The Bucks Examiner was edited by Frank ‘Spec’ Hiddleston, in wing collar, bow tie and weskit, sitting at a Dickensian desk, writing it all in longhand – he remembered trailing Keir Hardie, Labour’s founding father, from husting to husting in London, and paying the penniless politician’s tramfares. He had come to Chesham fifty years before - and written the entire paper longhand for 25 of them. He was about to retire. I joined him. Then Sandy Erskine replaced him, and I replaced Sandy.

I joined the Examiner in 1954. Within months my precious hi-fi broke down, and I took it to Tunaley’s, one of two radio and gramophone shops. I was ushered through the premises to a twilit room at the back, where a silent figure stood, up to his wrists in wires, delving deep into a box of tricks called a tel-y-vision. That was Ted or, as he would invariably preface any significant statement ‘Apparently’ that was Ted.

EduardEduard (Ted) CzajkowskiWhat was quickly apparent was that this Ted was no ordinary mortal. Quiet, almost always smiling, and never ever fazed by anything remotely electronic, he brought dead kit back to life in a trice. We became friends. Most weeks we went out and about. Ted liked a flutter. Those were the days when to play the tables you joined a club, a ‘country club’. Ted’s was at Missenden. Usually he won. Unlike Laurie Kress, a German Jew, interned throughout the war, now a successful businessman and the proprietor of Atlas Pencils. He liked a flutter too, but he generally lost. Perhaps it was the common ground of displacement that brought them together, for it seemed to me that it was Laurie who spoke for Ted at the club, and it was certainly Ted who spoke for me, since I could neither afford the membership nor the bets. I just sat and sipped my beer. And it was when, occasionally, for we were neither of us boozers, we had had just that extra one, that Ted might let slip a morsel about the war. At first I didn’t heed him but gradually the accumulation of underdone anecdotes triggered my auto-report mode, and I began to tuck them away in my memory.