I was born in London but moved to the Wiltshire countryside early on. After a bit, my older sis had run of lad (there was only one – it was a small village!) that my parents considered suitable boyfriend material and we moved to Brighton (where quite a large number of my extended family had gravitated). There I remained till round about 1990 when the family moved to Cornwall.
I went to school in Hove and university in London where I studied physics. I didn’t follow a career in science, however. I worked for many years as a restorer and conservator in museums and historic buildings. Later on, I did a bit of teaching in secondary schools. All that time, I had a passion for making things.
I began as a kid building crystal sets then single-valve regenerative receivers (from which I learnt that 150 volts DC can be painful). I graduated onto valve audio amplifiers (350 volts DC can be really painful!) then germanium transistors, integrated circuits (op-amps, 555 timer, logic gates). The along came the BBC ‘B’ with its 6502 8-bit processor and 6522 interface chip etc. For the first time the use of software to make things happen became a reality for me. For a very long time the BBC ‘B’ was the best thing around for controlling stuff (and I still miss it!) but the Parallax Stamp and Revolution Education Picaxe came along and were small enough and cheap enough to fit into projects. Now we have the Arduino with all its shields and related products and the Raspberry Pi (and a whole load of other stuff).
I began in my teens by beating out and respraying the wing of my father’s Vauxhall Victor which I had managed to dent in a small argument with a parking meter. Later, I replaced the engine with a recon unit. I then failed to restore a 1968 Jaguar S-Type to such an extent that eventually it had to be physically carried out of the garage by a large number of people. After that I had more success building a kit car although it broke down on our honeymoon. There was then a bit of a gap while my wife and I had some kids. After that I was involved with too many old Rovers. Currently I am working on a Rover SD1, a Triumph TR7 and not working on a Porsche 914 for far too long. By the time I get round to it, cars will no longer be allowed (happening sooner than you think!) or perhaps I will have to fit an electric motor…
I have installed more kitchens than I care to remember, put in a bathroom or two, built a garage, re-tiled our kitchen roof and taught myself bricklaying (after a fashion). TIG welding is on my bucket list but it’s super hard to do.
The Author’s journey through life…
Making things (and art) seems to run in the family. I’ve got numerous relatives who are much more talented than I am! You can see some examples elsewhere on my site.