I was born in London but all my forebears came from Scotland, something of which I am fiercely proud.
My family moved to Felpham and I went to Northcliffe Preparatory School. Following my 11+ I arrived at Chi High at 10½ in 1C. I had already studied individual subjects, including Latin and French, for three years and advanced to 2A and 3A. Miss Lewis wanted me to stop writing copperplate script, taught in Prep school, and use the upright Marion Richardson style, which I refused. KD agreed with me, something for which Gertrude never forgave me.
Being already versed in my subjects from Prep school I found it difficult and boring, being more educationally advanced than my colleagues and went into a bit of a lazy spell, ending up in 4R (also being caned by KD once.) However, I gained three out of four “O” Levels advancing to 5 Upper 2. I streamed into sciences, aiming to be a surgeon, but failed Physics in my next six “O” Levels, now totalling eight. KD decided to keep me in the 5th form to sit Physics again, but also lumbered me with English, Religious Knowledge, Geography, French, Biology, Maths and Chemistry, in all of which I already had passed “O” Level, plus Economics and Economic and Social History, not a lot of use at medical school. Yes, I failed Physics again. I eventually ended up with eleven “O” Levels, some of them twice, i.e. thirteen or fourteen passes. Thanks, KD.
During my second year in the 5th form, I applied for an Army Short Service Commission since medicine seemed a long way off. Everything clicked and they accepted me, but I had to go into the ranks as a Potential Officer for six months and go before the Board again. They thought I was a bit young at 17½. Callow youth that I was I turned them down, annoyed that I had passed everything they had thrown at me. Big mistake!
Some kind person told KD where I had been. Saying he had ‘helped’ me by keeping me down a year, and as I had not told him about the Selection Board, he suggested I leave. I was cast adrift with not a single “A” Level. Thanks, KD.
I was not much of a sportsman, and have not been since.
I ended up as a main-frame computer operator, followed by four years with Olivetti rising to Branch Software Manager. I was approached by Xerox and was in a variety of IT roles culminating after twenty-five years as a multi-national Programme Manager responsible for project managing implementations in three continents and twenty-eight countries.
I took early retirement through ill-health in 2000 but got bored so became an IT Manager in central London, setting up a complete department with a budget of ~£2.5 million p.a. So I had an enjoyable career in IT.
I have been married and divorced twice and have two children. Fully retired since 2005, I join Committees to keep the grey matter ticking over, and have eclectic interests.