North East People


‘Looking back’
Photo from pixabay
Audio version of this article.

As I write this, I’m coming up to my 86th birthday. I look back on my varied life and hope that it’s had something of worth in it.

  • From two marriages, I’ve had six children. Of the four who survive, the oldest is a lawyer; the next was a local government officer and is now a gardener; then comes a civil servant; and the youngest is a teacher.
  • I’ve taught children and adults from 3 to 53 in:
    • nursery
    • reception
    • primary schools
    • middle schools
    • secondary schools (Uganda and Britain; boarding and day)
    • a technical college, a college of education and a college of higher education
    • a polytechnic
    • three universities (Tanzania and Britain), from undergraduate to PhD.
  • I’ve been a member of the army, the navy and the airforce.
  • In my travels, I’ve been in 52 countries.
  • I describe myself as a retired teacher. But I’ve also done work as actor; book-keeper; building labourer; ice-cream seller; interpreter; long-distance bus-driver; newsreader; paint salesman; pharmaceutical rep; proof-reader; property manager; and ski rep.

I spend my time now doing voluntary work for a charity, which is really satisfying. I have owned only two houses in my life; my present one for the last 43 years and hope to live here until I die.

Looking back

As I look back upon my life, I look at the hope that we had in 1945 for peace in a fairer world. Yes, we are no longer an imperial power and we have a national health service. But (and it’s a terrifyingly big “but”) that health service is gradually being nibbled away by greedy money-grubbers.

In addition we are trashing our home planet; our government has shamelessly broken international treaties; the gap between the powerful and the oppressed has increased since the Tories took power in 2010; our education service has been refashioned as an anarchic mess based on ignorant arid notions of how children learn; we have left the largest single market in the world; and we are governed by the lying, cheating, self-serving bunch of mates who are responsible for the mess we find ourselves in. I feel that I need to apologise to younger people who are going to have to deal with this after I am dead: sorry – I should have done more.

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