Books and My Life: Part 8

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

This blog outlines my life, seen through the lens of the books I have read.

After a year in West Germany, I was back in the UK in August 1981. I was in Farnham on my own and decided to go and see Raiders of the Lost Ark at the cinema. I was amazed at the opening scene. Brilliant. Loads of laughs, thrills and excitement during the story. When I came out, I met up with friends, Steve and Tim.

‘We knew you were in there, Steve.’ Tim smirked. ‘You always laugh slightly later and louder than everyone else and we recognised you.’

Well, it’s good to have friends who know you.

During the third year of the Merrist Wood course, I moved back into a flat in Farnham with Clive Mitchell and picked up friendships with the Baptist Church youth group. I remember listening to the radio and watching telly with Clive during the Falklands crisis.

The college study was great and I did an interesting dissertation on using aerial, infra-red photographs to monitor the health of trees. This required hiring an aeroplane, and a photographer. My friend Clair was the photographer and there was a nearby airfield where we went to talk a pilot into helping, but once in the air Clair didn’t feel so good, so I had to take the cameras, lean out of the plane and take the photos. While all this was going on mum got sicker and in May 1982, just a day before her 56th birthday and just before my final exams, she died. This knocked my sister and me for six. No-one prepared us or explained. My dad had a hard time of it, too. I didn’t realise at the time, but my grief went underground, to surface much later.

‘They say that when you die, your spirit floats above the body. Do you think your mum’s spirit is still here, Steve?’ my cousin asked. I don’t remember my answer. Mum wasn’t there anymore; her body was just a shell. The most atmospheric and poignant song I recall from this time is Harden your heart by Quarterflash. I recently bought the album and can now enjoy diving straight back to the 1980s through the music.

I don’t remember reading much at this time.

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