I was born in 1948 in the city of Liverpool to a single mother.

While this is a common thing these days, back then, it just wasn't done for an unmarried woman to keep her child, and I was the only one in this situation, so I grew up always feeling like the odd one out. We lived in my Gran's house which was very old fashioned, even by the standards of the day, and also, we were very poor, so I felt ashamed, and coudn't invite any friends around.

Things were uneventful until I was about 10, when my mum became ill. Then, I had to come home from school at lunchtime and do any shopping needed. My mum was in and out of hospital, so I was more or less left to fend for myself. She died when I was 12, so that left me and my Gran, who by this time was in her 70's and not long after, she took ill and was in hospital, so then I was visiting an aunt who lived close who was feeding me, then going home to an empty house to sleep, getting myself up for school. I didn't think about washing or having breakfast, so I became that smelly kid no one liked. My 13th birthday rolls around, and I look to see what's been delivered by the postman. There was nothing, not even a card. A few weeks after this my Gran dies.

Shortly after that, I'm taken off by the local child protection people to a Children's Home, and for the next 18 months or so, I move from Home to Home, until I'm sent to live with a Foster family half a mile from my original home, so I'm going back to the same school I was in before. I stayed with them till I left school at 15, then I ran away, and made my way to London. I'd heard of Trafalgar Square, so I decided to make my way there, I had no idea what I was going to do, where I was going to live, or even where I was going to get something to eat.

In those days, everyone smoked, so it was easy for me to beg cigarettes, and that took away the hunger pains for a while, and while I was wondering what to do, a scruffy man with long hair and a beard asked me if I wanted a cup of tea. It turned out that this guy, who called himself "Doc" was also homeless, and he'd realised I was in the same position, and he took me under his wing. He introduced me to some of his friends, mostly a couple of years older than me, but all living on the streets, and sleeping in various empty houses at night.

Everyone I met made me feel welcome, gave me something to eat, and basically explained that everyone looked after each other,, and as I got to know them, most had stories similar to mine. So it was that in a derelict house nr the West End of London I smoked my first joint. I was 15 yrs old, and it was 1963. So, the next 3 years found me in and around the West End, I saw a few people I like die from heroin overdoses, but then I got bored, and left, moving around the country working on different construction sites, but something about London always made me return. It was like a magnet, I had to go back there.

So, once again in 1969, I'm back in London, and discover the hippies have taken over a large building in Piccadilly, so, I go and have a look, and I'm recognised by a few people there who invite me in, and I stayed there till we were evicted by the police.

My life didn't change much till 1976, when I found myself at the Stonehenge Summer Solstice festival, where I began helping the first aid guy, and as that festival closed, travelled with them to a place called Rhayder in Wales, where another smaller festival was set up. I became the medic there, even managed to get one guy into hospital who was suffering from severe sunburn, discovered later I'd saved his life. While there, I met a guy from Swindon who asked me what I planned to do after the festival was over. I told him I had nothing planned, so he said "Come to Swindon and better yourself" Having nothing better to do, I went, and he introduced me to his friends there, who were mainly bikers and old hippies, so I felt at home and comfortable.

The house we lived in had an electric meter that was coin operated. However, the coin box was broken, so we just used the same one coin to top it up when required. This was fine, it worked. Then one day, the police raided the house, looking for canabbis (there wasn't any) but while the police were there, the guy from the electric company came to empty the meter. Finding no money, he told the police, who arrested us, took us to court, where we were each sentenced to three months in prison for theft of electricity. I'm sitting in the same cell as this guy, and I looked at him and said "Come to Swindon and better yourself"

Anyway, after 8 weeks, we're let out early for good behaviour, and we go back to Swindon. I stay there another few months, then once again head back to London. There I begin working for a place called "bit information and help service" while there, I met a lady who would become my wife, so I began working on construction sites again, this time laying bricks. We had two boys, and I was very happy, it was the first real family life I'd had, until one day, after 12 yrs, she told me she was leaving me for my best mate.

This broke my heart, I went travelling around Europe a bit, then back to London again. When I got back, I discovered computers, and enrolled with The Open University, and did a computer science degree course. After finishing that, I got a job as the IT bod for a Local Authority Public Library service, installing and looking after some 400 computers in 13 different buildings, and I stayed there till I took early retirement aged 60.

I'm still friends with many of the people I met in Swindon, I'm still in London, I'm still a cannabis smoker, I've got a couple of cats to keep me company, I spend my days reading, browsing reddit and other sites, fixing friends computers, and generally enjoying my retirement. I've missed a lot out, feel free to ask questions, I'll answer them.

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