I am an apprentice trained engineer who spent 50 years working in more than one successful business over the years. I was born, and lived, in Leeds during my formative years where I attended Leeds Grammar School and then the Leeds College of Technology as a part time student. Concurrently with this I spent five years in the RNVR in the hope of joining the Royal Navy for my National Service. That didn’t happen when I failed my medical. I began my first business at the age of 18. It was during my apprenticeship when I needed a suitable small and reliable sports car. I simply inserted a Ford 10 engine into a pre-war MG two seater and my first business was born. That was followed by the iconic ‘Rally and Speed Shop’ in Leeds and membership of The British Automobile Racing Club where my love of writing was nurtured. There is no better writing apprenticeship than to bring out a monthly magazine which I did over a five year period. The Rally and Speed Shop specialised in supercharging and at one point we were selling nearly half the production of Shorrock Superchargers. I sold the business in 1968 to begin a property enterprise that was not successful because of lack of finance.
This period in the world of property introduced me to the stately homes of Britain through the Historic Buildings Council – precursor of English Heritage and that resulted in a total change of direction, working in the world of antiques in some of our greatest buildings. 25 years later I sold that business and on my subsequent retirement I left Britain to live and write on the French Riviera. That I did for six years until health issues brought me back home to Britain again.
I use all of this experience as the basis for my talks and my books. You do not need much imagination when mixing with such an eclectic and interesting crowd of people. In fact, most of the characters in my novels are taken from real life, as also are so many of the plots. The people about whom I write are as real to me now as are so many of my friends out there. Over the years more than a few times an idea for a self help book has emerged and these I now offer as well. They are short and to the point but could save you thousands of pounds or dollars!
I’ve had an amazing life and been so lucky to have known so many interesting people over the years. The ‘Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ to say the least. I have known well a man who was hanged for murder! I’ve known one of the Great Train Robbers who got away with it, I’ve known people who’ve done time, people who have committed suicide and even one who was brutally murdered. And yes, for the full house I also knew the widow of the treasurer for the Riviera branch of the French Mafia. Now she knew some very interesting people indeed! I’ve known some of the great people of sport and motor racing, worked with famous actors, drunk champagne with Dukes, Earls, Barons and Knights whom I knew as friends, and known people who have built in one lifetime enormous businesses. I’ve also known more than one who has ruined an enormous business, spending the family fortune in the process. They’ve all been there and I’ve known them as friends, but the ones I valued most were my staff who lived on the local council estate. They were loyal and the salt of this earth.