Tyke. Fan of classic cameras, classic cars (especially VW dubs & minis), classical music (esp L van B, Schubert, Mahler, Mendelssohn), J S Bach, classic cuisine; Yorkshire; Romania. Anti-fan: politicians; ‘celebrities’; EU; fancy frugal ‘starred’ food.

Way back in the ’50s I was a student apprentice in the central research laboratories of one of the UK’s leading heavy engineering companies at that time, British Thomson Houston. And in 1957 I was working, in a very junior way, on components for ‘Zeta’, the British attempt to utilise the power of nuclear fusion in a beneficial way (rather than the destruction of the hydrogen bomb).

Those were the days of real apprenticeships – five years with four days a week in ‘work’ and one day, three evenings a week for a Higher National in applied physics at college (the Rugby College of Advanced Technology, now Coventry University). I remember very well that my wage in the first year was £2 11s 6d a week, of which £2 10s went for board at the apprentice hostel.

After finishing the apprenticeship I chose to go down a different path, starting over again by doing a few hours a week on a couple of weekly local newspapers, from where I went to writing about science and technology, then the management and marketing of it. Even in this field I could indulge my love of words and wordsmithing. And, in a roundabout way, it took me too into teaching English, which allowed me to pass a little of that love onto my students.

Although I chose to go in a rather different direction, I’ve never regretted those five years in BTH. If I do find the inspiration from the Higgs boson ‘discovery’, the incongruity of the photo I chose to insert in this post


might tip the balance, I’ll have even more reason to celebrate that half a decade in Rugby.

PS. The greatest influences on my life: my paternal grandmother Lucy Livesey, who introduced me to the piano (including Eileen Joyce live at Bradford’s Eastbrook hall, now just a facade), Beethoven and Delius (with Sir Thomas Beecham), opera (Carmen when I was 7 and The Flying Dutchman shortly after), books, walking, love of food and the advantages of telling the truth; John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath – which I read when in Rugby and the basis of my bloody-mindedness ever since); Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights also read as a teenager –  probably dozens of times subsequently – and I’ve been in love with her ever since, not just for the book but for what she achieved in an age when women were not supposed to write novels, let alone have them published) and, of course, her sisters for the latter reason; Dylan Thomas; Bob Dylan; Leonard Cohen; the British Thomson Houston apprenticeship; my first two full-time editors, Mike Hide, then (1962 – 1966?) editor of Chemical Age, and Fred Roberts MBE, then (1967-1970) editor of Engineering.

PPS: Romania is in there too. I say I was ‘reborn’ in the Romanian Bucovina (specifically one day in Sadova) in 1994.

I subsequently added a second ‘chapter’ to this, about how I got into journalism and other things.

29 Responses to “About”

  1. Esther Harrison Says:

    Hi Roger
    I came across your blog when looking for photos of the ecumenical institute in Iasi as a friend has been working in Iasi. Your blog brought back fond memories of our time teaching the English course in 2003. I hope you’re well. Esther

    1. grumpytyke Says:

      Hello Esther. Good to hear from you. The ‘Ecumentical Institute’ no longer exists (of course the building does, as a ‘cămin’); Daniel is now of course Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox church but Father Dan is still at the St Nicholas Church; I see him and Crina every summer when in Iași. Fond memories indeed. Are you still teaching English? If so where? Petronela now teaches high school here but not, of course, English – History, her subject, and one or two other things.

  2. Gray Summers Says:

    Hi. So glad to have found your inspirational blog. I have a Crossover VW and that’s how I found your wonderful observations and reflections. Pootling around Google looking for fellow enthusiasts and there you were. I did have/use my VW as my daily transport, but it has been under renovation processes over the last 18 months. Nearly done now. May be fit for a European travel adventure of my own…similar to your own amazing trip in Rumania. I too love black and white film (Pentax LX and 645 my choices) and your haiku simply rocks. I am a Staff Nurse and thank you for recognising our work. Bless you and Good Fortune in all you do. Gray Summers.

    1. Gray Summers Says:

      You inspired me to chase down my years old WordPress and re-energise it. I had to set up a second site though as my photography one was a bit difficult to change. But…..hey….Thank you. Still a novice but think it can be reached on:


      1. grumpytyke Says:

        Thank you so much for the interesting comments. My crossover VW is due to be sold – I just can’t handle something without power steering – but it will be a sad day when he leaves us. I’ll comment on your blog later.

  3. Iulia Halatz Says:

    Hello Roger, I would like to let you know that I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. If you find this appealing, the link is here: https://blogdecompanie.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/one-lovely-blog-award-1/.
    Please take your time. I would respect whatever is your decision for participating or not. Just please know that I do take delight in your blog and I value all the effort and imagination you put into it. And please know that I totally admire your achievements on the thorny path of Romanian language and your utterly touching words that you have shared with us. I am very happy to have met you! Yours sincerely, Iulia.

    1. grumpytyke Says:

      Hello Iulia. Thank you so much, I am honoured. However, unfortunately I cannot meet the rule of nominating another 15 bloggers though most of those I follow deserve the accolade ‘one lovely blog’, including of course yours 😘. I might, however, wander through your list of blogs you’ve nominated as I’m sure I will discover some gems. x

      1. Iulia Halatz Says:

        Thank you ❤ In my humble and not so "professional" opinion, everybody able to make his/her own words through imagination, life experience, feelings, expectation or loss, deserves accolades like Lovely 🙂 xxx
        I am honored, too.

  4. vinnieh Says:

    Great blog, will definitely be back to read more.

    1. grumpytyke Says:

      Thank you so much. I had previously made a quick visit to your blog having seen your comments on Kristina’s blog. I haven’t been to the cinema now for 4 years; I thought longer till I checked. It’s ironic as my first ever job was as a projectionist! I might comment comment more on that on your blog.

      1. vinnieh Says:

        Feel free to drop by my blog any time. It’s always open to new followers.

  5. aqilaqamar Says:

    Wow, I am really jealous. I would love to start at science like this and go into writing and all.

    1. grumpytyke Says:

      Thank you. It was a lot of fun and I don’t regret the time doing either (or anything else my wanderings have taken me into). I tried to find your blog from your gravatar but could not. Do you not have one?

      1. aqilaqamar Says:

        Yeah I do its called iconography.incomplete.blog

        1. grumpytyke Says:

          Thank you – found it!

  6. milliethom Says:

    I really enjoyed reading about your life and experiences in so many areas – you certainly have a lot to draw upon. You have so many interests, too. I love the piano – my mother was a wonderful pianist – but somehow I never had lessons as a child. Many years ago (sometime in the 1960’s) I saw the film about Eileen Joyce and enjoyed it tremendously. i would have loved to see her live. Thank you for the enjoyable read. Millie

  7. amintiridinbucatarie Says:

    Hi Tyke,

    I have nominated you for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award 🙂


    regards, Oana

  8. I enjoyed your post. My grandmother was also a huge influence in my life. I look forward to learning more from you.

    1. grumpytyke Says:

      Thank you Audrey. I really enjoyed a pretty quick meander through your blog but I’ll be back, especially to take more time with Frio.

      1. Please do! You are welcome at any time you have a cup of coffee and a bit of time. I have to say that looking back it was a bit of a struggle.

  9. Georgina Says:

    It’s great to have found your blog (and thanks for coming to visit mine too). Definitely looking forward to reading / learning much more about Yorkshire – and other places – from you. Georgina

  10. amintiridinbucatarie Says:

    so nice to read about you 🙂
    I am so glad I found you blog, regards, Oana

  11. Enjoy your blog. There’s a lot be said for enjoying the freedom of not being confined to any one subject. I suffer many such digressions. Also love Steinbeck. Sold! Tracey

  12. platypushaiku Says:

    I am nominating you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Please see my post for more details. I am loving the variety of your blog. Cheers,Ronnie

    1. grumpytyke Says:

      Thanks a lot Ronnie. At the moment I’m in Cornwall, camping in ‘Lofty’, so have very limited internet access (I’m in a pub with free wi-fi at the moment) so I won’t be able to post or do much else till I’m back home at the end of the month. I’ll follow up when I’m back home. Thaks again, grumpytyke

      1. platypushaiku Says:

        Looking forward to more of your photo haiku grumpytyke! Enjoy your camping 🙂

  13. Uma Says:

    I have to say, I love your blog.. I read a couple of posts and what I love about it is that by the end of it I feel that you have taken me to places you have been to. That is very simple and beautiful writing : )

    1. grumpytyke Says:

      Hi Uma. Many thanks for this. I’ll be thinking of what you have said when I visit wherever, and try to take you there.

  14. ©@t Says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog/phlog. 🙂

I'd love to know what you think of this post. Please leave a comment.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.