Now, I just read the life-story type thing(s) that my girlfriend Trey posted and thought, hey, I should give that a shot. I should work, really, but I’m gonna do this first.
Unfortunately I’ve got the worlds worst memory, so this might be a bit vague.
1978 – Born…. in Watford flipping General Hospital. My sister gets UCLH; I get Watford General. Never forgiven my parents for that! My family actually lived in Hemel Hempstead, a small new town not far to the north of London; at that time a really great place for raising kids in the “safe, pleasant, dull environment”. My parents lived in a teeny tiny 2 bed victorian terraced house they’d done up and put floors & ceilings into but moved just after I was born, and switched their knackered and bodged Austin A40 for a Fofd Escort (so it proclaimed on the back). Apparently I was a nightmare child; I’d not sleep if my mum didn’t hold me. When I was old enough to crawl my mum left me and my sister with a babysitter and they went out for the evening. I drank a *large* quanity of whisky (unbeknownst to my babysitter) and started ‘singing’…. Still like whiskey now, oddly. But only in small doses.
1981 – Met Brian. Brian was to be the stable friend thoughout my childhood. Nice, normal and not gay, generous and kind…. We were found together filling a drain at the end of the street with mud or twigs… something like that. Still in touch with the guy (he lives in London now), and he proved very important.
I’m afraid I can’t remember nursery school at all.
1983 – Started primary school (I think, by my reckoning). Halfway through my first year my friend (who’s name I can’t even remember anymore) was killed in a car accident… learning to cross the road. I can remember my first teacher, Mrs Wall, taking me outside the class to tell me that he’d died. And I can remember crying a lot, and spending a lot of time sat by myself.
1985ish – Around this time I visited Sri-Lanka for the first time, and adored the place. I can remember the bananas, and holding a big bunch of them and the ants crawling on the bunches… And having proper bananas, not the crappy cooking bananas you get here. I remember my Grandfather being very tall, and the room upstairs with a buddah statue in it and chimes. I remember the bed with ants underneath, and I remember my Grandmother smiling… And the *huge* cabinet filled with tin-toys. I didn’t want to come home, apparently I cried and cried…. Oh, and I can vaguely remember an airport, probably in Delhi, on the way back waiting to change planes….
1986 – Did my ‘Cycling Proficency Test’ at school; rode around cones on my little red BMX, stopped at traffic lights made of a cube amber/red/red and amber/green on them, and behaved appropriately at chalked out junctions. The teachers checked my bicycle over (lights and breaks) and I wore a stoopid white helmet with red stripes on it.
1987 – I think this is when I started to get bullied at school. Always a bit of a loner/weird kid, I’d kept my year on my side ‘cos I had a wicked imagination. I was also always joking and making people laugh… But I was fairly small; and some bigger kids (who were younger than me) took to beating me up. Not *lots* but enough. I took to not going anywhere alone, got much quieter and became very shy.
My parents finally managed to instill in me that walking up mountains was fantastic, and not, as I’d previously thought a chore. Started to love the Lake District, the Peak District, and anywhere remote. I think every single year until I moved from home I went walking *somewhere*. Really miss that now, actually.