It’s always nice to go back into the memories of the past, but the future is more important. This we build on the foundations of our past experiences, but sometimes it’s not easy to go forward.
Like for me at the moment. I have to get my legs working again, so that I can pursue my dreams and be able to deal with the challenges. This in itself is a challenge and I am going to reach my goals, only with this attitude can I go through life. I have always welcomed sport competitions and have this fighting nature in my blood and apply it to my normal life also.
So now to continue with the second part of my story.
Und dann kam die Liebe
Like I said I was living in Cambridge and met this charming Swiss lady – Anna.
I had just been informed that I had been accepted for a job in Corfu, working on a new golf course and being in charge of the shop. Not a big job, but a chance to get away from what was at that time a decaying UK.
Anna and I agreed to meet after three months in Corfu, as she had to return to Zurich, because she had to fulfill her working contract. On the 1st. August the time had come to pick her up at the airport. Swiss Air arrived with Anna. Dressed in a beautiful yellow Cacharel blouse and yellow trousers, she came down the stairs to the runway. The romance began.
I did my job in the golf club, played a little, enjoyed my lunch in the local taverna. There I ate everything from goats meat to heads of lamb! I learnt some Greek, learnt to dance like the Greeks and, above all, learnt to love the people. When you work with such people, they take you into their hearts and I did the same.
Kein Golfplatz auf Korfu
Anna and I returned to Cambridge for the winter, and that’s where the Pub incident comes in. We made a lot of university friends and had some very enjoyable time with them. But I needed work and so set about to look for a job again.
I was contacted by Mr. Kasansies from Corfu. He offered me a job helping to plan a new golf course around his hotel. This I accepted and 1st. April Anna and I returned to the beautiful island. The weather was bad, it was raining and cold, not what we expected. We didn’t have the right clothes and when I got to the hotel I was told that there would be no golf course! A disappointing start for sure. The director and hotel owner said that I could work with the garden staff. This I accepted and I took on the job of painting the swimming pool.
Anna was given a position in the hotel reception in the second hotel. Accommodation was in the staff quarter, oh my, something like that we’ve never seen before. After a long winter the walls had not dried out, in fact, water was running down them. We had no choice, so had to put up with everything. Our tears were running too …
Australierinnen in Hotpants
After a few weeks, the weather changed and I had fun working with the greek staff. Our staff food was pretty bad, but it kept me alive. Anna’s job was a challenge for her and she got on very well with it. She knew what was going on in the hotel and used to tell me lots of stories about the different affairs that were taking place.
One affair suddenly went too far! The discotheque manager, a handsome French man that had just arrived for his second season, got the sack. So they needed another manager and asked me to do the job. I had all necessary experience and so I took it on.
Suddenly I was an executive and had all the privileges. Being served in the main restaurants, receiving turnover provision etc. etc. The disco had room for 250 people and I had my own staff, three Australian girls in hot pants for the service and a Scottish girl for the music. A cool time, exciting, challenging and one that needed a lot of courage sometimes.
Wo im Ausland die Gefahren lauern
One night an American aircraft carrier anchored in the bay. There were 2,000 sailors on board and they hadn’t been on land for months and hadn’t seen a woman in that time either. A big group of them came to the disco, they were like animals, their aggression was unbelievable. I had to watch my step, but it all became too much and I had to call in the police. They had broken all the toilets and hand basins in the toilets and were threatening guests. Luckily nobody got hurt.
There were a lot of good times and just a few bad ones, one of which is still difficult to understand today and tought us, how dangerous it is living in a foreign country. Anna got a disease, which one we still don’t know, but the doctor didn’t want to give it a name, in interest of the hotel business! She was given injections and luckily recovered, for the moment anyway, but for a few years it returned for a short period again.
Griechenland, Deutschland, Schweiz – lauter Neustarts
We decided in September it was time to move on, so we got all our things together and packed our bags. At that time Greece was under military control, so, taking money out of the country was not allowed. We packed all of our Swiss Francs and dollars into a small collapsable umbrella, Anna carried this on her arm and onto the ferry boat. Wow, that was a risk – but so is life sometimes.
We finished up in Munich and lived there for one year. My legs helped me in my work, as I became a window cleaner, sometimes working in a gondola outside of the 35th floor! Otherwise, up and down my little ladder, cleaning windows allover, I know the insides and outsides of all the banks and beer houses. I earned according to the number of square meters I completed in a day. I needed a lot of energy and agility and once again my legs brought me through.
Anna and I got married in Munich, in the famous English Garden. Then later we went to live in Switzerland, in Adliswil. Anna’s parents found us a nice flat, and so that was the beginning of my new life in Switzerland.
It wasn’t easy to get a job at that time, permissions for foreigners was difficult. But I found one and this gave me a start. Factory shift work, every week another shift. After three weeks it would start again with the first shift!! A hard thing to get used to, but eventually I got a job in 3M in Zurich. There I stayed for 21 years before they decided to send my job to London. So I had to train a Londoner in Zurich how to do my job, then they took it away from me. I went into early retirement and started a few more careers – more later.
Eine Karriere als Sportler
Very early I discovered that 3M didn’t have a sports club and that there were big differences between the marketing, sales and accounts department. I got permission from a directer to form a club. And within a short space of time, I had up to 100 members. I used to organize training evenings and weekends for running and cross country skiing. Sometimes weekends in training centers near to Zurich or even in Tessin.
I became well known for this area of sport and made a lot of friends. I also joined a local running club which met once a week, and sometimes we went on races together, one of which was in Austria. Kitzbühel was the starting place for a 72 km. long cross country race, which I took part in twice. Another was the Engadin Ski Marathon, there I raced 7 times. You can’t imagine it, becauses the start was on a lake, with 12,000 skiers!! Eventually I became one of the elite racers as I improved my times in every race. I took part in many other races including mountain runs, 50 km running race etc. I was well trained, running between 10 and 20 kms per day in training six days a week.
I also taught Christina my daughter cross country skiing, eventually she became 3rd. on a junior national championship race. Then she moved over to Biathlon, where it was discovered that she had a great talent in shooting. She became twice Swiss Junior and twice British junior champion. We travelled to many European championships together, my role was the management and trainer.
Der Traum von einer spanischen Villa
I gave up my daily training because of a new goal. Anna and I and the two girls went on a camping holiday in Spain. Had a great time and discovered those beautiful white houses in the hills all around. We got the crazy idea of buying one, as holidays in somebody else’s property was never satisfying.
We went home and thought about it. We didn’t have money for a venture like this, so we had to find a way. We did!! We began delivering newspapers every morning, three rounds in a very difficult and hilly area. 5am every morning, getting home, again at 6.30am. Then I had to go to work for the day. This paid off and we were able to save. I also used to deliver newspapers in the evenings as well, that took care of my training, and only because of my good condition was I able to do this.
We worked hard and saved our money and bought the dream villa in Spain. We had a beautiful garden, swimming pool and super views even down to the sea. Our summer holidays were spent there for many years, and for me it was a super training area. Running up from the beach to the villa, and then taking a swim, and also doing all the very hard work in the garden. I loved it and it remained so for many years.
Der perfekte Ort zum Leben
After my enforced retirement I was able to spend more time there. I learnt how to play golf, taking lessons from a pro. and getting a low handicap of 10 after only three years. I even won tournaments there, and later in Switzerland too. Anna was working hard in the insurance company and had moved up the ladder. Her responsibilities were high and she mastered these.
We’d bought our first property in Switzerland, a flat from an Italian architect, and lived there for some years, then moved onto another property. A new house, which turned out to be not exactly what we wanted.
Now we have the dream, a large top floor flat with views all around. Newly built and interior according to our wishes. In between times we have sold our villa in Spain, our two children have their own families and so Anna and I make our holidays in various parts of the world.
Eine zufällige Entdeckung
After leaving 3M I worked for two years with a very good friend in his creative digital studio. He produced 3D graphics for advertising and I looked after the marketing side of his business. I learnt a great deal about the professional graphic software that he was using, and so I went on to start producing something absolutely new at that time – abstract visuals.
I set up a little studio at home and started my production. I knew that such a thing as this would not sell in Switzerland, but UK and USA turned out well. I covered my costs anyway and more than enjoyed the creative work.
One day in my friend’s studio I had to model for a product video for HP. I did my acting in front of the camera and to my surprise it went really well. It turned out that I am photogenic!
Das Leben als Model
That was some years ago, but I didn’t forget it, and so I eventually started working as an extra in various advertising scenes.
I did this for a year to get experience. Then, one day on a shooting, and I had to be there very early in the morning. The two models arrived, after lunch. They had to repeat their scenes so many times without bringing the right results, so I said to myself that I can do that better. I knew what they might be earning and that against mine was a joke.
I made a decision to give modelling a try.
I went to a young professional photographer, paid him for the two hours, and then performed in front of his camera.
The results were great and I took them to Peter, who works in the famous Scout Model Agency in Zurich. He liked my work and we made a few more photos, and then it started.
Within a short time I had five shootings and these for well-known companies. It was enormous fun and I loved doing it. Meeting new and usually much younger people, exchanging stories and having a good laugh together. This has been going on for almost six years now and I have travelled all over Europe.
Sometimes Anna came along with me for the ride.
Barcelona, Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Hamburg, London, Latvia, Mallorca and Miami. Some of these places two or three times. My website, which I use for references, is full of photos from shootings and films. Yes, I have also performed in a couple of films and further also on the stage. I have performed in the theater in Zurich, Basel and Hamburg. A great experience with super people.
To weigh it all up, I wish to continue in the same way, as a now professional commercial photo model. I have made a name for myself, as I can deliver. Until now I have been fit and healthy and nothing has stopped me performing, but having had a hip operation recently, this has put the brakes on for me.
My legs have always been so important to me in everything I’ve done, so now I get back on the road again. Agencies have started to ask me already if I’m fit, so believe me, the motivation is there. So the ‘Time Out’ is finished and the frustration to go with it – I am ready for the next stage in my life.