North South East West – which direction will be the best?

When you reach a point on your travels through life where the track diverges and none of the paths is a direct route to your objective you have to decide which way to go.

The moment I discovered my Muse was mother to a six-month-old baby, with the strong possibility that Daddy was still around, I had to make a decision as to which way I would go.

This was not a case of Go West Young Man or taking the Road to Mandalay – the choices were far wider than that.

I could just turn round and retrace my footsteps, but I had come too far in the last eight years to turn back now.

Going South has a sense of fatality and I intended to live a while longer.

This left one direction.

I once played the part of Laertes in a production of Hamlet. My stage father, Polonius, gave me what he believed to be sage advice. Most of it would not have helped Laertes get very far in life but the last part was sound:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

“To thine own self be true” points to what is called True North, that natural direction finder within yourself which will take you where you want to go.

It was not the end of the decision-making, however.

True North would keep me in Basildon but should I continue with my am dram hopes (after all the Thalians were the best group in town) and keep my feelings for my Muse within, or forget the group which would thereby put me out of the way of temptation.

I decided I was strong enough to keep temptation at bay and I could at least befriend my Muse.

The Muse of comedy and bucolic poetry won – maybe Thalia loved a lover.

What I would need to do would be to find other matters to keep my mind busy beyond my work and the stage.

That was easily settled. Time to research politics and decide where my loyalties really lay.

I gained the right to vote on 1 January 1970 when an Act of Parliament to lower the age of voting from 21 to 18 came into force. I didn’t get the opportunity to exercise that right until June that year and unfortunately my vote was not enough to save the day and the Tories took back control from Labour and Edward Heath became PM.

My leaning had been towards Labour throughout my teens (except for a brief flirtation with Plaid Cymru which I put down to a charming redheaded young lady who was a Nationalist through and through) but I needed to know if my choice was right.

I knew my future lay in socialism and as far as I was aware at the time the only proper socialist party was Labour but there was socialism before Labour so I needed to dig into the past.

Let the research begin.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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