the summer of 1969, at the age of twenty,
I knew that what I wanted more than anything
else was to leave home. My parents wanted
more and more money but provided little other
than a roof over my head. I discovered that
I could rent a room for less, the question
was where to go? I wanted to move away from
Winchester to make a complete break with the
past. My job which I had taken on the spur
of the moment and only for a few months now
provided the chance to live in another town.
holiday that year was a trip around Britain
staying in youth hostels and guest houses.
With a Rail Rover ticket allowing unlimited
travel, I took a night train to Scotland and
visited Inverness, the Isle of Skye, Fort
William, Glasgow and Edinburgh. In Fort William,
an American and I put an Aga cooker together
in a guest house although neither of us had
ever seen one before.
It worked and we both got free bed and breakfast
for the night, it was the kind of breakfast
that really could be called 'all day'. After
Scotland I travelled down to Devon, where
I met two brave East End teachers giving a
group of children a holiday at an Exeter youth
hostel. I followed this with a trip to Cornwall
and ended my holiday on the Isle of Wight.
my taste for independence growing, that summer
I visited all the other depots to check for
vacancies and places to live. It quickly became
clear that the choice was between Bournemouth
and Southampton as both were large towns with
plenty of rented accomodation. Both had big
Hants & Dorset garages and Corporation
buses as an alternative. I chose Southampton,
found a bedsit and applied for a transfer.
At first I was turned down but when I pointed
out that I was moving anyway and would leave
the company if necessary, the transfer went
the 15th of September 1969. Freedom! It took
a while to adjust, to shake off twenty years
of neglect and obstruction but now I could
eat at any time, go for a drink when I wanted
to, even simple things like having a bath
and clean clothes every day were new. Everything
was possible and I never looked back, my only
regret was not going sooner.
I had a new home, a room in a house in Shirley,
and a fresh start at Southampton depot.