Archive for February, 2012

     In 1972 when I was fifteen years old I left school; one of the last generation of children – and make no mistake we were children –  able to do so. I left school without taking any examinations, GCE O-levels as they were then.
    At the time, and for a few years afterwards, I thought I’d made the right decision, though in truth I’m not sure how much input I had into the decision making process. I wasn’t particularly academic and my father decided another year at school would be wasted especially when set against my earning potential.
    What to do though? What trade should I learn? Whatever I did would involve some kind of apprenticeship and different options were explored; motor mechanic, painter and decorator, plumber, electrician, but nothing suitable was found.
    I left school sometime in July and by the middle of August nothing had been secured. It seemed likely that I would start my working life on the dole which was unthinkable, although that scenario became commonplace a decade or so later.
    Being young and idealistic I wanted to train for something that would serve me through my working life, something that I would always be able to fall back on, something that would enable me to do weekend jobs for friends and family. My favoured option was electrician but it just didn’t happen. My father on the other hand just wanted me working and contributing to the household.

Learning the hard way

    Eventually it was decided that I would become a toolmaker, serving a five year apprenticeship at a local company which was part of the Plessey group of companies.
    The company, Birkby’s Viking, made a range of plastic components for various industries. These plastic components were made in moulds and it was the toolmakers job to make the moulds. It was highly skilled and well paid, but I didn’t want to do it.
    Even then I wanted a job that would enable me to move from place to place. I didn’t want to be stuck in one place doing a job I didn’t want to do.
    My objections fell on deaf ears and I became an apprentice toolmaker in September 1972 spending the first year at technical college. I duly served my apprenticeship, hating every minute of it, and became a fully qualified toolmaker in 1977 whereupon I was made redundant and have never plied that particular trade since.
    Had I become an electrician, a plumber, or a painter and decorator, any of which I would have settled for I would in all probability still be doing it now. Would that have been a good thing? I don’t know, but it did teach me to always listen carefully when my children tell me they don’t want to do something.
    Holes are round, and pegs are square for a reason.

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Now you’re here, why not have a look at my debut novel:
Coming Home


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Written for ‘The Write On Project.’
Subject: Communication.

I watched Steven Spielberg’s classic film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ on DVD the other night. In the movie a five tone motif is used to try and communicate with the aliens. Apparently the tones were chosen so that the notes sounded like H E L L O in musical form, which I guess is a good a greeting as any to try on aliens.
Watching the film I was struck yet again by mankind’s desire not to be alone. We need to know if there is anyone out there. SETI, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, run a program whereby individuals can download software which takes advantage of idle computing power to assist in the search for ET. To date many millions of people around the globe have done just that.
We don’t need to search the cosmos for extraterrestrial intelligence though, we just need to search our hearts and it will be revealed to us. Almighty God, who created the universe and everything in it, will also have created aliens, if they exist, which I doubt. We need to stop searching outwards for proof of intelligent life forms, but search inwards instead, and show God that we are the intelligent life forms He created us to be.

While you’re here why not check out my début novel: Coming Home

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Oh God

    Is Richard Dawkins a secret believer in God? Does the leader of the sect of Atheism, subconsciously at least, believe in the Almighty God?
    On the Radio 4 Today program recently, in a discussion with Giles Fraser, the former Canon of St. Paul’s, Dawkins stated that many Christians couldn’t name the first book of the New Testament. Therefore he concluded, these so called Christians were not real Christians at all.
    Fraser in turn asked if Dawkins could name the full title of, ‘On The Origin of Species,’ by Charles Darwin.
This after all is the handbook of the atheist movement; their Bible. Dawkins confidently stated he could and was challenged to do so.
    It doesn’t matter that he couldn’t, not many people could, after all the full title, ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life,‘ hardly trips off the tongue.
    What amused me greatly, and this is not something many commentators have picked up on, is that Dawkins in his halting attempts to name the book, called on the name of the Almighty for his help. I wonder if it amused God as much as it amused me? I’d like to think so.
    Put people in a stressful enough situation and they invariably call on God’s help, whether they admit to believing in Him or not. But then, to me, it doesn’t seem odd that people should do so. What is more natural after all than calling on the name of the One who created all things when the going gets tough.
    It surely can’t be long now before Dawkins comes out and publicly admits he’s a secret God believer. His conscious just needs to catch up with his subconscious.

Why not check out my début novel:  Coming Home

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Does it add up?

    So the Bank of England has decided in its wisdom to inject a further 50 Billion pounds into the UK economy. Will that make your life easier? Will it make my life easier? Will it help get the economy moving again? 
    I suggest the answer to those questions is a resounding no.
    Now the adult population of the UK is considered to be approx 51 million. How about if the Bank of England gave each and every one of those adults a million pounds straight into their bank accounts. 
    What a way to get the economy moving that would be. Furthermore it would only cost a fraction of what it’s costing now. Will they do it? No, of course they won’t. 

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Let It Snow…

...but only for a short time, and don’t let it settle.
    For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a Scrooge about snow. I hate the stuff. I concede, that viewed through double glazed windows, seated by a log fire, with a glass of beer to hand, it can have a certain charm.
    Most of my working life has been spent doing jobs where snow has been a hindrance. I spent a long time working for BT (major telecomms company in the UK). A fair proportion of that time was spent outdoors carrying ladders and reels of cable in order to make overhead repairs. Arduous work at the best of times, but in the snow…
    Then there was the driving from one job to the next. It’s all very well weather warnings that advise: ‘Don’t drive unless your journey is vital.’ To the management every journey was vital, as it was to the nutters one met on the roads.
    Now, as a school caretaker, it’s my responsibility to ensure that the paths and driveway of the school are safe. Winter’s fine without the snow but give me the other three seasons any day.
    As I write I can hear my children outside in the street shrieking with laughter as they build a snowman and throw snowballs at each other. It’s time I think for a cup of tea and hot buttered toast.

Why not check out my début novel:
Coming Home

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