When I started my life in London I lost all my friends from Portugal. It was necessary to build up a new social network from scratch! My aunt Dorothy was aware of this and tried to suggest some ways of getting there.
One activity that had worked well for her when she was young was to go skating. There was a big hall in Richmond and I believe I went there with my cousins Stephen and Louise. I had never been on ice. We rented the skates there and it was all a question of getting forward as all the others swirled past me at great speeds. I held on to the railings as long as possible. It must have been an amusing sight…so amusing that some girls decided to push me just as I was beginning to get the hang of it.
Another activity was at the local gathering of teenagers at the St. Osmond’s Catholic Church just down the road in Castelnau. They had a piano and I suppose I made up I could play a few notes. Truth is, there was a girl that was talking to me and seemed genuinely interested in my playing progress. So far so good… But my luck was short-lived. A group of three boys with short hair were waiting for me outside the hall and successfully chased me away from the youth club. It all boiled down to a quick retreat through the streets of Barnes!
It is not easy to break into someone else’s turf!