Born 1942 during war, along with twin sister. Father away during first few years, grandmother lived with us. After the war my father worked as a teacher, my mother later in a baker's shop. My brother born 6 years later.
I lived in Kingsbury, NW London, in a house with a garden. At the end of the garden were fields with trees and cows. Liked nature. At primary school, lost, weak, did not really know what was going on. Up to age 11 unhealthy, sinus problems.
At 11, I went to the local grammar school, Kingsbury County Grammar School. Sinus problems sorted out. I started to blossom. Became good at school, OK at sports. Soon top of the class in many subjects. Enjoyed climbing trees, football, camping.
Got a few O-levels Got a few A-levels, couple of S-levels, and an Exhibition to Churchill College, Cambridge. Spent 3 years at Cambridge, 1962 - 65, doing Natural Sciences, chemistry, physics, geology, maths. At end of second year I did very well and was awarded a Scholarship. In the third year I took only physics and did not enjoy it as much as it was very theoretical.
At this time I met Prof. W F Libby who was on a trip to Cambridge. I wanted to work in molecular biology and Libby had a theory about how hemoglobin worked. I went to UCLA in Los Angeles to work on a PhD. (1965 -70). In the end I was given an MSc. It was eye-opening to be in California at this time.
My experiments soon showed his theory to be wrong. I worked on various other projects, including the effects of very high magnetic fields on hemoglobin, separating isotopes using their different adsorption spectra, looking at the transient spectra of electrons dissolved in water. I worked teaching practical chemistry, and in the carbon-14 dating lab. However after a while I started becoming very introspective. The effect was that in the end my research petered out and I returned to England.
I tried to make it as a great inventor. Cassells published my Cassells Crossword Finisher in 1974, a book where you can look up words that fit say _ n _ g _ _ , giving knight, enigma etc. I tried to develop games. A couple were produced but not very successfully.
I spent a lot of time in the patent office. I was very prolific. Amongst other things I worked on were using laser interference patterns to create structures for chromatography of bacteria, isotope separation, breathable waterproofs. Anti-skid devices. Anti-theft devices. Improved double glazing. Device for measuring height and water content of biscuits during manufacture.
I worked at Collingham Tutors, a cramming college in London teaching physics, maths, design.
Around 1976 I developed a system of jigs for making 3D geometric structures from matchsticks. These could be used for building models or lampshades.
Around 1979 I developed a magnetic printing set. By this time I had figured out how to write patents and took out patents on it . I tried to sell or license the patents but those who liked it said it would be too difficult to make. In the end I borrowed money and set up a factory to make them. The product was called Magnaset. They turned out pretty good and were in the design centre. Unfortunately just after they were in the shops there was a recession and my friends at Barclays Bank wanted all their money back. I was unhappy and ended up bankrupt.
In court I represented myself. I subpoenaed the chairman of Barclays Bank and the case was quite involved, going to the Court of Appeal many times over 3 years. In the end I took it myself to the European Court of Human Rights, saying that the Master of the Rolls was a personal friend of Sir Timothy Bevan, and his conduct showed that. Perhaps judges have a lot of friends.
I went back to teaching. After a while I had another stab at the real world, producing a board game called Associations. Here a card with a word on it could be placed on the board if it was associated with the words that it touched. The player would have to justify the card staying on the board. I sank my savings into that, and that lead to nothing except depression. This was around 1992.
About this time I developed complete heart block which required a pacemaker to be fitted. By the time it was fitted the block was not quite so complete. A few years later one of the wires needed to be replaced. A few weeks after that septicaemia set in with my heart valves and lungs infected. I was interestingly near-dead. I was psychotic for several weeks in the high dependency ward. I seem to have made a recovery. I no longer need a pacemaker.
In the late 90's I tried developing bus maps for London that would be easier to understand than the present ones. A map would be a graphic, would look more like a tube map, and would only show routes coming out of one specific place. London Transport is now using some maps similar to my ideas.
For the last ten years I've been involved with a charity called ETT. Here unemployed people can use computers very cheaply. I helped the organisation get charity status and was instrumental in getting a National Lotteries grant.
I am presently putting together a web site www.truefeelings.com. However I am becoming confused as to what it will be about, and this - as well as the inherent difficulty - leads to pauses in its development.
Members of the site will be able to write to the site, hopefully expressing feelings that they do not normally reveal. Society somehow leads one to say what is expected in a given situation, rather than what one really feels.
Particularly I would like to explore the fantasies people have, and for people to become more aware of their own fantasies and where they come from.
I have recently moved to a lovely flat in West Kensinton, not far from the centre of London.
Recently I have been involved with the London Cycling Campaign and am the co-ordinator for the Hammersmith and Fulham branch. One of the things I have enjoyed doing is helping to organise the GREENFEST West London.
I had a part share in a cairn terrier called Max to whom I was very attached. Alas he has died a few years ago. And I used to see his replacement, a dog called Oskar. But no more.
Sometimes I have a picnic / barbecue to watch the boatrace. Or in the summer on the beach in front of the Royal Festival Hall. Some photos available from home page.
Quite like taking photos. Some here.
A gap of about 10 years here.