I used to have my ears rubbed off in rugby scrums. I haven't played for 50 years, but my little son plays a bit. He's very good at running, preferably away from things. He's just won the 100 metres at his school sports day. It was quite thrilling to see the rivalry between him and his friend Cedric. There was torture and strain, and a breakdown by Cedric who went away and sulked, but I suppose that's all right at 11.
I am nearly 60, so I may be forgiven for not doing anything. It's not just age; I'm actually quite slow at things, which is why I'm working this evening instead of gallivanting off to the delights of Cromer or Norwich.
Cromer is famous for its lifeboat and shanty men. The lifeboat is always rescuing people; it's probably out in this weather; we're having tremendous gales.
When I was little I was somewhat isolated; it was the war, you see. I had two imaginary friends, Mrs Schlinks and Mrs Schlonks, and they lived in a martello tower. I'm sure you wouldn't want to know about them. Well, they were ladies, weren't they? I can hardly remember anything about them. How old would I have been then? Five perhaps, or six. Does anyone have imaginary people today?
They weren't very interesting, except that their tower was a real one on the other side of a mine-field. I remember when my mother went completely frantic one day because a small friend and I had walked some distance through this mine-field to go swimming. No one believes this, but when young, my mother and a wild friend of hers jumped from the top of the tower on to the shingle below. Why they weren't killed I don't know, but they really did jump.
Annual membership of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution `Storm Force' for children, pounds 5; `Offshore', for sea-going members, pounds 40, including quarterly journal. Details from RNLI (01202 663000)Reuse content