I would like to thank everyone who has posted such kind remarks regarding my first attempt at “blogging”. I have already prepared the next few episodes which are ready for publication, but I felt the need to respond to some of the comments, especially the post from Claire Uden (now Comrie) Yes, we did date briefly, and suddenly I was transported back 50 years to that “summer of love” once more. I realise many of you reading this weren’t even born in the ‘60s; others, (hello Morwenna) probably remember it as well as I do! 1967. I had just left school and was working in my family’s grocery shop in Lewisham. For those of you who have watched “Open all Hours”, my dad was the model for “Arkwright”, whilst I was a ringer for “Granville”, right down to the fact that I used to deliver the grocery orders on a shop bike. I always expected to take over the shop from my parents and it therefore came as a great shock when the big supermarkets began to open nearby and my dad realised the days of the small, independent trader were numbered – so he made me go out and get a proper job! However, for over 6 months before I joined the Police as a cadet, the world really was my oyster. My parents had bought me a motorbike for my 16th birthday, BKP 59C (How come we can all remember the registration of our first vehicle, but not the one we are driving now?) and I travelled all over the South East, including regular trips to Crowhurst in Sussex where we had a family caravan.
Because I was 16 I could now smoke in public, and because I was earning I could actually afford to buy some decent fags, instead of the woodbines or No.6 which I has smoked in secret until them. I enjoyed “Three Tuns” and sometimes, just for a change, Consulate (cool as a mountain stream); the pipe didn’t come until much later and I will save that story for another time.
I wore flared trousers and flowered shirts, I even had a Kaftan. I grew my ginger hair long until it was over my collar and everything was “groovy”. Although the Beatles were the most popular group at the time I was into Tamla Motown, and loved The Four Tops, The Temptations The Drifters and The Supremes. Everywhere there was “Peace and Love” and people really did wear flowers in their hair.
Of course nothing lasts forever. In January 1968 I reported to Hendon Training School where I spent two years studying, playing sport and learning to be a policeman. For the next 32 years the Police Force was my life; then, in 2000, another chapter in my life began.