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1948 onwards: Young me

Hounslow 1948-1953
How can one ever be sure what it was like to start life? My image of what it was like to be young is indelibly altered by hearing tales from my long-dead parents and from my brothers, by looking again and again at those old photos, which showed me as a curly browned haired, happy child, teeth bared in what I thought was the smile required for the camera and its expensive photographs. I still can’t force a photogenic smile today. If I try I look more like a tortoise, I’m told.

So be it. I was born on 29thJuly 1948, on my eldest brother Robin’s second birthday (yes, Jeremy came in-between, only ten months before me), at the West Middlesex Hospital. That made us a self-contained gang, though we were never quite so, but at least a group whose members always had someone to play with. We lived in Hounslow, at 62 Bulstrode Avenue. I walked along the street a few years ago, and couldn’t believe how the house had shrunk and changed colour.

Rationing was still in force. Trolleybuses were common. Birthdays and Christmases, despite my mother, and therefore technically me, being Jewish, were joys, especially with the wider family. I’m not sure when a little child becomes conscious of its immediate and more distant family, but at some stage I became aware of the family around me, the existence of a parallel Stone family nearby, in Teddington, my father’s younger brother Ralph, my Aunt Gillian and eventually a brood of five to equal ours, with our Grandmother Nana living in an annex. Gillian and Ralph are dear to me, the last of their generation. Gillian was the daughter of Gilbert Sale, who had been my mother’s manager in the Palestine Forestry Commission. She was introduced to Ralph by my parents, always matchmakers, and love took its course. Gillian was a second mother for a while, especially to Jeremy, caught in the middle of the elder three.

Nana was a figure of ultimate distinction in my young eyes, silver haired, Roman-nosed, broken-wristed, with a classic English accent, slightly upper class but not drawling, smooth delivery of interesting words, loving and full of interesting facts. She had divorced in the 1930s, my grandfather ending up a prisoner at Singapore before his successful life in Australia, including a new wife and son, giving us half-cousins, including my father’s namesake Brian.

Brian. We called him Brian. I can’t remember ever calling him anything else. The polar opposite of Mummy, Yocheved in Hebrew – meaning God’s glory, Yvette in French from her education in Jerusalem’s Alliance Française. Brian, one leg blown off when his tank brewed up in the Western Desert, minor war hero with a Military Cross for capturing several Germans, so we were told, but I can’t remember by whom, the other leg filled with shrapnel, went to then Palestine to work as a civil servant and journalist, met my mother, a renegade from an orthodox Jewish family, who fell in love with the broad-shouldered, smiling, blond, blue eyed, swaggering hero, and married him in the Rabbinate in Jerusalem, him learning his few Hebrew words required to accept her as his wife. “You are hereby consecrated to me by the law of Moses and Israel”. Stamping on the glass under the cloth must have been fun. Honeymoon in Cyprus was followed by her pregnancy and the premature birth of Robin, said to have been triggered by the blowing up of the King David Hotel, by the Jewish resistance organisation, Irgun, on July 22nd, 1946. The hotel was the headquarters of the British government of Palestine and more importantly the intelligence section which focused on the Irgun and other Jewish military organisations. My parents lost friends in the attack, and it was said to have triggered Robin’s premature birth a week later. They came to England soon after, Robin in a wooden orange box.

It took me some time to become conscious of this heritage. We were brought up in an agnostic household, and it was only some time after we moved to Brighton when I was five that I started to go to Reform Synagogue and Sunday school, the latter to learn Hebrew. Other parts of my heritage dawned on me even later, such as that of my father’s late elder brother Philip’s role as a bomber pilot, dying when shot down over the Netherlands, a life that only meant something to me when I read his diaries in this century. My Israel heritage became meaningful when I first visited after my operation, in 1975. Robin had been much more forward, working on Kibbutz Ma’ayan Zvi between school and university in 1963, and returning to help in the June War of 1967.

Hounslow in the early 1950s was a product of the inter-war years, concrete offices and shops, red-brick housing terraces, and above all red London buses. For decades afterwards, when living away from London, the sight of a red London bus lifted my heart. But memories of that time are patchy – finding with Jeremy an Old English Sheepdog dead by the Great West Road, a trickle of blood from its lips, and not knowing what to do, seeing the meteorite in Lampton Park, my brother Oren arriving in a home birth, me being sleepy on Brian’s shoulders at the coronation fireworks by the Thames, and the London taxi in which he converted the front luggage space by installing a seat and a wooden door – no construction and us, or health and safety rules then! BYR138 was the registration.

My parents friends that stayed beyond this era – and therefore whom I remember - included John and Shirley Cain – he a producer with the BBC, she an actress whose beauty and charm entranced us. I remember too John’s brother Michael, who if I remember correctly had a thalidomide child. Their mother, whom we knew as Mrs Cain, had apparently had a colostomy. My parents later told me that she dealt with it by a primitive kind of nappy – more of this later!

One acquisition from this period was our tortoise, Terry, who stayed with us for many years until he died during hibernation one year.

More detailed memories belong to Brighton, where we lived from when I was five to eleven, and then from fifteen onwards. I finally left Brighton after completing my doctoral work in 1972 – it took me another three years to get the degree. So the memories of place may date from any time, so I cannot be sure that I am remembering places from when I was five or twenty four.

Brighton 1953-1959
Brian was a schoolteacher. He moved from Hounslow’s Isleworth Grammar School to Brighton’s Varndean Boys Grammar School, to head the English Department, and so began our love affair with Brighton.

My memories of the five years between our move to Brighton and the move to Loughborough, where Brian went to head the English Department in one of the country’s top teacher training colleges, and one of the top three sporting colleges in the country, jostle with each other for a place on this page. By the time we got to Brighton in 1954 we were four boys, and by New Year’s Day of 1957 we were joined by our sister Miriam, a curly-haired lisping blonde whose five male adorers thoroughly spoiled her.
Apart from the odd brush with school teachers for being a bit rumbustious – for example for knocking girls down in the playground after they had asked for our game Hot Rice – in which we had to throw a rubber or tennis ball to hit other players on the legs, upon which they changed sides, I was a good if slightly talkative schoolchild., but no match for a bully named Barry who was transferred from the Whitehawk area of Brighton – one of its roughest.

Brighton was a great place in which to grow up. The sea and beach were the main attraction, but closely followed by the many parks. Blaker’s Park was our local one, the giant Preston Park with its cricket pitch and velodrome quite near, with the Rockery, modelled on the Willow Pattern plate. The Downs surrounded the town, and we would often cycle to Ditchling Beacon or further afield. We would often go to the Devil’s Dyke, loving running down its steep sides, only to be faced with the gruelling walk back up. Beachy Head was also a favourite, and my mother would scream with alarm as the four of us milled about near the cliff edge, encouraged by Brian. I suppose my love of green rolling hills started here.

Brighton was also the period of the “Stratford Camps”. Brian would take a large group of Varndean boys camping to see the Royal Shakespeare Company at its prime, with the theatrical knights – Olivier, Richardson, Gielgud and others – commanding the rapture of their audiences and occasionally forcing me to keep my eyes open as we sat in the cheap seats high and at the back. Once we had a no-seat ticket, and I fell asleep on the stairs of the aisle. But I remember the atmosphere and the sounds, and it was certainly not an experience that put me off literature as it might have done. The camps were the thing, though. Imagine being spoiled by thirty or forty boys ten or more years older. I remember one arrival was in the rain, and hulky sixth formers donned their bathing costumes to put up the tents. We had acquired a new Bedford Dormobile, SCD 260. The London taxi was donated to the school for the boys to dismantle. There was a special tent that covered the back of the Bedford so that we were in relative civilisation. The camp fires every night, the songs, the comfort food of soup, baked beans and sausages, the tinned fruit along with (yum!) evaporated milk, tea with condensed milk, enormous catering tins of jam much loved by the wasps when they were empty, created in me an enduring love for comfort (junk?) food. Rationing was over and we could let rip. We camped on Sir Fordham Flower’s land – he of Flower’s Ales. His daughters, much older than us, were accomplished horsewomen (though they were teenage girls in fact) and we boys were in awe of them. They encouraged us to roll in the hay, which meant only jumping off high-stacked bales onto lower bales, sadly. We swam in the then-clean River Avon. We looked forward to Stratford every year, and were sad when it was over.

My father’s colleague teachers were a lovely bunch. I remember “Bubble” Wylie and Seth Cain, who was very intense and to our sadness later committed suicide. Michael McGowan was a handsome, balding, Spanish looking bachelor with a big white smile which made the women swoon – I think my parents ushered him through several love affairs, trying to repeat their earlier matchmaking successes.

I can remember some of my schoolmates at the Downs County Primary School, which was just 10 minutes walk from our house (who had lifts to school in those days?). It was a typical British primary school, lots of red brick (but also with lots of local flint), three storeys, big windows in the hall. However, the ones who stood out as friends were Barry Furlong, the son of Brighton’s Deputy Fire Chief, who had the first television we had seen, and which converted me into a tepid Manchester United fan after the Munich air disaster of 1958 and Nick Steadman, whose mother had never married, but whom we admired because she was so good to us, so careful to explain things to us. Nick was slightly introverted, quite bright and definitely interesting and interested in all things. It was rumoured that his father had fought in the Korean War and just disappeared – whether from life or his wife/partner. Together with Jeremy, we formed the Stone and Steadman Secret Service and went around committing minor felonies, like stealing dust-caps from car tyres, or nicking penny chews from shops or putting bangers under lovers’ cars in parks as November 5th approached. We were occasionally caught and in one infamous case a policeman came round to remonstrate with me. I had bent down to steal a dust-cap (we had no use for them – it was just the challenge) and there was someone in the car, who asked me my name and address. I blurted out the truth – I never could lie.

Somehow I remember all our schoolteachers from the four years in primary school, though not the one year in infants – pretty, slim, Miss Batchelor whose loss to us we mourned when she became Mrs Bredon, the tough Mrs Austin, firm Mrs Parks, and smiling but really ferocious curly white haired Miss Cox – custodian of 4A and therefore the school’s reputation for getting us safely into grammar schools. I remember meeting Miss Cox later on and couldn't believe how small she was. She, like Mrs Parks, had towered over us with her enormous bust when we were young.

I loved maths and logical subjects but couldn’t stand art. I was once forced to stay in to complete a painting when I finished off half the page by just painting the bottom half green for grass and the top half blue for sky. I was forced to put figures and trees into it.

We were regulars at Rabbi Rosenblum’s Reform Synagogue in Holland Road. I had never been to an Orthodox synagogue – that was much later – so didn’t appreciate the relaxed atmosphere, the cake and orange squash after the service. The Rabbi’s beautiful tenor voice sung out much of the service. I went to the Sunday School as well, learning rudimentary Hebrew, enough of a foundation for much later. I learned the basic prayers, parrot fashion, not understanding their meaning. An additional complication was that I was a member of the Cubs at Stanford Avenue Methodist Church at the end of the road where we lived (Southdown Avenue), and often went to church services in my uniform. No wonder I became confused and then an atheist. By the time we left Brighton, Jeremy and I were joint Senior Sixers, though we were not badge-collecting fanatics.

Jeremy and I fell under the influence of a former Christian missionary, Madame Margaret Field, who lived not far from us in Florence Road. I don’t mean that she tried to convert us, but she was just so good to us, giving us some of her Indian metal artefacts (elephants, carts drawn by cows), and entertaining us with short tales of her life in India. Another older lady who influenced us in a strange way was our next door neighbour, Miss Sands. I am not sure whether she liked us, but occasionally she would throw over the wall some of the most beautifully illustrated books about the British Army in the Boer and First World Wars. The full page, full colour portraits of the generals were particularly striking. One name that stuck in my head was Sir Bindon Blood!

Somehow we acquired an old 78 rpm full size gramophone – was it from Miss Sands? I can’t remember. The Inkspots and their Java Jive sticks in my memory.
I love coffee, I love tea
I love the java jive and it loves me
Coffee and tea and the jivin’ and me
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
I love java, sweet and hot
Whoops! Mr. Moto, I’m a coffee pot
Shoot me the pot and I’ll pour me a shot
A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!
Oh, slip me a slug from the wonderful mug
And I cut a rug till I’m snug in a jug
A slice of onion and a raw one, draw one.
Waiter, waiter, percolator!
and so on.

Nymphs and Shepherds, the Warsaw Concerto and a host of other classical pieces half-surface from these times.

We still often saw the Teddington Stones – they were after all only a couple of hours away in the days before the motorway. They visited us and we them. Nana often came to stay. I remember one awfully foggy day – Gatwick Airport is still famous for its fogs, which have geographical, not manmade causes – my father driving up the middle of the dual carriageway with almost no visibility and no fear of going into the back of something, as there were so few cars. Most people travelled by bus and train, and Brighton still had its trolleybuses, which were ideal for Brighton’s steep hills, though occasionally they would lose their contact with the wires and we would have to wait until men came along to push the trolley arms up to the wires. Their acceleration was savage, and many an old dear – for Brighton was already a retirement haven – nearly lost their footing as the bus jerked away from a stop. Alas, they are gone.

I don’t remember the weather, only the stormy days when we would go down to the sea and along the groynes to enjoy the smashing of the waves against their walls or against the big pebbles on the beach, with us trying in vain to dodge the resulting spray. To me, this first period in Brighton, and the time in Loughborough, were perpetually sunny in my mind, even though there were a few accidents, like coming off my bike after being forced into the kerb by a bus – it was probably my fault for overtaking on the inside, but I don’t think danger meant anything to us, just a few cuts and bruises. I remember swimming in the North Road baths and occasionally in the salty King Alfred’s baths - much farther and more expensive.

I can’t recall much about our holidays, except that once we went in a Bristol freighter – Dormobile and all - from Lydd to Le Touquet. This might have been for our holiday to Switzerland, where we stayed in Vevey, near Lake Geneva. I remember swimming out into the lake and being scared by weeds pulling me down, being stung on the foot by a bee that I had trodden on while walking on a lawn by the lake, and the stern, tall, smiling stationmaster who warned us when trains were coming – we loved to watch the big Swiss electric locomotives.

The other holiday I remember was at Pwllheli in Wales. The farmer (Mr Evans?) on whose land we were camping watered down the milk he sold us, and I remember the farmer’s son breaking a chicken’s neck and the chicken running around the farmyard for some time with its head crazily flopping to one side – the original headless chicken.
I was very prone to sore throats and ear infections – I sometimes wonder whether all the antibiotics I took so early led to problems later on. I had my tonsils out when I was 10, I think – I will never forget the luscious ice cream that we were given to soothe our throats after the operation, or coming home and coughing up a slug-like clot of blood and being very alarmed.

And then came the 11-plus that was to doom or promote us educationally. We did lots of practice tests at school, and my father later told me I had come third in all of Brighton. It meant nothing to me.

I had a girl friend, Diane Gillies. I was 10, she was 9. She was the daughter of a financial advisor, and was from my school, the Down’s Country Primary. Her sister Susan was in our form, Diane a year younger. She was very pretty (of course!), fair, slightly freckled if I remember right, but most of all it was her nose, her smile and laugh and the way her eyes crinkled when she did that attracted me. I was just beginning to be conscious that girls were nice, particularly girls like Diane. I wonder what it is that makes one like a "type". I liked both the Gillies sisters and cried bitterly when we left Brighton. Curiously enough, I encountered Susan with her mother ten or so years later at the Theatre Royal, when I was with Carrie. I wished Diane had been there. I still remember calling on Diane, seeing the sign for her father's dentist surgery outside - was it Roy M Gillies?

Loughborough 1959-1963
1959 saw us travelling up the A23, then the A6, to Loughborough, where my father had taken a post as Head of the English Department, at the College of Education, more used to turning out start sports teachers than drama specialists. I was distraught, leaving my first ever girlfriend, Diane. We wrote to each other for a bit. I remember the handwriting still. I don't remember when the writing stopped, now even how long we had been friends back in Brighton, but I am sure it was because  Loughborough Grammar School now beckoned, with all the excitement of being in a big school, and tough exams in the first year to determine whether one would go into the fast stream and O Levels in four years (I did). Still, a gap was left in my life that wasn't truly filled until I married.

Loughborough may be to some a forgotten town of the East Midlands, but to a young boy it was a different kind of heaven. It was canal and river country, in contrast to Sussex, where most rain sunk into the chalky soil. The Grand Union Canal, the River Soar and the mighty River Trent, saw us walking by their sides or canoeing along them. Robin had the canoe, famous because someone once took an air-gun pot-shot at him in it on the canal. The offender was prosecuted.

Charnwood Forest was the site of many bike rides and rambles, its rocky granite outcrops surrounded by ferns and pine woods, and lower down the rich arable fields, contrasting with the sheep-filled down-land of Brighton. I became a cross-country runner, running for the school, with many triumphs completed by a flying run down from Charnwood to the finishing line. This was a rugby school, perhaps why I preferred cross-country, and in the summer athletics beckoned rather than cricket. I was never a ball game person, much though I love watching them on television today.

Our massive Edwardian (I think) house, Ivydene, 3 Victoria Street, was ivy-covered until Brian was advised to pull it down because it was damaging the brickwork. The garden was an orchard until sold off to build two houses, and the crumbling greenhouse hosted a vine. It had to be pulled down, its substitute being a characterless lean-to which we called the “shezam”, because Miriam or Oren referred to it as a “she’s am”. But we still had a large stone-walled pond with goldfish. My father often referred to Loughborough as Lowbrow – he was always a bit of an intellectual elitist. To bring in more money, we lost our individual bedrooms, and Brian rented out a wing of the house to various tenants, the most colourful being Bahamians, but the one who had the most impact on me was young lecturer from the College of Education, David Clegg, from Sheffield, simply because one day he took me for a drive over the Peak District to see his mother, and I still remember the joy of swooping down a lane in his Land Rover, the radio blaring out Johnny Tillotson singing Poetry in Motion, a song I have loved ever since for this memory. We even took in paying guests. I remember a sports tutor, Dicky Underwood, a fanatical chewer, whose chomping amazed us at meals. I also remember a gentle Stanley Evernden, whose adopted young son, with sticking out ears, was greeted by Oren telling his parents that he thought their son looked like a monkey.

The house also had a garage, looking out onto the street behind us, filled with mean terraced houses. Above it were two rooms. There was no heating, so we used them as workshops. I started to experiment with chemistry, making explosives and dangerous gases. I still cringe at the memory of making some chlorine and encouraging the daughter of one of Brian’s old friends to smell it carefully. She breather deeply and coughed all day. I learned later that she had died of leukaemia – she was already weak and her illness known.

Our house was just five minutes from the school, whose Burton Walks – named after the founder Thomas Burton - continued Victoria Street but the other side of a barrier. . The school was a direct-grant school. It was private. State pupils like us were funded by grants. I had no idea what that meant, except that we were regarded as toffs, along with Loughborough High School girls, compared to pupils from Loughborough College School, attached to where Brian worked, a pure state grammar school, or (worse still), the Secondary Modern Schools of Limehurst -girls and Garendon - boys, for those who “failed” the 11 plus examination. As we grew older the Limehurst girls would taunt us for wearing shorts until we were in the 5th year. Or in my case, the 4th year, because Loughborough still used the “Remove” system, made famous by Billy Bunter stories. We began “big school” at the age of 11, in the third form – the first and second being for younger boys in Preparatory School. Half way through the third form, we were examined. The top third were hived off into a class that would take four years to take Ordinary Levels. I was in this group, which meant that being a July child and so young for my year, I would take these exams just before I was 15. Jeremy did not get into this group. After the fourth year, I went into Remove A and then the Fifth form, he into Lower Remove B, Upper Remove B and then the Fifth, meaning that he was a year behind his brother who was ten months younger than him. I never asked him later what he felt about it – typical me.

When my hormones began to flow, I became naughty. Not seriously so, just full of beans and myself in class, talking too much, annoying our excellent teachers whom I now greatly respect. I was dared by my classmates to greet the art master using the dialect greeting and his first name, “Ay oop Len.” I did. He slapped me straight into detention, but with a smile. He must have known it was a dare. Our French teacher Mr Gartside was young and irascible, so I became a hero by putting a book down my trousers and deliberately inciting him to slipper me, which he did. Hero again! My reports at the end of each term were covered with red underlinings by the head-teacher, whom my father knew, as they were members of the local educational establishment. The message “Could do better” was everywhere, and in the end I did, revising flat out in the final term to get good results.

I became a train spotter. I had a big train set, but the real thing excited me more. Loughborough was at the intersection of two railways from London, the old London, Midland and Scottish line from St Pancras to Nottingham, Derby, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and many other northern towns, and then to Scotland and the old Grand Central Line from Marylebone to Nottingham and Leeds.. They were by then both drab British Railways, but these were the last days of steam, so the locomotives were still magnificent. The line from St Pancras had four tracks, two passenger, two freight. The West Coast main line, the old London and North Western Railway, was being electrified, so many expresses came through Loughborough, such as the Thames Clyde Express to Glasgow, which used the now-closed Dove Holes tunnel in the Peak District. We grammar school train spotters sat in the waste land at the intersection of the lines, “copping” the steam locomotives, ranging from express Jubilees and Patriot classes, the Black 5s and 8-freights, the 92000 series and other locomotives built since nationalisation, to old Duck-6s from the First World War (so called because their wheel format was 0-6-0 i.e. no front or rear undriven axles, just 3 axles - 6 wheels - connected to the cylinders). I still remember all these names. We also “copped” increasingly frequent diesel railcars, the big diesel-electric locomotives, particularly Peak class and D200-ers, and the fabulous diesel-electric Midland Pullman to Manchester. A bonus – a whole series of diesel electric locomotives were being built at the Brush engineering works in Loughborough under our noses. We could “cop” these Brush diesels just by looking through the factory windows. Their numbers were chalked on them when they were still only painted in red lead. With my train spotter friends, we travelled all over the country to visit engine sheds and lines – Rugby to see the West Coast main line, Grantham the East Coast line, the streamlined locomotives and the thundering Deltic diesel prototype. It taught me much about our geography. When I studied transport economics at university, my rail knowledge bore fruit.

The head English teacher at Loughborough was known as Ted Taylor. He carried out what we called Ted Taylor’s Tours – walking holidays in the North. My first was a day trip to the Peak District, and then a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales and one in the Lake District. We youth-hostelled. These holidays confirmed my love of striding alone or with friends over damp, wind-swept moors, divided by granite or millstone grit dry-stone walls, accompanied by the lament of the curlew, the constant baaing of sheep and the sweet smells of heather, moor grass, combined with the acrid smell of peat. I think it as here that I developed my lack of concern about getting wet, whether in the rain or because the path had turned into a stream.

My Jewish side went into retreat in Loughborough. There was no synagogue, though another Jew in the town co-operated by sending me with his daughters to Hebrew Sunday School in Nottingham. Instead, I moved towards being a teenager. I became a true teenager in my final term at Loughborough, in the summer of 1963. My father became head of a more prestigious English department, at Brighton College of Education, and returned in the spring of that year, leaving me to board for a term and finish my exams. I took to it like a duck to water. One of my dormitory colleagues brought in records – not something I could afford. I learned to love Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck and then – blowing them all away – the Beatles with Please Please Me.

The Northern walking holidays produced a triumph of organisation for me. In summer 1963, after I had finished my O levels, I organised a walking tour for the three elder brothers and my good friend Anthony Acton, across Scotland, to where we would meet with my father who was teaching summer school in Aberdeen. I wrote to all the Youth Hostels, enclosing the Postal Orders for bookings, and we walked from Loch Lomond to Aviemore, then taking the train to Inverness and bus to Aberdeen. I remember being in a clinch with a Glaswegian girl in one hostel, but not being sure what to do next – I was only 14.

The return to Brighton was to see me becoming in some ways a young adult, but also to experience disasters with my health. 

Brighton Sixth Form 1963-1966
I remember standing in a room with a collection of other new boys. At the start of the sixth form, Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School, like many others, took in more boys, whether like me movers from different towns, those who were dissatisfied with their existing schools, refugees from private school fees, and the very few who were lucky enough to be “promoted” from secondary moderns or the few technical schools that still existed. I had no idea what to choose for A levels. I knew I wanted to do French and Maths, but was stuck for a third subject. Robin said “Do Economics, and Public Affairs, it’s easy.” So I did. I fared less well in my exams for this, but it became my discipline. So much for random decisions. I was assigned to 6thArts under “Bill” Bones, the French teacher. Everyone is the class seemed much more mature than I was, as they were on average a year or two older than me. This told particularly in Economics and Public Affairs, where some experience and judgement were required. However, my brother opened the door of political economy to me, and several boys from this and the upper sixth went to the Worker’s Education Association evening classes in Economics, run by Dr Henry Collins, a pipe-smoking wandering don. This was true education. French I loved and spoke fluently, Maths was a big leap from O level, but I eventually got the hang of it, although the maths of circular motion and other physics was tough, though the many who were studying physics or “Double Maths and Physics” found it easy.
The work to school was one of our joys. It took 20 or so minutes, down Preston Drove, across London Road, up the Droveway and then Miller’s Road, after passing under the narrow bridge under the main railway line to London, and then turning left along Dyke Road. We generally picked up a few schoolmates on the way. The school was less “posh” than Loughborough, as the posh boys school was Brighton College, a Private School, but we were twinned with the Brighton High School for Girls, a private school. I remember the embarrassing ballroom dancing lessons, for which I had a particularly busty partner.

The school was vibrant, full of sports and culture. It was a football school, and our sports masters were Mike Smith (who went on to manage the Welsh football team) and Mike Yaxley, who went on to manage Brighton and Hove Albion. I continued with my cross-country running until I fell ill. The annual Gilbert and Sullivan opera was a great event, drawing in pupils of all ages and talents. The year when Buttercup’s voice broke was a disaster.

As recent arrivals, we Stones were to some extent outsiders, and there was a definite hint of freemasonry in the school – it had a lodge – which determined who became prefects. Gregarious as ever, I made many friends very quickly, and later became Chair of the Literary and Debating Society and of the Sixth Form Common Room, a beautiful new building where we could exclude ourselves from the younger rabble.

To be young in 1960s Brighton was a privilege. The 1960s music revolution was in full swing, and we revelled in it. I was not musical, but Jeremy (piano) and Robin (guitar) were, and so I took up the drums, but I wasn’t really that good – I had a good sense of rhythm but I didn’t have the skills. Nonetheless we eventually played in public later when at university. Parties were many, providing lots of opportunities for slight intoxication and groping girls. We blagged our way into pubs – we somehow looked older, and always enjoyed the late night fish and chips when walking home from parties or pubs. It only took about half an hour from the centre to our house at 18 Harrington Villas.

There was a more serious side, of course – like the long evenings spent playing bridge with Alan Jackson, Mick Hickman, John Trory and others, whose names I nearly remember – when they come to me I’ll update this piece.

My room faced the back garden, the tree-lined Surrenden Road, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, and the allotments beside it. It was quite a wide vista, one which I treasured given the amount of time I would spend in my bedroom later. The house had five bedrooms, so we each had our own. Jeremy’s was the music room downstairs. Robin and Oren were on the top (third) floor, and that’s where we made the loudest music.

Half way through the spring term, I fell ill. My temperature soared and I was diagnosed with glandular fever. I think I had two weeks off school, and fell behind badly, particularly in maths. I returned to school, but two or three weeks later, I was back in bed, this time with severe, bloody diarrhoea and abdominal pains. The doctors didn’t know what to make of it, so they whisked me off to Foredown Hospital on the Downs. It was an isolation hospital. They suspected dysentery, for some reason. After many tests, as I continued to waste away, they diagnosed ulcerative colitis, which I now know was part of the long attach of lupus on my life, fortunately not dangerous so far. I spent a total of seven and a half weeks at Foredown. The rest of the hospital was geriatric, so once out of isolation, I spent over five weeks in the company of old men, several of whom died while I was on the ward. Because I was 15, I was classed as an adult, otherwise I would have been in Brighton Children’s Hospital – much more civilised. As so many of the old men were doubly incontinent, perhaps they felt I would be in better company.

I finally made it home, returning to school and realising in the summer term, only long enough to realise how much I had fallen behind. I had not been able to do school work, instead reading my way through the turgid prose of Lords of the Rings – thank goodness I got that over when I had lots of time on my hands. I still had lots of pain, and had to learn to administer cortisone enemas every other night.

In the summer term, I started to react to all the drugs they were giving me. My limbs swelled up and capillaries burst everywhere. I had to wear sandals. So I was hospitalised again, for just over three weeks, until they stabilised me. I remember a man’s life being saved as he recovered from pneumonia by having his lungs drained, and meeting a man called Paul who had lost his leg in a motorcycle accident – then very common. In that hospital, the Brighton General Hospital, I decided I would like them to call me David, my second name. It was an interesting experience, but I reverted to Merlin when I got home. Of course, by then I had missed so much schooling that I had to start the sixth form again, so was in the same class as Jeremy, which was genuinely good. Nick Steadman from our primary school days was also in the same class. He was an interesting as ever, very into the Combined Cadet Force, but still a bit of an outsider, like us.

My holidays were constrained by my health. Brian would take us to France often, and after one of those holidays I felt I would never want to see the inside of a church again – he just loved the history. In the end, I have become like him, as churches are the great repository of community history.

We were at last not the only Jews in the school. There were several others, and we had our own room during the morning prayers at Assembly, trooping onto the balcony to listen to announcements and sing the school song – Absque Labore Nihil. The tune of the first line could also be interpreted as the first line of the song “Put on a Happy Face”, which appeared in the second line of each song, so we did occasionally sing it, risking detention. The family did go to the same reform synagogue, but not with the same regularity as when we had been in Brighton before. By this time, air travel was becoming more common, and we saw more of our Israeli family, my Aunt Aliza, her husband Eliezer, whom she divorced and remarried, and my cousins Dinah – who sadly died later of cervical cancer, and Ya’akov or Kobi, who later contracted testicle cancer but survived. My mother’s cousin Ariella, a very pretty and vivacious redhead whom Brian fancied desperately, made frequent appearances too. She was married to Michael Kisch, nephew of Charles Waley-Cohen, of one of the old Jewish British military families. Michael later ran the Israeli oilfields in captured Sinai, after the June War of 1967. There were other visitors from the New York branch – I remember a very pretty girl called Bonnie, or as we called her Bahnee, because of her accent. By now, the Teddington Stones had moved to Devon, I think, though I need to check their movements. We saw them much less, though often shared Christmas.

I suppose I was the most conformist of the four boys – I did genuinely love school and studying, but also loved a bit of a lark. Oren, on the other hand, produced an underground magazine.

I turned to chess as I could no longer play sport, and played for the school team, reasonably well, though I could never bother to learn all the moves, which limited me. Still, I got house colours and school half colours for it, entitling me to wear a special tie, but by then I already had a sub-prefects tie. We sub-prefects were in a kind of limbo, picking up rotten duties and being ejected from the prefects room at the end of breaks with the cry “Subbies Out!” from the Head Boy, who gained his position through freemasonry, like his brothers before him.

At the beginning of the Second Year Sixth, it was time to apply to university. I would normally have been considered “Oxbridge” material – Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge was the family college, though skipped by Brian, who went to London University. Robin tried and failed. I was advised that I should stay at home because of my health, and though I applied to other universities, was accepted by Sussex, the radical new university in Brighton, known as Oxbridge by the Sea for the number of Oxbridge staff who had come to lecture there. I was only required to pass two A levels at minimum grade – the strategy used by universities to “bag” students they wanted – rather flattering. Robin was already studying there.

I still revised hard for A levels, mostly on the beach though occasionally in one of the school canoes on the sea, and ended up that year looking decidedly ethnic in the school photos, something that has come back to haunt me as various bits of skin are cut out because of basal cell carcinoma. We elder three fear the melanoma that killed Brian due to his history in the Western Desert and incessant sunbathing later. Jeremy, the fairest of us, has had melanomas and survived.
My A level results were good, and I looked forward to university.

Brighton – Sussex University 1966-1972
I was lucky to have had a stressless summer. I can’t remember how well I was, as my colitis was in remission most of the time, with occasional bouts of diarrhoea, pain and bleeding. I know I was pretty thin. I can’t even remember whether we had a holiday that summer – Brighton was a perpetual holiday, with lots of parties, pubs and beach-time. I suspect we went to France to see some more churches.

Early October 1966 saw me standing in the “Freshers queue” at Sussex University. I was to study economics in the School of European Studies. Very few students had the sense to take their joining instructions out of their “Freshers envelope”. Perhaps we wanted to display our home address. I stood next to Adam Weill, a tall, broad-shouldered South African. His address was, I think, Tel Aviv, though now I can’t be certain whether it was Jerusalem. We struck up conversation, and saw each other around campus occasionally, though he was studying in a different School. I heard later that he was one of three brothers, and that he and one of his brothers had been killed in the Israeli army. He was a tank commander, and like many of his kind, would stand up in his turret to get a better view rather than sheltering within the tank. That was how he met his death, in or a short time after the June 1967 war, in Sinai. His mother then bought a VW bus to tour Europe – a brave woman.

I remember spending much of my first year talking to other students in the European Common Room. I was the only student studying Economics in that School, and I was forced to study a European Literature foundation course. I was completely out of sympathy with the course, and failed it twice. I couldn’t see the point of the type of literary criticism that universities engaged in – I see it more now. I was put on the Dean’s List – one step before more severe disciplinary action. By next year, they had allowed students like me to do the Social Science foundation course – much more sensible.

My situation wasn’t helped by the amount of beer I drunk. Like most first year male students, we thought happiness and maturity was directly proportional to the quantity of bear imbibed. I was also playing lots of music with my brothers and fooling around with girls. I did however get a distinction in the historiography course, mainly because Robin taught me how to do it. He said, every time the text you are required to comment on makes a statement implying causation, attack it, so I did. That distinction might have saved me.

I joined a group of Humanist students – by then my atheism was confirmed – and several of us spent a lot of time together, debating, reflecting. One was a pretty girl, Carolyn Watts, freckled, auburn haired and green-eyed, with a trim figure and a retroussé nose. She had some similarities with Diane. We spent more and more time together, eventually getting together, and then marrying at the end of the first year – we were both just 19. She was a survivor of spina bifida, with a crease at the bottom of her spine caused by the operation to close the end of the spine, and with a resulting occasional mild incontinence. We were drawn to each other partly by intellect, but I suppose the physical problems we each had created a deeper basis for understanding. Her mother Judy was a marriage guidance counsellor, and gave us a book, Thinking about Marriage, in which she had written the dedication, “Just Keep Thinking”. Well, we didn’t, and though our marriage only survived just under seven years, it broke up without rancour, but when my health was at its lowest. Still, it saw us both get First Class Honours degrees and launch our academic careers, so I can’t complain.

Bill Watts, Carrie’s father, was a gentleman, former submariner and then commercial traveller, whom we saw often when he visited Brighton where he had customers. He too was a Humanist, so we had a firm basis for agreement, though I was still a socialist then and Carrie and her family Liberals, only learning later that they had more sense than me. Carrie told me later than when our marriage broke up was the only time Judy had ever seen Bill cry.

We spent many weeks of our holidays at their home in Bristol. We would take the train from Brighton, changing at Portsmouth or Southampton for the service to Bristol. I remember that on one of these journeys on the line to Bristol, we were in a diesel railcar and could sit right at the front with a view down the traffic, but Carrie suddenly panicked and was in tears, and said that she wanted to go further back down the train in case there was an accident. Carrie’s brother Martin, also studying economics but a year behind us and at Essex, was often there in Bristol, and he ended up getting a First and becoming an academic too, though in Australia.

I faced the second year safely married, living in the rented top floor of a house not far from my parents. It was owned by a big lady, Mrs Sadler, and we stayed there until her daughter got married and needed the upper floor, whereupon we moved out, moving first to the Dyke Road area (Colborne Road), where we had a very strict landlady, and then eventually to Kemp Town, the main student quarter, where we stayed in Eaton Place until the end of our first postgraduate year. I then got an enhanced grant and we could afford to move to a very nice flat on Marine Parade.

In the second year, I buckled down to work, not helped by a severe attack of colitis in the middle of the year following a holiday in Paris, where I started to belled – we somehow struggled home. The European Studies course was one of the best things that ever happened to me, as in parallel to my economics, I studied all the things that I had somehow avoided at school, philosophy, history, political thought and practice, and continued with French. I was still very naïve academically and socially, very unaware of what I was and what I could become. It was only in my thirties that I started to develop the kind of friendships that produced that most valuable of things – honest feedback. I made many friends at university, though none of them survived my second marriage – they were deemed incompatible.

Robin graduated at the end of my second year and went to teach in London – in those days graduates did not need teacher’s certificates. Jeremy, who had started a teacher training course in music at Brighton College of Education, left it after a year and went to study Divinity at King’s College London. Oren and Miriam were still at school.


In my third year, in 1969, Carrie and I both revised flat out. Assessment was entirely by 3-hour examinations plus one dissertation. Mine was a cost-benefit analysis of the Lewes by-pass, which involved me not just in lots of theory and calculations, but also in sitting by the roads around Lewes counting cars on roads that had been missed by earlier studies. When the graduation list went up, we saw both our names at the top of the list. I certainly had not expected it – I don’t think I even knew what a First was. I think Carrie was expected to get a First. The economics students in the School of Social Sciences were a bit resentful – I heard one of them ask “Who is this Merlin Stone?”, as if a student in the School of European Studies had no right to a First.

I had interviewed for what was called an Economic Cadetship at the Treasury. They offered me a place, meaning that they would fund my fees and living expenses for a Master’s Degree, and then I would join the Treasury. But Professor Tibor Barna dissuaded me from taking the enhanced grant, so Carrie and I both got state scholarships – 50% larger than undergraduate grants – and we began our postgraduate careers, she in philosophy, I in economics. She never finished her doctorate – I think she had problems with completing work associated with her condition. Mine was much delayed by more illness. I studied transport economics with Professor Brian Bayliss (using my train spotting knowledge!), plus some Operations Research with John Beishon, whose son, a journalist, I met years later) and History of Economic Thought with Professor Donald Winch. I won a doctoral grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Trust, enabling us to move into our flat on Marine Parade. Over forty years later, as a Trustee of Bridport Arts Centre, I met John Fairbairn, who was instrumental in helping the Centre by giving it a grant for a new box office system.

In our postgraduate years, we kept some of our friendship with fellow students. Some were with us for the first year because they had done four-year courses with a year abroad, so returned for their fourth year while we were in our first postgraduate year. Gradually a new circle of postgraduate friends emerged, including other postgraduates and some members of staff, as we started doing some teaching. However, Carrie and I spent much of our time together, just we two, and when our marriage was breaking up we joked that we had spent the equivalent of at least 20 years married life together, so we hadn’t done badly. We had many acquaintances at university, including Raphie Kaplinsky, Natasha’s father, and many others who became famous. The sixties had turned into the seventies, and although we loved the music and had our kaftans, I suppose we were more spectators than participants in the revolutions of those years, though of course we participated intellectually. After the June war, there was something of an anti-Israeli sentiment around, as Palestinian propaganda got going. My view was that the Palestinians had been given Jordan, and that many of them, if you went back three generations, were inward migrants from Syria, Iraq and points East and North, attracted to a once depopulated area by Jewish economic activity, just as had happened in South Africa. The myth of the Palestinian nation had however been successfully created.

My doctorate was on new product policy. Professor Barna became my supervisor. He was a member of the UK Monopolies Commission, a minor Hungarian economic wizard. I preferred qualitative research, and wanted to go round interviewing real business people about what they did, to see whether it matched theory. I spend a lot of time at the Science Policy Research Unit, studying their work on industrial innovation – knowledge which has stood me in good stead given my work in the high tech industries. Tibor just wrote to all the companies he had investigated and they welcomed me with open arms – Cadbury’s, Metal Box, Leyland were some of the main ones, and I made many other contacts myself, writing letters requesting co-operation using my old portable typewriter. Fortunately the Esmée Fairbairn Trust funded my (reasonable) expenses too! No e-mail in those days, no telephone either, let alone mobiles. I still remember my visits to Cadbury’s and Rowntree ending with the gift of boxes of chocolate biscuits – a real treat.

I had finished the fieldwork for my doctorate, between bouts of illness, when the time came to apply for jobs. I was offered a post of Lecturer at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. I had no publications, and just the promise of a doctorate. In those days, less than ten per cent of the population went to university and a third or so got upper seconds or firsts, so I was a rare bird. This compares with around forty percent and two thirds today. The expansion of higher education had begun, so demand was high and supply scarce.

August 1972 saw us trekking North in a van driven by one of our very good postgraduate friends, as neither of us could drive, with all our worldly possessions. 

Manchester 1972-1975
My only visit to Manchester had been for the interview. I loved the countryside around, through walking holidays, but knew nothing of the town. We first rented what turned out to be a slum, with a hole in the roof, and rats, in Queen Street, Withington. It was demolished within a few years. The landlord and landlady were called Fidler, Jewish of course, and a not inappropriate name, given the relationship between rent and comfort. It was there that I started to learn to drive. But we soon put in an offer for a cottage at 106 Laneside Road, in Low Leighton, New Mills, on the borders of the Peak District National Park. The town had the fortune to be connected to Manchester Piccadilly (right by UMIST) by two railway lines, the one to Buxton, the other to Sheffield. I passed my driving test at in October 1972, after many hours of practice round the Wythenshawe housing estate, and we were free to roam, as we did. Petrol prices were low, and we could drive to Brighton or to Scotland at will. Carrie enrolled in a Master’s Course in Philosophy of Education at Manchester University, where later she put an end to our marriage by meeting “someone else”.

My health was spiralling downwards at the time, but I was fortunate in only having to teach 5 hours per week, a very light load by today’s standards. It was basic economics too. I put a note on my door giving one office hour for students, which got me into trouble with the head of department, even though it was the guaranteed hour, not implying I was only there for one hour. But I was struggling to finish my doctorate and worked much better at home, surrounded by the green rolling hills and dark dry stone walls of the Peak District.

The colleagues at UMIST were good, a pleasant young bunch, most stayed there forever. However, Professor Cary Cooper became a good friend and mentor. He and I had several things in common – we were both renegade Jews (though he from California), we both had rocky marriages to non-Jewish wives, and we both talked very fast.

By the end of the first year I was very ill, and in the autumn of 1973 my situation was very bad. The specialist at Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport said that the X-rays had shown that the muscle tissue of my colon had pretty-well collapsed, and that I was in danger of pre-cancerous changes. His advice was to cut it all out or risk cancer and constant illness. I went with the recommendation,

In November 1973, I entered Stepping Hill hospital for the operation to remove my colon, rectum, anus – everything, though I didn’t really understand it at the time. The pre-operation counselling was non-existent, though the medical care was excellent. At first, because the operation was so big and bloody, they had to “clean me up”. This meant administering a strong antibiotic for a week. It caused me to burst out into spots on the tongue, and it had to be changed.

The commonest operation being undertaken in that ward at the time seemed to be hernias and vasectomies – the patients for the latter would wake up and look down, still drunk from the anaesthetic, and wail “They’ve cut it off!” I remember one man had a colostomy because of bowel cancer, and looked down at the pink protrusion, asking “When will it go away?” The nurse told him “Never!”, which shocked him. Again, no pre-operative counselling.

I tried to stay fit, somehow anticipating that what was to come would not be pleasant. I would do handstands on my bed, press-ups on the floor. There was a strong camaraderie on the ward, as patients were cut up in various ways. This was the period of the miner’s strike and three three day week under Edward Heath’s government, and power cuts were common. The emergency electricity was saved for the operating theatres. I hoped it would not affect me, as I was in a bad way, lots of bleeding.
On the day of the operation, I was taken down early. The pre-med injection to sedate me failed, and my pulse was racing in anticipation. I was wide awake when they strapped my legs up into stirrups, and it was only then that I realised that they would be cutting from below as well as above. I was injected with the anaesthetic and slipped away, a familiar feeling.

I woke up trapped. There was a drip, a catheter, a bag and a drain tube going into my rectal cavity via a tube. I felt like a fly in a spider’s web and I cried when visitors asked me how I felt. A nurse suddenly noticed that the tube to the vacuum bottle that was supposed to drain the cavity had not been unclipped, so without further ado she unclipped it. There was an enormous sucking sound and I felt as if my insides were being sucked out – well, they were.

The stoma nurse was a man, and he was good. He explained about changing my bag, and a patient whom I had befriended the previous week showed me the kind of tool that a friend of his used to cut the Stomahesive, the karaya-gum based square that protects the skin, which would otherwise suffer badly from the enzymes present in the discharge of the small intestine. I gradually got used to changing my bag, and was happy with no more pain and bleeding, though I felt disfigured. It took me days before I could pee naturally, as in addition to the “waterworks” being disturbed and possible infected, the whole of my lower nervous system had been shocked and damaged by the immense amount of cutting – a massive cut at the back and an even larger one at the front, plus the hole for the small intestine to come out of.

I was two week in hospital after the operation. While I was there, a young man, Roy Griffin, was brought in. He was what we then called a half-caste – his father Indian, his mother white. He had been stabbed in Stockport and his abdominal wound had been dressed in another hospital before he had been transferred to Stepping Hill. He was on the mend, and he and I spent much time talking, he regretting his drug-dealing past and his resolution to go straight. Suddenly he seemed to worsen, his breathing grew more and more desperate, and finally after about a day of his heavy breathing being audible in the whole ward, he died. His father, who was at his bedside, rushed out, vomiting on the floor. I asked a nurse what had happened. She replied that they knew he was going to die when he had been admitted, as his bone marrow had been infected by the dirty knife with which he had been stabbed. His condition was called Gram-Negative Septicaemia – the first and last time I have heard the phrase used, but apparently it has a high mortality rate.

But life went on, and the day of my “release” drew near. Carrie had been visiting me, and my parents had flown up from Brighton to visit me. So I was not alone. I also had many visitors from the university. However, returning alone, very thin and weak, to an old stone cottage in the depths of winter was not much fun. I tried to commit suicide, first thinking of jumping in front of a train and then senselessly taking a massive overdose of the sulphur drugs with which I had been treated, without the faintest clue as to whether it would do the trick. It didn’t, obviously. It just turned my urine very yellow.

I then decided to get on with life, and returned with gusto. I had six month’s sick leave ahead of me, so I did what any young man would do. I got drunk a lot, crashed my car and wrote it off, engaged in pub crawls with the local rough necks – including one in a removal van, whose driver knocked down many a pub wall that night and I ended up lying drunk on a main road. I joined the local Labour party and became a responsible member of the community, and started doing twenty five mile walks over the Peak District.

One day, my old neighbour, Arthur, asked me to come down to the local pub, The Hare and Hounds. Arthur was quite a character. He was former (and perhaps then current) poacher. One day he knocked on the door with a dead hare in his hand. He wanted some of the herbs we cooked with, to flavour the hare. Who knows where it came from? Another day he turned up with a big cut across his forehead. It had been caused by a cross-brow wire rebounding too far. One of his best friends drove around in a beach buggy most of the year. He had dyed long blonde hair and had been a professional wrestler – he had that barrel-chested build. Arthur told a tale in which this friend ha once turned up at Arthur’s house with a rag stuffed into a hole in his chest. He had been called by a friend of his “in the valley”, meaning down in Cheshire, whose sons regularly beat their father up. He had gone to assist and been stabbed by one of the sons, but none the less nearly beat their brains out against the wall. The police had come for him, and he bared his chest, showing what had been done to him. They did not arrest him.

On that day, there was a darts match at a pub in Hayfield, and the Hare and Hounds team were playing. By then I had written off my car, so I together with Arthur and one other got a lift with someone whom I had not met before but was known to all. About a quarter of a mile down the road, he went slap into the back of a VW Beetle, a painful experience if you know where the engine is. I was sitting in the back seat, nearside, and my head smashed onto the seat in front, leaving me needing stitches. Arthur, beside me, nearly had a heart attack (he was well into his seventies and smoked heavily). The man in front of me had his ankle broken, but the driver was not hurt, as the impact had not been direct but glancing. When the owners of the VW came out of their house, he asked to go to the bathroom as he was feeling sick. When the police came, they knocked on the door, but he had gone. The car was stolen. He was now living in Birmingham, and had come up to New Mills for the funeral of his brother who had driven a stolen car into a canal! When the police took a look at who was in the ambulance, they recognised me from my Labour Party work and said, “Goodness me, you’re in with a rough lot!” I realised then that as a middle class southerner, I had no clue as to the under-currents of the town. I later learned that New Mills had one of the highest crime rates in the country for a town of its size, said to be due to the fact that many Manchester people had moved there because it recovered early from the Great Depression and so it had a weak social structure, unlike many Northern small towns. For example, in one of the many murders that had taken place, the victim was found enclosed in a dry stone wall.


And I finished writing my doctorate.

During this strange time of post-operative recovery and getting used to wearing a bag, I had an affair with a married woman - she and her husband were both very active in the Labour Party. I guess I lost my sense of what was reasonable behaviour. We didn't get up to much - my whole lower body was still in shock from the operation, with many of the relevant nerves cut through or damaged, but we tried. Fortunately, I did recover quite soon.

By the autumn of 1974 I was ready to go back to work, physically but not emotionally. I never talked to anyone about what I had suffered until I met Kathryn. I held it all in. I wanted to throw everything away, start again, and when my brother Jeremy suggested that I take up the drums again and go to South Africa (in Apartheid days) with him, I agreed and gave in my notice for the end of the Spring Term 1975. By this time Carrie and I were divorced

I had been assured of a research job at Bath University by my former transport economics tutor, Brian Bayliss, now a Professor there. But I threw away the interview, not deliberately, but my mental state must have made itself obvious. So I decided to go to Israel for the first time, and arranged to visit my aunt Aliza there (I think my mother put pressure on her to accept the visit). There I met Ofra, my second wife, who was to become mother of my two daughters Maya and Talya. By this time I had been examined for my doctorate and been accepted with a few changes to be made to the literature review. I was an economist and had strayed into marketing, but hadn’t done the marketing reading, which I was required to do. This confirmed me as a marketing man.

Meanwhile, I had interviewed for a post as a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the then Kingston Polytechnic, and was accepted for Autumn 1975, at nearly double the salary that I had at Manchester, enabling me to put down a deposit for a house in Kingston, despite not having much left from the sale of the cottage in New Mills.

But the rest is another story.

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