About the Author

How I nearly became a Geomatics Surveyor, my background and how I discovered Paxos

I was born at 103, King Street, Knutsford, Cheshire in 1932. My family had moved from Blackpool so that my father could take over the former stables at the Angel Hotel which was one of many hotels in the North West operated by his Grandmother, Mary Jane, and Managed by members of her family, in this case her son, Joe. The idea was that, with changing times, instead of providing accommodation and care for customerís horses, similar facilities should be provided for their cars. In short he was to run it as a commercial garage.

My parents had had problems finding somewhere to live but eventually got the tenancy of a large flat over a shop. So Mother had opened the shop, selling bicycles, gramophone records and anything else currently in favour.

By the time I was old enough to properly remember, we had taken on another shop across the road, which was basically a Tinsmiths and Ironmongers. To this was added the bicycles, records etc. as before + radios (called Wireless in those days!) and electrical appliances + battery charging service.

So I was brought up in a shop with tinsmiths and other workshops behind including a forge.

Towards the end of my schooling, a Science Master, seeking an occupation for boys not wanted on the sportsfield on Wednesday afternoons (I was notoriously hopeless at sport) took us out on a Surveying expedition round the ruins of St.Johnís Churchyard which happened to lie in fields a mile or so behind our school. This awakened my interest in Land Surveying and was the direct inspiration of my becoming an Articled Pupil to the Local Councilís Engineer & Surveyor (& Sanitary Inspector!).

I started in 1948, at the age of 16 and was immediately thrown into the thick of the post-war rebuilding drive. I encountered and learnt from Architecture, Engineering, Town & Country Planning, Sanitary Inspecting, and a little bit of (only occasionally) Land Surveying (Cartography Ė now re-named Geomatics). Indeed most of the work of what, in those days, was an essentially multi-functional local authority, too small to allow of much specialization. The 1947 Town & Country Planning Act came into force almost on the day I started and an early job was doing the Statutory Footpath Surveys which that Act required.

Some 7 years later and much wiser (Now well on the way to qualifying as a Chartered Surveyor) I moved to a small UDC in Lancashire and then on to Nantwich Rural District Council. Here I was greatly concerned with sewers and sewage works, (though I did design a block of shops) By coincidence, I did the Footpath Surveys for several of the Rural Parishes and a great time was had by all, it was the blackberry season!

In the 1960ís I obtained a post as Senior Engineering Assistant at Winsford and was thrown into the turmoil of the Town Development Scheme, rising to Deputy Surveyor in the process.

All this time, though heavily involved in schemes large and small plus the day-to-day running of a rapidly growing town, I never entirely deserted land survey work, never lost the ability to use chain, ranging rods and a dumpy-level, but this was all to end.

Gradually I had been getting more and more involved with the responsibility of running the Planning Committee and in 1968 I suddenly leaped full-time into Planning by going to work for the County Planning Dept., firstly in itís Northwich Area Office. I had to qualify as a Planner and there was no more Surveying as such.

Over time I developed an interest in Historic Buildings and took courses therein at Keele University. Also at Keele I progressed in Archaeology and Geology. (Geology had been one of my optional subjects in the RICS exams).

Cutting things short, I retired as a Planner in 1987 and moved to the Isle of Man due to a combination of circumstances too entertaining to rehearse here. Once here I commenced a Diploma Course with Liverpool University in Landscape Interpretation which involved Local History (Land & Buildings), Geology, Archaeology, Topography etc.

Back in 1982, discussing with Frank & Margaret Dye, world renowned for their Ocean Voyaging experiences in a Wayfarer Sailing Dinghy, the idea of a Flotilla Sailing Holiday, Margaret, dismissing Flotilla Sailors as a rather poor lot, said we can do better for you than that, and put me in touch with Colonel Bertie Bloomer (yes, that really is his name!) who lives (or rather did, he died 5 years ago, alas) on Malta and sails his yacht every summer around the Ionian Islands and is always looking for crew.

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