Having survived boiled haddock, Pecker Brownhill, Dixie Deans life threatening semolina puddings, a couple of very memorable six of the bests and explaining to Jock Noble, Scouts Leader and the owner of the best ironed trousers in the whole school, or on the entire Planet come to that, that I had lost my toggle for the fiftieth time in one term, the time had come to leave the cosseted sanctuary of boarding school and the occasional loving caress of John Woollans cane across my backside - I was summoned to his study not to discuss whether or not it should be three, four, but most definitely six this time, but about my future - either the gasworks or journalism but with the former being the most likely and the best place to lay your money.

Now then Dizzy, your last day, your last visit to my study and, this time, for all the right reasons but, and knowing you, there will still be tears no doubt before we're finished - take a seat

Eh the safest answer ever when confronted by any headmaster on his own turf, last day at school or not.

Now although your spelling is as atrocious as your sense of direction thus referring to three failed attempts to reach London in the middle of the night whilst the whole school slept unaware that I was he continued.

I have secured you an apprenticeship with the Daily Mirror and failing that, there's always the Gasworks to fall back on at which I was somewhat baffled as to what the hell the Gasworks had to do with anything but, at KH, one soon learns to run with the headmaster's jokes - and even laugh at them if it had any chance of saving your hide, or securing an extra iced bun at suppertime.

Well how wonderful of you sir gushed I

All part of my job gushed he even more gushingly" then continued as if to apologise.

I was also doing my duty when I had to beat you on those unhappy occasions as I thought that the way I remember said 'unhappy occasions' that there was only one of us bloody unhappy at the time - me! - but I didn't say so for last day or not, another goodly six wouldn't have been totally out of the question!

So there I was, bound for Fleet Street on the 52 bus out of Burnt Oak that just happened to stop at the Cricklewood Railway Yards - luvely ! all that grease, muck, soot and steam, let me off this bus!!

And so my working life began in the Cricklewood Roundhouse much to the detriment of the LMS and, no doubt, much to the relief of Fleet Street, the Daily Mirror and Jane in particular!

Dizzy D

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