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My formal education began at a small convent (kindergarten) in Oxey Lane, Hatch End this must have been between 1933 – 1935, I cannot remember much about it, apart from when they had a Convent Fete I wanted to stroke a donkey and got too near his rear end. And he gave me a kick in the stomach!

From Oxey, my parents sent me together with my brother Joseph to St. Anselm’s a modern elementary school, which had been built, at Harrow on the Hill. Mother would drive us to school each morning in their “Bull Nosed Morris” taking my father with us, he was dropped off at Harrow on the Hill station to catch his train for London. We returned home by bus at lunchtime and again after school each evening. Although it was a three-mile journey, the buses seemed to travel. faster and more frequent in those days.

In 1940 I left St Anselm’s and started at the Salvatorian College, Wealdstone, staying on until 1942 where Jo had already started and where brother John had attended, Here I was taught by Salvatorian fathers. Now I was at a secondary school so to try and make myself more grown up started to smoke behind the bike shed this was the norm but cigarettes were difficult to come by and too expensive for me. As an alternative I tried my hand making my own cigarettes.

In those days Rizala sold cigarette papers in a small packet and if one collected 5 empty packets the tobacconist he would let you have a simple roller machine free. The term used was “Roll you own with Rizala”.

Having secured my Rizala machine the next problem was tobacco which again was difficult to get and expensive. However in the front of our class there was a pencil sharpener which filled quickly with pencil shavings, what could be easier as an alternative to Tobacco!! Soon I had rolled myself a full packet of cigarettes. True they did not taste of tobacco but they looked the part and when the shavings were damp they rolled well However I soon found that if I sucked to hard the shaving would burst into flame and burn my eyebrows!!

Cycling was a great hobby and widened my travels from home, I was able to ride over to see my friends as far out as South Harrow and Kenton. And could cycle to search out which shops had the toys and models I liked. Already with the first few months of the war such things were becoming scarce.

Saturday was pocket money day I got three pence from each of my parents and grandma, my father’s mother would give me sixpence if I cut her nails and helped her in her room. So Saturday mornings with a shilling (10p) to spend was a popular day to cycle out to the shops and search for what I wanted. Dad worked Saturday morning but he would be back for lunch so I had to be back by one o’clock.

Sometimes when I was after some special toy, I would have to ride to dozens of places and even then might not find what I wanted.. On these occasions I was pushed to get home in time for lunch!

In Harrow there was an old Junk shop, which sold almost anything, They had old electric, motors control boards surplus goods of all sorts. To me this was an Aladdin’s Cave and I spent many hours looking through their stock. It was from this Aladdin’s Cave, I was able to get all the odd bits I required for my crazy ideas and inventions.

     Cycling to Stanmore one day I met up with John Calderwood whom was also out cycling. He had quite a special bike fitted with everything one could imagine, it quite fascinated me who had only a plane machine two wheels a frame and handlebars! We



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