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Sunday, 8 May 2011

The trip to Hong Kong and my life whilst there. 1957-1960

Well, off we go.......on a ship to Hong Kong.

The trip took about a month.

Whilst we were on route, 2 weeks in to the trip, I caught 'German Measles'.
(This was much to my mother's amusement. As mentioned, she is German, and had never heard of it! It's just known as measles in Germany!)

Anyway, I had a pretty bad dose of it by all accounts.
It was in my nose, ears, eyes, mouth and any other part of my body that could accommodate a spot!
The thing to do at the time, was to keep all light form the room, remain in quarantine, and just general nursing.
To be honest, I am not sure if the treatment is the same now or matter, that is what it was then.
Mum said that as she closed the curtains, a Steward came and opened there was the battle of the 'light' going on  whilst I was in quarantine!

(I don't actually remember any of the trip! The information is based on my mother's account).

So...there you have trip! Lol!

When we arrived in Hong Kong, Mum and Dad had to stay in a  Hotel until their permanent accommodation was sorted.
I had to go into Hospital. I was there for about 1 week.

We lived at Peacock Road in Hong Kong for about 1 year, and then we moved to Shatin.

We  moved into a house owned by Mr. Hung, who also owned a shipping line to Japan. The House was in the grounds of his holiday home.

Now, from here, I can remember loads of stuff!

There were a lot of small homes, in a line, also in the grounds of Mr. Hung's holiday home.
This was the housing for all of Mr. Hung's staff.

Mr. Hung had 2 children, Charles and Felicity. I don't really remember much about Charles.

This is Felicity.

Mr. Hung and Felicity were lovely people. They used to spoil me rotten! Lol!
Mr Hung had 7 dogs, and he gave them to me.
In retrospect, I think that he let me have them during the day, but at night, they were still Mr. Hung's, because I don't remember ever having to feed or groom them, and they always looked immaculate!
I loved animals, even then.

Despite this, I spent most of my time playing with the children of Mr. Hung's staff, particularly Su Jai, the gardeners son.

This is Su Jai, me, and two unknown children.

Mr Hung put an old rowing boat right at the back of the grounds, filled it with water, and I got to play in it!
Su Jai was never in it with me though. I know that there were some places that he wasn't allowed. I have no idea why, or whose rule that was.

I was happiest playing with him

This is the boat that Mr. Hung set up for me.
Aunty Paula, Mum, Elizabeth, Christine and me...(clearly feeling a little restricted!)

Mum would invite her friends and their children around, they were all right, they didn't want to do the stuff that I enjoyed.

Just exploring and pretending, getting dirty, playing with the dogs, watching the sun 'move' with you, picking flowers, watching shadows, finding insects, mixing some water and mud to make 'pots', hide and seek, go and see my rats.............
I didn't understand why they wouldn't do this stuff.

Me, dressed comfortably...having fun.

OK, the sea was just beyond the boundary fence, but you couldn't fall, you had to climb...I know, lol! 
There were 2 very large fish ponds, and if I got in, I could stand on the bottom, and my head was above water...again, you couldn't fall in, you had to make a real effort!
There was the boat at the bottom of the grounds,  you couldn't fall in to that either, you had to climb!
I tried all of the above at least once lol!

This is me after I had just cut my own hair with Mum's new pinking!
I think that I was saying something like,
"I'm not wearing this...where's my shorts?"

This is Mum. I am behind her, but I bet that you are fed up with seeing me, so, I cropped my head off! lol!

This is me and Dad..I wanted to show the vastness of the grounds, so, sorry, I couldn't crop me out!
This is one of the fish ponds I spoke of.

The only thing to be concerned about was the snakes...but they were mainly in the trees, and I avoided those, as advised by Su Jai, his Dad and my parents........ Hmmmm...advised is probably a bit tame, either way...I knew! 
There weren't that many to be worried about, I think that we only found 4 in 2 years.

To be honest, I was glad when the 'visitors' had gone, so I could play with Su Jai, he like to do the same things that I did.
We would pretend to fight with sticks, he was teaching me...(there was a name for it, but I can't remember what it was)...........could just as easily have been something that he made up! Who cares, it was fun.
He used to teach me how to move slowly and in time with idea what I was doing was fun.
Now, I think that it was some sort of Tai Chi.(Again, could just as easily been something that he put together himself, lol!)

Dad would be out at work before I got up in the morning most days, and I would be in bed before he came home...
I remember,,,,I had to be in bed for about 5 or 6 in the evening.....I didn't like that, it was still light and sunny outside, and so much fun still to be had!
I did see him all week end though.

Well....this resulted in me speaking English with a German accent....but I spoke Cantonese like a native. 
Mum would have to take me out shopping with her to translate. Some sellers came to the house, and I would translate then too.

(I think that there is a photo somewhere...when and if I find it, I will put it in).

Of course, I can't remember a word know what they say, use it or loose it!

I especially liked it if they brought their children with them. me, Su Jai and the other children would be off! Lol!
I always had scabs on my knees and elbows and hands where I had fallen, slipped, tripped or something or other!
Mum wasn't amused! Dad would tell me off, it was always with a twinkle in his!

The grounds of the house were vast, well, to me they were, at 3 and 4 years old, so I was off all day most days with Su Jai, and I always had the dogs in tow too. They would follow me, which was great! 

I would skip up the path to call for Su Jai in the morning, and I was always fascinated that the sun would bob up and down with me. 

I would have boiled rice and eat with chop sticks with Mr. Hung and Felicity, or with Su Jai and his Mum.

Mum had a maid, One of them was horrid! ( I would pretend that a coat hanger was a machine gun, and shoot her)........I know, I know........but she did kill my budgies!  She used to moan about the noise that they made...and one morning, I found them, dead! I am so sure that it was her!

Anyway, she left and Mum had another...... Su Lee, she was lovely. We would play and talk together. She liked my animals. I had white rats..they had babies, 7 dogs and my birds!

Mum used to read whilst sitting under this huge tree. (Remember what I said about trees earlier!)
Well, one day, there was an almighty panic. The gardener came to find me and Su Jai, and demanded that we went indoors.
Well.............There was a bloody great snake in the tree!
According to the gardener, it wasn't very dangerous, because after being bitten, you had 10 minutes before you died!..................Oh, well,............. that's all right then!
Any way, The gardener and other people caught the snake and killed it. They took all the bits that they needed for medical stuff, and left the skin on an old wash board on the roof of the house...a sort of patio type thing.
I remember being quite upset that I wasn't allowed to help.

When we had a typhoon, water would come in through the closed windows, the noise of the thunder was really loud and the colour of the sky was mesmerising!

On one occasion, a whole flock of birds came down the chimney!
It took ages to get them out of the house without hurting them.....Mum, Dad and me were shooing them them out of the house for what seemed like an age!

Oh, it was so exciting!!!!!

The Country is so beautiful, the people so friendly and helpful, the weather, thrilling! Glorious mostly, with the occasional typhoon and rain storms. 
It was living in Hong Kong that solidified my belief in magic.........the weather, the animals, the sun following was all magical! 

There is so much more that I could speak of about my time in Hong Kong........but I want to keep this autobiography 'mini'!!

What an honour to have known Mr. Hung, Felicity, Su Jai and his family.
What a privilege to have lived in such beautiful surroundings with such freedom. to Germany next, see you there tomorrow!  

Saturday, 7 May 2011

1955 -1957 (And some family history going back further).

I was born 2nd June 1955, in Catterick Camp, North Yorkshire, England.
Named Carol Pearce.

My father, Thomas Augustus Pearce, was in the Army, The Royal Signal Regiment to be precise.
He was born in South East London on 18th November 1929. 
Dad died suddenly and unexpectedly when he was just 62 years old, just 4 days after his birthday. He had a heart attack.

Dad had 2 brothers and one sister. Joanie, Derek, and Jimmy.
Aunty Joanie and Uncle Jimmy, sadly, are no longer with us.
Granddad was also in the Army. He fought in the 2nd world war . When he was de-mobbed, he became a bin man. He used to turn the gas lights on and off too!
Nan was a Civil Servant.

From left to right, Uncle Bill, (Aunty Joanie's husband), Nan and Granddad.

The name Thomas Augustus Pearce goes back many generations. My father, his father, his father before him, and so on, were all named Thomas Augustus Pearce.
As a matter of  fact, word down through the generations has us believe that the old song 'Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce'...... otherwise known as 'Widecombe Fair', speaks of one of my ancestors!

Widecombe Fair

Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare,

All along, down along, out along lee.

For I want to go to Widecombe Fair.

Wi' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer. Peler Gurney,

Peter Davy, Dan'l Whidoon. Harry Hawk,

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

And when shall I see again my grey mare?

All along, down along, out along lee.

By Friday soon or Saturday noon,

WI' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

Then Friday came and Saturday noon,

All along, down along, out along lee,

Tom Pearce's old mare hath not trotted home

WI' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

So Tom Pearce he got up to the top of the hill,

All along, down along, out along lee

And he see'd his old mare a-making her will,

Wi' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

So Tom Pearce's old mare. her took sick and died,

All along, down along, out along lee.

And Tom he sat down on a stone and he cried,

Wi' Bill Brewer. Jan Slower, etc.

But this isn't the end of this shocking affair,

'All along, down along, out along lee.

Nor, though they be dead, of the horrid career—

of Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

When the wind whistles cold on the moor of a night,

All along, down along, out along lee.

Tom Pearce's old mare doth appear gashly white—

Wi' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, etc.

And all the long night be heard skirling and groans,

All along, down along, out along lee.

From Tom Pearce's old mare In her rattling bones

And from Bill Brewer, Jan Stower, etc.

Folklore in Devon,
tells the story of Tom Pearce's grey mare. 
It is possibly one of the most famous. 
The story is very sad and speaks of cruelty by a team of inconsiderate men.
These men expected Tom Pearce's grey Mare to carry all of them to Widecombe Fair.
Of course, their collective weight would have been too much for her, 
so.... they killed her.
There is a stable, which is said to have once housed the
grey mare. 
It is by the old mill at Sticklepath. It is said to be made of granite. 
Investigations reveal that a
Bill Brewer did, in fact live in Sticklepath, and the
much respected Pearce family operated the local millfor something like three decades.
The Pearce family, it was said, were great
benefactors to the village. 
Most importantly , there was a definitely a 
Tom Pearce in the family. 
A man of his position would certainly have owned
a horse.
 where better to keep her? 
I would have kept her close to the mill!

(information received by googling Tom Pearce - Grey Mare).

During the war, my Dad and his brother Derek, were evacuated to Devon...(Coincidence or what! Lol!).
Dad started training as a farrier. 
Before he finished his training, he had to return to London where he started training as an electrician, there wasn't much call for farriers in London!
Dad then joined the Army at age 18 years.

My mother, Erika Pearce, nee Erika Bonse, was born in Hilden, near Düsseldorf, in Germany on 16th January 1929.

Mum has one brother karl August and 3 sisters. Inge, Annaliese and Ilse.
Tante, (Aunt),  Annaliese and Tante Inge are regretfully, no longer with us.

Opa (Granddad), was in the German Army, and fought in the first world war. Opa was shot in the chest, he was lucky, he survived. 
Opa lost 2 of his brothers in the war. He didn't like to speak of it, so that is all that I know of his experiences during the fighting.
Opa was too old for the second world war.

When he left the Army, Opa joined the Council, and then became a fumigator to combat illnesses like diphtheria and other killers.
Oma (Grandma), was a seamstress.

This a picture of (from left to right), Mum, me, Oma and Opa.

According to some research and family tree has come to light, that my mother's family escaped from France during the French revolution.
They were called  'Le Bonse',  (there should be an apostrophe over the 'e' in Le Bonse, but my keyboard wont let me put one on!),  when they left France, escaping over the Dutch border, and had to change their name to Bonse when reaching Germany.
My Mother's Great Granddad had to sell his title in order get work.

Mum explained to me that during the war, in Germany, all school aged children were expected to join the 'Hitler Youth'. If you had been to one 'Hitler Youth' meeting after being coerced, and never went to the second meeting, the Police would come and fetch you ensuring future attendances.

There was an Army Officer that lived in the flat below my Mum's family. When he was on leave.
Opa and this Officer met in the gardens one morning. 
The Officer lifted his arm and said 'Heil Hitler'.
Opa responded by saying 'Good Morning', (in German).
The Officer said that if Opa didn't say 'Heil Hitler', he would be reported to the S.S.
Opa said 'Kiss my Arse'.  Opa was reported.

As luck would have it, the war was all but over, so there were no real consequences to pay, but there was a real fear that Opa would end up in a concentration camp initially.
The Officer in question, spent the last years of his life in prison for war crimes. In fact, his wife had to divorce him in order to change her name or she would not have been able to work in Germany again.

Mum and Dad met in Germany in 1953.. Dad was posted there, and Mum was working as a waitress in a club for Army personnel. It was called the 'Cross Keys'. My Dad had just been made up to Sergeant.

This is a picture of my Mum and Dad when they were courting. This was taken in Düsseldorf.

Mum and Dad married in London in 1954. They married at the Registry Office on Walworth Road, Elephant and Castle, South East London. Dad was still posted in Germany, but they came to England so that Mum could meet Dad's family and get married.

This Mum and Dad's wedding photgraph.

Dad had already met Mum's family.

After the wedding, they returned to Germany for 1 year.
Dad was then posted to the Middle East, but because Mum was expecting me, he took a posting to Catterick Camp, North Yorkshire instead. 
I was born! ..........................(And not created, much to my disappointment....hmmph).

Me. when I was about 8 months old.

We stayed in Catterick until I was 2 years old. 

Me, one of my best photo's..........

We then went to Hong Kong.

More tomorrow.