In this charming memoir chemist and aficionado of the arts John Mills embarks on a journey from the 1950's Soho scene to the furthest reaches of a waning British Empire and beyond. Born between the wars in leafy Guildford, John Mills entered into his prime in an era of expanding possibilities as the world opened up following the devastation of global conflict. A chemist by early inclination and training, his passion for culture, music and art found expression as he immersed himself in the Soho artistic community of the 1950s; a community boasting such notorieties as Francis Bacon and Henrietta Moraes, as well as emerging artists from the Slade School including Victor Willing and Paula Rego. Mills chanced upon a perfect symbiosis of his twin passions, science and the arts, becoming a prominent figure and pioneer at the National Gallery in the Scientific Department and a connoisseur and academic on antique carpets.
A lifelong obsession with travel began in earnest at 18 when, drafted into National Service as a wireless mechanic, Mills witnessed the final throes of the British Empire in Singapore, Burma and Ceylon; he has lived and worked in Mexico and traversed vast swathes of the world map taking in the West Coast hippie revolution and Soviet Russia en route. 16 black and white illustrations