Memoirs of Len Ludwick
Born: September 1945
Date of Interview: 04th September 2014
Length of Interview: 1 Hour 19 Minutes
Interviewer: Wayne Vidal
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Len Ludwick and his friends enjoyed every fruit tree in every garden for miles around. When playing cowboys and crooks they’d run in and out of neighbours’ houses, once hiding under a neighbours’ bed and giving him a scare when he was mistaken for a ghost. Len once forged his father’s signature on his school yearly report because he’d only come 7th in class and feared his father’s wrath. Laugh at his father’s clever reprimand which increased Len’s academic abilities considerably.
Detailed summary (with time stamping for ease of access)
0:00:38.4: I was born in Kalubowila. My memories of Ceylon were very happy.
0:00:55.8: As children we made up our own entertainment as we had no TV and rarely listened to the radio. We had a band.
0:01:54.6: We ran off stage at our first gig.
0:04:09.5: We knew every fruit tree in our area and we raided them strategically.
0:04:33.5: College was mainly taking the mick out of our masters. We had a nickname for all of them.
0:06:23.7: We were serious about our studies though.
0:06:46.3: Once I came 7th in class, I was so scared to show my father my report that I forged his initials on my report. The class monitor snitched on me and I got six of the best from the headmaster. I thought I'd get a thrashing from my dad but instead he gave me extra Maths homework every day. For every sum I got wrong he added an extra sum the next day - for the next 6 months.
0:13:44.1: More scrumping stories. The banana tree.
0:14:46.4: The day I ruined my aunty's hats by putting some scrumped bananas in her hat boxes to ripen – and then forgot about them.
0:17:02.1: We had dairy cattle which we named as pets.
0:17:52.6: The Buddhist people used to always be complaining about us because of our bad behaviour.
0:18:36.5: My catapult. How I used it on our neighbour who was a pervert.
0:19:55.4: Adventures with my uncles and cousins going on day trips around Ceylon.
0:23:13.2: My grandfather's estate was one of my favourite places.
0:23:44.4: The fragrance of the ripened jack fruit, wood apple, orange and mandarin trees - we couldn't wait to climb up the trees and eat them.
0:25.00.4: We made our own tree houses - we also had 4 summer houses around our land.
0:26:10.4: We had lots of family gatherings at my grandmothers.
0:26:39.4: The prank my cousin Monica played on us with Dumpura mangoes.
0:28:22.5: Burgher colloquialisms.
0:29:51.7: After studies there wasn't a minute of the day we weren't interacting with each other playing games or scaring each other with ghost stories.
0:30.24.8: The day I got bitten by a huge centipede. My foot was swollen for days.
0:32:00.3: When we played cowboys and crooks we'd run in and out of other people's houses.
0:32:52.4: The day I scared my neighbour by hiding under his bed with powder on my face.
0:34:25.6: I had a pet chipmunk called Timmy. I took him to school.
0:35:26.9: Before leaving Ceylon my mum made sure our servants' daughters were married off and we gave our dairy man our cattle.
0:35:31.9: The day I got chased with knives because of my catapult.
0:36:50.3: Why my father decided to leave Ceylon.
0:39:40.1: When I came to Haringey in 1961 I felt like I was in prison. I couldn't see a tree.
0:40:45.7: We went to a mixed school in Bounds Green.
0:41:45.6: We travelled on a French boat called The Vietnam. It was a fantastic journey. Though I cried when leaving Ceylon.
0:42:30.2: Our first stop Bombay. I couldn't breathe for the dust.
0:43:30.9: The scenery at our second stop on East African coast. A cringe story.
0:45:01.1: Getting played out at The Suez Canal.
0:46:25.9: The vendors at the top deck of the boat.
0:47:16.1: Marseille to Calais and the train to Victoria.
0:47:32.2: My first impressions of England. I wanted to be amongst the trees.
0:47:55.2: I was the first coloured in school.
0:49:29.2: The girls were worse than the boys in my class - taking the mick out of people.
0:49:50.1: My dad got me an apprenticeship where he worked. I was the first student in England to be awarded the architecture metal worker award.
0:51:03.5: Eventually I got used to things around here. I got involved with cricket. Met my wife.
0:51:36.9: My parents’ first home in London was a 5 bedroomed apartment above a shop in Wood Green. It was next to Woodside Park - so I was happy.
0:52:36.8: My extended family moved to either Australia or England.
0:54:17.4: I never experienced racism.
0:55:25.4: My mum was into everything but the Burghers who relied on the servants to do everything couldn't cope when they came over here. An example.
0:57:13.5: Our social activities in London comprised of the family getting together once a week.
0:58:04.4: My experiences in Australia. The speeding ticket I still owe in Melbourne.
1:02:08.3: The music that reminds me of Ceylon is Bailia but mostly modern music like Elvis and Jazz. At Christmas we used to get a guitar and go around the houses singing carols for cakes and goodies and fun.
1:03:57.0: The Burgher curries were totally different to the Sinhalese and Tamil curries.
1:04:19.6: Lamprais - a Burgher dish - is cooked incorrectly in this country.
1:06:02.4: My friends were all English. My dad's friends were English.
1:07:01.6: I didn't like London so I moved to Northampton for 3 years. But my wife hated it so we moved back down to Camden and I hated it. I now live in Ruislip, Middlesex.
1:11:02.6: I get involved in a Sri Lankan events. Cricket, football, rugby, dances.
1:15:21.7: The challenge in trying to describe what a Burgher is to the British.
1:17:06.2: What it feels like to live in Ceylon in comparison to London. You have to make an appointment to visit a British person whereas I can just turn up at my people's home.
1:18:39.2: Though it was many decades ago, I can still draw a map of a 5 mile radius of where I used to live in Ceylon pinpointing every detail.