As a boy, staying with friends and relatives during school holidays (my family were all in the USA for 3 years) I’d cycle into the country with my watercolours and enjoyed painting, usually including buildings. I even got “O” level art in addition to the subjects required for eventual admission to medical school. That was the extent of my artistic experience except for a lifelong tendency to take photographs. A hint of the future was that on approaching my goal of being a doctor, just before finals, I realised that there were choices to be made beyond that ambition: what did I want to do now? “Architecture”, I thought. But another long training after medicine was out of the question and anyway, I discovered that the job of being Frank Lloyd Wright was already taken, so medicine it was for years to come. I was lucky; I had a charmed life – “wafted by a favouring gale”, like Nanki-Poo. Meanwhile, making our home into a lived-in work of art, gardening (I called it our Home Made Heaven) and cooking provided outlets for my creative instincts.
On retirement from medicine and a little break the idea of a dabble in clay was appealing. I approached the muddy edge of the subject and in no time was plunging in ever deeper and increasingly fascinated. Fortunate as ever, I’d splashed down on the edge of the best possible pond for me: the teaching at City & Islington College by Daphne Carnegy was inspirational and I took every course available until after 4 years I had a certificate saying that I had a BTEC (not sure what that means!) but had run out of options there. I now had wings ready to take me to the wider and even more exciting seashore of university.