"I was born in Llanelli in 1942. My father was a blacksmith at a local works. My first piece of luck was when learning how to swim, my brother decided the best way for me to learn was to be pushed into the north docks. Unfortunately, I went over my depth. A friend, Arwen Jones, had to pull me out. A sign at the sandy corner end of the docks warned of the dangers of swimming in the heavily polluted waters but we locals must have built up a natural immunity to the pollution.
During the Suez crisis there were a number of motor-torpedo boats mothballed in the dock and we used to swim in between them. We could have easily been crushed between the boats, Lady Luck seemed to have been with us.
In 1958 I went hitch-hiking with friends on the continent. After many incidents we ran out of money, going without food for about 3 days.
On leaving school, I worked for the National Coal Board. Underground at Cwmgwili Colliery, following others, I jumped on the back of a full mine-car. I was however about 2 metres before the recognised safe place. I was immediately pulled off by an observant worker. If not, I could have been killed as the mine-cars jack-knifed.
Later, in the laboratory, I had some potassium cyanide solution in my mouth. How I'm still here, I don't know. In addition, I've been in 3 car accidents, 2 of them were write-offs."