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The pictures and the stories

The pictures and the stories.


I am writing this to tell you Jade and any body else who reads this document that I have had a great life. There have been sad times, tough times, and painful times but on the whole I’ve a great life.

It’s important to live your life to the full. Treat others well and usually they will treat you well. Remember that if people do treat you badly they do it for their own motives, to meet their needs - not out of personal spite towards you.
Never give up on life. However sad you feel - keep living life. Go out to work, to study, to dance, make a phone call, or go for a walk but do not retreat into a silent lonely world. For every person out there that is bad, there is a hundred who can help you. Talk to them, reach out to them, ask for help and it will be given more often than not. Never be frightened to ask for help.
You have the love of your family and friends. There will be others who love you and you will love them. Learn to love yourself and those around you and others will warm to you.

A picture and a story.


My first home 68 Magdalen Street Norwich.

An early one. Me on my mum’s lap.

On my aunty Jackie’s lap, with a serious looking mum behind, and Granddad Charlie looking on.


In the back yard of the prefab, Marl Pit lane

The cowboy on the beach at Yarmouth

Lunch under Britannia Pier Yarmouth




School photo at Norman Road junior school.

At Uncle Geoff & Gwenny’s with Karl and Karen

In full football strip – the nearest you could get to a Manchester United strip then.



What I wore for school and for the football in 1973.


Leaving for my first day at work aged sixteen August 1975.


Jarrold & Sons Ltd Department Store

I started work in the main department store on a management trainee programme. After placements in the hardware and menswear departments i was asked to report to the office equipment department on Exchange Street. My trainer was American and had a strong southern accent. I misunderstood what she told me and promptly presented myself to Mr Shoelace. I should of could have asked for Mr Chotai - pronounced Showtie. Still it didn't appear to do me much harm. I learnt a lot from my time there. As well as the experience of working with Rasik ( David) I also learnt a lot from Mike Jordan.

Jarrold Office Equipment Exchange Street

During 1978 I went for an interview in Cambridge but decided to see if I could get a sales rep. job instead. I was successful in this ambition and moved to Bury St Edmunds.

Digs at Livermere Road Great Barton. In January 1980 aged 20 I left my family home and moved into digs at a house near Bury St Edmunds. The house was known locally and to its past and current guests as Colditz due to the warmth of the hospitality of the owners, the coldness of the bedrooms, and the overwhelming desire to get out of the place. I shared a bedroom with a guy who was working night shifts at the local sugar-beet factory due to his shift pattern and my determination to spend as little as time as possible ‘in’ I never actually encountered him in a conscious state. The room was very large and contained two single beds at opposite ends. The only heating consisted of a single-bar electric fire, which was plugged into the electric socket equal distance from both of the beds. This meant neither of the rooms’ occupants could feel any heat from their beds. January 1980 was particularly cold and I had to adopt a technique of crouching fully clothed over the one-bar fire warming my fingers before diving for the bed still fully clothed where I would shiver until fatigue eventually led to sleep.
At the end of my first day at Jarrold Office Equipment (incorporating Paul & Matthews) St Johns Street Bury St Edmunds I returned to my digs in good time for a shower before dinner, which I had arranged at £3 per day on top of my weekly rent. After dressing for dinner I presented myself to the owners whose family meal I would be sharing. As I stood dressed smartly in the lounge the family’s three Siamese cats launched themselves at me hitting me at chest height and proceeded to hang themselves on my chest and torso their weight supported by inserting their razor sharp talons into my skin and flesh. I found it difficult not to tear the things off one by one and hurl them to the floor or against the nearest wall. Instead I said something along the lines of “get these bloody things off me”. Having referred to their ‘darlings’ as things meant that the evening meal was not only very overpriced at £3 but also a tense and uncomfortable experience. But not as tense as when I later broke down the front door assuming it was just swollen shut when in fact it had been locked whilst I was out for the evening.

Ken Kettle

  © Ken Kettle 2006