more – for those that have the time
Lancashire born, in a house built by my father. It had a stupendous view. As a less than healthy child I learned to stare, watch and dream as many a day off school was spent looking at that view from my bedroom window. To the left the sandstone ridges of Cheshire, ahead the Liverpool skyline with both cathedrals, both football grounds and a back drop of the Clwyd Hills. To my right the dense, deciduous woods of Knowsley Park.
I watched tiny trains feed the city, wondered why there was a lump on the top of Moel Famau and saw many a large family of Jays bouncing and cackling around the fields below the woods, where our white nosed tabby trotted home from his daily hunt. As dusk fell vast flocks of starlings sent Mum dashing for the washing, Clwyds, woods and fields all disappeared into black leaving a twinkling world of orange sodium lights, tiny train windows lit up and the mesmerizing flares from Stanlow oil refinery.
On my 6th birthday my pneumonia was eased by the most exciting present – a bird table! – even more to watch. Days of recuperation were spent wandering in the herbaceous borders watching seed heads explode, squeezing pollen out of Lupin flowers and watching bees disappearing into Antirrhinums at close quarters. 50 years on and I am still staring, watching, musing, dreaming and loving nature, particularly birds.
A pleasure flight at the age of 8 sewed a seed, very deeply – a love of aircraft and flying. Against all odds by 1989 I was flying lovely big Boeings for British Airways – still watching, still staring but just from 35000 feet!
Much travel and 10,000 flying hours later and that career was curtailed by a diagnosis of Meniere’s Disease – repeated vertigo (for the record not fear of heights but an inner ear condition causing balance disturbance).
This was a heartbreaking end to my No1 passion but after 8 years feeling like the ball in a pinball machine I settled into a BA (Hons) degree in Wildlife and Environmental Photography. (Proud to say I did achieve First-class Honours and the prize for top student across all art graduates).
So once again I am watching, staring, dreaming – behind me 3 years of science, art and philosophical study plus a lifetime of sketchbook keeping, drawing and painting.