1966-71 After unspectacular A Level results I joined English Electric in Stafford on a 5 year thin sandwich degree course in Electrical Engineering, which I completed in 1971.
1971-73 6 months after graduating and working for GEC (which had taken over English Electric), my department was closed down and I was made redundant. I decided to go abroad to seek my fortune. 3 months later I was working for Seismograph Services on a seismic exploration crew in the jungle of Irian Jaya (Indonesian New Guinea). We cut lines through the jungle, drilled shot holes which we filled with dynamite and blew them up, recording the vibrations on geophones laid out across the jungle floor. I got malaria, had many adventures involving crocodiles, helicopters, leeches and snakes and learned that I could communicate in another language (Indonesian).
1973-76 I joined a French oil services company called Schlumberger, carrying out wireline measurements and services on oil wells on land and offshore in Australia, Sumatra, Kalimantan (southern Borneo) and Sarawak (north Borneo). We lowered a variety of tools into the wells to measure the electrical conductivity, transmission of sound, background radiation, absorption of gamma rays and neutrons and many others readings to interpret what was in the well. We then shot explosive charges through the cemented casing to start production of chosen geological formations. The work was tough but days off in Bali and Java compensated somewhat.
1976-81 I continued working for Schlumberger in their Interpretation Centre in Paris. Dusting off my grade E in O level French, thanks to Gilbert Looney, I found that surprisingly I wasn’t too bad at languages. I was transferred to Lagos, Nigeria where I quit that job. During this period I married and divorced.
1982-85 I worked for BP as a petrophysicist in London, including a 6 month stay in Guangzhou, China, failing to discover oil in the South China Sea. I met and married Anne-Marie in 1985.
1985-92 With BP I worked on field unitisation studies (technical negotiations on how to divide the costs and profits of a field that crosses a block boundary) on Ninian, Forties, Miller and Marnock fields, living in Kent, Aberdeen, Kent and Glasgow depending on the whims of BP management as to where the work should be based.
1992-98 Still with BP I moved my family to Bogota, Colombia where I did various jobs exploring and putting into production the Cusiana and Cupiagua fields. I learned Spanish and as a family we saw as much of Colombia (a really beautiful country) as our security department, the guerrilla, the narcos (Pablo Escobar et al.) and the paramilitaries allowed, which, fortunately, was quite a lot.
1998-99 I worked in BP Wytch Farm in Dorset negotiating contracts.
1999 I retired but spent 5 years of my retirement visiting and helping BP pensioners in the Kent area.
I now live near Canterbury with my wife Anne-Marie (Pilates Teacher), daughters Marie-Claire and Rebecca with 3 dogs, 7 chickens, a large garden, half a listed building and a host of Great Crested Newts to support on my meagre pension.
Apart from looking after the animals, garden and old house, I spend my spare time trying to manage the decline in my French and Spanish skills (I have ditched the Indonesian). I took up running (more like shuffling) last year and I have just restarted karate classes after a long break. I have recently taken up art classes in which I (and only I) think I am uniquely talented, and have been surprised how much I enjoy exploring my artistic side (although there is an ongoing debate as to whether I actually have one).
I missed the 25 year reunion in 1992 since I was just packing up to move to South America. I look forward to meeting everyone but can’t promise that I will remember many people or events from school which seem to be buried very deep in my brain.