About the author

Anthony Molloy

<p>Born: Yes I was, despite Hitler bombing my family out of house and home in London. It was personal between him and me, I had two balls and he didn&#39;t.<br /> In truth the house was that run down people never noticed, the whole area was the same, so bad that a Nazi bomb at our&nbsp; end of the road caused 200l000 pounds of improvements.<br /> The evacuation meant I was born a &acute;Devonshire Dumpling&acute;. I went back to Bideford once, to the actual nursing home where I was launched, no blue plaque yet.<br /> Schooling: Rotherhithe New Road. That was the Rotherhithe before they got rid of the rats in the warehouses and installed the other sort.<br /> I was actually there, aged nine, when our neighbours Sunday joint floated away on the neap tide of 1953. My family and I chased it for miles. As I recall it outpaced us all, we were all rather thin and weak.<br /> Undeterred we searched for days until the increasing size of the mob was spotted by the Government who thought we looked hungry and, as a measure of their concern, called out the riot squad. They fired rubber bullets at us made of metal.<br /> But I digress, my teacher at Rotherhithe thought that, because I liked drawing ships, I might like to go to sea. Perfectly logical, when you consider that one of my class mates, who enjoyed drawing plants, later became one.<br /> I went to the London Nautical School, there I learnt navigation, seamanship and how to muffle screams whilst receiving 6 of the best from the headmaster. I left as soon as I could, they kept dragging me back until, at fifteen I was able to leave legally and without the skirmish lines that so blocked the Waterloo traffic.<br /> I ran away to sea enlisting in Blackheath, not there now, I burnt that down.<br /> There followed a year of hell, the beatings were fine, but the sport...every afternoon.<br /> Come on!<br /> Someone, spotted I wasn&#39;t keen and decide I&#39;d prefer hard labour; they were all so sensitive in those days. It was then I took a liking for hard work. Hard work equals no pain being the rough formula. God how I loved Ganges.<br /> You couldn&#39;t buy yourself out until you were 24. It was this that turned most of us to booze.Then in &#39;71 they stopped the tot, That was it, until I woke up in a Horticultural College, married to my wife<br /> I&#39;ve spent 30 years adjusting to life without brutality. Then retired to Spain and used the cheap red wine as a kind of dummy to recover.</p>