My life history since leaving Wennington:

Stupidly I became fed up with studying at a technical college in order to gain enough A levels to enter a university and instead reacted against the pacificism ingrained at Wennington by joining the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment in the ranks and served three years, including nearly nine months in Cyprus at the time of the troubles.  It was a bit of a shock to the system after the idyllic life at Wennington..

After the first year whilst still in the army I continued my studies for G.C.E. A levels and on leaving managed to obtain a mechanical engineering student apprenticeship with English Electric Co. at Stafford and eventually managed to scrape a London University pass degree as an external student although I studied at honours level. (I was a bad boy like at Wennington and missed too many lectures and botched my course work or rather copied other peoples).  I'm certain that I wouldn't have gained an honours degree anyway but was glad to have studied at that level.

1964-68  Aircraft stress engineer and technical officer (missiles) with Hawker Siddeley Aviation and Hawker Siddeley Dynamics at Coventry till the factory closed and redundancy.

1968-71  Research engineer at Courtaulds Ltd , Coventry. Design and development of textile pilot plant.

1971-75.  Development engineer, military air borne radar systems.  Ferranti Ltd Edinburgh.

Then I had a Christian conversion experience which led me to leave the world of armaments and so I tried my hand at nursing, and although I was accepted for career training it was definitely not my scene and so left after 3 months. It left me marked by the tragedies I witnessed in the Neurological Department.

1975-77  Incredibly, managed to get back into engineering as Section Leader of the Heat Transfer Section engaged in research work on nuclear boiler equipment, a very good post but failed to fulfil the leadership role expected of me, and hated the atmosphere anyway. Fancy having seven hierarchical grades of canteen! And I had to play bridge at lunchtime with the boss.

 1977-80  Moved into sea fish farming with the Sea Fish Authority as Industrial Design Engineer. Mainly based at the marine fish farm at Hunterston nuclear power station, West Kilbride, Scotland. Engaged on the design of plant and services and mucking in at anything when necessary. This was my most enjoyable job but unfortunately the farm was eventually closed and again redundancy followed.

1980-90  Chief Engineer at Canniesburn hospital, Glasgow. This was a 350 bed hospital specialising in Plastic Surgery plus Geriatric wards. Responsible for all the mechanical and electrical plant and equipment. My most rewarding job in terms of achievement. Also Studied Electronics and Telecommunication Systems with the Open University since it seemed relevant to my job at the time, and gained two modules. Enjoyed the courses tremendously.

1990-96. In order to move to a higher grade I obtained the post of Network Manager at Grampian Healthcare Trust Aberdeen in charge of a network of computers used for the management of Estates and Works functions; mainly a computing job.

1996-97  After massive reorganisations in the Scottish Health Service we all lost our existing jobs due to decentralisation and  reforms.  Was offered the post of Database Administrator for a new digital patient medical record system but fell out with the so-called consultant engaged to deliver the system.   Lost the battle to save my post and was offered early retirement.

1998-2000  My son-in-law who was a Colour sergeant in the Royal Marines at Exmouth, Devon, had just had a baby son so we thought it was a good idea to move down to be near them at Exmouth. Managed at the age of 61 to obtain a temporary post as computer technician with the University of Plymouth at the Exmouth campus. Later on posted to Plymouth campus but eventually had enough of the stress of the computing environment and the strain of commuting, so quit.

2000-2003. Various low paid jobs, warehouseman, security guard, emergency response to burglar alarms (Chubb) that was quite exciting, and finally the most unpleasant of the lot, hotel porter at a prestigious but mean hotel in terms of wages. Here I was brought to my knees literally as I started to suffer from a bad hip and was delighted to retire immediately I reached 65. So I do not miss work at all now!

In my career I have encountered redundancy and shutdowns fairly often and so have had to move around a lot. I have been foolish in squandering pension savings between jobs but was lucky enough to have been awarded extra service years in the Health Service not through any merit of my own but due to the generosity of early retirement rules at the time. This has made up for my imprudence to some extent, but I have had to work the full 65 years finally in some pretty unpleasant jobs to increase the state pension entitlement.

I have been through a divorce but remarried very quickly afterwards.

We have two daughters, the eldest is expecting her first child mid August. My wife is the complete opposite to me in every way, the only thing we have in common is Christianity, a sense of humour and we play backgammon together, she is devoted to the family, has had six children, so I have 4 stepchildren and umpteen grandchildren.

My main interests are keep fit and fitness cycling, reading science at an elementary level i.e. I have just started taking an interest in cosmology and quantum mechanics, also theology.  I am not the artistic type but by no means a philistine having been to Wennington and was fortunate enough to have a mother who dragged me to lots of concerts and ballets.  Also whilst at Wennington my father was building the mobile travelling theatre called the Century Theatre, which was later based at Keswick so I saw quite a bit of drama.  Incidentally my father's partner in the project (Wilfred Harrison) is still alive and I am trying to get him to deliver a lecture at Holy Trinity on the subject of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, my favourite theologian.  Wilfred is reputed to have interviewed many intimate friends of Bonhoeffer.

Oh yes, as a result of learning French at Wennington with that wonderful teacher Tony Cashmore, who used to sing French songs accompanying himself on the guitar and everything else he did, I have always had a desire to visit France and learn the language. So, when my children started learning French at school I thought I would encourage them by revising myself.  Subsequently have kept it up for the past 12 years daily. I shall never be fluent, far from it, but now have good comprehension and listen to the French radio and tv daily.

Wennington was a wonderful experience, I am so glad I went there.  Gillian Brighton's poem 'Passing Frances on the stairs' touches me immensely. I remember vividly seeing Frances climbing the stairs painfully. She was inspiring. I could never connect with Kenneth although I longed to. He was too aloof for me, although he often had occasion to give me 'lectures' and also took the trouble to write to me after I had left Wennington.  His vision was of course right, and I regret giving him so much trouble. Now I have to put up with the insults of my own children!

The other staff I remember with great affection are Martin Eden, Wolf Mendl and Brian Hill (he could also do a bit of maths I remember if pushed).

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