It was around the time when schools became ‘comprehensive’. I chose to take the extra year and stay until I was 16. What a total waste of time that was for me and the teachers. I left school thinking that the Canterbury Tales (Mr Chaucer) was all about a group of people who sailed off into the sunset in search of the new world! Where my head was I really have no idea. I sat O’levels as they were known, failed everything and didn’t have a clue where I was headed. All I was really interested in was the youth club and discos.

I ended up working for a local electrician (dearest… Mr Greenwood) putting in wiring for new houses that were shooting up everywhere. I grew to love it if I am honest but after my first year of being there and asking for a pay rise I was soon without a job… the old skinflint sacked me!!

A few months passed and on a shopping trip to Peterborough I found myself stood outside a military careers information office. In I went, had a chat, sat an aptitude test and was presented with either a career as a Cook or as a Telegraphist. Next BIG mistake…. I signed up to learn dots and dashes at because that is what a teleg did and today Morse code is extinct!

Looking back, to be called a Cook didn’t really impress me but to say I was a Telegraphist in the Royal Air Force… now that to me sounded jazzy. After all, I was only 17½.

From then on, I saw much of the world, was introduced to different cultures and flavours and food became a really high point in my life. Not only do I love eating it but to get in the kitchen and conjure up a black forest gateau or maybe a salted caramel cheesecake that I can share with others is now 45 years later, what I should have done when I first had the opportunity and not gone for the not so jazzy job. Enjoy!

My kitchen is now open to you