Category Archives: Autobiography

Thirty Minutes That Changed My Life. Leeds, 1953

As a child I suffered from severe asthma. Leeds, at that time, was a heavily polluted city drenched in soot from factories and domestic coal fires, which was disastrous for people’s health. The result for me was attendance at Junior … Continue reading

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Yitzhak Rabin: Nobel Lecture 1994

At an age when most youngsters are struggling to unravel the secrets of mathematics and the mysteries of the Bible; at an age when first love blooms; at the tender age of sixteen, I was handed a rifle so that … Continue reading

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Councillor Accountability in the 1990s

Between 1990 and 1998 I was Chair of Havering’s Housing Committee, which I enjoyed hugely. Because so many council tenants exercised their ‘right to buy’* this led to a worrying fall in the Council’s housing stock. This especially effected people … Continue reading

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Sir Philip Magnus School: The 1950s weekly games lessons appraised

I’ve written how I truly hated the weekly sports lessons on a previous occasion.* Summer was bad enough, with cricket and its incomprehensible rules. Winter was worse. Every week I waited, for the coach to turn up. Often I stood … Continue reading

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A Harold Hill* Hippy Goes Shopping in 1967

After a joint or two Dave decided I should spend my spare cash on a new pair of open toed sandals. We left the café and walked round the corner to John Barnet’s shoe shop. The assistant looked down at … Continue reading

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Covid Lockdown

After weeks, with nothing to do The phobia’s did grow Claustrophobia – well that one, was new Agoraphobia was raring to go. “Pull yourself together”, she did say, “There are far worse off, than you Make the most of each … Continue reading

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Failing Maths at Sir Philip Magnus school, 1958

In June 1958 our class was told about the annual mathematics examination. This didn’t fill me with enthusiasm. I feared exams and I especially hated maths. Our teacher, Mr Jones, a hard Welshman from the Rhonda, made the announcement with … Continue reading

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A visit to Aunty Hilda’s, 1949

In 1949 I lived in the stark secure world of north London. Being five years old I didn’t realise that differences in living conditions could be enormous. My two brothers and I lived in a large ten room house in … Continue reading

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Recycling, Craftsmen and Bonuses

In the 1970s I worked for Hackney Council at the Defoe Road Depot, as a plumber. Once I was paired with George the roofer, and his labourer Tom. We had to strip and renew an ‘up and over’ slate roof … Continue reading

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Time

Shoulders slumped forward Elbows drag behind the chest Slightly tired bandy legs Above the flat feet, that ache. What happened, to that, once was physique The body that was so strong That mind that didn’t consider Time would take such … Continue reading

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