Category Archives: Enduring Threads

Pondering Memoir Writing:

Antique rug taken on my i-phone

Antique rug taken on my i-phone

This morning in the shower, my mind reflected on Memoir writing. How can one be true to oneself and yet protect other people? There is a fine line between sharing one’s life and treading on others’ toes.

 In ‘Enduring Threads’ there are many things I excluded because of my own children’s feelings. For instance they wouldn’t want to know about all of my nocturnal and sometimes daytime liaisons/entanglements. In fact, many have seeped into the never never regions of my brain, never to resurface, which is probably a mercy. Phew!

 ‘Enduring Threads’ is about to be pawed over by an editor. I have feelings of relief and anxiety. I wonder how much more is necessary to get the m/s into a readable, interesting story. It is so hard to know what a stranger will make of it. When I read it, I see all of the characters in full colour. Have I made them alive to other people and are they of interest to others?

 Irene Walters shared a wonderful post about names. Should one use real or made up names to protect people? The general consensus seemed to be that most writers prefer to include real names in a memoir; firstly it makes it easier to write, and secondly it is acknowledging other people who have had influence or have been important to you. I liked Irene’s inclusion of part of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ with their dilemma regarding names. If you’d like to read Irene’s post with the many following comments, it can be found on:

‘Call me anything but don’t call me late for dinner: I think not? Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

 Names are important. How many of you don’t like a name because of someone you didn’t like in early childhood, or a nasty adult? Naming children has become a creative exercise in itself. Having been a school- teacher, I found names do make a difference. If a child has to explain a name every time they meet someone new, it is a disadvantage; or names can nurture self- esteem. In story writing, it is a freedom we’re faced with. Making up names can be fun.

 I have used real names in this m/s, as I wish to acknowledge and respect the importance of individuals in my life. The symbolic threads they represent weave, or are stitched into the colourful tapestry of my life, creating ‘Enduring Threads.’

Antique rug taken on my i-phone

Antique rug taken on my i-phone




Break from ‘Enduring Threads’ and Canadian Billboards:

imageA quick note to let you know I’m working on ‘Enduring Threads’, to get it ready for a professional editor. I am really enjoying working on it, and have decided not to put any more on the blog at the moment. You have had a taste of what is to come!

I have decided to make Monday the day to put up a painting, or progress of paintings. Thank you all for your visits and comments. Here are just a couple of billboards to make you smile.

Canadians have a de-LIGHT-ful sense of humor,as is evidenced in this selection of billboard images from across their country. We have taken the FUN out of Life in America with our supposed focus on ‘rightness’; as if you could ever legislate morality. Have a good laugh at these billboardsimage-18 image-17 image-16 image-15 image-14 image-13 image-12 image-11 image-10 image-9 image-8 image-7 image-6 image-5 image-4 image-3 image-2 image-1 image

Enduring Threads: part 22


Walking into St Columba’s Presbyterian Church I felt such indecision. Uncle Henry filmed me, and it is plain to see indecision on my face. Ambivalence; was I was doing the right thing, was it too late to change my mind? Henry Purcell’s music lifted me; retreat was not an option. The Reverend George Stewart officiated at the ceremony. He had a strangeness about him. Our wedding was originally to have been on 10th December; this turned out to be the day his seven-year-old daughter died that year. It was as if he was having a premonition.

The church was full, everyone was there, and so I gradually decided to make the best of it. I could hear Elfie Aureli crying behind me during the ceremony. Was that because I wasn’t a Roman Catholic and the wedding wasn’t in a Catholic church? Was it because she felt she was losing a son? I stopped thinking about her dilemma, as mine was far more consuming.

The children’s choir sang the ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ in parts – such a beautiful psalm, with a hint of sadness. My mother had bought a box of chocolates for each of the choir members. She had also arranged the flowers in the church, and they surrounded us in their magnificence. I’d helped with the small posies on the end of each pew.

Umberto and Barbara Aureli with cousin Susan and brothers, Angus, Nigel and Graeme on right

Umberto and Barbara Aureli with cousin Susan and brothers, Angus, Nigel and Graeme on right

After the ceremony, outside the church, Bert changed my headdress. The scarf ends had been tucked into the neckline, but he tied them tightly under my chin. No discussion, and I let him. This symbolic gesture was a portent of how things were to be. We then went to visit Great Auntie Dolly, who wasn’t well enough to attend the ceremony. There were just a few black and white photos taken when we returned home.

Llibby Hallett, Annie Learoyd, Mary Elizabeth Roberts-Thomson, Umberto and Barbara Aureli, Geoff Parr, Susan Gott, Clive Roberts and Roberto Aureli 21-10-1967

Llibby Hallett, Annie Learoyd, Mary Elizabeth Roberts-Thomson, Umberto and Barbara Aureli, Geoff Parr, Susan Gott, Clive Roberts and Roberto Aureli 21-10-1967

The reception started outside with drinks and savouries near the fishpond in the garden. There were a few people from Hobart, including: Jack Carrington Smith, Pat Giles and Max Angus. Mr. Bini, the Italian Consul and his wife, attended with some other members of the Italian community. Angus and Nigel found the alcohol, and Angus ended up in the fishpond later in the evening.

Whilst I was greeting and kissing guests as they moved inside, I gave Geoff a kiss wondering how different things might have been if I’d married him. Not that he’d asked me! I wonder how many brides are in such a quandary on their wedding day?

Inside Bert and I mixed with everyone and finally handed around the confetti on Auntie Dolly’s large plate.

Before leaving I said to my mother,

‘Well, your problems are over now.’

She replied, ‘Yours are just beginning!’

That helped shatter any illusions I might have clung to. It made me think about what might be lying ahead, though in my naivety I still wanted to believe in the dream. I’d been brought up on fairy stories, and the endings were always Happy Ever After.





Enduring Threads: part 20

Seductive Sydney 1966

I flew up to Sydney in the summer holidays and stayed with the Aureli family. Bert had finished treatment, including shock treatment, at a Mosman medical centre. I believed he was better. The weather was warm, and my relationship with Bert blossomed. We’d take Tino’s little motorboat for picnics to all sorts of hidden nooks around the harbour. One day we were swimming in the warm waters of a deserted cove when a fisherman called out,

‘I saw a shark swimming there this morning! It is their playground.’                                              We shot out of the water so fast and after that were much more careful.

Elfie was working in a smart Italian shoe shop. Bert and I arrived – with garlic breath, each with many love bites.

‘Off you go, before you frightened the customers away!’

The sub-tropical warmth of Sydney, our youth and the giddiness of undiluted lust and love intoxicated us both.

The house at 39 Killarney Street, Mosman was filled with paintings and Italian treasures. Elfie’s special gift to make everything look sophisticated and yet homely where- ever she lived, made their home unique and appealing. Her knitting and embroidery abilities were top class. She had knitted me a jumper and crocheted me a magnificent cape in dark green wool with black trimmings whilst living in Hobart. She also crocheted a black and rusty red carry-bag that I loved and carried for years. Elfie’s handiwork had an Austrian influence, as she was brought up in Tarvisio, which was in Austria before the First World War. Tarvisio then became part of Italy after the war, and so, German remained her native tongue and Italian her second language.

During the Second World War when Umberto was a baby, (born in Turino, 1939), Elfie told a story of going to get milk. When a German soldier intercepted her pointing his rifle at her, she shouted at him in German. This saved her life.

Tino, Umberto’s father, was born and brought up in Rimini, Italy.  I only found out about his story after Bert and I separated, when Bert’s parents came to stay with us at Easter time in Devonport in 1976. There were many surprises ahead, but when Umberto and I became engaged officially in February 1967, I was blithely unaware of any of these family secrets.

Enduring Threads: part 19

Art School 1964-66

Hobart is a beautiful city tucked in under Mount Wellington and wrapped around the port and River Derwent. My mother made arrangements for me to board in North Hobart. Mrs Spencer, (mother of a friend of my aunts), was a widow and took in four young people. She was caring and an excellent cook, so we were all well looked-after. I had my own room.

Art School was more than I had hoped for. I was consumed living in another realm drawing and painting. Here I met Umberto Aureli, or Bert to his Australian friends. He was my teacher for first year lettering, a subject taken only that year.

The first week I went out with a different boy each day for lunch or dinner. My mother told me it sounded like the United Nations and that she wasn’t going to tell my father or else he’d bring me home. On the Wednesday, Christopher took me to a shop where they sold Vienna sausages in rolls with a choice of mustard. He suggested I go out with Bert, as he was part of their group. Chris was in a relationship with Priscilla, who had completed her art studies and was now teaching at Collegiate C of E Girls School.

The German, the American and the other boys (men!) were exciting, but I soon decided Chris was right. So from then on Bert and I became an item. I had my eighteenth birthday party at his parents’ house in Lenah Valley. Elfie cooked the most beautiful Black Forest cake. She cooked in the Austrian tradition for cakes and the Italian tradition for meals. Bert’s romantic Latin ways made me feel cherished, and I was treated like a princess. Kissing me in the street or anywhere else was perfectly normal for him. He also had a great gift for choosing appropriate presents (a talent his daughters later inherited).

Umberto in the late 60s


Bert had come to Australia at the age of twenty-one. His parents had arrived a year earlier; the same year Bert won a scholarship to study medicine at the University of Bologna. He did first year medicine and then his parents encouraged him to migrate to Australia. Bert came, not realising the enormity of the change. As he’d learnt some English he started by picking out the words he understood in lectures. He soon realised that his ability and love of art out-shone his will to become a doctor. His father was furious, as every Italian father wants his son to be a doctor.

This caused a ruckus in the family. Bert attended the art school and continued belonging to the university ski club, where he also shone. Bert had a natural ability for graphic design and he excelled. His brother, Roberto, like me, was seven years younger than Bert, but still at school. It was Roberto who fulfilled his parents ‘dreams by completing a dentistry course at Sydney University, when his parents moved with him to Sydney.

The teachers at art school were professional artists. Jack Carrington Smith had just won the Archibald Prize with his portrait of Professor James McAuley. Miss Dorothy Stoner exhibited as a colourist and was a rather vague but charming painting and drawing teacher. Miss McCulloch was a rather intimidating character but full of amazing knowledge. One day she stormed into the drawing class after she’d discovered a student in the act of stealing drawing paper from the teachers’ store. ‘I’ve just discovered Chris Fooks rifling in my drawers!’ she exclaimed. Everyone burst into laughter at the colourful image she invoked. She was not amused.

Our main model was Mrs. Mead. She was a rather shy and reserved person but a very competent model; she had a rounded figure full of rhythm and was ideal to draw. In the cold weather, a little heater would be placed near her, and she’d slowly turn red in one patch until someone moved the heater before she actually started to cook. One day Tony Bowering  brought some chocolate to class as well as a very similar-looking laxative. ‘Would you like some chocolates Mrs. Mead?’ who took the proffered laxative, thinking it was chocolate. Very embarrassed, she soon had to excuse herself to Mr. Smith, several times. Of course this amused us all, not having any thought for the sensitivities of Mrs. Mead.

Geoff Parr became head of the Graphic Design Department and was a very good friend to Bert, appreciating his abilities. They had worked at Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory together in the holidays. When I started art school, Bert began his first year teaching lettering and completed drawing, the last subject for his diploma.

I decided not to tell my parents in advance about an early weekend away. A group of six of us went to the West Coast to stay at Trial Harbour. The first night was at Lake St. Claire in the free bunks available there. Next day, we travelled on to Trial Harbour.

Umberto's photo of Barbara knitting a tie.

Umberto’s photo of Barbara knitting a tie.

Bert and I were in his green VW Beetle, which broke down. We stopped some locals to ask about a mechanic, and it was the first time I’d heard such broad Australian accents spoken. I found it difficult to understand, as did Bert. ‘How’s yous goin?’ ‘Whatch yus want?’ They turned out to be helpful and friendly.

We had tents, which was rather brave considering the westerly winds that tore in off the ocean. Chris and Priscilla, and Robyn and Tony, put up their tents. The West Coast of Tasmania is known for it’s ferocious winds, and walking along this turbulent coastline was invigorating with the waves crashing and the froth flying onto the rocks and into our hair and faces. Listening to the turbulence and the tent flapping, as we snuggled up together in our sleeping bags for the night, was like being tossed by the sea. The final night we stayed at the parents’ house of a fellow student, Wendy, as Bert and I had to wait for the postman to take us back to Hobart in the early hours of Monday morning whilst the car was left to be fixed in Queenstown. We survived the scariest trip with the postman, who drove around those mountainous bends at top speed.

Art school was absorbing. We worked five full days and four nights a week, entranced by drawing and painting. They had other subjects like perspective and cast drawing, history and design, and modelling in first year. Hobart was a vibrant place to live, after the North West Coast. There were exhibitions and concerts to attend. They also had a cinema at North Hobart that showed alternative films. Clive joined Bert and me for movies. We’d know if he considered it a bad movie, as he’d sleep through it. Clive and I went to hear Segovia play, and he gave thirteen encores! What a brilliant guitarist, so modest. In contrast we went to see Nina and Fredrik, folk singers of recorded popular music, who were very disappointing in person. Perhaps they had a bad day, as we did like their recorded music.

Clive was very dedicated to his engineering course and studied hard. He lived at Christ College up behind the university, and we would visit him there. Once he told us about his latest prank, writing to Oral Roberts, a radio evangelist. Clive wrote about his sick sister, asking for money. He received an answer, ‘Dear Brother Roberts,’ with no money enclosed.

At the end of the first year there was an Art School Ball, a big affair. We all went to the Royal Theatre Costumier to hire costumes. I remember finding a frock with a fully gathered spotted skirt and decided I’d go as Mary Poppins, though I had no idea who she was or what the story was about. It didn’t matter. The costumes and wigs made us look magnificent. Taking on a role made it all the more mysterious; make-up gave us masks. It was good to see the staff fully participating and dressed up too.

Bert won several prizes whilst in Hobart; one was to design the tax stamps for the Tasmanian Government, another was for a poster competition. He continued his interests in rock climbing and caveneering. There is even a rock face on Mt Wellington named after him.

In my first year of portrait painting, a model chose to buy my painting. I was delighted as she paid me ten pounds ($20) and that was enough to buy a paint case full of oil paint. My parents had to pay for me to attend art school, so I was thrilled to be able to do this on my own. It also appealed to me because John Hayward’s sister was the model. John was head of the Art Teacher’s course, and he didn’t like me; and he had to hand me the money. He later became head of the whole school.

I guess I should tell you why John didn’t like me. There was competition between the Fine Art students and the Art Teacher students. John Hayward arranged an exhibition with Rothmans, (a cigarette company), with a monetary prize for his students, who were bonded to the education department and on a small stipend.

I wrote a letter to the Mercury newspaper asking why the Fine Art students were excluded, especially since we were a small number and we had no subsidy. John blamed Willy, a German student, and so I had to own up. He had it in for me from then on and was responsible for me failing one subject at the end of my course so that I did not receive a diploma. I had completed the four- year course in three years, but for one subject. I found it hard to forgive him for this, though it taught me a valuable lesson – not to be outspoken with people who can affect your study prospects.

One holiday break I arrived home and told my mother that I had invited two students to call in before catching the Princess (ferry) that went to Melbourne. I thought I’d better warn her that they were lesbians. My mother told me later that she had to go and look up ‘Lesbian’ in the dictionary. She didn’t know that they existed. That shows how little I knew before attending Art School.

The previous Christmas holidays, the boys from art school had taken jobs: raspberry picking and another year at an army camp. After I met Bert he would come and stay with our family, as he worked at Edgels factory at Quoiba with Christopher, packing peas. Christopher has many stories of this time: putting sweets in with the peas, and a note wishing people on the other side of the world a ‘Happy Christmas.’

I worked in Uncle Bob’s newsagency. Most of my pay went on green Penguin paperbacks. The Maigret series was a favourite.

In Hobart our group met Uto Ughi, a young and handsome violinist. Because he was Italian, and Bert’s mother, Elfi, worked with Mr. Bini, the Italian consul, we were given the privilege of entertaining Uto. Bert and I took him to Tony Woods and Chris’s studio in the city, where Uto freaked out as he had a phobia of birds. This surprised me for someone so famous and world-travelled. We played tennis on the Wrest Point tennis courts. That night we all attended his concert and Tino, Bert’s dad, took me back stage to get Uto’s autograph.

Scan 2

Whilst in Hobart I met Edith Holmes, a painter, school friend and contemporary of my grandmothers. She was so totally different from my grandmother, having bright red hair. Edith was devoted to her painting. I found her inspiring. She made me question: did I want to be a painter or a mother? I didn’t think it was possible to be good at both, and I didn’t want to be a mediocre painter. A dilemma.

My life at art school was probably schizoid, divided between being a mad party-loving student and attending Quaker meetings. When I first went to the Meeting House, there was a discussion group before the meeting. I happened to be in Margaret Wilkinson’s group. I asked if Quakers believed in reincarnation. She told me that she believed in reincarnation, but that Quakers had no set doctrine. She then asked if I’d like to join a Sunday afternoon book-reading and discussion group at her home. These discussions could be quite animated and helped develop insights into divergent ways of thinking. I liked the Quakers because they were not judgmental like many other Christians I’d met. The Meeting House became a refuge where I could gather my thoughts; calm could be restored. Bert would come with me to meetings. It was wonderful when someone would ‘speak to my condition’, as they so often did. This means that the person is moved to speak about something that is particularly meaningful, helpful or poignant to another’s inner need or problem. It’s as if telepathy is happening within the Meeting House.

An example of a simple message given during this time: an elderly woman stood and described her contemplation of a strong weed growing up in a cement crack in a footpath. She likened it to the strength of a prayer.

Annie Learoyd, an art student friend, was an orphan and lived with an older cousin who was interested in séances. There was so much to discover. It became quite scary when a friend of Annie’s was so scared that she couldn’t sleep without a light on. The cousin practised automatic writing and was looking up information she received in trance at the library. They seemed convinced that they had contact with ‘the other side’. Annie was sometimes reckless, driving through red lights.I wondered if losing her parents meant that life was less precious to her. She’d stop the car and let me out when I said that I’d prefer to walk.

One of our favourite haunts was called the Bistro, below street level. We’d all go there to drink the house red. We had no money for food other than bread, and that wasn’t adequate to sop up the alcohol. The owner was said to be a sadist, leaving his wheelchair-bound wife at home when he joined us to go to parties, so he didn’t object to us taking up space and getting drunk in his Bistro.

As students we would arrive at any party not knowing whose house it was. The first time getting drunk was disgusting; waking up, having been sick in bed. At least I didn’t ever vomit in bed again. The next day I arrived at art school looking very pale; the hangover took some getting over. I still can’t look at cherry brandy. I did avoid parties that were known to be drug parties, as I didn’t want to get caught up in that scene.

I am sorry that I have none of my paintings of this time. Not even photographs.



Enduring Threads: part 18

A year at home

External exams in the large city hall were very daunting. My mother kept her promise; I left after passing the Schools Board, happy to be away from boarding school. Matriculation wasn’t for me. Mum kept me home the following year. I did part of a typing course and also became totally absorbed in painting and drawing classes at the local Tech. Christopher talked me into going to art school. He painted my portrait in his holidays; but I later painted over it, never appreciating seeing myself, and I didn’t realise its future historical significance.

Religion had always interested me. ‘Why don’t you go to Bible College?’ the young minister asked, when he came to afternoon tea. I had so many questions, but he answered none. He was a total loss. I certainly didn’t want to go to Bible College.

Conventional religion didn’t answer my questions. There were so many things I couldn’t accept. It was the following year that I discovered the Quakers, or Friends. Questions were welcomed amongst Friends. Because they had no set dogma there were all sorts of interesting people attracted to the Meeting House. One accepted principle was pacifism, and this appealed to me. They supported the young conscripts who didn’t want to join the army and fight in Vietnam. My mother and two sisters had been sent to The Friends’ School, as my grandfather had greatly admired the Quakers. Here my mother’s distaste for meat was accepted, and she was able to go home and tell her family she no longer had to eat meat.


Barbara, David Brown, Mum, Lea Brown, Uncle Henry at 'Latin Quarter', my first night club. 28-6-1963

Barbara, David Brown, Mum, Lea Brown, Uncle Henry at ‘Latin Quarter’, my first night club. 28-6-1963

In the winter of 1963 Uncle Henry took my mother and me to Queensland for a holiday. We stopped in Melbourne and Sydney on the way, catching up with Henry’s friends in expensive restaurants. After dinner at my first night club, the Latin Quarter, we drove around Kings Cross looking at the night life.

Hiring a car in Brisbane we travelled up to Rockhampton and then west, where we met distant relatives on a large cattle station. Such generous hospitality seems to be the way of the outback. Their closely- knit family was essential for survival and happiness, living in such isolation.


Uncle Henry sailing to Stradbroke Island

Uncle Henry sailing to Stradbroke Island

We then holidayed at Surfer’s Paradise. The tropical fruits were delicious; feeding the parrots and watching the dolphins made the holiday seem exotic. Relaxing under palm trees, enjoying the warmth and tasting fresh coconuts, made the Tasmanian winter storms an unreality.


In Devonport, Vita Endelmanis helped me design smocks to wear at art school; also suggesting

Barbara at Hawley Beach pre-art school

Barbara at Hawley Beach pre-art school

how I could wear stockings and skivvies to match, underneath the smocks. It was good to have a mentor, as I’d never before been encouraged to think about any form of creative dress, or what might suit me. I loved black and coloured stockings.

Nigel, Graeme and Angus at Hawley Beach 1963

Nigel, Graeme and Angus at Hawley Beach 1963


Mrs. Westcombe, the butcher’s wife, was my chaperone when I went to the summer school in January before I started art school. We stayed at a small hotel nearby. It was an enjoyable and appropriate introduction to art school as it was held in the same Gothic building, as the art school, up on the Hobart Domain. Going out watercolour painting in Battery Point and starting my sketch- book helped me feel I was on the way to becoming an art student.


Nigel, Mum and Mrs. Westcombe at Hawley Beach

Nigel, Mum and Mrs. Westcombe at Hawley Beach

The year at home was wonderful. During the year I had a boyfriend called Des. I met him at an end-of-school year party in Sheffield. He wore a cadmium-yellow jumper, which suited him very well. He was studying a trades teaching course at Technical College in Hobart and I only saw him during holidays. We went to the drive-in. My mother warned me of what could happen there. I came home most disappointed or was it relieved? This friendship fizzled when I went to Hobart.


Enduring Threads: part 17

Selling the farm

Dad was devastated when the time came to sell the farm. Consecutive bad years meant that the farm was not paying its way. The decision to sell was my mother’s.

Dad’s depression following this was hard. He started working for a local builder, Gordon Ibbott, doing his books. Once he managed to get Gordon back on his feet, Dad became a marine and boat building chandler. He loved the sea and was a competent sailor. Getting out to sea suited him. We children were taken out to fish, but often my mother chose to stay home. His first fishing boat was ‘Sabrina’, and then the ‘Brenda’.

Sabrina, Dad's first fishing boat

Sabrina, Dad’s first fishing boat

‘She’s broad in the beam’, my father would say when asked why it was called that. In fact it was called that when he bought it. These boats helped restore Dad’s self- worth. We had many fishing expeditions in both fishing boats. Dad built a fibreglass dinghy in the sunroom, that was too big to get out, so the windows had to be removed to extricate it.

Once, in a storm, ‘Brenda’ was seen floating past the house. She was normally moored opposite the Elimatta Hotel in the Mersey River. Dad rushed out with the dinghy and rescued her.

Dad later bought ‘ Valkyrie’, a beautiful ketch, but I’d left home by then. He also built ‘Argos’, which took years and had to be recorked several times before it went in the water. These boats took the place of the farm by restoring Dad’s independence and need for occasional solitude.

Valkyrie on the Mersey

Valkyrie on the Mersey

One memorable expedition, Christopher and his father Eric Pyett accompanied Dad around to Ulverstone for a race to Devonport. Valkyrie was the biggest yacht in the race; so the Ulverstone Yacht club, put ‘a rooster’, as Dad called him, on board to see that there was no foul play.

Dad silently objected by going below to make a cup of tea. He was always partial to a cuppa. By the time they had had their tea, the other boats had left, and Dad appeared unconcerned, ‘They appear to have left us behind!’

Christopher being competitive was totally frustrated. Eric and Frank enjoyed the trip, but the man was dropped unceremoniously on the Ulverstone wharf, where they had to return him.

Angus said the only time he remembers Dad swearing was when he was below in Valkyrie. As

Mum and Dad on Valkyrie

Mum and Dad on Valkyrie

he checked the speedo log, he said, ‘this thing is f****d!’ Valkyrie was eventually sold to some Victorians, who sailed her back to Victoria, only to sink her on the coast line on their return.

Later in the 70s Dad moved shop. Gordon built another shop with materials from some demolition work, and Dad was more than willing to utilise the materials. Here at East Devonport they built a solar panel shop with slow combustion heaters on one side. His marine shop moved to the other half, next door. Nigel worked with my Father, so they ran the businesses together. Dad was always interested in the environment. His organic garden with chooks flourished; this was well before Permaculture became popular.

Devonport developed; there was now an arcade next to Churches’ jeweller’s shop. That was the arcade my father told Christopher not to visit on a Friday night, ‘ Be careful lad, don’t go there, it’s the tunnel of love.’