Ageing ex-hippy, one-time teacher, satellite TV installer, philosophy Ph.D. student, care worker, handyman, radio technician, Northern Ireland Civil Service clerk... probably about twenty other things, I was born in 1947 in London, the only child of an Irish GP married to a former Irish nurse. Shortly afterwards they returned with their offspring (i.e. me) to a rural medical practice in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. This is where I spent my childhood, wandering around the fields, fishing for tadpoles in the streams, 'helping' my uncle in nearby Bundoran with his many hobbies, such as amateur radio, amateur boat-building, flying model aircraft, swimming & diving, building machines and vehicles from scrapyard junk, amateur film-making, making musical instruments... oh yes, I think I went to school occasionally as well, but thankfully it didn't interfere with my education.
The family moved to Belfast, where I was a student during the first phase of the most recent wave of 'troubles', and saw the city reduced to rubble and then re-built to resemble a London shopping mall by the kind generosity of the British taxpayer. During this time I built and ran a number of pirate radio stations, first as a schoolboy prank but later as a naïve gesture of support for various political causes.
My studentship was completed in London, where I gained an M.A. in Philosophy as a full-time student on a grant (those were the days) and afterwards registered for a Ph.D. in the same subject and was given another grant, but to my shame I never finished. Somewhere along the way I got bitten by the commune bug, and spent many years trying to find or create a Utopian communal family along with the lady who is still my partner, Jean Duggleby.
Eventually, like most 1960s children, I gave up on this venture (although I'm not sure I ever really fully gave up) and settled down into a more conventional life in a large house in London with Jean and our adopted daughter Cherelle, who some years ago gave up a promising career in the BBC in London and moved first to Australia and later to New Zealand with her boyfriend (now husband), who is a New Zealander. We miss all the day-to-day contact we have with her when she lived nearby, but we Skype a lot and have visited her Down Under a couple of times, and will do so again soon.
I retired eagerly at the age of 65 and now, three happy years later, having found my true vocation in pension dependancy, am getting more and more into writing and other hobbies, especially electronics and computing. My health is still okay (fingers crossed) and I now have much more time for the things I love doing.
I have written quite a large number of short stories, many of them on this site, including two published collections, and two novels, as well as helping to run the literary magazine Gold Dust and organising writers' holidays in the UK and Europe. I have also organised book-launches and similar events in London, and as well as working as a volunteer editor for a number of small press publishers I also help to run the weekly podcast from my local Community Centre (Mill Radio) covering topics and events of local interest.
Now that we're free to do so Jean and I have taken to travelling to a different hot country every year to get away from the British winter. I completed the PADDI scuba diving course late in life and have become a reasonably keen holiday sports diver. We take turns to choose where to spend our winters – our choices so far have included India, Thailand, Laos, Mexico, Trinidad, Belize, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Egypt, Bali, Borneo, Madigascar, Florida, Jordan, the Galapagos Islands, Venezuela and Costa Rica. We are in fact the main culprits in causing global warming over the last couple of decades.
My other interests include science, photography, psychology, wildlife, and all things practical such as cooking, DIY, carpentry and light building work.
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