The boy scout and the Pope

I still remember that sunny spring afternoon very well. We were living in my grandfather’s hunting lodge in Austria at the time, and school had finished early that day. Our little group of six keen Hungarian boys scouts was meeting in the stone cottage by the old mill. Our leader had a surprise for us:  a jamboree at LakeComo in Italy during the summer holidays, and all of us would go! After the excitement had died down a little, he ... Read more →

Coming Home For Christmas;24 December 1956

Winter came early to Austria in 1956. The mountains were hiding in dense fog and a thick blanket of snow covered the countryside. The branches of the pine trees groaned under the heavy load and almost touched the frozen ground.The Hungarian Revolution which had erupted in October that year had been crushed by Russian tanks rolling through Budapest. The streets were littered with the bodies of freedom fighters who had laid down their lives for a dream.The little boy shovelling ... Read more →

The Major and the photograph in the window

Ask any serious storyteller if he can remember the first story he told in public. I’m sure he can; most vividly. I certainly remember mine.It happened at school in Austria many years ago. I must have been about ten or eleven at the time. Before sending us home for the day, our teacher told us that we would all have to tell a little story to the class the next day. Instead of being intimidated by this, I was actually ... Read more →

Whatever happened to my Olivetti?

Like most writers, I have fond memories of my first typewriter. It was a portable Olivetti, the ant’s pants of its day at the cutting edge of technology. It looked great. Elegant and sleek with a shiny black case, it made you feel important. Learning to type was quite a challenge in those days. All trial and error using just two fingers, but it was exciting and a lot of fun. It was the beginning of an extraordinary journey. Who ... Read more →
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