
asked to leave. Paul and James stayed and James was reserve goalie for
I stayed at Enfield Park for about 5 years,
got fed up with the aggression being shown by players both physical and
I just wanted to enjoy my football. Don’t get me wrong I did not
mind the physical
tackling but players were getting silly sand trying to hurt people.
I ended up in court on one occasion when one
players, Craig, was elbowed in the cheek and it was fractured. That was
for me and I remember my last match at Waltham Abbey for the reserves.
a screamer from about 25 yards out, a volley. Archie was playing and it
fitting for me to finish with that and not have him ranting at me.
Early in 1992 Karen Pegram mentioned to
me that she
had the perfect woman for me. Karen worked at Hazelwood Junior School
me very well from our time spent at the Cricket club, Northampton
She arrange for this woman to come to a
we were having at the cricket club. During the week my granddad Harris
away. He had been ill with throat cancer for a long time. I was not
him, I do not think anyone was, he had given my Nan Harris a hard life
had remained married for over 60 years so that cannot have been bad. I
as upset as when my Nan Tarling passed away but it was still sad
when I saw my Dad.
Unfortunately for me the funeral was on
the same day
as the quiz night and I did not get to meet this woman that Karen had
my perfect match. Funerals are never happy occasions but I was really
when my Dad got up and spoke about his Dad.
The summer went on and we had a disco
coming up at
the club, early in September. I hate discos so volunteered to the do
that night. Anyhow Karen invited her friend from school and pointed her
me. She looked quite nice and I said to Karen give her my phone number
her to ring me. I was not being cocky just still very unconfident and
Anyhow a few days past and no phone
call, so I kept
pestering Karen and she said she had passed my number on and would
to her again. Then one night I cannot remember the date the phone rang.
said the voice I am Helen I think you were expecting a call from me.
We chatted for over 45 minutes, it was
so natural. I
actually made her late for a date. She finished with him that night and
to go out on September 15th, 1992. I remember the day well
number of reasons. I had a business trip to Wales that day, and how
was that Debbie Oakes was going with me as by now I was her supervisor.
The other reason is that it was black
when the interest rates kept going up by the hour. We listened on the
because we both had mortgages.
Anyhow we got back quite late so I got
to keep the
hired car for the night. So turned up at Helen’s flat and pretty
much the first
thing I said to her was “don’t get excited about the car,
it is a company one,
I drive a fiesta” We went to the Pied Ball and I pretty much
spoke to the top
of her head for most of the night as she fiddled nervously with a beer
We spoke on the phone a few days later
sounded really upset. I cannot remember what it was over but I went out
brought her some flowers and a cuddly bear. Her flat had an entry phone
and she was out, but someone was just coming out and I was able to
by the front door to cheer her up when she got home.
I think it did the trick as she phoned
to thank me
and it was the start of a wonderful relationship. We got on so well
she was going home for half term in October and I sort of invited
there. Home was Ayrshire and she went on the train and I drove up a few
later and then we drove home together. Those 8 hours in the car on the
were just the best. We held hands for most of the trip, only letting go
change gear when required and we chatted and chatted.
By December 1992 we were engaged and the
organised for the following summer, 30th July 1993.
We were married at Enfield Registry
Office and had
our reception at Nortel Networks Social club. A nice day, not too hot,
sunny and the only rain we had was just as the evening do was getting
We drove that night down to Gatwick in
our flight the next day to Lake Garda in Italy. We had one week up in
mountains and one week down by the Lake.
The mountains were lovely, nice and call
walks and views were fantastic. The Lake however was very hot and I did
enjoy it as much as I did the first week. We had a hire car and it was
scary driving an automatic left hand drive car down some really tight
bends in the pouring rain at night as we headed down the mountains to
I must have been very tired when we got
there as I
parked up but must have left the car in drive and it started to bounce
towards the hotel. I tried everything to stop it but was getting
the different pedals and controls and it hit the hotel. Fortunately we
going very slow and there was just a small dent on the hotel door and
on the car. I am just glad no one was watching apart from some of the
Anyhow we had a nice week there and went
our bill at the end of the week. On the bill was a 50 pound charge for
I explained we had not used the bar, this must be a mistake. The
said no mistake it is the cost for damage to the bar door when you hit
I think I went slightly red, paid the
bill and we
got on the coach to take us back to the airport.
At this point in my life my time at
Exiles finished. Duncan Scott had been captain and I was his vice. We
pretty good job we felt but some controversial characters at the club
change. We had two people standing against us in the AGM of 1992. Shaun
and Errol Lisk. Shaun was a great player probably the best we had but
very unrealiable, often late and often not available. Errol was older,
also a good player and respected at the club but his playing days were
to an end. Neither Duncan or I could understand why they were standing
us. Anyhow on the night of the AGM for some reason the venue was
changed at the
last minute. I cannot remember why this was but normally it was held at
clubhouse and now it was to be in a church Hall in Oakwood. This meant
a lot of
people did not turn up. By this time Shaun had pulled out of running
Captain as many of his supporters also supported Errol and they feared
of the vote.
That night many of their supporters
together to the AGM, ours were not so co ordinated and in the end we
vote purely because not enough of the people who would have voted for
it to the AGM.
Duncan could not carry on at the club
his membership and I did the same a few days later. I could not play at
which had no foresight for the future and one that clearly what a more
back approach they Duncan and I would offer.
We were firm on time keeping, net
practice and many
other things. You have to be to have a club run properly, otherwise all
work gets left to the same people and you can go out and toss the coin
knowing who would be there for the start.
Duncan went to Old Minchendians and I
really did not settle there at all. Duncan was Ok many people he went
with were playing there and he knew many of them from playing football
For me I had been too long at Exiles and
play as freely at Minch as I did at the Exiles because I had to prove
again. I really struggled, my bowling went down hill and I never really
chance. Batting was Ok and I was quite steady in the middle order, but
lasted a couple of seasons there.
So all in all life was good, we managed
sell Helen’s flat in 1994 but made a £10K loss on it.
Fortunately both of us
were working and in well-paid jobs and we managed to pay it off in just
year. We were now living in Severn Drive, in the flat I had brought and
had a few years together and having paid the debt off we decided it was
start a family.
Craig Stuart Harris was born 29th
1996 at 11.20pm and we were both pleased but tired. Helen had some
with the birth and it was decided early on to give her an epidural, so
the Natural Childbirth Trust courses we had gone one, and we spend two
labour, quite comfortable chatting away.
Eventually they decided to induce her to
things along but still he was not coming out and eventually they
performed an emergency
c-section. It was a bit funny as Helen was all prep and lying on the
table, screen up and surgeon ready to start when someone realised she
signed the consent form. So hands shaking Helen tried to sign this
form, it was
quite amusing but at the end Craig appeared and we were very happy.
Little did we know then what the next
would bring. I visited them both the next day and Helen said she was
but we both thought this was normal, she was being given some blood to
what had been lost.
Next thing we knew was that they were
about her stats, her bodily functions seemed to be shutting down. They
was nothing to worry about, so like you do you do not worry, you leave
their trusty hands. Another day went by and then they said they could
monitor het too well on the maternity ward and had a free bed in
care. Again we were not overly concerned as they did not seem to
They put Craig into the special baby
care unit, not
because there was anything wrong with him but just a good place for him
Days went passed and still her results were not changing.
I would spend my days going between Helen and
Craig, timing it so I could be there when he woke up to feed and change
was quite good because the nurses showed me what to do, had we been at
would have had to learn for ourselves.
More days would pass and this was
Helen could not see Craig because being in one part of the hospital he
not go to another for fear of spreading stuff. Helen was not making any
progress and we were now getting concerned and she was rightly upset
she could not see Craig.
So we decided to discharge Craig and
take him to my
mums, I would stay there to and then
when I visited Helen I was then allowed to take Craig in.
Finally after about 10 days her results
was on the verge of being taken by helicopter to a specialist hospital
London, but I am glad she was not. After another day or so in intensive
she was allowed home and it was only a few days later when we saw her
that we was told she nearly died. Things were that close, but we never
Eventually I brought our family home and
the first year with Craig which would be very very tiring. I had been
before but this was different, your whole body aches, your mind does
right and you drift off anywhere you can. That business of feeding
hours, the constant attention, the never knowing how much free time you
get I just did not enjoy.
I did it though but now realised that
having a baby
was hard work, upto then we had almost pleased ourselves what we did
We went out when we wanted and often on the spur of the moment though.
a young baby we were often too tired to go out even if we could.
I remember thinking that the outside
world did not
exist after getting home from work, and it might seem strange to say it
felt very isolated.
We got through the first year though and
settled down a bit and I enjoyed it much more when Craig started to
rather than me have to instigate all the play with him.
My Auntie June passed away in June 1997.
She had had
stomach cancer and she was the first of my aunties and uncles to die. I
remember her saying that she wanted to be cremated so that it would
thing in her that had killed her. Very sad time.
In January 1998 we decided the flat was
for us and we started looking for a house. We looked at many areas
London as that was in our price range, then we were very lucky to find
the Great Cambridge Road which was just round the corner from where we
It was reduced in price because it
needed loads of
work and the seller had been trying to sell for ages. We moved April
spent a week at my mums whilst the house was rewired.
During this time my Nanny Harris was
getting ill. She
was already downstairs in her bed and it was nice that we could visit
could see Craig. In October she was moved to North Middlesex Hospital.
visited her one lunchtime and had a lovely chat to her. Just me and her
else was there and we talked about families and things and it was
lovely. I would not see her again as she passed away that afternoon, 3rd
October 1998. I was not as close to her as I was my Nanny Tarling, as I
see her as much but I also still miss her every day, and I am so glad I
see her that lunchtime.
My uncle Alan at this time had stomach
known to his mum, my nanny Harris, he fought on whilst she was alive
not want her to know he was ill. He struggled through to the following
when he then passed away.
Alan was the youngest of my uncles and
Aunts, he was
a lively and very funny man who made the room brighten up when he
got parties going when they were flagging. He was a top top man and my
regret is that I could not face going to see him in his last weeks when
getting iller. I feel so ashamed now not to spend time with him
years of good times he had given us, but I just could not see him that
The following summer I lost another
June 2000, my uncle tony, my mums brother passed away having had a
whilst in hospital. He was married to Auntie June and I am not sure he
really coped with not having her around.
We went on holiday to Isle of Wight in
August and it
was there that I decided to start researching our family tree. Losing
people in a short space of time made me realise I did not know much
we came from and the people who would know were not always going to be
For the next 8 years it would consume
much of my
So I started my family history research and
became engrossed in it. I started by listing all the people I knew of
in my family.
I then asked people to fill in information about themselves and also to
what they knew of those people no longer alive. Quickly the information
along with some great things from the past. Following the death of my
Tony, I was passed a box of stuff. It contained war medals from my
photographs, an envelope from Buckingham Palace to my great grandma for
up people during the war and also a page from a rent book from 1883
great great granddad.
Through my mums line I found Stephen Tarling,
direct relative but researching the same name. There are 3 branches of
Tarling family, ours are from Epping. He kindly met me at the family
centre and showed me how to find census information and birth, deaths
marriages. We spent all day there and he was most helpful. With his
well, the Tarling line quickly grew.
The Harris line was proving a bit
First the name is very common so searching was not easy, but with my
we pieced things together. A piece of paper in possession of my uncle
taken notes about the family from my grandma also helped greatly. There
word, Bedfordshire on the top corner of the paper and from this I found
Harris line living originally in Shillington, Bedfordshire. Without
of paper I may never have found it. Anyhow I could write for hours
but I will leave it that I now have found many distant cousins around
who have been a great help, but I have now stopped my research as there
not enough time and it costs too much money now as the information now
is from such a long time ago.
In 2000 Craig started Karate in Potters Bar.
loved it and this was every Saturday morning. It did rather muck up our
weekends as we would leave at 10am and not get back till 1pm, but he
enjoy it and it gave him so much confidence. We had less luck trying to
to ride his bike without stabilisers on. We got them off and if I
pushed him on
his way he would cycle OK but he was so lacking confidence he would
peddling and obviously fell off. After a while he just had enough and
want to do it again. I do regret not keeping him going with it, I ride
now and it would nice for him to join me, but also would enable him to
around to places much easier.
Not much happened over the next few years. I
worked for Nortel, Helen picked up supply work when she could, Craig
Worcesters school and enjoyed it there and life continued quite
happily. We did
the normal things families did, trips out, holidays etc until 2003 when
changed, for the better though I must say.
In January 2003 Helen decided that it would
to get sterilised. After the problems with Craig’s birth there
was no way she
wanted to get pregnant again and we both thought it was the best thing
done. Yes we would like another child but the risks were just too high.
So we went to see the consultant and left
different decision to make. He asked why she wanted it done and when
him he said he was aware of the condition she had, HELLP syndrome, that
advances had been made and special care could be provided if we wanted
child. Now were we lucky with him or would all consultants have told us
same. We will never know but we went away quite excited and decided to
again for another child. The months went past with nothing and Helen
she did not want to be pregnant after her 40th Birthday in
2004. Month after month we tried but with no luck, it was beginning to
chore having sex, never thought I would say that. Anyhow on the 21st
July 2003 we found out she was pregnant and we were both so happy.
I knew the next 9 months would be so
worrying about Helen’s health, which would not be helped by
regular trips to
the Whittington Hospital in Islington, which involved, car, tube and a
walk up a very steep hill.
It was not helped further by the hottest
since records began. 17th August 2003 saw temperatures top
Even in September the heat was up around 25
for much of the time. This month saw Craig take part in a Karate
It was a proud moment for us, he loved it and got round to 2nd
but lost to someone much older than him. It was a bit nerve racking
him, first time as a parent watching my child perform at something.
We eased Craig in gently regarding
the fact that he
would have a brother or sister. For 7 years it had all been about him
we needed to prepare him for the future. We did little things, first by
how he would feel if he had a brother or sister, and then went into a
detail before finally telling him. He was fine, in fact quite excited
but we continued to make him feel special. He was a the main bedroom,
would now need the bigger room. So we decorated the 2nd
kept him involved, he chose what he wanted and in November it was done
ready for him to move in. I put some tape at the door and he cut it
By this time we found out we were having a
girl. Just perfect, one of each. I had a name already. Always wanted
and it was a done deal as soon as we knew it was a girl.
At the end of 2003 I was 15 stone and it was
do something about it. I have always had problems with my weight but my
kept it under control. Now not playing anything I was putting on the
our Christmas get together that year my uncle made reference to my
size. It was
time to do something about it, but over the next few years it went up
being on and off diets but seemed to settle down in 2012 when I think I
got to grips with it.
The start of 2004 saw us preparing for our
arrival. Many trips to the shops to buy baby stuff. Decorating the
study, as it
was, into a nursery and the end of January 2004 saw Helen finish work.
heavy at the end of the month and the journey home on 28th
was particularly nasty. Cars were sliding everywhere, M11 and M25 were
difficult. It was rounded off by sitting on the A10 for nearly 25
outside my house but on the other side of the road. Still I got home
Early in February Helen is booked in for an
C-section. This is due to her previous condition and the date is set as
March 2004, unless something happens before that, Kirsty will be born
This was good news for me as I was worrying about how I was going to
get her to
Whittington Hospital if she went into natural labour.
Work is not great at the moment. My boss just
not know the first thing about what and how we do things. She does look
her staff’s interests well but in terms of doing things and the
operational stuff she does not know, so she makes ill informed
then affect us and we then have to do a lot of work either changing
or getting her to rethink her decisions. Funny thing did happen though
got a phone call at work from Helen. She tells me Craig thinks he has
a ball bearing. Think, I said surely he knows. Anyhow a trip to the
and an x-ray later, reveals he had swallowed it and the doctors rushed
trying to find out what it was made of in case they had to get it out.
bearing came from a game he was playing, the doctors had the box,
manufacturer and found out it was OK and he could pass it naturally in
days. Strange that he should put that in his mouth but refuses to try
End of February and Helen is struggling. She
swollen legs, high blood pressure, carple tunnel syndrome (cramps in
hand) constant headaches, lack of sleep. Her Doctor was surprised that
C-Section was booked for 18th March 2004, he said that was
and we should discuss with our consultant. We did this and the date was
forward to 9th March 2004.
4th March 2004 and Helen is kept
hospital following a routine check up visit. Her blood pressure is up
found protein in her urine. I remember it being a very tiring time,
full day, getting Craig, getting to the hospital to visit, home, bed
getting Craig ready and off to school and then off to work again. At
least she was
in the hospital now and we no longer had to worry about getting her
I remember the day Kirsty was born so well. I
started early getting Craig ready for school and dropping him off at a
I made my way to Islington via the tube and sat in McDonalds at the
the hill watching the world go by. It was a lovely sunny day and most
knowing when she would be born because of the c-section. We were first
list and and at 11.41 Kirsty was born, screaming the place down. I was
go over to her to calm her down, turned to say something to Helen but
was no on the side of the ward I was actually in front of the screen.
saw would live with me forever. Helen’s insides on the outside,
she was being sterilised
at the same time and I quickly looked the other way again and never
Once again getting her out of hospital proved
very difficult. It was 13th March before she and Kirsty
home and it was such a relief to have them both with me and Craig.
So over the next few months we enjoyed our
addition, Craig was very good and played with her, helped her with
stuff and we
were all happy. We are also both very very very tired. I made an entry
diary on 19th April saying that I forgot how tired you could
knew we would be tired but I had forgot how tired. The lack of sleep is
thing but it is the disturbed sleep, late nights and early mornings
take it out of you. I remember my whole body aching.
Kirsty had a few problems in the early months
turn it caused us problems and we had quite a grizzly baby on our hands
once we found out the problems we knew why.
First of all we found out she had reflux,
like heartburn where acid from the stomach comes back up the body. I
night having such a time making her settle, she was keeping the whole
awake and Helen needed her rest. So at 11.30pm I took her out in her
walked her up and down the foot path on the A10, so at least her crying
not disturb anyone. I was out there for two hours and finally she
to sleep. Once we found out this was reflux we got some Gaviscon and
The other problem we noticed was that she
always look to her right. We even tried turning her bed round to see if
changed but she did not. We took her to a cranial osteopath who found
she had a
problem with a neck muscle and this would be causing her lots of pain.
three session of neck massage fixed the problem and no more pain for
her and she
moved her head normally. Unfortunately this had gone on for so long
now has a permanent flat part of her skull, but that does not show or
at least her problems were sorted out.
2004 for was a hot summer, regularly up in
especially around June time, the heat was stifling. Probably the wrong
do it but I decided to build a garden shed. We needed more space, but
needed a bigger fridge and freezer, and the only way to do this was to
brick shed and put electricity in there. To save costs I would do it
and as I had a wickes near to me at work I would go there lunchtimes
up 10 breeze blocks and bring them home, or anything else we needed.
Fortunately we were building on the site of
garage so there was a concrete base in place and my Dad came over to
with the first couple of rows of house bricks. I remember it well, it
it down with rain, still warm but very wet, it was early July 2004 when
started. The gazebo helped but not much but after about 7 hours we had
first two lines down and I could then carry on from there on my own
breeze blocks. A little bit every day.
It went up and kept going up, I left room for
windows and a door, so when I got to the height I needed, Dad came
did the wood work for the windows and doors and we used Perspex rather
glass. We both worked on the roof together and our friend Brian kindly
electric from the house to the shed, in exchange for some beer. It was
early in September and made a big difference to us. Cost only
£650 to build.
During this time our cat, Harvey had started
everywhere. We were not sure at first if he was reacting to the new
having got him checked out it was urine infections. They kept coming
we could not really afford to keep him and with Kirsty crawling around
want cat wee on the carpets. At the start of October I drove Harvey
Scotland to take him back to Helen’s Uncle David, who had bred
He would get more care up there. Scotland and back in the same day, I
shattered but relieved not to have that problem anymore.
Craig was carrying on as normal, we tried
include him but also realise a lot of our time was taken up with
Kirsty. He was
great though, never complained, would play with her on the floor
most of the time just carried on with what he was doing. I remember
he had started talking about what jobs he would want to do, at this
was either an Artist or a electronic game designer. He also moved up
Beavers to Cubs and seemed to really enjoy going there.
Our year was not helped by Kirsty cutting so
teeth, within 6 months she had 5 teeth, so a lot of the time she was
and crying, sometimes it was nice to leave the house for work.
We also had our worst holiday ever. One of
friends parents had a caravan in Great Yarmouth. We thought it was a
to keep costs down so we agreed to hire it. When we got there it was
and as they use it a lot they had left a lot of their things there, so
was not much storage space. We had my Mum and Dad along as well and my
insisted on putting his chair in the middle of the small room and
cricket, which meant Craig could not amuse himself on his PS2 and with
teething and crying it was not surprising I had a migraine everyday.
Looking back at my diary for that period I
that I was terrified at being left alone with Kirsty. I think this
difficult a period it was, the neck problem, the reflux and the
teething all at
the same time was not good for her, but at the time we did not know all
things and I could never get her to settle and was scared being left
At work it was very boring and did not
inspire me at
all. Really it was only the people around me that kept me going. This
boss Gill Firman retired and they asked me if I wanted to take over
It did not take me long to decide, I had no inclination to do it, I had
how the Canadians took advantage and how difficult it is managing
frankly I just wanted my own
and get on with my own work. Sheila Shah took on the role and I cannot
I think she ever really enjoyed it and possibly maybe regretted it in
By Christmas Kirsty is crawling around, but
quite amusing that she will not cross the metal rods in the doorways
the carpets. I remember Craig going to
see Santa and when he was asked which of the toys he would like to take
Santa Craig replied “ I don’t like any of them.”
I started 2005 with Jury Service. Always
do it and now finally been called. It was at Wood Green. I went along
only to find by lunchtime they did not need me, the same happened the
3 days so I was getting a bit fed up. The following week though I got
case. It involved a sexual harassment case at Pearsons the retail store
Enfield. After a few days hearing the evidence there was, in my mind,
enough to find him guilty. So after a while of deliberating that is
agreed, and that was that, they no longer required me. I enjoyed the
it was over too quickly.
Other than that 2005 just came and went.
continued to make progress, I remember thinking how daring she was as
always try things herself, like coming down the slide on her own, at
Tots she just goes off on her own, whereas Craig would hang around by
started putting himself to bed to give us a hand in the evenings and
helped. We went out at the weekends for walks, I still had my job at
Helen had picked up half a days work on a Tuesday which helped with the
Craig went on his first camp with the cubs
had progressed to a purple belt at Karate. We also swapped the bedrooms
with Craig moving into the small one ad Kirsty into the second largest.
reason for this was that really Craig only needs a bed, and a desk. As
he had tele, PS2 and computer he is happy and it really helped us as
so many toys.
We muddled along as usual all quite happy.
summer was once again very hot, by June 30 degrees and we used the
pool a lot in the garden. World Cup year and Craig sort of seemed to be
into football a bit. He had been collecting stickers and getting to
players, although he still seemed less keen to actually watch a game,
was on at his bedtime then he would say he wanted to watch it.
West Ham made it to the Cup Final and played
well against Liverpool. I had not expected them to win just give a good
of themselves, but with one minutes injury time left they were winning
until Liverpool scored a fantastic equaliser. It was hard to take being
close, extra time brought no more goals and we lost on penalties. I
DVD of the game but have never been able to bring myself to watch it
With Craig showing an interest in football I
tickets for a pre season friendly at Upton Park against Olympiakos. I
describe my emotion or feelings as me and my son walked out of Upton
Station. I had done this so many times on my own but this time my son
me. I am sure I had a tear in my eye. We walked down to the ground,
a shirt and watched the match. Really he was just loving the spectacle
of it rather
than the game but do you know he wore that shirt every day for about 3
After that we mainly went to reserve matches,
these were good as you could meet the players coming out, we got many
signatures, including Teddy Sheringham’s. Our first proper match,
League was at White Hart Lane for Spurs v West Ham. Spurs won 1-0
unfortunately, I missed the goal as I was downstairs getting Craig a
the noise was great and he really enjoyed it. We went to a few more
really you could tell he did not like football, it was just the big
the event so we stopped going but it was nice to have done that as I
to think it would never happen.
The tickets for the Spurs game were provided
Baldwin at work. It had been announced during the year that our jobs
made redundant and were moving to India. I had worked with Tony on a
projects and it was a thank you for my help. It was a nice touch.
The announcement of redundancy was not a
the economy was in trouble and Nortel like many others were losing
had cheaper labour and this was a move that would save them money.
Still it was
a shock when it happened and after 24 years working for the same
it would stop and I would not have a job. We were told in August and by
December we had finished at Nortel. I got a nice redundancy package and
off some of the mortgage and I had to get my mind round being a house
as we both agreed it would be much easier for Helen to find work than
The last few months were not helped by us
train our replacements, we remained professional and helped them take
and then we left and I would not see people I had worked with for years
daily basis anymore.
January 2007 saw Helen secure a job until
and that really helped us financially and stress wise.
I settled into the job of looking after the
house and Kirsty and quickly realised that I did not have to entertain
every minute of the day. She was nearly 3 now and at first I tried to
her every minute. Painting, followed by stories, followed by making
was all too much. Someone said to me that you do bits with her and then
break and then do some more. This really helped as before then days had
What I did miss was the adult company. For 24
I had been in an office or around people, now my day was spent with a 3
old. I would go out to Sainsbury, not to buy anything but just to see
and overhear other conversations. The first few months being at home
Around Feb 2007 I have a car crash.
was on my own, Kirsty was at playgroup. I was driving along in Enfield
and a car
was parked on the other side of the road. From behind it a van came
over to my
side of the road to get round it, I was almost on top of it by then. I
and he saw me but for some reason he kept coming, whether his brakes
failed I don’t
know but he hit me straight on but very slowly. The car was nearly a
but they did repair it and they could not get any reply from the
driver, his firm
or the insurance, so it was left on my record as unsolved.
Later that year I realised I needed to use my
in some way. So I looked at all the courses available and thought book
might be enjoyable and possibly give me some work if I qualified.
I signed up and received my pack. I really
the course and it got me using my brain again. I took 2 exams and by
was a fully qualified book keeper, I passed the final one with 93%, but
it lead to any work. Well not immediately but I did have some work
coming in. A
friend did some audio typing and suggested I registered. Basically you
to some recordings of interviews and type them up for market research.
quite time consuming as I was not very fast typing and had to keep
to listen again, but the cash was handy and helped and I felt a sense
had contributed again by bringing in some money.
The days went by, Craig started at secondary
and Kirsty started Nursery in the afternoons. This was nice, I would
when she is fresh in the mornings and by the time she was getting
tired she went off to school. Those couple of hours were precious. She
friends with Isaac and Matthew, but at the end of the year Isaac moved
Lynn with his Mum and Dad, we were sad to see them go but as it turned
their move changed our lives later on.
At the start of 2008 I had to do something
about my weight. I was 17 stone 4lbs and I could not believe it. We
slimming world and by Oct was 12 stone 13lbs, it was hard work and
some ups as well as downs but I felt much better. We had the kitchen
knocked down in September and it was really nice having a big kitchen
Kirsty was now settled into full time school and Craig was doing well
Helen had a full time job now which was nice
money point of view but we had lost her to the marking and planning
with the job. Evenings and Saturdays were now lost and it was not very
During this time I had been applying for
So frustrating as I knew I could offer much to all of them but I never
to an interview stage, I needed to do something so got involved in the
Kirsty’s school. It was a good group and I enjoyed the meetings
getting to know
new people. It kept me busy and gave me something to do with my days.
2009 finally saw me have to get reading
had noticed that things were getting a bit fuzzy but just held them
but by March I had my glasses and they really helped. So survived 43
I used my free time to scan all my photos
had so we did not have to keep albums. 2500 photos took a long time but
me busy and was worth it in the end. I looked after the garden and also
watching the Blue Tits who had nested in a box that Craig had made at
I picked up a little bit of labouring work.
who took our kitchen wall down who we know quite well needed some help
cement up on a job. Did a couple of days with them and earned
£120 and once
again I realised how nice it was to earn some money and feel like I had
contributed. I know looking after the house and Kirsty and doing the
is contributing but sometimes you just need something else and frankly
getting bored and lonely.
My next door neighbour, Jean, a lovely old
passed away and I miss our chats over the fence, and this did not help
feelings of being alone. 2009 was turning out to be a very long and
year and I could not see any light at the end of the tunnel.
We went to Hunstanton on holiday that year,
being so near to Kings Lynn we visited Kirsty’s friend Isaac and
Sarah and Bino
in Kings Lynn. Both Helen and I loved the place and both said how nice
be to live there one day.
We got back from holiday and the boredom
else to do but eat, comfort eating, I had been doing it throughout the
the weight was piling on again, by the end of the year I was 16 stone
A big change though in my fortunes happened
end of August. On my web site I had been advertising my book keeping
without any success. However a friend of ours had seen my site when
for book keeper in Enfield. Her friend was looking for someone to help
some work she was doing.
I went along to meet her and agreed to do 2
days a week at her house in Loughton. It was a mixture of invoice
control, and help desk support for a Web Hosting and email provider who
once big but now scaling down. By Christmas I was on a regular 3 days
working now from my house and working directly for the company, albeit
as a self
employed contractor. I did not know how long it would last as they were
to sell the company but I had a job, something to do and I was getting
whilst being able to run the house and look after Kirsty. It was
2010 started much better, I felt good, if not
overweight, but Helen had work and I had work and with that I had
people to talk
to even if it was on the end of a phone. The year started with lots of
Temps down to -7 and schools closed for a few days. The kids loved it
enjoyed it as well, sledging down the hills, building snowmen and
The PTFA was going well and through this I
know Julie Pleasance very well. A single lady with a young daughter.
She is easy
to chat to and has similar interests and we chat on messenger and
quite a bit. I do not seem to make friends easily but I hope that I can
friends with Julie.
During March I nearly told the company where
stick their job. By this time the person who hired me had left and the
had got his girlfriend to do the other 2 days I did not do. This was
Tuesdays and always on a Wednesday morning I would have to sift through
she had left to work out where everything was. When I left it on Friday
always clear. One handover she left me 135 unread messages in the
of these were even from Monday. I told the owner unless it improved I
the money was nice but I did not need that sort of hassle. Anyhow it
improve and I kept working.
We had lost touch with Karen Pegram, who had
introduced Helen and myself back in 1992 but through facebook we
again and in May 2010 went round to her house to see her, Duncan and
We had a really nice afternoon and it was great to catch up. However
best efforts to get them round to visit us, they never did and Karen
to Cambridge later that year.
I was never so proud as I was in July of
passed his Karate Black Belt and what an achievement that was. He
many years ago, but the work and effort he has put in has been great
and it is
fantastic that he can proudly say he is a black belt.
It was during this time as well
that Helen and I
have decided we now would like to move to Kings Lynn. Having seen
and Bino so happy up there and having seen how nice and peaceful it is
we are now making plans to move. It will not be until Summer of 2012
Craig needs to finish his GCSE’s but we can now start planning,
saving money. With the interest rate still so low 0.5% we can keep
money off the mortgage so that when we come to move we will be able to
Enfield had changed so much over the last 20
Gangs were all over the borough and kinfe crime was rife, children were
getting stabbed regularly and at
least 3 people we knew had been mugged for their mobile phones. Our
had changed and whilst they were Ok they are not the sort who will chat
the garden fence. On one side we had a family renting and living off
and for some reason that wound me up. The injustice of people who do
but have loads of children, pets, take away meals etc against those who
but can only just get by was always wrong to me but when this family
next door it brought it closer to home and I began to notice so much
be able to sit around all day whilst others had to work and at the end
of it be
in almost the same position seems unfair. On the other side we had a
couple, very pleasant but hardly ever around or out in the garden. When
moved into the property we were blessed with socialable neighbours on
sides and I missed that.
I had also grown tired of
the traffic. It had begun
to get so difficult to get anywhere that I became reluctant to go out
for fear of spending all the time in jams. London was heaving and a
journey could take 10 mins or 30 minutes you just never knew what lay
in store for
I was really falling out of love with the area I had
lived in for over 40 years. Another factor making life difficult was
work. As a teacher she had always had marking and planning from when I
met her, but over the years it had grown to ridiculous proportions.
were now almost entirely taken up with work and during the week, she
at home most nights until 9.30 or 10.00pm. It would make me annoyed
should put this pressure on teachers who had no real work/life balance
It was time for a move which would help on
fronts. We could change to a new area of our choice and liking, and we
clear the mortgage which would mean we required less money to live on
hopefully both work less. We could not do it right away as Craig was in
middle of his GCSE’s, but we had now decided and would begin to
plan and save
for a move away in a few years time. 2010 ended with much anticipation
move away. It also ended with me weighing in at 18 Stone 4lbs the
heaviest I had
ever been and it also ends with Kirsty booked into the dental hospital
to have some teeth removed under a general in the New Year. It was
going to be
a tough start to 2011.
In January 2011 we get the appointment
Kirsty to have her op. I knew I would have a migraine that day, it was
happen. The hospital in London had no parking in it or around it so we
choice but to take the tube and see how Kirsty was afterwards to decide
would get back. We got there mid morning and they were
seemed Ok but we had to wait until late in the afternoon before she
down. She was very brave and we tried to be as well. There were two
aesthetic, one with via a needle the other via a gas. We tried the
Kirsty was not happy with that and we did not want to upset her
further, so we
agreed on the gas. Due to that I had to accompany her down to theatre,
could not do it. It was horrible watching her being put to sleep, they
mask on and after a few seconds she flopped and her head jerked from
side. I wished they had warned me as
afterwards they said that was normal.
Anyhow I left her and went upto wait with
seemed like hours but in fact was only one. She came back up a bit
seemed fine and she was pleased that the teeth were out. So were we, it
big relief to have her back safely. By this time it was
very late so we got a cab home,
I did not mind paying the £40 for a bit of comfort after a very
It was also time to do something about my weight and
fitness, I was 18 stone 4lbs and had an enormous stomach. To start with
brought a bike. I always liked bike riding and it was a good way to
The first week was difficult not only due to getting a sore bum and
muscles really aching but also because of my weight it was really hard
the best I could manage was middle gear very low. However I remember
enjoying it and cycling either for pleasure or to get things from the
Wherever possible I used the bike instead of the car.
I also started badminton on a Tuesday
Pleasance was free Monday and Tuesday and her friend, and now my
Caroline Canty was also free. So we started badminton just the 3 of us.
again it was hard, I took 3 or 4 bottles of water along to replace the
lost. I would come off the court as red as a beetroot, but we kept it
all really enjoyed it and it was helped later on when Sharon Parker
to make it 4 people.
All of this was good exercise but to really
weight we needed to change our eating. We signed up for Weightwatchers
had an app for the Iphone which made the diet really easy to follow.
By the end of 2011 I was 13 stone 4lbs, I had lost 5
stone in the year. I felt really good. Badminton was so much easier; I
got tired during the games now. Cycling was a joy now, going round in
top gear most of the time. Also my migraines had stopped and that could
down to us eating better foods.
I will not pretend it was easy, there were
times when I just wanted a take away or got frustrated because only a
come off that week, but we stuck at it and it was worthwhile. Now I had
During the year we started to do some visits
Kings Lynn. We wanted to get to know the areas, see what we liked and
did not like. Look around the town, see what the kids thought of it. It
good research and worthwhile doing but I cannot tell you the agony of
drive back to London. I just wanted to be there right then. Seeing
settled in her nice house, seeing the relaxed way of life, I wanted it
We told the family during the summer of our
and the reaction was disappointing, but over time they seemed to come
the idea and understood our need to move. It was not going to stop us
but I was worried about Mum and taking her grand children away from
Enfield she was able to pop over every Sunday to see them or during the
a school play was on or sports day, but moving away would not allow her
this. However we could not put our lives on hold and we really needed
this for the reasons mentioned earlier.
Helen finally managed me to get me to agree
holiday abroad. Kirsty and Craig had been going on about going abroad
Kirsty was desperate to go on a plane. So we agreed on Majorca and we
great time. Not too hot, we had a pick up from the Airport and the
was nice, with a pool and just across from the beach. We forgot our
enjoyed the food, the kids had a great time and it was not too hot for
At the start of the new football season
moved back to Donkey Lane stadium just down the road from me and I
go and watch them. It was nice to be able to leave home 15 minutes
before the start,
pay cash at the gate and watch a reasonable standard of football. These
you go to a premiership game you have to plan it weeks in advance, and
costs you a fortune.
I went to quite a few of the home games and
season finished with us gaining promotion. Most games were home wins
for us and
it was really quite a good atmosphere down there. I had played a cup
myself there in 1977 whilst in Year 1 at secondary school and it had
changed much apart from the new athletics track and the addition of 3
stands. I tell you though some matches left me absolutely frozen. I had
how cold it gets standing on the terraces. Even two pairs of socks did
the cold and at half time I would often walk around the ground a few
One thing I found quite amusing
though was the way
that not only the teams changed ends at half time, but the crowd did as
So different to the football I had watched over the years.
2012 was a very big year for
me and our family. It
would see us move from my home town Enfield to a new life in
Although our house sale and house purchase went very smoothly indeed,
not actually feel like that when we were going through the
I remember thinking how slow the days
once we had a buyer for our house. It seemed to take ages but that is
because I was at home and analysing everything, it did not do me any
all, I just got so frustrated over the whole process. In reality
though, we put our house on the market in
February, found a buyer in March, completed the sale in May when we
a rental property in King’s Lynn and also put an offer in on a
house which we
completed on at the end of July.
The timings were
perfect, how much of this was down
to my planning I do not know but we were very lucky with everything.
We had a couple of months at
Mum and Dads, which was
tough for everyone but we all got through it. We were all cramped for
the kids never moaned once and it was nice to be able to sell our house
having to buy one at the same time. During the time at
Mum’s and then following the move
to Norfolk it was really difficult to diet but having said that I ended
year at 14 stone 4lbs having started it at 13 stone 4lbs, so despite
dieting whilst at Mum’s and also being very relaxed with our food
in the first
few months we were in Kings Lynn I kept the weight gain to a minimum,
other years after dieting where it had all gone back on.
So now we were in
King’s Lynn and how we loved it. I
do not recall a time where both Helen and I were so relaxed. Yes I was
concerned about money and how we would get by, but I always have done.
settled in really well, as did the children at their respective schools
made many trips to the beach and local places for walks and
events. I will not pretend though that it was all
had moved a long way from my home town for the first time ever and also
to an area where I did not know anybody. At times I felt very lonely
isolated but we did our best to make friends where we could.
I had lost my job as well. The company I worked for
Corpex was sold in April to Swift Computers. They promised me 3
which ended up being 6 months before they no longer had need for my
The work with Corpex started in 2009 and really without that we would
been able to make the move to Norfolk. The extra earnings we were
used to decrease the mortgage and also to put away in savings for the
budget. So it was not money we were reliant on but it was nice money to
all the same. What did hit me most was once again not having anything
with my time and having the feeling of not contributing to the family.
I started helping out at the community
the local Park. It had just started up again in May and I was one of
volunteers. We had a wet summer so could not do much but by the end of
the plot was tidy, all dug over again and ready for us to grow things
year. It about 5 minutes away on the bike and it is nice to have
go during the day.
to follow soon.........