Richard was born at the site of the old Workhouse in the industrial town of Bedford. In later life he discovered it was also the place in which his great, great, grandfather had died a pauper in 1885. Richard grew up in a Victorian terraced house with only a small sunless concrete yard for a garden, a house in which water came from a solitary cold tap and heat from a solitary coal fire. Those were the days in which many of the 1840's street slums were being demolished for future development, and when vegetables, coal and milk were sold door to door from a horse and cart. He attended the same schools as did his grandmother before him, and with the exception of one truly brilliant English teacher, Richard's education was all it needed to be for the factory fodder so many were destined to become. It was an intimidating school, with violence and abuse frequently perpetrated by teachers and pupils alike.

After leaving school, Richard pursued a scientific career until he joined the fire service in the summer of 1974, working long antisocial shifts to make ends meet. He endured fire-fighting during the drought year of 1976 and he was made union branch secretary just before the gruelling ten week Fire Services strike of 1977/78. To better his life style and that of his family he moved Counties where they lived in a rural community, growing vegetables and keeping chickens in the sort of town where you could still leave your keys in the car while shopping.

Richard says he has been kept 'reasonably sane' by the practice of Aikido (in which he attained 3rd Dan) and his fascination with the spiritual development of the 'Self' through the absorbing art of Tai Chi, in which he has become a well-respected teacher.

Richard began to travel in the later years of his life, and has made numerous trips to both Russia and China. On retirement, Richard returned to the land of his ancestors in the South West of England, and it is here where he has been inspired to put pen to paper, writing metaphorically in the blood of his life, and of his own understandings.


Joined: October 2012

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Word Count: 1,564

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