I was born in the village of Bretford, a pretty hamlet on the river Avon in Warwickshire. The small cottage we lived in is now part of the Queens Head Public House. Modernised of course not only are the toilets inside but they have toilet rolls in them.
When we lived there:
Toilet rolls were unheard of
We had yesterday's news
Cut up in squares and threaded on string
And hung up in our outside loos
The village has not changed much over the years, I guess, for me, the chapel is the most noticeable thing; it was closed some years ago and now looks like a large tomb. It does have certain affection for me as it was in that chapel that I made my first, most memorable public appearance. At the age of five I sang "Away in a Manger" all by myself at a Christmas concert. Villagers talked about it for some years after, Was it my angelic voice? Not a bit of it, Mum had got me a new dress, it was pink and buttoned from neck to hem, the wrong choice for a nervous child. While I concentrated on singing the correct words, I fumbled with the buttons and undid them all, I gave the audience a flash of my navy knickers then did them all up again before the last verse.
When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would always say I wanted to be a clown and make people laugh.
I was six years old and had three sisters when we moved to a house with inside "facilities".
I took up cycling at the age of 14 and often spent weekends in Norfolk YHAs, like many people I fell in love with the county and fulfilled my ambition to live here in 1994.
I always liked writing stories and telling jokes and playing practical jokes. I put a joke Ink blob on a teacher's embroidery; I swapped a sugar egg for a real one in school cookery lesson. I put a headscarf on a mop and put it in my younger sister's bed, Mum was not amused.
Our Dad had a good sense of humour I guess I got mine from him he always saw the good side of life and thanked the Lord each night for living to see another day.
I earned my living doing bookkeeping and accounts but had to give this up in 2001 as I was in pain with Spondolosis, brought on from a road accident. I started writing poems, I auditioned to become a W.I speaker and the rest, as they say, is history.