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Who am I?

This is not a self portrait nor an opportunity to bare my soul. Probably the best picture you will get of me is to look at the rest of this web site, because it reflects what I can do and what I am interested in: the Christian faith, walking, and photography. However, the following notes may strike a familiar chord, and ink in some of the lines in the picture.

The Early Sixties

I graduated from Southampton University in 1964 with a BSc in Mathematics, and stayed there a further year to complete my teacher training. For fellow graduates of that era you will know that the hart has been abandoned for a dolphin, supposedly to avoid any sexist connotations. Very sad! It was while at Southampton that I first became interested in computing, taking part of my coursework writing Pegasus autocode - the great steam age of computing! Did you know that the only surviving Pegasus is in the Science Museum?

Teaching in a Grammar School

I began my teaching days at Dorking Grammar School, and I stayed there for six years. I have to say that they still stand out as the happiest and best days of my career, totally free of Ofsteds, and even free of Inspectors. (I taught about 8 years before I ever met one!) The pupils were highly motivated, and the academic standards second to none, and it was with some sadness that I moved on to gain promotion. However, while at Dorking, not only did I discover Badminton as a great game and way to keep fit, but I also indulged in sailing by running the school sailing club. They were happy days!

While at Dorking I maintained my interest in computing, using Algol at the local Technical College, and establishing links with the computing section of a local insurance company. Those were the days of paper tape.

Batch Processing!

In 1971 I moved to Oxfordshire to be Head of Mathematics at Lord Williams's School in Thame. Soon after, I married Nicola, and we acquired our first dog - Brummel was the first of four English Setters we owned over the years. Our first son was born in 1975, and two more followed in quick succession!

Computing at this stage concentrated on CESIL in the classroom, and I began writing programs in Cobol which analysed exam results within the school. The programs and the data were entered on punched cards - remember those hand punches? I was very quick and accurate on those, though I say it myself! We used to travel in to the Polytechnic in Oxford to run them on their ICL mainframe. This was true batch processing!

Discover Northumberland

When I moved to Hirst High School in Ashington, Northumberland, we soon doscovered that we had arrived in the most varied and attractive County in England. We would never want to leave! As the Principal Deputy Head, I was responsible for timetabling, and was able to pioneer the use of the NorData system in Northumberland. In theory it could write your timetable for you, but like all such ventures, it required many re-runs and a lot of human input before it arrived at an acceptable solution. It was worthwhile, though, and led me on to write TimeDesk a few years later to run on RISC OS.

 

These were also the days when PCs came into use in schools. Many had Pets, but as always I wanted to be different, and we started life with an Apple. Apart from programming a number of utilities in BASIC on the Apple, the other thing I remember most about it was the bowling alley game - very sophisticated when you recall that this was the late '70s. It would still be a good game today.

And so to Norfolk

My final move in education came in 1982 when I became Head of Charles Burrell High School in Thetford, Norfolk. While I am proud of this school and what we achieved, it was by far the hardest school of my experience, made highly pressured by the increasing political interference in Education generally. It was a long long way from the days in Dorking in the late '60s!

When I moved to Thetford, the BBC A computer had just been announced, and I was determined, in a school which did not have a single computer, that this would be the first one. We remained an Acorn school for 17 years, but sadly we had to bend to the inevitable in 1999 and began a transition to PCs. Not even I could stop the tide as Head!

Working in Retirement

When I left the world of education, I undertook basic training in Counselling, and enjoyed working in Christian Counselling Centres in Norwich and Wymondham. This was valuable experience for me, and hopefully for numerous clients too! Other interests were however also demanding my time.

 

My interests in  computing have changed. I no longer do any programming - the days of writing your own routines have largely gone with so many excellent software packages now available. My RISC OS programs for education were useful in their day but are largely part of history now, but if anyone is still interested in using any of them I hope they will get in touch. For me, my computing interests centre mostly on Desktop publishing and photography, using the Open Office suite, Serif programs such as PhotoPlus, PagePlus and WebPlus, and Adobe Lightroom.

 

The advent of digital cameras has opened up a wealth of new approaches to photography, and I enjoy meeting with friends in a local camera club - the Bunwell and District Camera Club. Much of it links with computing, but it is also good to get out and make images. I particularly enjoy landscapes, and some examples of my work will be found on the photography pages.

 

My other lifelong commitment has been as a Christian, and I warmly invite you to take a look at the Christian pages on this site.

 

So that's me - I could, of course tell you a lot more. But some things however are personal, after all!

 

 

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