Following early disappointing attempts to teach our cat to swim in a bucket in Bulawayo at the age of 5, I soon developed a genuine empathy for fellow creatures. Halcyon days in the village of Woolerton, Shropshire, where I, was allowed to bottle-feed an orphaned lamb from the farm next door and helping my father rear geese and chickens on our land. The stream nearby was excitingly inhabited by small fish and tadpoles. My father's war-time commission as an RAF padre expired and he tried the Army, moving to Blackdown, near Aldershot, where I saw red squirrels, grass snakes and lizards in the woods and got my first pet, Pinky the white mouse.
Aged 7 my mother died, then, when my father was posted to Germany, I lived in Lightpill near Stroud with his sister, mother and dear cousins.
Aged 9 we often walked the neighbours' German Shepherd Shaun,and played with him in the communal back yard.
MY father remarried to a local in Germany and when we all came to a new home in Cirencester, Mum fulfilled her girlhood dream, buying our own Scottish Terrier "Suzy" .
I then attended Kingswood School, Bath ( Identical to Hogwarts with 2 exceptions, K.S. is In England not in Scotland and in those days there were no girl pupils.) There I discovered slow-worms in the vivarium, took up angling, and got to grips for the first time, with horses and girls.
Fancy Mouse - ..
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