It is the 5th of July 2016 & it is now 33 years since we lost Lesley. I'm not sure, but it seemed today that she nudged  me in the ribs, and pushed me into doing this page. Don't know why. Am I just a "silly sod"? I'm 83 in three week's time .. Could be dementia?

When I was a kid we used to say, "When I grow up. I'll be an engine driver, or bus driver, or fireman, or pilot an airplane."
Well, I did all of them, and here's the proof !!

Having left school aged 15 & before I went into the RAF at age 18, I had 13 jobs. I was the only one in the family who went from school into an office job. Then a shop boy .... then four jobs in bakeries. In between I was a coal man & engine cleaner/fireman.

From the age of 20 to the age of 60 ..... 40 years .... I had 16 jobs & 19 addresses.
I went from bus conductor to having my own accountancy business .. Not bad !

Retiring at the age of 60, I went into Sheltered Housing, where I have lived for a quarter of my life ! I never planned anything. It all happened by ........
 Myriad Causal Determinism ....

At the age of 16 I became an engine cleaner & progressed to being a loco fireman.
One bank holiday a fireman did not show up & as I was on "stand by" I was roped in to go to Chelmsford & be the fireman on the Britannia Class crack express train to London. The number of the engine was 70006 (not the one in the pic). I didn't know whether I was on my "arse or my elbow" ! On the run to London I could hardly stand up, yet alone fire the brute. So, the driver told me to "look out for the sticks" & he fired the thing. But ...... I had my hand on the regulator,.
So I can truthfully say that I drove a crack express locomotive .... the Britannia

For about 4 years each, I was first a conductor, then a driver. As a driver, I never had an accident ... all my collisions were deliberate ! I think I was happier as a conductor; as I was with people, and as an extrovert; that suited me. My sister Dolly was on a bus one day & heard a couple of woman talking about a "Jolly conductor". Dolly was proud to poke them and say, "That's my brother !"
So, I can truthfully say that I was a bus driver !

After the RAF I was allocated to "H" reserve. A couple of years after demob I was called up to learn how to fight in an atomic war ! ...... With the Green Goddess ! I refused to shave off my beard for just two week's training. I was the only man in the air force with a beard. (Though I think a few of the women had one! )
So, I can truthfully say that I was a fireman !

National Service. You could not get into the RAF on National Service. You had to sign up for three years.
Or, you had to have been deferred for university, or apprenticeship.
Ivor, my "brother uterine" (sibling rivalry?) spit feathers when I got into the RAF. He was in the "brown jobs" as a dispatch rider.
My other brother was in the navy, as a gunner.
To cap it all. not only did I get into the RAF I also got a trade .... almost unheard of !
Not only a trade ..... but as an "aero-engine mechanic air cooled"

Why ? Because as a youngster, I had always been interested in science.
I did photography ... developing & printing my own photos.
I built radios & sold them. I could also strip a motor-bike engine down & re-assemble it & have no bits left over !

In the RAF we had the opportunity of going up with the pilots. I was at Abingdon which was a training school.
One day a pilot says, "Airman, do you want to come up with me." It was in a Meteor trainer, as above.
I got my chute, and off we went. He asked me if I wanted to fly it straight & level. I said, "OK!"

I was OK until we went into cloud & we came out at a 45 degree angle ... !
That was not the worst. The Meteor control stick has a transmit button at the top. By mistake, I was pressing it.
The pilot said, "Let go of the button." I misheard him & let go of the stick !
He did not have control, so we went into a dive banking right. I felt sick.
When we got down, he swore at me then laughed & said that it was only his second solo flight.
So, I can truthfully say that I piloted a jet plane.
Oh .... and BTW .... while I was in the RAF ... No. 1 Parachute Training School ....
Alan Ladd was in a film with me .... "The Red Beret" ..... so there .!

So .............. What else can I brag about ?

I have been a stage hypnotist - Ki Vinca -
and had an hypnotherapy practice for two years. (The phone stopped ringing !)

I have lectured on management, computers & programming.

I presented a paper at to an august professional body in London, and voted second best.

I have contributed two articles to my professional magazine & am a Fellow of the Institute.

I have had a book published on computer programming.

I revolutionised the payment system in a motor manufacturer's,
and as a result "head hunted" for a top job in Scotland

I set up up  an accounting business & wrote all the software for managing the business,
 doing the accounting & the taxation.