An Interview with Richard William Gould

World War II veteran, working class Londoner, Norfolk countryman and patriarch to 38 children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren, Richard William Gould talks about the world today, aged 92.

Born in 1921, Richard William Gould has led a life perpetually tainted by a love of the crown. Consigned to the Royal Navy at 18, sunk twice in battle, and returned home to a working class life in the mines of Cannock Chase and on the docks of London, he is a survivor.

“You need to be careful what you repeat of what I say,” he tells me.

“People of my age are less inclined to control their opinions as the younger generation are. Everyone now days is foreign.”

Why do you think so many foreigners come to Britain?

 England is a war avenging nation. Even our national anthem is a war song.”

He sings a short verse of God Save Our Queen, emphasing the lyrics ‘send her victorious.

“Everywhere we colonised in the world now has problems. We damaged Africa, The Falklands, India and the East, now we’re paying for it through compensations.”

How do you think England fares in the world today?

 “For everything bad about Europe, England is at the top of the list. For everything good, England is at the bottom, make no mistake about that.”

He has lived alone in Norfolk for 8 years since his late wife, Gladys, passed away. Her slippers are still neatly placed next to the fireside ready to wear.

Near blind, he shows me a device that reads a letter, a gift from the Royal Blind Association to help veterans lead more comfortable lives.

He checks his watch that announces the time and tells him the date then switches on the news. Missing flight MH 370 is making headlines.

What do you make of the missing jet?

 “It’s like an Agatha Christie novel. Everyone likes a good mystery.”

He lacks confidence in eastern airlines. “There is something about the brain box that mistrusts the fact that it is different. It may even be better, but something tells you it’s a safety issue when it’s something you don’t know.

The Americans are likely behind it. They will waste anyone who they see as a threat, even at the expense of all those other people. Just look at what they did to Martin Luther and Marilyn Munroe.

The Americans have taken over our role as colonisers. Everywhere we colonised has paid a price.”

Rhodesia was a colony, why did you live there?

 “I moved to protect my family. There was a US airfield close to where we lived that was testing atomic warfare. Rhodesia seemed safer, although, as with all our colonies, it was damaged by the British.”

How do you think Britain has changed since loosing its’ colonies?

“There are 127 socialists in parliament today and very few people know that.

On the docks, almost no houses were built with garages. The government thought that the working class would never be able to afford a car, and now look, almost everybody has a car and a garage.

The working class has built itself up.”

He goes into the kitchen, makes himself a ham sandwich and shows me his new microwave. He tells me his caregivers have had to show him how it works as he burnt the last one.

How did you set fire to your microwave?

“I was making jacket potatoes on spikes. I got the potatoes out and the spikes ready, but when I came to make my lunch I had forgotten to spike the potatoes, they were still standing on the counter.”

What does it feel like to be 92?

“You remember salient parts of your life but never get the whole picture. If Gladys were here, she would have put me right. She always knew the stories.”

“We have 4 children, 12 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren and 3 great-great grandchildren. My family is my greatest achievement.”

Where do you think the future lies?

“Gladys always said that there will be an end of the world when the west meets the east.

China is not aggressive, but it owns so much, teaching agriculture in Africa and investing in the western world. All Britain did was exploit them.”

What’s the secret behind your longevity?

 “It’s been 73 years that I have had my Gladys. We didn’t get married until after the war because we didn’t think we would ever survive, and we were married for 51 years.

When we lived on the docks and in Harlow the quality of life was poor. It was noisy and people were drunk and rowdy all the time. We moved to Downham Market and the country life has extended my life.”

“I do like a good drop of Whisky.” He adds with a smile.

Sentebale – Stories of Hope

In 2006 HRH Prince Harry founded Sentebale in memory of his late mother Princess Dianna of Wales.

Together with Crown Prince Seeiso the Sentebale Foundation aims to bring psychological support, education and healthcare to 488 526 orphans living with HIV/AIDS in Lesotho.

Landlocked by South Africa, Lesotho has the third highest per capita HIV/AIDS infection rate in the world, with an average life expectancy of just 41 years.

It is estimated that 200 000 of the 500 000 children of school-going age have lost one or both parents to the disease.

Using land donated by His Majesty King Letsie III, Sentebale plans to build the Mamohato Children’s Centre, extending its Mamohato Network program that works closely with grassroots organisations to provide valuable family structure and social support to disabled and disadvantaged children.

Through attending week-long camps and monthly clubs the children are educated about their disease and equipped with the social skills needed to lead normal lives.

Sentebale also provides night schools for herd boys who begin working in the fields as young as 10, isolated from society with no education. Blankets are supplied and classes conducted by candlelight on the grassy plains.

In partnership with award-winning Royal Photographer Chris Jackson and Getty Images the Sentebale – Stories of Hope exhibition showcases the extraordinary changes brought about through the foundation’s work in Lesotho.

The photographs follow the lives of HIV/AIDS orphans and local herd boys, highlighting the social misplacement created by the disease.

Lesotho lacks adults of parenting age, leaving behind a country of young children unequipped to take care of themselves.

The exhibition runs from 26 July to 10 August at the Getty Images Photographers Gallery, 46 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8DX.

Entrance is free and a large number of prints can be purchased in aid of the Sentebale Foundation.

Speakto Your App-etite

A first of its kind in London the Crouch End Digital Food Festival brings visitors a palette of gastronomical joys, free samples and tasty treats during the month of October.

Hosted by Speakto in conjunction with The Crouch End Project, the digital food festival is presented as interactive maps accessed via the Crouch End Project App and documented online through the writings of resident food bloggers and social media platforms.

The festival includes Crouch End favourites such as Riley (known for it’s homemade, secret recipe ice-cream) and Morley Butchers where South African Beef Biltong is hand smoked on the premises.

From a Secret Supper Club with eight courses on the 12th October to fiery chilli jam tasting at Hot Pepper Jelly Café on the 17th October and Sample Saturdays at pan-asian restaurant

Tootoomoo, there is something for everyone.

The idea came from Dunn’s Bakery owner Christopher Freeman who earned the support of the Haringey Council’s high street innovation fund by cutting out the costs of distributing printed flyers. The project was started as part of the high street enrichment program and aims to celebrate the wealth of award winning local coffee shops, produce and quality restaurants in Crouch End.

Crouch End is a food-loving area and locals are proud of their farmers market, hand-grown organic produce on the roof of the local Thornton’s Budgens and the seemingly endless variety of restaurants to enjoy.

Local eateries are colour coded to show where discounts, free samples and daily events can be found.

The App can be downloaded for iPad or iPhone on the Crouch End Project’s website at www.crouchendproject.co.uk. Daily events, local photographs and community feedback can be viewed at http//www.facebook.com/CrouchEndDigitalFoodFestival2013.

Those with a Crouch End Card receive 15% discount. The festival ends October 31st 2013.