My mother was discovered to have stomach cancer and had most of it removed but was given very little chance of surviving for much longer, you just didn't in those days. I also died and was resuscitated for the first time in my life, sliding on a wet garage floor during a monsoon I smashed head first into a wall and was laid out. A week later I woke up full of drips and bruises and a terrible head ache. I was told that I had died but they woke me out of it and I was still in trouble but it was looking better.. Months later Stephen almost choked on blood clots which he had aspirated, he had a tooth removed and it bled.I was about 10 Stephen only 6 when it was discovered what the problem was. My Cousin had bled to death in South Africa and the whole family was being investigated, Stephen and I were discovered to be Factor IX sufferers of haemophilia, my family factor VIII, we were genetic mutations of a genetic mutation. There was no treatment except rest stay off the joints , blood transfusions and the tortuous restrictive bandaging, Pain was what you carried around with you and you got used to it on the most part. We were not heroes it was and is just our daily lives. These idyllic days were to end, my father had decided he had enough and didn't sign on again. So he finished his last 2 years in England and we ended up in Bristol.
Bristol 1968, what a s..t hole it seemed to us the people were white as death the buildings old and grimy the people rude and brusque. Of all the adjustments we made, it was the hardest as this would be home for 12 years, with occasional forays to other climbs. My family stood out like sore thumbs, dark skinned from the sun, polite and with a funny accent I hadn't been in Bristol more than 2 hours before I was beaten up for being different.Worse was to come at school, I was introduced to the class as South African had the teacher chew me out because of apartheid and made to sit amongst the darker members of the British empire as retribution for my sins. HUUUUH
This was no slant to me , having grown up amongst different races and religions people were just people to us. But the anti apartheid radicals who held pure racialist views which were more extreme than the actuality, did colour my life from then on. They were political activists hiding under the guise as teachers with their own racialist views. In their opposition ,they held and carried extreme racialist views and were too blinded by themselves. By punishing a child they got their satisfaction. I forgive them as I have no need to carry such a pitiful burden, I feel sad for them, hoping that they have got satisfaction in life. Life was hard from now on and needs more time.