I entered this world the gentleman's way, by caesarian section on Tuesday the 11th of April 1950 in Dundee, Scotland. My mother, Florence, was a schoolteacher and my father, Edmund, was a coal miner. Both of them came from the South Riding of Yorkshire.

The family moved to Ilford, East of London when I was a baby, and it was in a terraced house in Ilford that I grew up.

I attended a preparatory school at Woodford Wells, a bus journey of about 45 minutes. Later I went to Wanstead County High School. It was in my first year there when I was eleven that my father died suddenly of a heart attack. It affected me greatly and my secondary school years were more unhappy than most.

I went to London University to study Botany and Chemistry. The immediate freedom that I discovered there seemed marvelous when compared to the restrictions of my former school and home life. I found enjoyment that I had missed for too long.

My first job was with the Greater London Council as an administrative officer. I was meant to be the oil that lubricated the cast government machine, but instead the work was boring and futile. After five years I taught myself a programming language, APL, and soon afterwards I left for the real world.

Learning APL was a revelation to me. It made sense of the mathematical gibberish that I had been taught at school. Moreover, I could make a computer do what I wanted. It was bliss to have a creative outlet that also had commercial value.

After a few years I was privileged to join I.P. Sharp Associates, the foremost APL company in the world and mix with the originators of the language and some extremely intelligent people. I rose to be the UK Development Manager. This was a most happy period.

The company was bought by Reuters in 1987 and I moved too, along with the products, the customers, and the office furniture. Soon all the bright people had either left or been sacked, and so began the fourteen years in the wilderness of Reuters employment. Somehow I and my team survived unnoticed among the politicking and perpetual reorganisation that characterise Reuters until we emerged with a successful product that was acclaimed by customers and which became the market leader in its area.

Finally on 31st December 2001, I handed in notice to leave Reuters with a redundancy package and an ambition to do something more fulfilling.

This is the present point.