In the early 1900s the hop-fields and fruit farms of Kent, where my novel Helter-Skelter is set, are rich in travelling folk who, although they are still regarded with suspicion by the locals, are a necessary part of the labour force.
Meanwhile GEORGE & DOT SMITH become Albie’s parents by taking him into their home. George is a big, working class man – a patient grandfather who takes pity on the young waif Albie, and Dot is strong-willed but kind and motherly. She is a typical housewife of her era, who wears a wrap-over pinny all day, makes nourishing meals on very little money, and can’t stand bad behaviour. Come to think of it, she’s not unlike me – except for the apron!
As we drive home from Las Galletas, the fishing village a few kilometres away where we do our shopping and drink cafe con leche, we pass through GUAZA, where the mountain looks so like a recumbent figure that he is known as GUAZA MAN.