Bits about me
By training I am a physician;
by vocation I am a priest;
by retirement a photographer;
by instinct, an actor
I was born during the last winter of The Second World War, nearly too late to be a war baby, just too soon to be one of the baby boom but I identify with that generation. My early years memories were of happy poverty in a loving family. We had an outside lavatory in the back porch opposite the ‘coal hole.’ We had a bath, but that was filled using the handpump above the ‘copper’ in the kitchen meaning hot water sprayed up our arms when we ‘ran’ the bath. My father died when I was seven, by which time there was me, my mum, and my younger sister.
I tell you all this simply to mark my beginnings. We are told that we are shaped by such memories, and perhaps we are, but my memories of that time, and of much else in my personal history as it turns out, are sketchy.
My life so far:
So, sketchily: born 1944, attended Caldecote Road Infant & Junior Schools in Leicester. Then Wyggeston Boys Grammar School from where I went on to study medicine at The London Hospital Medical College on an RAF grant, thence eight years as a medical officer in the RAF with postings to Oxfordshire, Weston-super-Mare (for one day… a case of administrative error!), RAF Germany and finally Northern Ireland . It was in Northern Ireland that I met my wife, Jenny.
Then twenty yerars of general practice in Coalville, Leicestershire, until a prolapsed intervertebral disk and failed surgery forced my early retirement.
During the Coalville years I found faith in Christ, and became a Lay Reader based at St Helen’s Church in Ashby de la Zouch, then I felt called to the priesthood. After initial resistance from the then Bishop of Leicester (Jenny was my third wife and the Bishop feared for the possible negative headlines, though he eventually hit the negative headlines himself) and a move to Scarborough I was priested by the then Archbishop of York, Dr David Hope, a lovely and saintly man) and was invited to ‘look after’ a parish church in Seamer, North Yorkshire when the incumbent unexpectedly retired three months into my curacy: no causation is implied! Then I applied for and was appointed an assistant priest to a group in Northamptonshire with special responsibility for a single parish.
I finally retired in 2017 and we found a bungalow in Ibstock, part of my previous general practice patch where I am still recognised twenty years later as “you were my doctor!”
On 23 June 2016 I was politicised by the shock result of the second EU referendum… Other than a brief and unfulfilling dalliance in my teens with the Liberal Party my political thinking until then had been no more than turning up to vote in elections. Now I am daily – even hourly – exercised by the issue of our membership of the European Union. Being disabled I cannot march or demonstrate, so I am a keyboard warrior. My pro-EU views are publicly visible so I won’t detail them here: but there will be lots of opinion in the relevant blog posts.