I was born in Liverpool England, the second largest seaport in the UK and a gateway to Ireland. Liverpool is not like any ordinary City in the UK it is more Celtic in culture and nature. The natives there will stop and talk with you even if they have never met you before.
I was born one of twelve children in an inner city part of the city, my sister Lorraine was the eldest, followed by myself the beginning of a continuous line of boy's that were to follow after me. Altogether my mum gave birth to 8 boys and four girls. When I told people how many brothers and sister I had, they would be surprised and ask, "Are you a Catholic?"
"No," I replied I am Protestant.
Mum would often say to us, "Live life to the full, you are only here once." I am very conscious of how limited my time here on earth is especially as I near my seventieth in another year or so. My father's dad came from Sierra Leone, West Africa. I never met him; He had died before I was born at the age of forty, my parents named me after him, John Arthur Scotland. Apparently, we inherited the family name Scotland because when he came to England, they could not pronounce his African name, so he changed it to Scotland.
My dad in his early years was a Merchant Navy man who was torpedoed three times during the second world war. I don't know whether you would like to be on the same ship with him during those war days?
He would share tales of how before the ship got hit they would hear the sound of the torpedo heading towards them before the fatal collision. Resulting in days in a lifeboat set adrift on the tossing waves of the Atlantic before they were rescued and taken to Nova Scotia, Canada. He spent six months there lodging with a family.
As children, we would always know when we were about to receive a new addition to the family because my mother's tummy would begin to swell and then the annual visit from the midwife. We would hear the baby cry, and then the midwife would shout excitedly it's a boy! It's a boy! The midwife became part of the family. My mum gave birth to all of her children at home except the last one Diane; she was born in the hospital.
I don't regret being part of a large family with its positives and negatives. You never are spoilt for choice when it comes for somebody to play a round with.
We made up nicknames for each other my younger brother Dave was called Foxy because you never knew which side he would take when it came to playing war games?
He would start initially on your side and switch sides if it looked like you were going to lose? Hence the name Foxy. Eric was called bonehead because he had a big forehead conveniently I was named "lanky plank" because I was one of the tallest of the children and very think in my childhood days..