So let’s see, who am I? Well that is a very difficult question to answer. Am I the normal, everyday person you meet in the street? Or am I the closed-off type, or even the outgoing and sometimes outrageous type?
The answer is none of these; I am just a simple man who, at some time in his life, decided that writing was a way of removing frustration and stress.
I was born in 1948 in Hamburg but no, I am not German. My father was in the occupying forces, and my mother was the daughter of a German draughtsman and a gypsy mother. This meant I was raised bi-lingual. I also spent many vacations in Holland visiting my mother’s sister who had married a Dutchman. It was there that I also had the good fortune to learn Dutch.
I spent the first eight years of my life in Germany in a small town called Delmenhorst, near Bremen. I attended a British army primary school (BFES Delmenhorst). We then moved to Malta where I spent a great deal of my time swimming and generally messing about. My father was stationed in Tigne Barracks where I also attended BFES Tigne Primary School.
My father’s regiment was the last to leave Malta in 1960 and we traveled back on a troop ship, SS Scarborough. It took us a week to return to the UK where my father was immediately stationed back to Delmenhorst and I returned to primary school for two more terms before attending a boarding school (Prince Rupert School) in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. I spent many happy days not only in class but also in extracurricular activities such as Army Cadet force and theatre (various Gilbert and Sullivan productions including Variety and The Boyfriend). I have to say that I never really excelled in English, but was fascinated by the Bard and other authors and poets.
After leaving school I returned to the UK with my family after some very bad news. My mother had only six months to live due to cancer.
I took up an electrical apprenticeship with GKN Sankey in Hadley Telford. The slightly crazy ’60s and ’70s meant hard work, sometimes seven days a week, but also many, many party nights in discos, nightclubs, and at house parties. This was also the time I met my first wife.
I left the electrical world in order to go into hotel management and ended up in Warrington where my beautiful daughter was born. I left the hotel trade and went into sales of shop fittings, which was my first encounter with the sales process. However, the best move came when I was introduced to a Swiss company looking for a sales person with electrical experience who could speak German. I was based in Manchester for nine months and then, due to my divorce, I decided that I needed to change so I got a transfer within the company to Bavaria, a picturesque part of Germany, where I was employed as an export sales engineer. In this role I was able to travel most of the world: USA, Mexico, South Africa, South East Asia, Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Australia, and not forgetting most of Europe.
The fact that my marriage split was the catalyst to my writing poetry. I found that by putting down the words that came in to my mind I was able to overcome any stresses or frustrations. The words in the poems are just random thoughts that enter my head without any forceful thoughts behind them. They are no different to the thing that we all experience in our sleep, but with me these thoughts come very spontaneously.
I am now retired and moved to the North East of England with my wife of 28 years. This is a wonderful part of the UK that continues to inspire me to write.
Author of Thoughts of a Simple Man.