Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Seeing those young soldiers on parade yesterday, rifles, smart uniforms, really brought my Army years back. They must have only been on average, 18 years old! Funny when I look back to 9th May 1967, arriving on York station as a 15 year old lad. I had left school with no qualifications at 14, went to the co-op dairy and got a job as an assistant on a milk delivery round. The guy had just swapped his horse drawn float for a new electric one and he couldn't seem to cope without the back end of a horse in his foreground. Yogurts in cartons had just come out and milk was 3 pence a pint! I was running up a drive with 6 of these new yogurts in different flavours when I tripped. Oops! They shot out of the crate as missiles from a silo and splattered up the drive in front of me. I though, ‘nobody is looking, I could get away with this if I am quick’. I scooped equal portions back into each carton, along with a fair amount of grit, and then resealed the ‘pop off’ lid. The cartons were still covered with yuk and dirt from the fall, but the fishpond in the garden provided a quick solution, the goldfish enjoying the experience of a new taste! Nobody ever complained! If often imagined the family sitting around the breakfast table experiencing those new flavours!
My Father said he wanted me out of the house within 6 months, so I applied to join the Police, the Army and the RAF. The Police sent me a letter saying, come back when you are 19. The RAF said that one of my parents had to be from a commonwealth country; they were Belgian and Irish, so no chance there. Had they been Indian and Pakistani, there would have been no problem. Thank God, the Army took me! I had only lived with my parents from the age of 5 to 14 and even though I didn’t really miss home, I did miss our cat ‘Minush’. It was only the second time I had ever cried when I got a letter saying she had died. I didn’t like my brother Paul much, (sorry Paul ☺) funny because he is one of the people I feel closest to know. My other brother Andre missed me a lot and went of the rails totally when I left home. I’ve always liked Andre and again we are very close now. My little sister Jacqueline was only 3 when I left; she was lovely. It’s a shame that we became such different people as we grew up, but there is still time for us. I had no idea when I joined the Army that I was dyspraxic, slightly dyslexic and suffered from severe depression. I made some great friends, it was not an easy time, but it did force me into adulthood.

Well Nicosia was an experience today, with the temperature hitting 40! The border runs through this capital with a small strip of land where UN troops still provide a barrier between the Greeks and Turks. Greeks and tourists can go freely into the North but Turks can’t go to the south and tourists are checked out.
The Greek side of Nicosia is disgustingly European with McDonalds, NEXT, Starbucks etc. dotted all over the place. The Turkish side is still refreshingly unspoilt with small businesses thriving all around you.

My youngest daughter Snofia was 15 yesterday and yes, I forgot! Well I knew her birthday was on Tuesday, but I spent all day thinking it was Monday. So HAPPY BIRTHDAY SNOFIA and I am sorry. xxx

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