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Chapter 17 - Brussels Sprouts - Scouts

My scout hut in Norman Road, East Ham

Was I prepared to join the scouts? Was I hell. I wasn’t prepared at all. I was up for it at one point and then I heard they’d discovered another verse to Kumbaya and that would have been one too many verses for me.

My dad suggested I should join the cubs instead but imagine my surprise when he took me to London Zoo and threw me in the lions’ den with the other cubs. He knew I was never a particularly competitive kid keen to win badges and he was right. I was so uncompetitive that I used to drop out of long bus queues. I tried to learn to swim but that was only so I could escape from the sack my dad threw in the river, and it didn’t end there. I never wore my scouting self-sufficiency badge because no-one would help me pin it to my jumper. I tried doing it myself, punctured a lung and ended up in hospital. Mind you, being told to be prepared, at least I had my pyjamas and hot-water bottle in my holdall as I made my way to reception on my bike.

As a cub all I got for birthdays and Christmases were penknives. I had so many I once tripped over and nearly bled to death. I had so many holes my mum used to strain the vegetables through my skin before serving dinner, leeks through the leaks you could say.

To continue reading this chapter click on this absolutely stunning picture I painted not unlike Lautrec.


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