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A potted history
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I am a product of the early 1960s and as such I had parents that grew up during the Second World War. They learned very early on in their lives how to make ends meet, how to recycle, adapt to circumstance and use initiative to overcome obstacles thrown at them in everyday circumstance. Money was tight and the best way to be able to provide for their family was to do everything themselves. I inherited the genes that gave natural talent, but was fortunate to have parents that had time for me and taught the basics of practical skills. Many years ago I could knit and crochet. I’ve since forgotten how t o do these things but I can still use a sewing machine, something my mother used professionally. I can strip a car or motorbike engine and rebuild to full working order, that’s what my father could do. He also taught me to decorate, how to use a soldering iron, best way to tackle a job with the correct tools etc.
I left school at 15 with just 3 O levels, two in Chemistry and one in Physics. All I wanted to do was fix things and I secured an apprenticeship as a Tool Maker with the Ford Motor company in Dagenham. (I was good at metalwork too). Unfortunately I had eczema and so I didn’t even get to start after the Ford medics got involved. This turned out to be serendipitous as I ended up as a trainee Laboratory Technician with Roneo Vickers. After 4 years at night school and weekly day release from work, I was qualified to go to University. Another 4 years later, BSc. In Applied Chemistry, followed by a little under 17 years as an Analytical Chemist.
After leaving home I had a habit of building beds up in the air with work space below. I did this this in any ‘digs’ I found myself living in. Landlords ask for my help decorating their houses after seeing my construction skills and there and then I started to hone my decorating and building talents. These were free services from me I might add too. House ownership during the late 80’s and 14% interest rates stretched my pocket and so more adventurous DIY building activities were necessary. Each new job often required new tools, which were bought as an investment, and books instructing on techniques were read in abundance. Fortunately the advent of the Internet and Youtube has made the learning curve for new things less steep.
So after 19 years in my previous house, having successfully tackled everything from boiler repair to rebuilding the chimney whilst perched on the roof apex, I moved into the current house that looked like it needed very little work. Oh how wrong can one be?! It’s been in this house that I have taken on more adventurous jobs, the hardest of which was putting up a ceiling and plastering it.
I like the saying ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’, and this is my philosophy.
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