index memoir  -   homepage  -  contact me at

01 Forward to My Memoir                                                                                                                                           

Why have I written this memoir? Why do others write their memoirs? Have I written it, before the grim reaper strikes, to bolster my esteem, to record that my life had not been entirely useless? Hopefully my memoir will also be of interest to my children and possibly others.

Toddler in 1939

I first commenced writing my memoir about 13years ago when over 54years old, recently unemployed, living with my wife Cubby in our small Parisian apartment at rue Claude Pouillet, and trying to find a new job. After a years break, I found another job and then some 8 years later finally retired – and then recommenced writing, adding and revising. Later, believing that a picture is worth a thousand words, I began adding photographs selected from the thousands of negatives scanned into my computer. Some pictures which had originally printed dark and been discarded often sprang brightly into life.

Cubby and our five children are now, I think, bored with my memoir - when new chapters are added, or old ones revised, they are loath to read them. Some profess interest in my youth in South Africa but urge me to delete all bits of construction projects they either don’t understand or consider dull. But perversely I don’t – readers may skip such parts if they wish - some may find them of interest.

Today we are in an era of celebrity memoirs, many of these ghost-written, and usually arousing interest for short periods before being sold at discount prices. I am comforted that some memoirs written by ordinary people are interesting in that we can empathize with their lives.

My Memoir records our experiences in many countries where we have travelled, lived and worked. We must have set up home about thirty times[1] with Cubby doing most home building and looking after our children. I sometimes ponder whether our journeys have taken us to places where our forbears may have lived or visited.

Much of this memoir is written from memory, or is extracted from letters written by Cubby to her parents over a 40year period. When writing, one remembrance led to another, and I wonder at our brains capacity to recall long forgotten and inconsequential details. I also muse over what I know I have deliberately excluded or amended or softened to avoid offending others or compromising myself.

It has been an interesting journey, at least providing a reasonable livelihood.

As this document is now on the Web, I regard it, unlike a published book, as being a fluid document which I may amend or add to from time to time. I am now adding photographs. The early pictures of the Barker and Allsopp families are mainly in my sister Judy's possession and were scanned and sent to me by her son John McLean. The remembrances of my father, William Anthony Allsopp, handwritten in his eighties of visits to his grandfather Syke's sugar estate in Natal in the early 1900's were supplied by my sister Ruth. My son Benjamin supplied me with software and helped me setting up this web page. My son in law Craig Wilson, my daughter Karen's husband, upgraded my now ancient computer from time to time making access on Broadband possible.

Family relationships have been sorted out largely from family trees as prepared by my brother in law Nigel McLean and in time I may add some extracts.

Anthony Christopher Allsopp (Tony) in 2003, 65 years old

[1] In addition to setting up home, numerous shorter stays arose in hotels, with Cubby’s parents, and visits to homes in Denmark and Paris.

If readers perchance find errors or perhaps have information or photographs of interest please let me know.

Contact me at:

index memoir  -   homepage  -  contact me at