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The little sun god,
by Clifford Thurlow

Love at first sight Atril press e1718324074714
“They were young, penniless and moved in with mum’s parents…”

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      It was love at first dight when my mum and dad met at the end of World War Two. They were young, penniless and moved in with mum’s parents.

Dad had joined the Royal Navy at 17 after forging his birth certificate and spent six years as a gunner on a battleship. Boys his own age had died in his arms. He felt lucky to have survived and determined to have a happy life.

My grandparents had lost their home in East London during the Blitz and moved to a big old house in North London with Old Granny, my great-grandmother.

My mother had two sisters, Alice and Edna, who visited often with their husbands. The years passed and I was born on a hot July day, the first grandchild, a symbol of light after the post-war darkness. I was surrounded by adults who treated me like a little Sun God.

In a folk story, the hero needs a rival. Mine was Old Granny, who couldn’t stand the sight of me. She occupied the bay-windowed room at the front of the house and played the piano day and night. I was intrigued by the music and would creep into her room to listen.

As I drew closer, her right hand would flash back to slap my face and she carried on stroking the keyboard without missing a note. I would run off wailing like a sea lion to the arms of my mother or grandmother or a visiting aunt. They would scold Granny and I’d be given a chocolate bar for being brave.

At the age of five, I became an entrepreneur. I had a red tricycle with a trunk at the back. I would steal tins of food from the cupboard and deliver them to neighbours who indulged me by buying my wares for a few pennies before returning them to my mother.

Mother told me a thousand times to stop raiding the larder but I carried on my small business until she drew upon the ultimate threat: to tell my father and to expect a good thrashing.

Dad looked stern as he took me into the bedroom and closed the door. He clapped his big hands for the sound effects, then put a finger to his lips to show we shared a secret. He’d seen enough violence in the war to last a lifetime.

He was proud when I became a young reporter and understood when I gave up a career in newspapers to travel the world, not as a sailor, not in a war, but in search of the experiences that would allow me to follow my true ambition and write.

Clifford Thurlow Atril press
Clifford Thurlow was born in London and started work as a junior reporter on a local newspaper aged 18. He has travelled extensively through Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. He worked as the editor of the Athens News in Greece, managed a travelling dolphin show in Spain and studied Buddhism in India, leading to the publication of his first book, Stories from Beyond the Clouds, an anthology of Tibetan folk stories.
He met actress Carol White in Hollywood and wrote her memoirs, Carol Comes Home. It was the first of a dozen books as a ghostwriter, including the Sunday Times bestseller Today I’m Alice – the story of multiple personality disorder survivor Alice Jamieson. His lates book, How to Rob the Bank of England, will be published in September 2024.

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