Being a spare boy from birth (from where I came from there was a surplus of spare boys per square foot of London but I seemed to be sparer than most which not being liked by anyone and my uncles and aunts in particular, probably had a lot to do with it if not everything) I hit Plymouth house in around late 47 loaded with attitude and a fine selection of blossoming zits and several luminous boils, intending to change the current rules and Pecker Brownhills strap in particular for something more appropriate to a spare boy of note - like an extra iced bun at teatime for example but an ambition that only ended in a confrontation with Miss Brownhill's nose, her strap in particular, and a sore backside or two before bedtime!
Previous to my arrival, I was the star inmate of many a boys home and as obnoxious as was required which meant obnoxious enough to undergo several memorable slipperings of note which turned me into some kind of hero but also got me packed off, cardboard box and conkers, frogs snakes and slugs, onto the nearest form of transport, anything that could move me from A to B without too many people noticing that it was and heading for another county, any county, another home, any home.
By now, KH was the last known bastion between me and the outside world and the French Foreign Legion in particular as this seemed to be the only place that would tollerate me and my astounding but unexplainable haircut but, and more importantly, give me a gun and allow me, in fact insist, that I should shoot somebody with it as soon as possible providing of course that they weren't French but as many Germans as I liked, or didn't like, which was all of them coz they shot my Dad and Uncle Bert but not in the same place - one in the head, one in the foot but both in Libyia.
It was probably about a year after leaving Plym House and establishing my self up at the top school as a highly trained lethal entity and deadly shot with pen nib,lance, catapault and in fact, anything with a point that could impale another a boy to a wall or tree for eternity before I even knew that John Woollan was headmaster let alone discuss anything with him ( but in this case not so much discussing as lying through my teeth ) and as much as this was a first for me no doubt it was a first for him when learning that I even existed at all.
Now Aunt Peg was, to a sexually frusterated KH schoolboy anyway, all woman,a frontage well worthy of more than just a passing glance and legs long enough to stretch the imagination to self destruct - In short, Aunt Peg, was a stunner and for the first time since I had arrived in a blaze of boils and zits on The Hill, she was coming to visit with my mum weighed down with boxes of Bassets Allsorts and Uncle Reg weighed down with some kind of hangover and no idea who he was supposed to by visiting, what he looked like or why.
Suddenly one day and catching 180 sex starved but nonetheless lecherous boys off guard, a gorgeous blonde arrived on the Hill hanging from John Woolans right arm - YAY ! - the Warden had finally pulled !!!
Immediately speculation spread like wild fire.
Cor ! those legs ! how long would dem be ?
Well me anyway, or at least they did once, as one unsuspecting day in my pointless and misspent youth a shilling arrived in the post with a letter inviting the upper half of me a hero and the lower half a coward to appear at a venue somewhere in Reading to have my testicles squeezed, ogled at by doctors admired by nurses, photographed by The News Of The World, my feet checked for fallen arches and anything else that may have fallen, drooped or, indeed, grown where it shouldn't have during my short pointless 18 years of existence. In short, they were short on soldiers and wanted me in particular to help make up the short fall (at 5ft 3" no problem ) or help start another World war according to just how Germany felt about being soundly whupped for a second time in a row and hanging all their hopes on "Third time lucky" and finding themselves another Hitler in a hurry or at least a convincing stand in though a little taller would be more preferable.)
I was 18, I had to be 18 sometime and apart from it being unavoidable ( with this of course largely depending on whether or not I got the front wheel of my bike stuck in a tram track down the Kingsway underpass, then seemed to be as good a time as any. It also meant that I could now drive legaly but for that I would need a car and a retired bank robber and active chisler owner of " Mick's Motors Of Wapping" rapidly obliged as he relieved me of a years savings in one dazzling blur of his right hand and replaced them with "A V8 Pilot mate, can't get 'em for love nor money and this one's a real snip ( cut 'n' shut to those in the know and Wapping Mick in particular )
The first saturday night dance,a sudden and spectacular advance into adulthood but the preperation for it was even more spectacular - no backward slung base ball caps and scuffed trainers here, this was the start of the 50's and the start of the most impractical foot wear and over engineered suits imaginable with extravagant turn ups and an even more extravagant waist line that threatened to cut you off at the neck ither standing, stooped or upright - this was an era of speculation and something that taxed tailors nationwide as they tried out different permutations to design the perfect suit but only to be recognised as such from a distance - from close up however it was apparantly of no obvious concern to anyone what it looked like and, not least of all, to the wearer.
In my days the guaranteed cure for big boys that belayed little boys down dark alleys so as to relieve them of their wordly possesions - a frog or two, trained, part trained or just simply wild.
'fraid it's Uncle Reg again but this time in a more supporting and family orientated role where he decided that whilst he was sober long enough to make any kind of decision at all is that what we all needed was a touring holiday in the Lake District-where at first he though it was in Hyde Park-(taking in the Old Kent Road of course whether it was on the way or not)but the problem was that we had nothing to tour Wapping with let alone tour what might just as well have been somewhere on another continent on another Planet when considering the distance involved and the fact that nobody even knew where it was and in what direction it might have been if they did.
Now in my day, anyone in trousers and was a friend of your mum's was also your uncle and even anyone that wasn't in trousers but looked like more like an uncle than an aunt.
Also, anyone in a skirt, and also a friend of your mum's was also somehow suddenly related to you and there you would be with yet another aunt, with yet another beard and the complimentary wart and smelt of campher,carboli c, vick rub and paraffin oil - as all aunts did, borrowed, bought, or accumulated.
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