Writing rhyming poetry and Fairy-tales for children.
I was born in Dartford, Kent, England (known as the 'Garden of England', on account of its beautiful scenery) in 1930. My father was an unemployed ex-soldier, who had served his country as a volunteer during World War One. He was badly wounded during the conflict and suffered from his wounds for many years. My mother was an ordinary housewife ill with tuberculosis. My mother died when I was three, and myself and the other five children were placed in an orphanage in Chatham, Kent. Subsequently, the three girls and my elder brother were taken in and cared for by various aunts and uncles on my father's side of the family, but my brother, Stanley, and myself were left to the not so tender mercies of the orphanage.
When I was nine, World war Two came along and we children were evacuated, first to Whitstable in Kent and then, when things got too bad, to a place called Tonyrefail in Glamorgan, South Wales. At Whitstable and in Tonyrefail, I was one very happy boy. Free at last from the iron discipline of the orphanage, I left my last school, the Bridgend Mining and Technical School, at fourteen. I was a poor scholar (or should I say a bored scholar) and was pleased, at last, to return to my home town of Dartford. I had passed a scholarship and should have gone to a grammar school, but there was no room at the time because of the war, hence the Technical School. In Dartford, I had one job after another and although I did not know it at the time, was searching for something, but didn't know what it was.
At the age of eighteen, I was called up for service in the British Army. After two years as a National Serviceman, I left the army and found employment, mainly at that time, in hospitals. In turn, I have been a porter, a ward orderly, a mortuary attendant and, at the end, a stoker. This was entirely my own choice. I could have gone to work in a bank, but I hated the thought of being 'caged in' and very much enjoyed the work as a stoker even though it meant firing eight tons of coal at a shift. It was hard work, but I was my own boss and that meant a lot to me.
At twenty five, I met and married my lovely wife, who has been with me now for over fifty years. Suddenly, my life took on dimensions I had not previously thought possible. I travelled with my wife, an Austrian girl, throughout Europe and got to know the continent well. I took on the job as a driving instructor, eventually ending up managing the driving school. I eventually came to live here in Austria, ending up managing a shop selling spare parts for cars.
At this time, I was diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson's Disease, had to leave off working and was sent into early retirement. I've had the illness now, for over eighteen years and it is the hardest thing I have ever had to face. My main problem is the stiffness and the sudden 'freezing', where I cannot move a muscle. My voice is sometimes so low, too, that I often have to repeat myself, especially to strangers a number of times before they understand what I mean.
I speak English and German quite fluently and now spend much of my time before my computer writing poetry and any other thing that comes into my head.
I am still the same 'Happy go Lucky' person that I have always been.
I would have to look into a mirror to describe my navel. I am pretty heavy and eat too many sweet things.
If your face wants to smile, let it! If it doesn't, make it!