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By the time that I came out as a fully competent trombone player I discovered that the band needed a trumpet player, so I had to switch again. Leaving the musical side for a minute: I'd been training all this time to become a chemist, and I'd taken a job in a chemical laboratory, and was working away at nights, whenever my jazz would allow me.

So, when I came out of the RAF in 1950, I went back to my chosen career of chemistry.

I almost joined Chris during that time when he was forming the band that later was joined and led by Ken Colyer, but I still hoped to make a career out of chemistry, and so I turned down the opportunity (or gamble as it was then) to turn pro, and had to wait until 1954 before I got my second chance to join Chris.

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When I got into the RAF I played trombone there as well.I told them that I could read trombone music, which I couldn't, so at first I had to sit at the back and fake.When I did start again, I'd become involved loosely in jazz. Pete Johnson's 'Roll 'Em Pete' was the first disc in my collection.I've always been fascinated by Boogie and the Blues ever since. I first tried playing jazz in a band with Bob Dawbarn and a crowd of friends, including Mick Mulligan.We were both, at the time, leading amateur bands, but we felt that we had to get a band that played all the time, played every day, and maybe we could get up to a decent standard of performance. At the time it was pretty unlikely to be able to make a living playing jazz, but we thought we were going to have a try anyway.

We knew of one or two other musicians of a like mind – not many, because, really, most of the amateur musicians wanted to stay that way and carry on and have a professional job and just play every now and then for fun.

This was too good to last, of course, and I soon slowed down to a more normal rate of progress.

In fact, by the time I was six, I'd stopped playing altogether, and it wasn't until I was nearly fifteen that I found out what a social asset playing the piano could be.

It was one of those back-room-when-mother's-out sort of bands. A friend of mine worked at Boosey and Hawkes, and he'd bring home lots of battered old instruments.

I finally chose trombone, because that was what we needed.

I'm working on building a darkroom in the house that I've just moved into with my wife.