Where were you born ? Sunday 13th March 1966 in Exeter, Devon. I was born at home and weighed 11lb 7oz. It was 11.30 in the morning.
What’s your earliest memory ? My father getting off a train at Hayling Island station. He is wearing a grey mackintosh and carrying a suitcase. I am sitting in my push chair and I am wearing a striped t-shirt and shorts. I am 18 months old.
Your first school ? St Sidwells in Exeter. It was quite a small school set in the centre of town. The headmaster was a gentleman called Mr Savage. I remember him and some of my teachers very well.
Did you ever get in trouble at school ? I did and I don’t know why. It was a maths lesson and we had to work out average bedtimes by asking people what time they went to bed. I asked my female teacher what time she went to bed and she went, to use modern parlance, ballistic and told me I was very rude.
Enjoy school ? Not really. Secondary school was just a lot of bullying which was a continuation of primary school. I was spat on, strangled, punched, kicked and had my clothes urinated on. Also got pushed off a moving bus. I wasn’t happy so didn’t achieve anything academically. I did like Ancient History though and was the first choice to be made a prefect. Not that anyone listened to me. Oh and I was awful at sport and that was the most important thing to most.
What did your parents do for a living ? My mother was a legal secretary for over 40 years. She mainly did conveyancing and wills. She was great at shorthand. Dad worked for a printing company who produced calendars and labels. He was a foreman.
Did you have any pets growing up ? Yes. My sister kept rabbits and did so for many years. Usually black and tan ones but I remember a black and white spotted one called Sniffles. We had a cat called Cindy and a border collie called Petra. I had a short lived guinea-pig called Henrietta. Later on we had Barney, a German Shepherd who went mad one night and had to be shot by the police (an awful event), Sammy, a short lived Samoyed who was stunning but developed a serious medical condition and Dougal, a feisty Cairn Terrier who became my Mums great love.
Breaking the law ? Yes. I was arrested for shoplifting on cup final day 1978. Not my finest hour although there was a certain amount of duress involved. I received a caution and a caning from my father that amounted to a physical assault. I had the bruises for over a month.
Girlfriends ? That is a joke, right ?. I had one for two weeks. She dumped me and went back to her old boyfriend. I think I was 14 ?, at the time. I asked one girl out and she said no way. That was that.
Biggest influence growing up ? My grandparents. They lived with us in the house I was born in. My grandfather was a Buddhist who died when I was 7. He was full of stories and had lived in India where Mum was born. I recall he was bedridden due to a stroke so I used to perch on the end of his bed. Grandma died when I was 13. She was a lovely lady, easy to talk to and she looked after me when I came home from school before my parents finished work. She had a particular fondness for sherbet lemons and Doctor Who novels.
There will be more later…