I was born in London, England, just before the outbreak1 of WWII2. I can remember little of the war, although the East End where I lived was a frequent target of German bombers and many neighbouring houses were destroyed. There was never any question in our minds that we would win and we were greatly encouraged when, after a couple of years, the Russians joined in too. As always, the Americans were late — they like to join the winning side!
When I was 11 years old, my family moved to a village in Essex, about 30 miles (50 km) north-east of London. At first, I was sorry to leave my friends, as one is at that age, but soon got to enjoy the new life — seeing cows and fields of corn growing for the first time.
I did well at school and got a Shell3 scholarship4 to study engineering at Nottingham University. The Shell scheme meant that I worked for one year in one of their refineries5 before going to Nottingham and for another year after I had graduated. Shell were very good to me and allowed me to stay at university for extra time to obtain a masters degree (M.Sc.) in Mechanical Engineering.
After some time with Shell, I left to study again, this time in Glasgow, Scotland for two years and at the conclusion of these studies went to Thailand. I was in Thailand for nearly five years, learning a little of the language and teaching students, both children and adults. By this time, I had a wife, a daughter and a second child (a boy as it happened) on the way. We all returned to England and I went back to Shell where I worked on various petrochemical6 and fertiliser7 plants in the North West of England.
The opportunity came to retire early and, as my wife had died and my children were now grown up, I left Shell for the last time. But I was not idle8 for long, and went to work for an international pharmaceutical company, Glaxo, for another ten years before finally retiring permanently again. I had married again, but that did not last very long.
I now live happily and alone in a small town called Runcorn in the County of Cheshire, in the North West of England.