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One of the things you mentioned on the tape was your interest in other countries and I wondered how that sort of carried on and developed as you grew up.
Yes I don’t quite I’m not too sure why that came from originally I think it came from an interest in Geography because I seemed to be good at Geography or perhaps I was just interested in geography I don’t know but anyway I kind of pursued that and at a later date I suppose it became a little more it had more of a political edge to it too by the time I was at Marlborough my politics were well to the left of most peoples You have to understand that public schools in those days if there was a vote in the school then the vast bulk of the boys would vote conservative and people who voted anything else were you know slightly different obviously they were voting the same way as their parents voted because politics then was very much stratified on a social level too. So I became interested not only in foreign countries but also their politics and their governments and the way the world was run generally and that an interest that’s gone on ever since.

It’s interesting that your political views were so different from your parents
It is. I think that that partly goes back to... in truth I think that partly goes back to Marlborough college and my realisation when I went there that really people looked down on me because I didn’t come from an upper middle class or higher background and teased my accent and the Wiltshire accent that I had then, and rapidly lost, and I think that partly pushed me in the direction of feeling that life wasn’t totally fair and that the way things were and that there was a fairer way really and so that’s probably the genesis of my political leanings and yes I never did mange to see eye to eye with mother and father on politics and we used to try and steer clear of the issues really.
I was going to say did it cause any conflict between you?
Not really, it didn’t no. I have to say. No, they were quite understanding I think they probably thought I was bit you know, wrong about things but it didn’t seem to bother them too much. I’m glad to say. I think part of the gen.. I mean that went on really into my work in Dorset because Dorset in those days was very socially stratified and the countryside was run by large landowners men of whom most of whom seemed to be ex military men and so on and there was a very strong sort of social division there one or two things I saw really made me kind of think I really don’t like the whole landlord and tenant thing seemed to me to be rather feudal and sometimes very feudal in terms of the right of those who own land to kind of rule and I think that also pushed me to the left a bit and my interest in town planning.

Seaside holidayAnd what about actually travelling to other countries?
Well interestingly, probably through nagging by me. I mean my parents had a car, our first holidays were always to the seaside when I was young, to Weston-Super-mare, to Weymouth, a notable holiday looking over battleships parked in the harbour and things like that to Bournemouth to some extent, to Newquay in Cornwall at least once, but around the time I was about twelve I suppose my father unusally decided that we would try a week abroad. It was a very tentative toe in the water because we simply stayed for a week in Ostend in Belgium and had a few coach trips out from Ostend, into France and Holland and the second week of the holiday we actually spent in East bourne which was sort of play safe in case the first week didn’t go well I suppose but that was our first tentative step in the water my parents obviously were quite, you know encouraged by that, and therefore in the next couple of years we did a couple of longish coach trips into, around really, Belgium, Germany. Switzerland, Austria, France and those trips were for me fascinating really we did, we went to the usual places. At that time Germany of course was still divided into zones, and so was Austria you couldn’t go to Vienna that was in the Russian zone of Austria but we went to the Western part of Austria and all the border crossings and all the rest of it all the mountain trips we did up some of the mountains in cable cars in Switzerland for me as a boy absolutely fascinating and you must remember this is in the mid fifties this is long before such travel became commonplace. Nobody went on holiday to the South of Spain or the Baleric islands or anything like that in those days This was something quite adventurous for my family and clearly this was something which my parents felt they could afford and could do and they found interesting themselves.







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