Heart and soul wise I am a writer and a musician/ singer with a strong sense of wanting to communicate and spread a little sunshine, but that "don't pay the bills."
I have worked in inner city Salford (in England, United Kingdom) as a teacher of children with special educational needs for the past twenty five years. Following university and a post graduate teaching course I began what was to be a fifteen year stint working with children with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties including a year and a half spell as Head Teacher. In that field, I found women colleagues to be most successful but as a sensitive male, more made of willow than oak, I think I made a difference too. For health reasons, I moved to my present school, teaching children with a range of complex physical, medical, sensory problems on top of learning difficulties. In the absence of commercial material sensitive to their needs, I quickly developed my computer skills and to this day the majority of the resources I use are original and self-generated . My work affected the focus of my written and spoken language, I hope developing greater clarity. My main subject is teaching French, mirroring my love affair with the country, its people and culture and language. I have made myself bilingual although my written French is poor. I am involved with international relations, working with local and regional town twinning groups.
From early on, I loved writing and photography and in secondary school my teacher assured me that I had a gift for writing. Looking back, I wish I'd trained as a journalist. But I have written all the time I have been teaching. Although I had an internationally published toy making/woodcraft book to my name plus some articles published in national magazines and newspapers, I never felt sure enough to leave teaching to concentrate on that passion. The Internet is a more forgiving market. I have written poems since my late teens; after a blight of a few years it is coming back and I have started review writing and composing.
From the age of seventeen I have owned an acoustic guitar and have a lifelong love of listening to and making music. I don't have a favourite genre; I find good things to enjoy across the board. Three years ago, following what was then the earth-shattering trauma surrounding the drawn out end of what had been a long but unfulfilling marriage, I started singing in public and that has become a passion and led to new friendships and broadening horizons. I bought new stage equipment, and although I own an electric guitar, I prefer singing with my miked up acoustic. I bought a banjo a few months back and more recently a keyboard synthesiser. My favourite singer-songwriter is David Gray. Ironically, the divorce settlement funded to some extent the practical expression of my real passions. I see that as compensation!
Best of all, I am finally blessed with the strong and very loving relationship with a totally natural, unaffected and remarkable person, which I'd always yearned for. All those individual, creative strands to my character, I foolishly allowed to take such a knocking under the old regime, returned in trumps in the love of this special lady. I am blessed with three remarkable boys from my previous marriage and am incredibly proud of them.