Once he sat crouched inside the cardboard washing machine box, the boy entered another world. A place where characters from the books that he borrowed from the library came to life. In his imagination, he accompanied them on all sorts of adventures. He could be setting sail as a famous explorer to unknown lands one moment and ranging the prairie with cowboys the next, or doing battle with knights, or tracking down a horse thief as a Canadian Mountie on his dog sled.
Moving from Australia to London in 1979 wasn’t as great as I’d expected it to be. In fact, it turned out to be an enormous culture shock. The roads weren’t paved with gold at all; society wasn’t as sophisticated as people made it out to be, the weather didn’t agree with me one bit, and above all, the people weren’t as friendly as the people in Australia. England seemed so backward to me, that for all I knew, I could just as well have landed on the moon.