We have lift-off. . .

"An ancient lunatic reigns, In the trees of the night"

In 1970, on a trip to Ostia beach outside of Rome in an old 2CV, the adventures continue: to form the artist, and release the muse, spending his last few Lira in a bar with a jukebox.

"Wild Child" by The Doors

. . . . five plays and a coke!

I need to backtrack here, the build up to my leaving London for Rome in 1969.

My Father's posting to New Zealand had ended and we, the family, returned to England in 1965. It was a hairy journey back - RAF Dakota, DC3s still equipped for parachutists, anything that was available (or was that Iraq?) - St Elmo's Fire on the wing tips over Singapore during an electric storm -that kind of stuff !!

So, London. Dad's new posting was at RAF Stanmore, end of the Bakerloo line. We lived in Harrow and I schooled ( my 26th ! ) at Chandos Secondary Modern. So did Henry B. Morris !

We were both 15/16 and surrounded by the most wonderful music: Beatles, Beach Boys, Kinks, Dylan etc. Henry had sideburns - proper ones, two guitars, an Autoharp and a knack for harmonies. We became close friends and started a duo called Deep South singing Dylan/Donovan and a couple of my early efforts, and became the darlings of the local birthday party scene. Pay was food, booze and a fair bit of youthful fumbling!

I left school, got a job and did the old worn sofa thing with an older girl. She had friends in Rome and told me to go: I would love it, she said. So I did, with tales of girls and freedom ringing in my young ears!!

I arrived at Piazza Navona after 18 hours on a train, it was snowing. I banged on this huge Gothic door - it opened with a creak, and there was a pretty American lady who wasn't expecting me at all ... continued in Wanderlust.

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