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Shalom and Sheiks: 88 Home Again

...Before long, in the peace and tranquillity of Tadmarton, I sat down and penned notes on all the happenings, conversations, anecdotes, adventures, laughs and people, that I could remember in my life....

After working in the deserts of the Middle East for a number of years, John Powell returns home to England.

To read earlier chapters of John's engaging life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/shalom_and_sheiks/

The next day we arrived back in England. As we were driven to London, it suddenly struck me how green were the fields and what thick coats the carthorses had. In London, it was strange not to take the tube to the Oval but, instead, to take the train from Paddington to Oxford, thence to Banbury. My folks had retired and bought the Old Rectory in the nearby village of Tadmarton. It was a lovely old building with three cottages attached, bringing in rent; stables and an orchard. They deserved such a lovely home; it had been a long journey from the small top floor flat at 63 Clapham Road, (in which I was bom), but they had succeeded through sheer hard work and survived the terrifying Blitz, in which they boosted the morale of everyone.

I was given a royal welcome. They were expecting me but not sure when. "Welcome home, old darling," and Mother and I hugged each other and exchanged kisses on the cheeks, and then she added, (I knew it), "Have you eaten anything, darling, are you hungry?"

Then Dad and I exchanged strong handshakes and with the customary family greeting, " 'Ullo, you, 'ow bist?"

"Ah, oi be fine, you, 'ow bist thee?"

My royal welcome, however, was restricted to my folks. Old Sandy gave a few perfunctory sniffs at my trouser legs, then walked off. My years in the Army and now overseas were too much for him. He had forgotten me.

We soon became friendly after a few country walks together and a ball game or two, but to him I was no longer a member of the family: when I came in the front door, he no longer rushed to me, before anybody, trying to knock me over, with his tail wagging furiously. Such conduct was reserved for the folks. From now on I was merely a friend of the family, staying with them.

Before long, in the peace and tranquillity of Tadmarton, I sat down and penned notes on all the happenings, conversations, anecdotes, adventures, laughs and people, that I could remember in my life.

It has taken me over half a century to reread them and to do something about them in the form of this autobiography.

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