We found our dream house, a three bedroom semi. Large garden for me to run around in. This was 1966, a year of affordable housing for an ordinary single income working family. You would need three incomes nowadays to get anything similar.
I was back on familiar ground. Back to the three of us. So much more civilised.
I started school again. Even though it was a small school, I hated being with all those children. And the teachers were so old, older than my parents.
The alphabet was drilled into us. The times table was, too. We started to read about those lovely children, Peter and Jane. Peter and Jane loved each other like most brothers and sisters in fiction. I wonder where they are now? Do they still keep in touch?
The Peter and Jane books were published by Ladybird. A different Ladybird made children's clothes. And then, of course, there were the real ladybirds in the garden in summer. Of the three, I preferred the insects. Ladybird books and Ladybird clothes weren't particularly exciting. They weren't alive.
I "played" with the girl next door. Meaning we were put together so one of the mothers could be free for a bit. I was still in my own little world and wanted nothing but my own company.
Eventually I made some friends. Or rather they made friends with me. The twins were nine months younger than me and in the class below. They were cousins of my second cousins so I guess that's how we ended up together. I was a spoilt only-child and had toys and they liked to play with my toys. One of them was more boisterous than the other and broke a lot of my toys.
I started supporting West Ham as West Ham had won the World Cup for England. Bobby Moore was my favourite player as he was the world's best player. My choice of football team wasn't based on geography or tradition. My dad had been a Charlton supporter because they were the nearest team to Bexley. I was a glory hunter, just like those Cockney Reds. All I could see in front of my eyes was a future of trophies and winning heroes, crying with joy. A lifetime of success.
Cross Country Couch
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