Yearning for a life at sea from the age of 13, the author couldn’t wait to leave home and join the British Merchant Navy. But to do that was harder than he’d thought.
Profound dyslexia (undiagnosed in the 1960s) offered him little prospect of getting qualifications and in 1968 he left school at 15, just after his parents’ marriage had broken up. But perseverance in hardship, plus a chance meeting on a train, launched him on a round-the-world odyssey, sailing on many different ships out of the Royal Docks, London.
It was a real education – in more ways than you’d ever imagine.