I was born in Hastings in 1957, a town still showing some of the ravages of the Second World War & indeed there were still bomb sites on which we were forbidden as children to play. There I think my lifelong love of “sad Victorian seaside towns” began! We lived in Boyne Road until I was 3 & then moved to a large detached house in Ore just before Old London Road becomes The Ridge. Little did I realise at the time, as I walked up Grove Road to school, how close I was to my family history even then.
Thursday, 18th October marks the funeral of my aunty Joan who lived in Three Oaks. Her passing & the sale of the bungalow in Butchers Lane brings to an end an association with the village & the area that goes back over a century. Harborough’s Nursery at Guestling Thorne was started by my grandmother’s grandfather, Henry Charles Harborough & continued by his son Russell. The brickworks on Dolham Hill was managed by my great grandfather who lived in Three Oaks & with the Harboroughs helped to build up Three Oaks Methodist chapel. My great grandmother & grandmother were both village midwives & also laid out the dead. My Dad & Grandad both played cricket for Guestling & my aunt & two great aunts played for the League winning Guestling Ladies Stoolball team of 1952.
As a family we moved to Essex in 1967 where I attended school & college until 1976. I worked in a draughting office, accountants & was a civil servant in & around Colchester until 1984 when I entered Government IT & moved with my wife & 3 children to Shropshire. With a number of successful high profile projects behind me I finally left IT in 2004 & with my wife moved to Ireland. There I ran a Renewable Energy business until the collapse of the Irish economy in 2008.
From 2010 I became Chief IT Architect of the National Trust but I had to resign & return to Ireland in April 2012 for family reasons. We returned to the UK in September that year to support our daughter who had cancer. After 39 years of marriage my wife divorced me in 2016 forcing me to become a Postie for 18 months to pay the legal costs & maintain myself. I retired in 2017 & moved to Yorkshire.