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I guess I was lucky, as I had quite a privileged childhood, though it was very ordinary in many ways. I was lucky in that I had the chance to grow up in several countries and enjoy different cultures, but that came with a heavy price, very few childhood friends. I simply do not have any friends who predate my teenage years. |
For me the best times were in northern England, as a kid around 4-7 years old, they were carefree days, long summer evenings spent rambling in the quiet country lanes near the village we lived in, weekend drives in to the barren wastes of the moors, especially Goatland and the higher moors. If you’ve ever seen any British Bronte Sisters films such as Wuthering Heights you’ll have an idea of what they are like. Being a young boy meant doing fun things like “scrumping” which is stealing apples from farm orchards, finding stoat and weasel holes, bird nest robbing and finding driftwood on the beach after a storm. Riding the milk float around the village at the crack of dawn on a foggy morning and being chased by farm dogs. Oh the fun I had.
One of the worst incidents happened when I was about 3 years old. My parents brother and I had gone to Scarborough (UK) and it was I think in February, it was evilly cold and raining, we had to walk down to the pavilion on the beach as the train wasn’t operating. It was high tide, with storm waves rolling in and lapping at the bottom of the steps.
Dad was putting the primus on to boil a cup of tea (a primus is a kerosene burning portable cooker) and I was sitting on the top step of the steps that went down to the water. A large set of waves came in and I was swept off the steps in to the sea. Even today I can vividly remember the cold gray-green heaving mass of water throwing me around.
I need to explain that Scarborough beach is a shallow beach, famous for a fast tide and not deep water for about 400m or so. Regardless I was being swept out towards the north sea, What happened next was I was grabbed and dragged back to the pavilion, my father had jumped in and chased after me. He was waist deep in water by the time he got me and I remember it felt like an age to get back to the pavilion. I was shivering, freezing cold and was wrapped in a blanket, given hot tea and we went home, i ended up with a terrible cold and cough.
There were many other wonderful and somewhat melancholy times, my first encounter with Asian people, being mobbed by school girls in Japan, saying goodbye to my best friend in the UK and stories of life in Australia as a 10 year old. If anyone is interested I will post some of them.