John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Alan Holt

Early Days

 1. I think it was while I was in Class 1 that my brief friendship with Alan Holt occurred. He was younger than I, so, I guess, in Class 2 (if indeed we went to the same school; he might have gone to Baines’ Endowed). He was perhaps not as tall as I was, and was somewhat stout. His dark hair was combed forward; and I have the impression of a rather frowning, sulky face, with a prominent lower lip. I also have the impression of a slightly deep, stentorian voice (though I can’t imagine that his voice was breaking at the age of nine or ten). I don’t remember how I met him; I just have the impression of being round at his home, one of the “Kelly bungalows”[1], on the corner of Belvedere Road and Pinewood Avenue—14 Belvedere Road, Thornton.
[1] Kelly bungalows: See Nanny and Grandad’s house, and environs: Kelly bungalows.
 2. The lad had an inflated opinion of himself; he was a liar, too: for instance, he showed me a little, white, approximately OO-scale, plastic figure, and told me he had moulded it himself. He fancied himself as a bit of an engineer, too: he had quite a large electric motor in his garage, and had ideas of making a hovercraft[2] out of fibreglass, incorporating this motor.
[2] Hovercraft: The first practical Hovercraft, SR–N1, designed by engineer Christopher Cockerell, made a demonstration voyage across the English Channel on 25 July 1959.
 3. I don’t recall seeing Alan Holt again after he subjected me to a tirade, with his lip curled against me in scorn. Perhaps, bored with just meeting me at his house, he had suggested that we might do something different—like go swimming. “Er, I can’t swim,” I muttered. Or go for a bike ride. “I can’t ride a bike.” I think he made some other suggestions, too, that were a stumbling block to me.
 Eventually, he burst out saying:
“I know why you can’t ride a bike—’cause you’re scared!
“I know why you can’t swim—’cause you’re scared!
“I know why you can’t (do this)—’cause you’re
“I know why you can’t (do that)—’cause you’re SCARED!”

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