When I was eight years old, my parents were suddenly called away urgently to attend my maternal grandfather, who was very ill. They lived up in Scotland and we lived just outside of the English city of Liverpool, so it was a bit of a trip and my parents didn’t think it very suitable for me, especially in the circumstances.
So for a few days, I was boarded out to stay at the home of my best friend, Tony Richards. We spent a lot of time at each other’s houses, so I knew the family well. Tony’s dad was away on business at the time so it was just me and him, plus his five-year-old sister Margaret and of course his mum. I’d always liked Mrs Richards – she was kind but firm, and she made me feel very welcome.