I thought that it was probably best to gain an overview of my first 22 years before, I tackle the wedding and the rest of my life. So, I will have a go at setting some categories.
My Mum and Dad never had much money. Dad had to change jobs when he was around 53 due to being pushed out for a younger man from his job at the Castle Equipment Company in Newington Causeway, Elephant and Castle. I think that he enjoyed the job because it seemed to suit him. He was left to his own devices and could do the work easily. He also enjoyed the fact that many famous cricketers of the time came to use the cricket nets that the company had on its top floor. His final job was as a bus conductor, which I think that he put up with. I know that, when there was a long bus strike, he really hated not being at work. Mum always had some kind of work. Sometimes it was part-time so she managed two in one day. Her last job at Mullards in Mitcham was a the hardest that she had, I think. She worked a machine that cut wires to length for making electrical equipment. I know that she found the reels of wire very heavy to lift but she really enjoyed the company.
Neither of them earned what would be seen as a decent living nowadays but I never knew anything about that. There was always food on the table, Christmas and Birthday presents and they stumped up for my Scout uniforms with no complaint. I also got a decent amount of pocket money – 15/- (75p) was my top whack and I was never expected to find a job such as doing a paper round or any such. I can’t say that they were a demonstrative pair towards me in the sense that I didn’t get a lot of hugs and kisses but in those days, I think, this was the norm. I do know that they supported me in everything that I did and supported me enthusiastically. However, being effectively an only child I learned to amuse myself and buried myself into lots of hobbies – most of which I still do.
Ah, now we have a different story. I was good at Maths. I managed to make a good fist of Latin (I was in the top set out of 100 boys for all of the four years that I studied it). Overall, though, I think that I put the minimum effort into everything and managed to scrape along. I even had the same attitude towards the Combined Cadet Force. Remembering my love of aircraft, it would have seemed to be easy for me to pass the Part 1 exam which would have got me out of the Army Cadets into the RAF Cadets but… In spite of me being a Patrol leader in the Air Scouts and being an expert camper, etc. I managed to fail the exam every time. I think that I have a problem with things that don’t interest me! I scraped out of school with the bare minimum of qualifications. Given my later ability with the Open University, I think that the problem of interest is obvious. So, I left school at 16 with just enough.
Amazingly, my four GCE passes would have got me into the RAF for pilot training at 18, if I had wanted to progress that path. In the meantime, I entered the Banking profession. One of my problems is that I always want to run things so the slow slog through the lower orders at the bank really didn’t suit me. I did keep at it though and even studied for my professional qualifications. The Institute of Bankers exams were an expected path for anyone with ambition, so I signed up for the Rapid Results College and studied hard at the required correspondence course. I passed Part 1 with no problems and made a good start on Part 2, which would have given me an AIB (Associate of the Institute of Bankers) after my name. Foreign Exchange Dealing put paid to that. I just couldn’t face taking the Part 2 exam on “The Finance of Foreign Trade and Foreign Exchange” in case I failed! What would that have made a young dealer look like. As it happens, the last thing I needed for my career from then on was exams. In Dealing/Trading you are as good as your last deal and no one asks about qualifications.
Ah, well. Getting married was a watershed for me when it comes to friends. Up to the wedding day, I can honestly say that I had a good number of friends:
Roger Whittle (my Best Man, of course), Alan Jones, Dave Russell, Andy Parker all from Scouts – Stan Hunt (soon then to move to Australia) and Peter Johnson from work and so on.
Once married, everyone except Roger sort of dropped away. I did play Badminton once a week with Roger, Andy and Alan but even that stopped when we moved to Billericay.
Since that move I can’t really think of any friends outside of work although, as I say, Roger and I kept in good contact for many years. It seems that once married, I had lots of friends at work during the day but came home to the family at nights and weekends. I must say that this has suited me and has never been a bother. I didn’t really make another outside work friend for many years until David Lincoln came along.
How did I see myself
Well, I was pretty aggressive in my desire to get on, pretty useless at managing money and savings and extremely keen on all kinds of hobbies and pastimes – but never really sport! Did I like myself? Sometimes. Did I have any plans? Loads. I wanted to join the Airforce – changed my mind, join the Army Air Corps flying helicopters – changed my mind, join the Navy flying helicopters – persuaded that it wasn’t a good idea. Stay as a dealer – well, no, I thought that there might be better things to do, until I found out what salaries were being paid by Overseas Banks in London rather than my “paltry” clearing bank salary.