Thursday, 27 November 2014

Twenty firsts

I have been nominated by various friends on social media to partipate in this "twenty firsts" round robin - here goes"


First Job
A Summer job packing lettuce at the local market garden.

First Real Job
JA Sewill & Co in Liverpool; an historic Liverpool shipping company which once manufactured ships' clocks and sextants for the Royal Navy. When I was there it was a shipping supplier and chart agent. It was an exciting job for a young lad - I would take orders from the ship owners or their agents and then source and deliver what they needed for their voyage. It could be anything from bottles of Black Label for the Chief Engineer, to a new flags (which were made to order by an old lady in the attic with a manual sewing machine, who had been doing it for 50 years and could make almost any flag of the world from memory).

First Role in Politics
Chairman of Wallasey Young Conservatives - 1982

First Car
A red Triumph Dolomite - LKA 437R

First Record
I thunk Mull of Kintyre by Wings (cringe)

First Football Match
Don't be ridiculous

First Concert
Rod, Jane and Freddy of Rainbow fame did a "summer singalong" at New Brighton's Floral Pavilion in 1974 (I was 8!).

First Country Visited
Republic of Ireland in 1977

First TV Appearance

Defending the Community Charge (Poll Tax) on Kilroy. 1990. I did my best.

First Political Speech
1983 GE, I spoke against unilateral nuclear disarmament at a First Time Voter's meeting.

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend A girl (!) called Tracey at Shackleton Primary School when I was 9. My life has been full of girls called Tracey ;)

First Encounter with a Famous Person Growing up in Wirral we would often see famous Liverpool and Everton footballers around. I would often chat to Bob Latchford at the local shops and a few years later we lived two doors away from Adrian Heath. There was another encounter with Wayne Sleep at Madam JoJos - but that's another story!

First Brush With Death
1996 ish - I was in a taxi in Panama City and it got caught up between two cars whose occupants were engaged in a drug related gunfight.

First House/Flat Owned
2 Oakmount, de Grouchy Lane, Southampton - what a great address! 1997 - it was a lovely one bedroom garden flat in a Victorian property in Highfield, one of Southampton's nicest suburbs. The house was the former headmaster's house in the grounds of a private school accessed down via  half mile wooded drive and set in an acre of gardens.. The developer had also built a row of mews cottages - one of which was occupied by Danny La Rue.  We had some very outrageous parties!  

First file seen at the cinema
I cannot remember, probably the original Star Wars.

First Time on the Radio
BBC Radio Merseyside - early 1980s. I had put together a fund raising book of politicians' favourite recipes to raise money for the local Young Conservatives - they invited me on to talk about it!

First Politician I Met
Our local MP Lynda Chalker (now Baroness Chalker of Wallasey).

First Book I Remember Reading One of the Famous Five or Secret Seven Books - goodness knows which one.

First Visit to the London Palladium
Strangely, despite going to the theatre every few months, I think I have only been to the Palladium once, and that was last year to see Dame Edna.  And I had Iain Dale's unwanted tickets for the Royal Box!

First Election
This is sad - 1976! I was 10. My mother was a Liberal then and I took a disliking to her Liberal friends. When the Conservatives came around I was playing in the garden and asked if I could help. I was asked if my parents would mind and I assured them they wouldn't. I had a massive rosette pinned on my jumper and I was allowed to mark the canvassing card. Unfortunately after 10 minutes we bumped into my Mother and the local Liberals coming the other way. There was a shouting match and the poor Conservative lady was accused of "brainwashing innocent children" and I was sent home. That was the end of my early political career. I remember the Conservative candidate to this day - her name was Jennifer Merrill. Three years later my mother had seen the light and had joined the Conservative Party. Forty years later I am still walking behind the candidate, marking the canvassing card (and I still have a disliking of Liberals!) 

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