We moved around quite a lot when I was a little girl and I always seemed to be having to make new friends. It was especially difficult when we moved from Newcastle upon Tyne to Croydon, in Surrey. I was about six at the time. It wasn’t a particular nice area but it was the only house my parents could afford at the time – and the only one available.
We lived opposite a derelict piece of land where a doodle bug had landed during the war – not that I can remember it I hasten to add. It was a few years before my time. It stood next to the factory that was making stands for the forthcoming coronation of the queen.
However, my main problem was when I attended the local school. No-one seemed to understand my ‘Geordie’ accent so I was forced to endure catty, snide remarks and teasing. It was really hard, especially when all I wanted to do was make friends. But then I discovered two of the most remarkable girls imaginable.
Beverly Anastaner and Lavinia McLauchlin. (What amazing names!) You’d never believe the warmth of friendship I had with those two girls. They never teased me, were never catty, and never made any snide remarks and eased the loneliness of a six year old girl. They were perfect for me – because they came out of my imagination. We laughed, played and had a wonderful time together until flesh and blood friends eventually emerged.
I think it was then, at the age of six, that I discovered I had an imagination and I wanted to write. Isn’t it strange how discovering your role in life can come out of such painful experiences?