1947 was a dramatic year for our family. On the 11th of February my mother was taken to hospital to give birth to my sister Margaret. The Ambulance had to dig through four feet of snow to get outside our house and collect her. Soon I was rushed to hospital with Infantile Paralysis as it was then called; and I was put into a small room all to myself. I had a lumber puncture and I had to learn to walk again. Stiff little bodies were even outside in the corridor in rows, it was later called Polio. I can remember walking down the road to school in between the air raid shelters, when I recovered.
I remember Van Gogh reproductions out in the school corridor, and I remember how cross I was when someone fainted and the teacher grabbed my pencil and stuck it in his mouth! It was all sticky and had teeth marks in it!
My grandfather died, and my grandmother showed him to me “Now he is at rest” she said, as he had been gassed in the First World War, and had always coughed and coughed – he was at Paschendale .
The summer was really hot and the whole family went on holiday to Ramsgate for a few days, I am still near to it, and see it every day.
After two other schools in which I did well with any drawing in colour – geography, history and so on. I learnt to make and perform “shadow puppets” and also bamboo flutes.
At college I did art history, modelling, perspective, and drawing. I learnt about the Impressionists and decided to go out and paint like them. I did a silk-screen apprenticeship between 16 and 18 and then returned to Art School and then finally three years the Royal Academy School. After ten years that was enough of training and listening to teachers for a lifetime.