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Only Joe King

A light-hearted look at life in Andalucía and Spain in general. Its good points and its bad. This blog doesn't pull any punches.

Rebel With a Cause
Saturday, May 7, 2022 @ 12:09 PM

Joe King has always been a conformist, until recently. He was raised by his parents to be so and throughout school, university and his two careers he remained largely unrebellious. For the first 15 years of his retirement also. But now, since the massive turning point that was Covid-19, that’s all changed. Joe explains.

I was born in 1950 when the austerity of the post-war years was still making life difficult. I even had a ration card!

I was the elder of two sons born into a working class family in Devon. My brother and I were the grandsons of a Welsh coal miner. My Dad luckily avoided being sent down the pit, moved to England and had a number of fairly menial jobs before settling in North Devon where he met my mother, a young widow.

Her circumstances were hardly any better. Her father died when she was an infant and her widowed mother was pregnant. With a total of three young children my Gran couldn’t go out to work, so I don’t really know how they survived.

Mum passed the 11-plus to go to grammar school, but they couldn’t afford the uniform, so she went to the local secondary mod and left school at 14. She was a clerk for most of her life.

Despite their humble beginnings my parents had aspirations for us and also for themselves. They brought us up to be good citizens, to do what we were told and to study hard. We did just that.

Dad also bettered himself. He was a navvy with the GPO digging ditches and climbing telegraph poles to install telephone lines. But he went to night school, gained extra qualifications and ended up with a more comfortable office job.

Mum ended up as a shop-owner selling children’s clothes. 

My parents became homeowners, and for the next couple of decades I suppose they were what we now call property developers, albeit part-time and on an amateur basis. We lived in five different houses in 15 years.

So back to my conformist life. I was head boy of my primary school, did well at grammar school and went to my first-choice university to study languages.

I rebelled a bit as a student, grew a beard, let my hair grow long and lost my virginity. I developed a taste for beer, rather too much, I suspect, and cut lectures. I came to my senses in time, studied hard in my final year and left with a good degree.

I became a teacher. As such, I had to be a role model for my pupils and students. Dress smartly and behave myself. I did that for 15 years.

Then I was a school adviser and OfSTED inspector for 15 years. Again I had to be a role model, this time for teachers. What was worse, I had to conform and to implement Tory government education policy, much of which I disagreed with. Remember Kenneth Baker?

We did rebel a little bit, in the late 70s/early 80s, when my then wife and I, at the time childless, discovered the joys of naturism in Greece.

A long way from pupils and colleagues ….. or so we thought! Imagine my surprise, many years later in Portugal I came out of the sea after a skinny-dip to find a deputy head from one of my schools in St Helens sitting on the beach – not naked! Oh, well ….. at least he was a bloke!

I also rebelled a bit in that I had a series of sports cars in my fifties, eg a Toyota Celica, Mazda RX7, Mazda RX8, Toyota MR2, but that was about it as far as being a rebel was concerned.

When I was made redundant and had the chance to retire early, I still remained fairly conventional. Law-abiding, didn’t cause a fuss ….

After a nervous breakdown, the redundancy and divorce I could have gone off the rails, but my upbringing didn’t allow that to happen.

Then, in January 2020, Covid-19 entered our lives and changed my attitude to life completely. I nearly lost my wife to the bicho Coronavirus and from that point on I decided that any of us could snuff it at any time, so we should make the most of our twilight years.

Since that time I’ve become a bit of a rebel. I bought an old house to do up which blew most of my savings, and I started "SKI-ing" (spending the kids·inheritance). I dress inappropriately; scruffy in the day cos I’ve been renovating that house and doing lots of gardening; at other times I dress far too young for my age and my figure.

I write a lot for websites and on social media. I shoot from the hip and sometimes get online abuse. Do I care? Not a jot!

I’m growing a ponytail and a month ago had my ears pierced.

I’m a rebel with a cause …..


PS I don’t know what that cause is, but I’m enjoying myself nevertheless!

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