This page correct to November 2012.
If it has wheels, chances are I’ll be interested! My work and hobbies mostly relate to transport in one form or another. However, I also have time for non-wheels things sometimes!
It was natural that, being brought up in Cambridge in the 1980s, I made local journeys by bicycle; many longer-distance journeys were by train, which was always exciting to an inquisitive 8-year-old. At school in Hampshire in the 1990s I discovered the fantastic countryside and the rewards it offers to cyclists; a couple of summer cycling-holidays followed, one round Wessex and the other to Marseilles. Moving to Oxford (and working deep below ground in the University’s Bodleian Library), I was immersed in a world filled with bicycles and books.
Whilst working at the library I developed an interest in London’s ancient and unique Underground railway, about which much has been written within this website; I also began doing volunteer restoration work on heritage trains for Hastings Diesels. At this time I was also teaching myself how to use mother’s Linux PC. Thanks to the latter, to Physics A-level and to limping through Maths A-level in spare time, I spent a couple of years at the University of Kent at Canterbury (as it was then called), pursuing a career in Computer Science (as well as establishing this website); but I found that this non-wheeled endeavour was not my passion.
Returning home and needing to find gainful short-term employment, it was suggested by a friend that I try my hand as a bus-driver; this I did in late 2000, for the Oxford Bus Company; it turned out to be lots of fun and an enduring source of pride, as well as requiring very long and highly antisocial hours. I liked it so much (and/or was too tired all the time to plan my next move!) that I stayed for nearly 4 years, soon graduating to the express coach services (Oxford Espress to London, and Airline to Heathrow & Gatwick).
Closure of the 80-year-old bus-garage and relocation to a soul-less and poorly-designed “purpose-built” depot coincided with the parent company seeing fit to re-structure the company by eventually sacking all its own old-school well-respected managers. Besides, I wanted to work on the railway. A successful application was made to London Underground, for whom I worked initially in a stations-based role; I then drove trains on the Jubilee Line, and subsequently the half-century-old Metropolitan Line trains which have now been replaced with modern stock. I count myself fortunate to work in a job where I enjoy what I do.
First and foremost I was a musician. Between the ages of 9 and 14 I
was one of the choristers of The
Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, directed by the late
Dr. George Guest
CBE. We rehearsed
for an hour every morning and sang 5 Choral Evensongs and a Sung
Eucharist each week; we also broadcasted services on BBC Radio 3 and, during my time,
went on tour to Europe, Canada, America, Brazil, Australia and Hong Kong.
Looking back on it, a remarkable experience and a true privilege.
Aside from singing, I was a violinist, a pianist and latterly learned to play the (church) organ. Most of this became dormant once I left school at 19, though I greatly enjoyed singing and playing violin in the orchestra during my time at University. There remains a frustrated musician within me at present, though latterly I have become a member of the Spelthorne Choral Society.
My parents instilled in me an appreciation of the outdoors, with many family camping/hiking holidays in which we were entirely self-sufficient for days at a time. By the age of ten my two feet had carried me over several Alpine passes, to the highest point in Portugal (Pico mountain, 2351m), and out of the Grand Canyon (just 4 weeks after being severely ill with peritonitis).
I have an interest in Astronomy, the result of my parents’ line of work, which led me to far-flung mountaintop observatories and showed me the huge instruments within.
I am married and live in the London area.