This page, whilst not a CV in the usual sense of the term
(I’m not looking for a job, after all!), gives a brief outline of what I have
been up to over the last 50+ years, picking out some of the more notable events along the way that led to where I am today.
My deep interest in railways started in September 1962, when
I was ten. Following a trip to Bournemouth along the Somerset & Dorset
Railway from Staple Hill (our local station), and after seeing my first sight
of a Southern Railway unrebuilt Bulleid pacific (see the photo) at
Templecombe, I became a “train spotter.”
The photograph was actually taken at Salisbury on 3rd June 1967, but it depicts the type of engine that started all this off!
In June 1968 I was old enough to get a motorcycle
licence; in August came the end of steam on British Railways, and in December I
got my first long-term girlfriend, finally getting married to her in 1972, but I have jumped ahead. In 1968 the push bike, that had been my major means of
transport until then, was put at the back of the shed and allowed to rust.
The photograph shows one of the "Farewell to Steam" specials that ran on Sunday 4th August 1968. This shot was taken at Blackburn
I started work on the railway at Bristol, the period 1971
to 1976 spent working at Bath Road diesel depot.
I left the railway and part-qualified as an accountant,
decided I didn’t really want to just do that for the rest of my working life, so
later became a surveyor.
I got involved for the first time with desktop computers
as opposed to mainframe ones, learning how to use spreadsheets and word
I became Formal Complaints Officer for a Housing
Association, and was required to write detailed intelligible reports– a useful
skill for later on in life with the books.
I got on a bike for the first time in 34 years and began
riding again, first on former railway lines that had become cycle tracks, and then along the canal network. Although not realising it at the
time, this was in essence the start of the writing project. Cycling then became
one of my major leisure pursuits.
Given my background, finding the railway routes was easy, and finding out about the canal network was fun!
This is the very bike that has taken me over every inch of the routes described in my books where cycling is allowed. Where it wasn't allowed, my feet took over the job instead!
I was made redundant by the Housing Association
and went freelance as a housing consultant,
getting a lot more experience of writing reports and investigative work
I finished compiling the Steam Allocations database (a
two-year project), originally for my own interest, but a chance remark from
somebody in a pub saying he’d like to buy a copy resulted in it being put on general
I decided to “wind down” from full-time consultancy work
at the age of 60 and found more time on my hands. I then began the series of books
on cycling and walking with a strong flavour of transport history about them,
just in case anybody else out there was interested in the same thing.
Initially the books were available in e-format only.
The first hard copy book, “Cycling the Somerset &
Dorset Railway,” was released in April. Good sales figures suggested that
perhaps people might be interested more in hard copy books than in e-books.
Three others, the manuscripts already having been written and made available as
e-books, were then revised, updated and also released in hard copy.
The e-books were finally withdrawn from sale in 2016.
Retiring in June 2017 and becoming entitled to a State Pension after 48 years of work, I gave up all my remaining "day job" interests.
The books and the the BR Steam Allocations database became a cottage industry to help supplement the pension!