The threads on this web site have run through my life -music, the countryside, walking and running, the environment. And definitely wine, women and song!
I started playing Mrs Reevely’s piano aged 4 years (she lived downstairs in our house in rooms that had been ‘requisitioned’ because her house had been bombed in the war.) I played piano until I went to Sheffield University, when my brother John sent me a guitar from Spain and I switched instruments because I could do my own thing on guitar – the first thing I did was write a song! I have played it ever since and it has brought me huge happiness and opened many doors.
I became an environmentalist during my first biology lessons with Mr Turner at Shene Grammar school in SW London when he talked about Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’. Mr Turner was also in charge of athletics, so we had a lot in common. I have always loved and been fascinated by nature, which prompted me to do a degree in biology, and have taught, campaigned, studied and written on man and his environment. My studies culminated in an M.Sc in Environmental Decision Making that I took through the Open University in the late 90s.
It is a source of huge frustration and disappointment that the things we were saying were problems in the 60s and 70s are still there today, but worse. Much worse. We could have done so much more; a sentiment echoed strongly in the recent film ‘The Age Of Stupid’.
My love of walking and running also developed in my teens, partly because I’m lousy at ball games – that hand and eye thing. I have walked through great swathes of Britain, Ireland and also the States, France and Australia. I usually plan and navigate on the trips and these are normally greatly enjoyed by my companions as I take great pains to find the best scenery and hostelries. A good time in the evening is essential.
I trained as a biology teacher originally and went to Australia where I was a school teacher between travelling around the World with my guitar. The music gradually took over, and I performed, taught, wrote and published guitar music through the 80s. I was one of the first Apple Macintosh users in the UK, and used it to pioneer music publishing on computer.
In the 90s, I went into the computer industry to earn some money and have made my living bybuilding database systems for small companies since then.
However technology has moved on, and I am now changing direction back to making my living from the things that link through my life – the environment, words and music, walking and maybe photography. To this end, and being a glutton for learning, I studied for an Master of Science Degree in Environmental Decision Making with the Open University. After 3 years of fascinating study, 14 assessments, 3 exams, 1 project and the dissertation that brought about BoBW (see link), I graduated in 2002.
Since then, the learning has been put to good use in my campaigning and working with other people (see Greener Cuddington, BoBW), but has not produced any paid work. The days when people will pay to be helped to learn how to live a green lifestyle are still some way off it seems.
Evelyn, my Scottish mother taught me to cook, and loved to experiment whilst she was out and discovered that half a jar of thyme does not improve a dish as much as half a teaspoonful. I have been re-learning the lesson ever since that in good cooking, less is more in many situations. Cooking is not featured on this site… yet… because there are so many cookery programmes and web sites I’d have nothing new to say. Mum also taught me about the beauty of the arts.
Kazimirz, my valiant Polish father lost his left hand whilst fighting for the allies in Narvik in the winter of 1939 and was shipped back to Scotland where, along with many other good-looking slavs, he got hitched to a local lass and stayed here. Our recent influx of Poles is by no means the first! Dad taught me to love fairness and equality and to dispise hypocrisy.
My parents are both deceased, as is my sister Alice, who had multiple sclerosis for half of her life. The blessing is that she has a son, Alexander, who is 30 years old and currently kite surfing in Spain (his main passion it seems).
My first wife, Joanne, and I have two sons; James and Matt, both in their 20s: both fine young gentlemen who have alsways been a joy.
I married Lindsey in 2008 and came to live with her in Buckinghamshire as she is firmly rooted here, and I had become a bit of a rolling stone. We are very happy.