I was born in Birkenhead, on the Wirral, and went to school in Wallasey [St Alban’s] and Birkenhead [St Anselm’s]. As if I need to say, my Welsh-Irish-English family was Catholic. Some of it still is. The rest is Jewish.


At 18, I went off on VSO to the Seychelles, where I acquired my second foreign language, Creole. Presupposing we exclude Scouse and Latin, my first had been French at school. It has to be said Creole hasn't been a lot of use to me since


After an idyllic year in the Seychelles [as yet no any tourism and 7 females for every male], I went up to King’s College, London to read law. After graduating, I decided a career in the law was not for me and joined a pharmaceutical company as a ‘Commercial Assistant’ in the ‘Overseas [South & East]’ department. They don’t give titles like this any more. My university colleagues went on to be solicitors, barristers and, of course, politicians. This is why they’re now all richer than me and, in one or two cases, very much more famous. As if I care.


Within a couple of years, I was working in Iran, where I learned my next language, Farsi. This has been marginally more useful that Creole as, down the years, I’ve been able to translate various banners, such as those recommending Death to the Shah. Or its close relative, Death to the Great Satan.


After 3 or 4 years back in the UK – and a short stint at Harvard Business School learning a bit of American – I went out to the Far East to work in Jakarta. Here I picked up my next not-terribly-useful language, Indonesian. Shortly after I left Jakarta, there was an Islamic revolution, just as there had been after I’d left Iran. My work colleagues began to take an interest in where I would be working next.


This was, in fact, the UK, where I stayed for the next 15 years, prior to retiring early and emigrating to Spain in 2000. Here, of course, I’ve picked up my 6th language. And, at last, another useful one.


Along the way, I’ve been married twice and divorced twice.


And I have 2 daughters. Faye is 33, lives in central Madrid, teaches English and is working on her third novel. Hannah is 28 and teaches English in a large Catholic school in Leeds. Happily for both of them, they get their looks from their mother.


Finally - to answer the question I’m most frequently asked – I came to Galicia because my second wife had lived here and we used to come on holiday. It recommended itself as a place in which to retire and take advantage of everything that ‘Green Spain’ has to offer. Especially the wines and the seafood.