It's not the world I knew - but parting is such sweet sorrow

Today, as I write, is a milestone for me. Exactly 50 years ago, clad in an £8 suit, I became a 16-year-old insurance man. My father, no doubt after consulting the sage opinions of his colleagues in the pub shove-ha'penny team, had decided that an insurance career was a good one for me to follow. But, alas, he said, I was too thick. You needed a maths O-level. And quadratic equations were never my forte.

Nevertheless, leaving him thinking that I was going each day to work at Thomas Cook's in

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