I was born in East Wickham, near Welling, in a part of Kent that has since been subsumed within London, in 1952. My family moved to Dartford in 1957. Following a mis-spent youth (it was the 1960s after all!) during which I was educated to some extent at West Hill School, Dartford (1957-61) and Eltham College (1961-1970). I married Marion Divall (b 1956, Bexley) in 1977. We opted for a rural-ish existence and initially settled in Sutton-at Hone, moving ‘down the line’ to Longfield in 1983 and then Meopham in 1990. We have two sons, Stephen (b 1985) who is starting to make his way in the world having obtained a BSc (Hons) in Music Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University in 2006, and Douglas (b 1987) who recently graduated from Sheffield Hallam University (another BSc (Hons): who would have imagined that we would have raised two scientists?!) and is a software engineer.
I have recently succeeded in escaping the clutches of the Audit Commission in London, for which I worked for 19 years, having spent my earlier career in a variety of jobs within the Department of Health. I am at present recovering from this ordeal, but will soon be looking for alternative ways of earning a living, which may include composing/ arranging music, coin/ antique dealing and setting quiz questions for tv and radio. Watch this space!
Music has played an important part in my life almost from the start. I started piano lessons at an early age, and had completed Associated Board Grades I-VI by 1967, but Grade VI took a lot out of me and I decided it was time for a rest. I had recovered by the mid-nineties and passed Grades VII and VIII. I play the organ at St Mildred’s Church, Nurstead, just outside Meopham, which has given me the opportunity to embark on a project to perform all 48 of JS Bach’s Preludes and Fugues, as well as arrange a number of choral works for keyboard rendition. I’m halfway through the ‘48’ at the time of writing. My taste in music is eclectic but I have to take this opportunity to mention Procol Harum, Pink Floyd, Steeleye Span, the Strawbs and Nat ‘King’ Cole, as well as that wonderful soprano/ tenor duo, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. And while I’m at it, it would be rather silly not to mention the Beatles. And Beethoven. And Charles Villiers Stanford, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Arthur Sullivan, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. And just plain daft to leave out the Beach Boys, Tchaikovsky, the Who and Genesis (to 1978). You see the problem…
I am a keen sports fan, following the fortunes of my local football team Ebbsfleet United FC at Stonebridge Road as well as such far flung places as Carlisle, Exeter, Shrewsbury and Halifax (also Aston Villa in the celebrated cup run of 1995/96). I am also a long-standing (and long-suffering) fan of West Ham United FC and Kent County Cricket Club, where I was once lucky enough to see the great Godfrey Evans in action.
Other hobbies include real ale (I am an active – some would say ‘too active!’ – member of the Gravesend and Darent Valley branch of CAMRA), hiking, gardening, and studying with the Open University. I may now have been cured from the latter, having obtained a BA (Hons) in Humanities 2007 after seven years of hard labour, but who knows what the future holds?