“My father was an army officer, and it was when he was posted to China that he and my mother met. She was quarter Chinese, quarter Spanish and half German. Later my father was posted to India, so my sister and I were both born there. Life for an army family in those days in India was very different to home life in England. We had servants, an increasing number as my father rose in rank, so by the time I was four, I was really being brought up by Indian people; I had an ayah, there was a bearer, there were gardeners, cleaners, a cook, and people who did the washing up. As a result I became fluent in Urdu, and because I spoke it rather better than my father, I became an underage translator for him. He would sometimes have to interview Indian soldiers, for example when they requested compassionate leave, and would haul me in to translate what they were saying.