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Articles written by Tim
My First Home - Print Email PDF 
Posted by wackywales 02/01/2008


» How to play Conkers
» From my Window
» My First Home

The Daily Mail, June 12, 2004

My First Home


Actor and writer TIM BROOKE-TAYLOR, 63, lives in Berkshire with his wife, Christine. They have two grownup sons. Here, Tim tells YVONNE SWANN about his childhood in Derbyshire

I was born in Buxton in the Peak District and grew up at 3 Lismore Road. I must have been a mistake, because my brother, Martin, was already nine and my sister, Carolyn, was six. I was a very average child with a sunny disposition and loved football and cricket. Buxton was an idyllic place to live.

I felt like a character from Enid Blyton's Famous Five books (not Timmy the dog, I might add). I would go off on my bike with friends, fish in the streams or race boats down them and have all kinds of adventures. Buxton gets very cold in winter with heavy snow. That was great fun for tobogganing, but not so much fun when you are walking on cold lino first thing in the morning.

We had a large garden, and fields for my sister's pony, Joey.

During the war, there was an internment camp in the fields adjoining our property and the German prisoners were incredibly friendly. Because my father was in the Home Guard, I was allowed in the camp. I spent a lot of time with them when I was four or five. I'd play in the sentry box and they used to make me lovely toys.

My father invited prisoners to Christmas lunch. This was pretty extraordinary at a time when every nun was suspected of being a German in disguise.

My father, who was the local coroner as well as a lawyer, died at 59 when I was 12. It was terrible for my mother. She never married again, but took a job as a matron in a public school, knowing our holidays would coincide. She was very brave. She died in her 90s, and she was a terrific lady. She was lively, very sporty and expert at giving everyone a marvellous time.

I remember John Cleese saying to me at Cambridge, 'Gosh, Tim - we'd all like a mother like yours!' I didn't like leaving Buxton to go to Winchester College, not least because I had to leave behind my terrier, Sparkie. When I was at school he still had his own daily routine and would visit shops in town and take bus rides by himself. He became so famous that, when he suddenly went missing, it was a front-page story in the local newspaper.

I was heartbroken, but 13 months later I bumped into him at a fun fair. He had been picked up by people who had found him on one of his outings and thought he was homeless. They gave him back and the papers announced: Sparkie Is Back Home! It was a very happy childhood and my brother still lives in Buxton, so I go back often.

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