Dear Diary – Page 61 (Mid 1960’s – Peterborough)

My parents’ new home was in a small village with a poor bus service to larger towns. The most common method of public transport was the trains, and the train station was a good 20 minute walk from their home!

They loved the rural nature of the area but, to me, I felt very isolated. During my time there, I did look for work in the surrounding towns but there were few jobs that paid close to what I would need for any semblance of independence, and those jobs that came close were seasonal.

While there in 1964, I did do a little sketching which resulted in the pen and ink drawing below.

1964 Deltic pen and ink2Trains were once again coming to my rescue as a mental diversion from a very unhappy situation.

I often think back to those times and cannot help but feel rather disappointed that neither of my parents became involved the decisions that I had to make. They both knew that my two career choices were now history, and yet my Dad was presumably too involved in his house building and otherwise working to get involved. My Mum probably just had no idea how to handle it. Even just a “friendly ear” would have been nice, although some discussion and suggested directions would have been better. I knew nobody there outside of my family, and would have really liked to talk my predicament through with somebody.

After a few months of living in relative isolation, I decided that I needed to go back to Peterborough where I knew the area, and where there should be opportunities for reasonably well paying employment.

While I was in Cardiff, my sister Valerie had got married and now lived just outside Peterborough, and worked for Perkins Diesel Engines (div. of Massey-Ferguson). When she knew that I was planning on returning to Peterborough, she not only put me in touch with a family who were thinking about renting out a spare bedroom, but she also noticed that there were a few current job openings at “Perkins” that I might be interested in.

I moved back to Peterborough that Summer, applied for a position at “Perkins”, and started working there immediately. The job was processing orders from European customers however, an opportunity arose shortly after which paid significantly better. It was the scheduling of engines for production, given line capacities, holidays, firm orders and inventory requirements. I applied for the position and was successful.

The place where I was staying did not last long as their daughter (whose room I was renting) had decided to move back with her parents. I rented another couple of rooms over the next 12 months but the instability of those arrangements dictated that I look for something more permanent. I was very lucky in that a short walk from “Perkins” was a caravan site which just happened to have a small caravan for rent. I had my first home of my own!

18 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 61 (Mid 1960’s – Peterborough)

  1. Wow! Very impressive drawing!!
    Sorry about the struggles that went on during this time though.
    I did have to smile when I read that you were hired at “Perkins”. The first thing that popped in my mind was Perkins Restaurant! Its been around for quite awhile here in the US. I saw you making pancakes and omelets! 🙂

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  2. Lovely drawing Colin. Have you framed it and hung it up somewhere?
    I remember train journeys from a local station in Poole to Highcliffe were actually cheaper than going on the bus, and more direct. Shame they were only three times a day though!

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    • Thank you, but most of my creations were given away at the time. I guess (and I am guessing) that because I can produce such things, I have no impulse to save them! I do have another pen and ink drawing, and 2 or 3 photos of paintings as I dabbled in the world of oil painting …. but that’s pretty much it! Perhaps one day I will try drawing Ray ……… but capturing the personality of a living creature was my weak area in Art at school 🙂


  3. First of all: That is a fantastic drawing, Colin!!! You are so skilled! I so understand your feeling of being isolated. I felt cut off here too when I was in my teenage years living with my paretns on a hill with a bus all hours…. I never chose such places wherever I lived later… lol

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  4. At about that same age I found an “apartment” available for rent from one of the customers of the boat dealership where I was working my senior year of college. It was way out into the countryside but a reasonable commute to school and work. The rent was low but still a hard “nut” to gather each month but when I drove out to look at it with the owner I was very surprised. The “apartment” was actually half of a barn that consisted of two retired wooden railroad cars side by side with a space between wide enough for my truck and covered by a roof. The apartment side was finished inside with a small bedroom and a kitchen/sitting room. Yes, there was a toilet but no shower. So for a while I “rode the rails” in a wooden car, so to speak. Someday I will put the experience into my fiction. Just too good to pass up!

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