A brief autobiography

I was born in 1935. (Astrologers may like to know my time and place of birth: 8th August 1935, 9.50 p.m. (British Summer Time), Manchester, England. This information is from my mother’s diary.)

My father and mother were both teachers. My father was 52 when I was born (and 17 years older than my mother), and I remember him as an old man. He was the Headmaster of the local state grammar school. When he retired, he founded another school, to provide grammar school education for boys who had failed the 11-plus examination. He lived for his work, and was (I feel) uncomfortable in the roles of husband and father.

My mother was a very spirited woman, and a gifted teacher, who (I felt) had given up her career, and her circle of friends, in order to be the Headmaster’s wife and to bring up my sister and myself. I felt that she was imprisoned by her role, and that I myself was the partial cause of her imprisonment.

As a child I was intellectually bright but very shy. I felt that I was a grave disappointment to both of my parents. It did not help that for five years I was a pupil at my father’s school. Here I felt that the other boys avoided me because they feared that I might talk about them to my father. My happiest times were spent on my own in nature. I used to cycle to a beautiful wood (Pigleystair Wood, hence my email address) where I felt at home among the trees.

I was happier at Oxford University. I went to the same college that my father had attended, and obtained the same degree (a second-class degree in Classics). My father expected me to apply for the Administrative Grade of the Civil Service. But at this point I rebelled, and chose instead to do a postgraduate course in Personnel Management, feeling that I wanted to go into industry, which I saw as being the “real world”.

But I never got a job in Personnel Management. Instead, I was taken on as a University Research Assistant (researching the roles of supervisors in industry), and from this I progressed to become a Lecturer in the School of Management at the University of Bath, teaching and researching in the field of organization theory. I wrote a book called Evaluation and Control of Training. I remained in this job for more than twenty years, but I feel now that I was a square peg in a round hole. At the earliest opportunity (at the age of fifty) I took early retirement, and became a psychotherapist, having been trained at the Psychosynthesis and Education Trust and at the Bath Centre for Psychotherapy and Counselling. I worked as a psychotherapist until I was 65, when I retired.

Since my retirement my two most important activities have been: walking the South West Coast Path; and writing my book on The Spirit of Numbers.

I have two daughters by my first marriage, and I now also have two granddaughters. I have now been happily married to my second wife for 30 years.