Tell us a little about yourself.
I did my degree in Electronic Engineering and then took the Computer Science Diploma at Cambridge University. After spending 15 months in Sri Lanka with Voluntary Service Oversees teaching maths and physics, I spent my career in IT, latterly as an Information Assurance Consultant. I retired at the end of 2013 and live in Harpenden. I have a wife and two grown-up daughters.
When did you start repairing electronics and electricals?
I possibly learned to read a simple circuit diagram before I learned to read English! After messing around with batteries, bulbs and switches from a very early age, I soon graduated to electronics with a crystal set on which I used to listen to the Goon Show in bed after running home from Cubs on a Monday night. I’ve maintained an interest in electronics ever since but my first repair, probably around 50 years ago, is long since lost in the mists of time.
Why do you attend Restart Parties?
I enjoy the friendly atmosphere, and being amongst a very diverse group of people who are keen to learn what goes on inside their boxes and to share their own knowledge and skills. Perhaps best of all is the smile on someone’s face when an old piece of equipment and a trusty friend to the owner is brought back to life.
What is your favourite kind of repair?
I like a repair where I can learn something new, maybe by taking something apart that I haven’t tackled before. But most of all, I like a simple fix that fixes something that started out looking like an obscure or complicated problem.
What do you do when you are not Restarting?
I’ve been a member of a large choir since the ’70s, in which we perform the major choral works in St Albans Cathedral, usually with professional soloists and orchestras. I’m a member of our local church and, together with my wife, lead services around once a month. Naturally, I also look after the computer we use for projection. Since retiring, I’ve been helping kids in a local school with their Raspberry Pi projects in their lunchtime Computer Club, and helping people on the public computers in the library one afternoon a week.
What frustrates you (in life)?
At the moment, not a lot. I’m enjoying retirement far too much!
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
A cup of coffee (caffeinated). After that, the world starts to come into focus.
What’s the first thing – one material thing – that you could not live without? (besides oxygen, food, water, and shelter and medical care)
Music isn’t a material thing, so I’ll go for the means to listen to it.
Share something cool with us [preferably a link]
A few years ago I had a spell of kite making after acquiring a sewing machine for £5 at the church fête. Fascinated by the huge variety of shapes and sizes of kites which have been constructed over the years I put together the Virtual Kite Zoo which has been online for almost 20 years, though hardly updated in recent times.
Thank you for attempting to repair my coffee grinder last night even though it was obviously past restoration.
Being a clumsy clod myself, it was also fascinating to watch your engineers hard at their intricate work and so obviously enjoying it too.
Restart is a great idea, especially so for a semi-Gandhian like me, since we believe that waste of any kind is a form of violence.
Keep up the good work!