Born: 1971 London, England
Grew up in Epping, then known for its forest and folk music scene. Now known for its gourmet restaurants, boutiques and famous residents. Left. Became part of London’s diaspora.
“I was an engineer”
Rebuilt my first car at 15. By the time I’d finished my A levels, I’d variously bought, built, driven, destroyed and rebuilt 4 motorbikes, a 2CV, a Commer van and an anonymous HGV.
Surprising everyone, I survived to adulthood.
In time to become one of Thatcher’s children of the ‘90’s. Studied. Spent time around the new town belt, Harlow, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City. Learnt the true meaning of ‘Social Experiment’. Watched industries close down or move away. Opportunities fade. Watched my friends leave Uni to join the mass unemployed. The lucky ones got jobs with the Jobcentre.
So I left, for Germany.
It started as a year out. I went to practice my Civil Engineering Trade on Bavarian building sites. Communication was an issue. Other Germans can barely understand Bavarian builders, let alone me with GCSE level German. I stuck it out though. We built a furniture warehouse and a car showroom. Whenever I’m in Coburg, I point them out to people, and say “I built that”.
And there met my wife.
We met in Bavaria and then moved to Hamburg, Venice of the north. Then the centre of Germany’s Design and Media Industry. I studied Art, and Computer Graphic Design. The internet was new, bandwidth low and the programming easy. I had time to experiment, to work on my niche. I taught some English, had work with some software companies. Money was poor, but I learnt a lot. Set my direction. Then aimed for the stars.
The birth of my daughter.
And life became faster. Better get a proper paid job. Better finish a degree.
I signed with the OU. Became a distance learner. This was 15 years ago, I suppose I am still a distance learner now. For 18 months, I was a house-husband. Gave me time to study. Not a lot else.
So, in 2000, we moved back to London.
I found a job with the local College. My wife stayed at home. Since that time, I’ve been in Education. I’ve been in more besides, it’s a long story…