Life for me started in Barnes, West London in
in the aftermath of WW2. During my early
years, Eagle Comic, Saturday morning flicks at thrupence and
post-war food rationing were very much part of the landscape. An
Eleven-Plus failure, my parents paid for private education, a
complete waste of their money, and I left school at sixteen
without any qualifications and with absolutely no career
At primary school I enjoyed writing essays,
though my spelling and grammar was pretty grim. One of these
essays still survives:
The Mysterious Ghost.
(Don't hold your breath). Aged eight, and with Christmas looming, I wrote a simple poem comprising rhyming couplets
called, aptly enough,
Christmas Poem. My grandfather
submitted it to the junior Poets Corner of a local paper,
who paid me one guinea – with which I bought a
recorder, a simple woodwind instrument. But several days
broke in two
when I dropped it in the playground - Bakelite just isn’t what
it’s cracked up to be. And my literary aspirations took a
holiday. My first job was with a Vauxhall main dealer in
Kingston, but I wasn’t cut out for the motor trade and moved on
to WD and HO Wills in Holborn. Evidently I wasn’t cut out for
the tobacco industry either and got the heave-ho after nine
months. I clearly remember a certain Mr Hatch
in Personnel imperiously announcing; ‘I’m afraid I
shall have to ask you to leave’, and then adding in patronising
tones, ‘Have you thought about joining the Army?’ And pigs will
fly. As the saying goes; ‘When all else fails – lower
your standards’ – which I did, and got work on the assembly line
of an electronics factory in Acton. Being an electronics
hobbyist, things jelled for me there, the company formally
training me in their R & D labs. Three years later I moved into
broadcast television engineering, and then in the early 1970's, and seeking
horizons new, I departed for Melbourne Australia as a
Ten Pound POM.
Initially I worked at a local TV station, but a
long-term hankering to be professionally qualified re-surfaced,
and I enrolled at Monash University full-time, graduating in
Materials Engineering four years hence. I stayed on in a paid
research role, but twelve months later, and homesick, I
succumbed to the call of Old Blighty and headed home.
Ironically, I never practiced as a Materials
Engineer per se, choosing instead to branch into Project
Management. After two years working for Thorn-EMI on dreary,
interminably long MOD projects I went freelance and spent the
next 26 years managing commercial IT projects - which was
enjoyable and very lucrative.
Aged 59 I reduced my professional workload and
looked around for some different challenges. Part of the answer
came in getting involved with local charities. Then seemingly out of nowhere, a fictional storyline started to
buzz around in my head. Ten months later it saw publication as
my first novel, a quirky romantic adventure called
Love in Five
Dimensions. It drew heavily on all the accumulated trivia
swilling around at the back of my mind, and loosely parodied
some minor aspects of my own life. Having exorcised the book
that ostensibly we all have inside of us, I thought I was done.
But the frustrated writer within was on a roll, and
Kill a murder-mystery, got under way. This was followed by
and Friends, an illustrated children's storybook, and then
Mother's Beau, a collection of romantic poems written by my
father in the late 1930s when he was courting my mother.
My most recent
publishing's is a series of short novels written by
ubiquitous man-about-town 'Roland Smith-D'Arcy' under the
collective title 'Pulp Library', each novel based on a colourful
aspect of life.
They're ideal for a bus, plane or train journey, a rainy day at
the seaside, or for reading under the bedclothes
with a torch.
Beyond that, I'm
looking at various biographical projects featuring people who've
had prolific, interesting lives - just like you!