I was born in Blackburn, Lancashire on Halloween, 1949, in a different world, where coal was delivered by horse and cart, as was sarsaparilla and ginger beer on a Saturday afternoon. Like any boy of my age, I wore sleeveless tank tops, which were short, and shorts which were long. I would prick tar bubbles in the street and long to be a mythical hero with winged sandals and the patronage of Athena. It was not to be. I had a blessedly traditional education at St John’s C of E School and was a chorister though I never stunned with a top C, nor, as a boy scout did I have my arms poulticed with badges. However, I did well enough and had the scabbed knees of a proper boy instead. At camp in a farmer’s field in Tockholes (we were too poor to go anywhere exotic like ‘abroad’) I had a pet earwig called Clarence who only had one pincer which rendered him safe and amiable. At eleven, I won a scholarship to QEGS where I found myself to be a very small fish, and where class came to matter quite painfully at first. There was some mediocre teaching but I was lucky enough to be nurtured from the third form onward by three inspirational masters. I was rather good at French and English, but abysmal at Maths. I loved Latin but found it unnecessarily hard and would go into reveries about how ancient Romans could possibly have spoken to each other with any fluency I’ll have those dormouse pies, please. Wait while I fiddle in my purse for a few sesterces and stick the verb at the end. Then, I would be awoken by Thomson, what is the third person plural, perfect tense of obliviscor? This was my Old Etonian form master, whose hair was pomaded into tiny curls and whose voice slipped into your guts like a stiletto. My nicknames were Twig, after a character in a forgotten play, and Plum in the Sixth Form, thanks to the Beano. I did a lot of acting. My first role was as a milkmaid (in French) though I graduated to Prince Hal in Henry IV. I went up to Downing College, Cambridge to read English, having never been further south than Pwlleli. At first, I was unhappy and thought I should have been at drama school, but I soon became bedazzled by it all and in the end took a first, went on to do research and was awarded a Bye-fellowship. I was too young to appreciate all this treasure and no doubt prodigally wasted much of my youth. But that is not a new story. Life accelerates, or living it does. I went on teach at Leicester University. I moved to Wales and wrote a lot of stories. I taught in schools in London and was briefly Headmaster of a theatre school. I have taken risks, lost out and been on the skids in the suburbs. I have worked as a deputy hotel manager, a doctors receptionist, office manager to a scaffolding firm, and as an auxiliary nurse in a geriatric ward. I now teach English at a school in Lincoln under the shadow of the most beautiful cathedral in Europe. In Winter I can see it from the garden; it invites me to aspire.