I had a happy childhood. That’s to say: till my mother decided that I was lazy and
clearly didn’t appreciate the opportunities a college education gave me and told
me I’d better start working. In those days rebellion was pointless (yes, really).
At the tender age of sixteen and a half I found myself on a telephone all day, selling
chocolate and biscuits to the owners of corner shops. Followed by stints on a milkman’s
float, in a kitchen factory, in IT and at a steelworks. The latter job was all but
taxing. The workers had to clock in and clock out, my sole responsibility was to
make sure that they didn’t forget to get their card and punch it. I ended up in advertising,
that is till my wife decided I should become a hotelier.
You’ll meet Jan, short for Janneke in my book and learn that she’s really, really
lovely. I wouldn’t have married her if she hadn’t been so lovely, would I? She does
however, have a thing about houses. In her opinion a house is like a book. The moment
she sees ‘The End’ of her latest novel she reaches for the next one. She is much
the same with houses. Once we’ve made our ‘new’ house our home, she’s looking for
the next project…erm I mean house…home. She reads a lot and consequently we move
house every three or four years. The last house she bought was…in France!
Then there is daughter Fran, who lives in Germany with Roman. She really should have
become a comedienne. She has such a weird sense of humour. At the tender age of six
she fell off her bike resulting in an injured wrist requiring her to wear a sling.
Naturally people were curious about what had happened. Her explanation was, ‘Well,
you know my father…’ I got strange looks without knowing why. Fortunately we moved
house soon after that.
I also have a son, who’s a little younger than his sister. Wes is the family financial
whizz-kid! When he was three he asked for a pocket calculator for Christmas. Two
days later, when I went up to tuck him in, he proudly told me that it would take
him only four years and two months to have a grand in his savings account. I asked
him how he could be so sure, he told me about accrued interest. I checked this with
my accountant, who agreed and then explained how. Unsurprisingly, the son is now
a banker. He lives the Netherlands with Christel and they have two children, Nick