Our rather sudden decision to emigrate to New Zealand in 1967 was really just an impulsive lark. It just seemed a good idea at the time. We were newlyweds and with my mediocre degree my prospects in the UK did not seem in any way promising. At the time commonwealth countries were making some tempting offers to teachers and nurses, so we fitted the bill.
Once the idea took hold, it was a Goldilocks’ porridge choice between Australia (too hot), Canada (too cold) and New Zealand (just right?). A choice based on stereotypes and skimpy research, and in my case influenced by the example of a boy at Fryent primary school who, years before, had beamed down in London NW9 one day from planet New Zealand. Actually I don’t think he remembered much about NZ, but I became so fascinated with this kid from a country on the other side of the world that I read up about it in my second home, Wembley town hall library. (No internet then). The land of the long white cloud must have lodged itself in my young brain as a romantic aspiration; after all for us Brits it’s as far as you can go south without starting to come back.
I’m not into football, as they say, but I have found it impossible to ignore Leicester City’s astonishing turnaround from obscurity to giant-killing league winners this year. It’s not long since my grandson Luke (football mad) asked me which team I supported and in desperation I identified Leicester, simply on the tenuous grounds that I spent three years there in the sixties, as a less than distinguished student.
What’s more, for one of those years I lived in a redbrick back-to-back student house in Filbert Street itself, only a few doors away from City’s former home ground. If I have a soft spot for Leicester, forgive me – it’s probably largely due to that year, when I not only graduated but fell in love. How was I to know then that 50 years later the City, not content with having dug up an English king, was to become world-famous once again for winning the Premier League? Continue reading →