I have no idea when he came to England, but he got married to the love of his life Mary and Jack worked for British Rail, as a gate man at the level crossing at Norwood Road, March. For the most part he worked at night. I remembering him saying after 20-years it still didn't feel natural.
In his younger years, he loved a bet and the gang used to frequent the March Cabaret Club & Casino. From stories told by my Uncle Keith (Dad's brother) they used to work hard all week to lose their cash over the weekend, they didn't hold back on the horse racing or greyhounds either.
It makes me wonder whether people back in the day (70s) gambled with a real passion or lunacy compared to this modern day of 'when the fun stops, stop' mentality. By definition perhaps Uncle Keith et al were gambling addicts in the way they loved gambling rather than it being a problem.
Without doubt, my uncles loved a drink and it seems the norm to consume 10 - 15 pints a night without thoughts of excess.
From watching episodes of On The Buses, I would have enjoyed being a man about town in the 1970s.
A time when you could mention the word bristols without referring to the city just a part of the female anatomy.
Anyway, my mind had wandered.
Jack loved life and a gamble. A regular haunt for all was the Lord Nelson Public House down Norwood Road.
As most of the gang lived in that neck of the woods it was ideal. Originally run by Joe and Ivy Case, as babies my brother and I would be in our pram while Dad had a brown and mild while mum may have been drinking a vodka and orange. This was all before political correctness went out of control. I'm sure all this upbringing gave me a respect for gambling and drink and far from a thorn in my side. Too many people do the blame game.
I'm an infrequent drinker (basically teetotal) and I bet and make money. In fact, my business is all about gambling and I make a fair living from that.
Anyway, Jack recounted a story from back in the day at a racecourse in Ireland.
He saw a horse trainer on course and watched as the man put a cigar in his mouth and searching his pockets for a match or lighter. In a flash, quick-thinking Jack, appeared, like magic, in front of the trainer and asked if he wanted a light.
Appreciating the fact that a good man was there when needed.
Jack asked of his chance of the runner in the next race. Clearly feeling he was talking to one of his own, he gave him the nod and a winner plus a story to tell budding gamblers like my brother and I.
A more loving, trusting, friendly, happy and remarkable gambling group of men you couldn't have wished to meet.