Dad's Diary

Tired, hungry & no money

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Reminiscences from 1970’s 

My first ever flying experience to the U.K was via Rome by Alitalia in 1974 as a young man ready for great adventures! However as all of you who emigrated to work and/or study in the u.k know full well the reality was all too different – it was mostly hard work in those early years !!

Fast forward to the present day and the U.K remains a great country and hundreds of thousands of people still coming here every year in search of a better life. But lets go back to 1974 when I arrived at Rome Airport and missed my connecting flight to London.

Alitalia Crew

 Alitalia cabin crew


I was well and truly stranded – my first flight ever, 21 years old, very tired, hungry, very little money, feeling of loneliness.


To cheer myself up I ate this bread with tomatoes and cheese on – my first ever Pizza at Rome Airport on the 27th January 1974 – obviously I did not know what a Pizza was and not many people in the U.K knew either!

I spent that night at the Airport and at some point in the night came across a young man from the States who was stranded as well and we started chatting to pass the time (my first proper conversation in English!) This young man had not missed his flight.


First pizza


He had been travelling around for some time because he was called up to join up and serve in Vietnam but he was not prepared to fight in an unjust war and decided to leave the United States (like so many of his contemporaries did in the 60’s and early 70’s and these young guys were commonly known as war dodgers )

I was politically active as a student and knew what he was talking about (and by the way I was a student of Politics and Economics!). To cut a long story short, this young man was now just waiting for some help from his parents to get him back home…..


Did I ever manage to get to the UK from Rome? Find out by clicking here




I was born in Mauritius and then moved to the UK when I was 21. Been here for the last 40 years working in the NHS. Hope you found this article useful.

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