What I do,

Married Life & Our Family

Monika and I married in 1975 on Christmas Eve in the Finsbury Registry Office, Roseberry Avenue, London.

Our Christmas Eve wedding!

Over the years we always had cats to share our life. The last were;
Pandora, a tortoiseshell, and Mungo - ginger and cute.
Both died peacefully in 2006. The house is sadly quiet without them.

Mungo and Pandora

We moved to a 1925 bungalow with two old railway carriages converted to summer houses in the garden on the south coast of England. Little village, no through traffic, so it's quiet.

Our wonderful daughter, Sara, now all grown-up and living happily in Beautiful Pankow - Berlin.

Many years ago Monika I decided to stop eating meat - Sara & Mark in Berlin too are all vegetarians out of compassion.
I don't want, or need, to kill animals to eat.

In 1972 I got a job at Berman's (later Berman's & Nathans now taken over by Angel's) the worlds biggest TV, Film & Theatrical Costumiers in Leicester Square, London. I was in the Modern Military department as my speciality was German uniforms 1933-45.

I worked on many of the big films of the period while I was there. "A Bridge Too Far", "Tommy". I prepared the sample costumes for "Star Wars" and John Mollo got a Oscar for the costume designs. It was good fun though the pay was poor. It was interesting to meet the stars and it was very satisfying sometimes to see your work on the screen.

Television programmes I worked on included "Dad's Army". I did the uniforms for the U-Boat crew. ("Don't tell him your name, Pike") "It 'Aint Half Hot Mum", Morecombe and Wise.

Monty Berman (always "Mr Monty") was a good boss when it came to putting on a staff party. The Christmas of 1975 I remember best. Caviar, (but not for me though) Champagne and plenty of it. Stevie, Dennis, me and the other military department lad's all got very pissed.

Monika worked in the Library and we had briefly met in the course of work. Over the Christmas holiday we go to know each other, but not in the Biblical sense, I just hung around.

When we announced our engagement there was more drink and toasts in the reception area at Bermans and David Niven and Lauren Bacall came into the building and enquired what the event was, and when told they gave us a friendly wave. We married on Christmas Eve 1975 in the Finsbury Registry Office.

Monika wore a Victorian dress they gave us at Bermans, Sara was the Bridesmaid and wore a dress from film "The Railway Children", I wore a white jacket made for Christopher Lee the baddie in the James Bond film "The Man With The Golden Gun". I still have the jacket, it still fits, and wear it now and then.

What I do now & my CV

After we married in 1975 we looked for a place to live in London. It proved just too expensive, so I asked John Mac (an old school friend) who then lived in Worthing on the south coast of England, to send me the local papers.

We found a big Victorian house for £8000. and I found a job in Littlehampton just along the coast, as a Mechanical Inspector in a valve engineering company, Fluorotec, later to become part of Worcester Controls. Over the years I had several changes of job title, Deputy Chief Inspector, Material Test Inspector, Quality Controller etc.

The house in Worthing was a bit too large for us after the Nipper (as Sara is known) grew up and did her own thing in London, Sydney, Lancing (Sussex), Berlin, Italy and now back to beautiful Berlin. So we decided to find something quieter and smaller. In 1987 luck was on our side and we found a secluded bungalow by the sea in Middleton-on-Sea.

I stayed with Worcester Controls until 1996 when they moved the manufacturing site up to Haywards Heath, and I decided to take the redundancy and pension package.

I then did 3 months assembling office furniture at Eurotek Office Furniture in Bognor Regis, which was probably the most soul-destroying job I've ever done.

Now I have two jobs. I work for a company that supplies the film, TV and theatre with props and uniforms.

And some of my time is spent working as a locksmith.

Not as easy as it looks!

Originally as the shop assistant but then I "graduated" to locksmith.

Repairing locks and cutting all types of keys in the shop was interesting but going out to open car doors, opening, fitting, repairing, and replacing locks on every type of property from castles (Arundel and Amberley) to bed sits, not to mention a broken ignition key on a boat (a floating Gin-palace in Chichester yacht basin) was fascinating.

Best fun though is opening safes - legally!


Early in 2005 Monika was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. She was initially treated at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester but later through kind friends, was referred to the Marsden Hospital in London. There she received the very best of treatment. Anyone who met  Monika would understand that she was positive and just got on with life. After all, her motto was CARPE DIEM - Seize The Day! She was determined not to let this condition get in the way of JUST getting on with things. I stopped working and we did just what we wanted to do and had fun.

Monika and Mungo

She continued to write for the local press where she was employed as a photojournalist and correspondent.

We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on Christmas Eve and flew to Berlin for Christmas with Sara.

Sadly my wonderful beautiful talented brave Monika died on January 4th 2006.

"Her Light Still Shines"

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All colour pix © Roy Smith

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