About Richard Crow
Richard is 64 years of age. He was born in London in 1943, kicking and screaming and believing that he was the sole target of Herr Hitler’s weapons of mass destruction. His first bed was the bottom drawer in a chest of drawers in his parents bedroom, and his second a cardboard box lined with blankets beneath the stairs of their East London terrace house. As he comments; “when you start life in such bizarre surroundings and people actually believe that a wooden chest of drawers or a staircase is protection against the effects of a 1-ton flying bomb, growing up with a sense of humour is hardly surprising.”
Richard did indeed grow up with a sense of humour and one which, over the years, has succeeded in getting him out of trouble almost as many times as it has got him in it. On one occasion during the Lebanese civil war, he was stopped and briefly held by a group of Shi’ite militia who saw him as a good bargaining chip. After an hour he had his captors rolling in laughter and they ended up driving him back to his hotel.
Richard has done many things in his life but international travel has been his life blood. At the age of ten he read a book about the exploits of a British explorer in Brazil and made up his mind that one day he too would explore the rain forests of the Matto Grosso. That he never did but, thanks to his choice of profession, over a period of thirty-five years he has visited 68 of the worlds 194 countries and lived in eleven of them. Many such countries have been in the developing world and at times communication has been difficult particularly in the depths of places like Borneo or New Guinea; but, as Richard explains, “I was born with the gift of being able to draw anything and even if that is with a stick in the sand, it succeeds in bridging language barriers.” Indeed drawing pictures has helped him communicate on more than one occasion in Poland; Polish being a language he admits to being defeated by and likens to attempting to speak Chinese with a mouth full of razor blades.
As is the case with anybody who travels, Richard spent many hours whiling away the time on aircraft. Rather than watch in-flight movies or read a book, he returned to a childhood habit of putting his thoughts on paper in the form of cartoons; some political, some plainly rude, but the majority based on humorous observations of the behaviour of ordinary people. On one flight from Singapore to Zurich, Richard found himself seated next to a French publisher. The publisher took an interest in his cartoons, suggested that they be put in print and before the plane landed in Switzerland, the two had agreed a publication contract that was to last four years.
Richard describes life as being divided into four parts - childhood, serious childhood, responsible childhood and delinquent childhood. Having now reached the final level he has decided that by far it offers the most fun; something to think about for those who believe they have reached the end the minute their hair turns silver.
Richard has recently retired and now plans to settle permanently in Bialystok with his Polish wife Elzbieta and their two children, Robert 12 and Alexandra 3, both of whom (unlike their hapless father) are bi-lingual. Richard also has a 37 year old daughter from his previous marriage who lives and works in London. Samantha is an integral part of the family and dotes on her two young siblings. Richard’s ex-wife Jean, to whom he was married for nineteen years, remains his best friend as well as adopted aunt of the two children.