I think I was eight when I first met Sinbad. He was my Dad's picture and he hung there in the hallway of our house. Dad has always liked Klee.
The first time I had a wall of my own to decorate was as an undergraduate at Poly. I couldn't find Sinbad so got myself another Klee - a poor substitute but it was by the same guy and, at the time, that was enough for me.
Later - maybe 20 years later - I found Sinbad in a little art shop at Clapham Common. Chrome frame and white mount added, he's followed me around ever since.
And today - nearly 25 years later still - I saw another Sinbad. Not a print or a picture in a book. No, today I saw the real thing - Sinbad aka Battle scene from the comic fantastic opera "The seafarer".
There were hundreds of people wandering around the Tate Modern's Klee exhibition but I was the only one there on a mission. Moving rapidly through each room, I'd stop only as long as it took me to scan the walls in search of the guy standing in his boat, spear in hand, and three enormous fish awaiting their fate. (The whale, the shark, the squid, according to Sylvia Plath's Sinbad-inspired poem). Several rooms passed before I saw it, hanging proud by itself in Room Eight. Call me silly but it took my breath away.
I stood there as a thousand memories overwhelmed me.
That hallway at home - 45 Highfield Avenue, Great Sankey, Warrington; phone number Penketh 6726. It's 35 years since I've lived there but the address rolls off my tongue as though it were still my home today. And, yup, those were still the days when phone numbers were preceded by the location of the exchange.
The first ever family cat - Cindy - a gift from my dad when he discovered he had to spend ages working in London. Cindy lived with us for years - she used to eat the chilli con carne I'd cook that was too hot for my mum - until one day we had to have her put to sleep and I wept outside the vets.
The little footpath from our road down to the primary school's back entrance, with tall, prickly hedges either side where once in a blue moon we'd find dirty mags hidden in the undergrowth.
Conrad De Jong - my best mate - who's Dad had dirty mags piled to the ceiling in his garage. That's the same Conrad who told on me one day to my dad - "Mr McLaughlan, Tom just put a hole in the garage" - after I'd slipped and put my knee through its asbestos wall.
Frank Fletcher from over the road who'd borrow our phone and afterwards leave us 2p come what may - even though he'd have used it for half an hour at least. Frank Fletcher liked to pretend he was the hardest man around but once, on a Cub camp, we soaked him with a bucket of water.
Then there was Harry Hotpoint, the guy next-door-but-one who was married to Sheila whose throat was blotchy red. Harry mended white goods and fancied everybody's mum. Watch out for Harry at the Christmas dance.
And the cool guy next door - Jim McKechnie - six feet something tall with a big Adam's apple and veins that stood proud on his forearms. He seemed to have a million girlfriends but only one of them would hoover at 3 in the morning. Jim helped Dad build our extension.
So many memories. And here I am on the train home remembering them all.
Thank you, Sinbad. Thank you for making a dream come true.
(I know you're not supposed to take pictures in the paid for exhibitions but it's just an iPhone shot and more to the point it's so out of focus that nobody knows what they're looking at!)