My roots are in heritage, archaeology and community campaigning. I was still a teenager when we prevented an urban expressway destroying the heart of Northampton. But I am most proud of helping save Radley Lakes in Oxfordshire. Once destined to be filled with waste ash from Didcot power station, the lakes are now a wonderful nature reserve.
There have been bad times. My science-based company failed when I didn’t react to a shifting market quickly enough. Telling my team that they have no jobs any more was one of the most painful moments of my life – but we’ve all done well since. I’ve had other tough times too, including bouts of depression and a mercifully short period of sleeping rough.
But I prefer to remember the good times. Long before I was in business, I taught myself archaeology at school and spent ten years studying and digging Roman and Anglo-Saxon sites. I fine-tuned my computer skills teaching staff and students at the Open University. I even survived four years in the scientific civil service, driving up the quality of social science research. But I’m not a natural bureaucrat and that’s why I set up my own company.
In Oxfordshire, I turned the Campaign to Protect Rural England into a campaigning organisation. But I wanted more time to write.
That’s why I moved to Shropshire – to write history books, to walk the hills, to enjoy our wonderful food and beer, and to be in the company of friendly people.
Now I am also a Shropshire Councillor with the ambition of helping Ludlow and its people thrive.