So there was this time when my best friend at school (we were about 7), Simon, came into the classroom one morning and proudly announced that he'd got a Stamp Collector's Outfit for his birthday!!!
I couldn't have been more impressed. I rushed home that day and asked my mum if I could have one for Christmas.
Imagine my surprise on Christmas morning when I opened a flimsy little exercise book with gridlined pages inside, some little stickers made of greaseproof paper and a handful of dog-eared old used stamps from places I'd never heard of like Magyar and Helvetia?
Crestfallen, I was expecting a smart peaked cap, some trousers with a red stripe down the side and some kind of machine to hang over my shoulder.
This was a salutary lesson for me and, it was about this time that I began to think about the life that lay ahead of me and for the first time understood that if it wasn't for disappointment, I wouldn't have any appointments.
Around this time I was deeply influenced by the sage-like Simon, who used to regale me with the wondrous stories told to him by his ambulance-driving dad, of whom he was justifiably proud.
I once asked him, "Wow! Does your dad know everything?" to which he calmly replied, "Not far off!"
[Image by Ginger]