Since Carol and I had first met we’d lived in a variety of temporary houses; the first was a basement flat in Southsea, followed by a rented semi in Gosport owned by a charity called the Dame Elizabeth Kelly Trust. From that house I went on to be accommodated in Rooke barracks while Carol and the children lodged with my sister in Newcastle. Finally when my family came out to Gibraltar we all first lived on the top floor of Trafalgar House and then later moved into a Navy caravan for about six or seven weeks. Life for us all had been move after move after move and so we were really looking forward to putting down roots somewhere.
Edinburgh House was our first real home which we knew would be ‘long stay’ and from the day we moved in we felt very secure and as though we had finally ‘landed’; we weren’t going to be moving on anytime soon, we didn’t feel dependent on others for the roof over our heads and we finally had our own private family space which we could furnish to our own tastes.
To describe how that felt to me is almost impossible without connecting it to childhood pains which I don’t want to do within these memoirs; but what I can say is that this was very much the first time in my life I had ever felt secure in that I had my own house, my own family, my very own world. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel that my family was vulnerable and that was something I would never forget. Wherever I would go in the future Gibraltar would always remain profoundly important to me, so much so I knew that one day I would be back.
Maslow’s theory on child development isn’t rocket science. His way of looking at things was that once basic needs, practical needs and emotional needs were met people can then springboard up the (Maslow’s) triangle and achieve almost anything they wanted to. For the first time we were now feeling safe enough (that our basic needs were covered) that we could finally relax and be ourselves, be a couple, enjoy life and ease off on the worry and paranoia that had plagued us (that sooner or later for people like us something nasty was never far behind). We almost felt liberated. Finally we could again look at each other and remember what it was that had attracted us in the first place, consider each other and even think about what made the other happy. Some of that lovely relief was already beginning to show in our faces. When I looked in her eyes I saw love – and felt love.