My first experience of Sinclair computers was when my dad borrowed a family friend's ZX81 - I was about 4yrs old at the time and didn't get to use it, but remember them struggling to get any tapes to load on it.
My first experience of the ZX Spectrum was not much later when we visited this family friend and I was allowed to play some kind of break-out clone.
While I was still young, I was given a really strange home-brew ZX81 that had been built into a series of fairly substantial SEC steel cases with a proper switched keyboard - it had been a home-build project gone wrong. I never did get it to work when I was little, and sadly it didn't survive into adulthood.
I was lucky enough to have my father purchase a used Commodore 64 when I was 6, which was my 'daily driver' for the next -thirteen- years. I finally upgraded to a PC in 1997.
That said, I was billy no-mates at primary school because my friends all had Spectrums, which limited scope for borrowing games. I thoroughly enjoyed playing on their spectrums - particularly remember rock hard games like Technician Ted, and Moonlight Madness
Some years later in my adult life, but before retro computers started making a comeback, I purchased a couple of DOA spectrums with the idea of building PCs into the cases. I never got round to it, and am glad I didn't as i'd now like to restore them to working condition - one for me, and one for my 6yr old nephew.
If you're around and can help me learn/practice the repair skills needed, hit me up
Tape loading on the ZX81 can be a nightmare.
The Spectrum breakout clone may be the one from the Horizons welcome cassette? I played that a lot while waiting for the next birthday or Christmas to actually get some games.
Funny, at my school there was only one guy who had a C64, we had a beeb by then (along with 3 or 4 other guys) and everyone else had Spectrums.
Someone will be able to help with your Spectrum resurrection I have no doubt.
ZX81 iss 1 (bugged ROM, kludge fix, normal, rebuilt)
Iss 3 ZXVid
TS 1000 iss 3, ZXPand AY, ZX8-CCB, ZX-KDLX & ChromaSCART
TS 1500 & 2000
Spectrum 16k (iss 1 s/n 862)
Spectrum 48ks plus a DIVMMC future and SPECTRA