My father’s mother was the only grandparent alive when I was born, but our home had many photos and souvenirs from both grandfathers. My paternal grandfather, a dredger master from Clydeside, delivered dredgers to China, Russia, India and South America and there was his big parchment passport and a photo of Mr. Wallace with the tiger he shot in India. His job was not simply to deliver the dredger, but stay with it for some time to ensure all was working well. Among the mementos was a commemorative book on the building of the Panama Canal with pictures of his dredger.
My mother’s father was an Iron Master who went to Singapore to work with the Riley Hargreaves Company who built a number of wrought-iron structures which are now on the preservation list, including the Telok Ayer Food Centre and Cavanagh Bridge that were reproduced on an issue of Singapore stamps.
The fact that their wives were left at home for years at a time to bring up the kids did nothing to dissuade me that our family travelled, and I wanted to do that too. For some reason, Hong Kong became a bit of an obsession. It only took more than fifty years to realise that dream and this book of mine is the story of the journey.