This is a collection of stories ranging from childhood impressions to more detailed memories from my adult life. I was born in 1936 at Chelsfield, a small village on the slope side of the North Downs in Kent, the youngest of six children.

Our parents were Edgar William (Will to my mother and Bill to most others) Marchant (1898-1960), who came from the neighbouring village of Pratts Bottom and Elizabeth Jane Marchant, née Wickenden (1897-2000), a native of Chelsfield.

Towards the end of 1941 we moved to Shropshire in order to escape the worst of the air raids, which were hitting London and the South-East. This, unfortunately, was an ill-starred venture, mainly due to my father’s ill-health. He was not very strong at the best of times, and the harsh winter was more than he could endure. We came back to Chelsfield, but not, sadly, to the house we had left three months earlier.

I lived in this area until the age of eleven, when my family moved a few miles north to Orpington. At the age of eighteen I commenced a period of two years National Service which was spent mostly in Germany. Although I was a very reluctant soldier, I learnt a great deal in those two years and I struck a rich seam of experiences ranging from the hilarious, through the mildly amusing to the downright tragic. My working life thereafter has also provided a few interesting and comical incidents.

As for the present, I am fortunate to have a loving and supportive family and am inordinately proud of my wife, two sons, daughter and twin granddaughters.

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