The OBA magazine, containing many ‘Where are they now?’ stories, arrived in my email inbox at an auspicious time. Two major changes had recently happened in my life – retirement and moving home – which seemed like good reasons for writing a few words. But where to begin?
I can’t say I was a great scholar during my time at KEGS, there were things I did enjoy and things I didn’t. Among the former was working backstage and doing lighting for a couple of school plays; among the latter was calculus (sorry Mr Richards, I still have a blind spot for that particular subject). Anyhow, I managed to scrape some ‘A’-Levels and got into The City University to study Computer Science. And computers have been my profession ever since. Apart from the course, the high points of university are that I met my future wife (still together after 40+ years), learned to ride horses (and still do), and flew an airplane (and still do). Anyhow, I got my BSc and started working life at the Meteorological Office in Bracknell, for three years or so in a section developing new instruments. (Alas, it turns out that the instrument my particular team developed – a radiosonde – was only operational for about ten years.). After that I worked in another section for about four years looking after the IBM mainframe computers where the weather forecast models ran.
Sometime around 1984 I started to realise that I wasn’t destined to have a great career in the Met Office, and took myself off, with all the training and experience they had given me in mainframes, to work for a software developer as a customer support technician.
Notwithstanding a change to a different software developer, that has been my line of work ever since. This article is already too long to start talking about the products, the customers, the changes in the marketplace etc, but I’m quietly proud that I’ve helped a wide range of major companies keep their systems running smoothly and efficiently over these years. And before anyone says that mainframes are on the way out, I can wax very evangelical and tell you why they are not and will be very happy to lecture you on the development of Operating Systems. I’ve also been exposed to Windows servers, networking, etc., just to support our own office functions.
Over the years I kept up my horse riding, did a bit of ski-ing, a bit of easy yacht sailing, and learned to fly light aircraft. The flying is fun, though you might be sad to read that the most exotic places I’ve been to are Blackpool going northwards and Le Touquet going southwards.
Over time I’ve also been a long-term member of a local amateur drama society, mostly doing lighting, as it happens; how things do keep coming around.
Since retiring in 2018, I’ve been volunteering for The Shuttleworth Collection and for Riding For The Disabled, but having moved from Hertfordshire to Hampshire in May 2019, I am now looking for new volunteering opportunities.