For reasons that are too long and complicated to go into here, I had to live with my grandparents for a couple of years when I was very young. They, like many of their generation, were hard-working, contented sort of people. My grandfather had taken early retirement owing to an industrial accident (a lorry-load of bricks fell on his foot) and my grandmother worked in a large department store in London. Having me dumped unexpectedly on her for a while obviously caused logistical problems. I was too young for school and my grandfather wasn’t to be trusted to look after me at home (men didn’t look after children in those days . . . my, how things have changed). Her solution was to tuck me under her wing – on some days physically as ...

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