Things I Like
I wanted part of this site to be dedicated to things I enjoy doing, seeing or being part of that aren’t necessarily related to digital imaging or the internet.
I have been passionate about photography for decades and as far as I can see, it will be with me for keeps. I feel lucky and privileged that I get to do what I love for a living…something that has been with me since I was a child. However, as well as a passion for photography and video, there are numerous other things, some of which no doubt haven’t even been invented yet, that I love doing or dabbling with.
Early signs of my geekness were probably when I received a chemistry set as a young boy…iron filings and magnets held my attention for weeks! I also remember as a 14/15 year old, writing my first bit of machine code on the ZX Spectrum. I created a Western Cowboy graphic using binary (all 1′s and 0′s) which you could move left and right on the screen using the arrow keys and an INKEYString function. Then an arrow would appear from the right and land in his head…
I saved the file to an old cassette tape and called it “Turdie J”…not sure why but I wish I could find it!
I was also heavily into snooker at one point and was so desperate to play, I made a small snooker table with “balls” made of tightly rolled tin foil and fashioned a cue out of a BIC biro. I eventually bought my own cue and used to play quite a bit with friends in both Dover and London when we moved there.
At 16 (just before my 17th birthday) I got my first motorbike, a Yamaha DT50 which I occasionally stripped down to clean the carburettor and de-coke the exhaust pipe in the desperate hope of making it go faster. I was amazed when, after putting it back together, it still worked but alas, with barely any noticeable increase in speed. I eventually swapped this for an old Italian Benelli 250, it was a beast and I loved it although it nearly killed me once.
I was only 17 and desperate to ride it up our street (I hadn’t passed my test yet) but the chain wasn’t attached properly as the bit that held the joining split link was missing. Still, I roared up the road and luckily I had my crash helmet on because the chain whipped off the sprocket and nearly split the helmet in two…lucky escape and lesson learned.
I also owned over the years,
I absolutely love the freedom and adrenaline rush that motorbikes give me and plan to have another very soon ; )
Update October 2014: I now ride the Z1000 pictured below…happy days.
This love of bikes led to one of the best experiences of my life so far back in 2009…
There are a few things in my past that make me cringe but I don’t dwell on them and I certainly don’t regret them. Everything that has happened up to now has happened and has shaped the way my life is today and I am a pretty happy bunny. There are some things however, that I feel quite chuffed about. Things where I have pushed myself to the limit and just gone for it! I am 45 as I write this and still feel the need to push myself…
In 2008, whilst i was watching “a long way down” with Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor, my wife threw a newspaper at me opened at a page that read “Enduro Africa, The Ride for Life”! This was an experience that the previous year had seen the 2 Princes (William and Harry) do the exact same ride…I just had to be a part of it.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to unleash my adrenaline whilst hopefully doing some good for various charities and good causes. Before I had even “asked for permission”, I was on the computer and signing up for Enduro Africa 2009 with a £500 deposit. It turned out to be one of the most challenging, grueling and enjoyable experiences of my life so far.
8 days riding over 1000 miles (off road) through some of South Africa and the Wild Coast’s toughest terrain
At the end of it there were bruises, broken bones and more serious injuries from many of the 100 or so riders but all agreed it was well worth it. It was some of the hardest riding I have ever known and it really pushed me to my limits as a bike rider…amazing! You can see some of the highlights in the video below and also read my diary here: Enduro Africa 2009 Diary
My motto is that if an opportunity raises its head, take it!
Back in 1989, I was 22 and working in a pretty lame, poorly paid office job in Surrey. My brother and a few friends that I lived with all worked for a company called Crystal Holidays in Surbiton…a fun little company that enabled us to all go skiing once a year free of charge (each staff member got a free yearly holiday and could take a +1).
I remember someone talking about needing bar staff to work the seasonal ski train that ran from Calais to Bourg-St-Maurice in the French Alps each week. Without hesitation I offered my services and then swiftly asked my boss if I could have the next 16 Fridays off…my entire years leave in one staggered block. He said yes.
I would finish work on the Thursday evening, head off to Dover on my Yamaha DT 125, stay at a local B & B run by a ski train rep and then the fun would begin!
Friday saw myself, another barman and the bar manager head over to France on the ferry, drive around Calais in a funky little Citroen collecting food and booze from the local hypermarket. We would then go to Calais train station and board the mighty ski train from the very low platform. We would then set about making around 800 ham and cheese rolls for that nights party (as well as sampling the French beer and playing poker).
At around 7pm, the ferry would arrive with 600 young skiers and as they passed the silver bar in the center of the train, we would ramp up the music and pipe it right down through all the carriages to let them know where we were and our intentions for that night.
The train would judder to a start at around 8pm and the bar would start to fill as we headed south. At around 6am, once the party was over and the last revellers had left the bar, I would grab maybe an hours sleep until I awoke again to see the snow covered Alps trundling past. The three of us, plus a few reps would choose where to ski on the Saturday whether it was Tignes, Val D’Isere or Les Arcs…joy!
After a solid days skiing, sunbathing and occasionally topping up on alcohol, we would head back to the train and ready ourselves for that night when we would bring 600 young skiers home. On our arrival into Dover, I would get on the DT 125 and head back to Surbiton and sleep until Monday morning when I would return to the office with a tan and tales of my skiing exploits.
I must say, that was one of the best jobs I have ever had…skiing every weekend plus a few extra £££’s in my pocket.
As I said before, if an opportunity raises its head, take it and work out the logistics later…life is for living!
When I was at college (aged 19), a girl in our class decided to raise some money for Cancer Research by organising a parachute jump. Bravado took a hold and I gladly accepted the challenge and set about raising my sponsorship money for the jump and charity. The training at Headcorn Parachute Club was excellent and the jump even more so. A 2000 foot static line jump with an ancient, round parachute. We loved it so much, we did a second jump almost immediately.
5 years later when I was working in Surrey, I got the urge again and organised a works jump for charity once again. Training great, jump was great and on a square parachute this time…much easier and we did a second jump again. I thought that was it, the end of my parachuting days until another 5 years later…
I was living in Surrey and my friends were all starting to settle down, I was at a loss and the one place that kept coming into my head was the wonderful Headcorn Parachute Club. I could resist the calling no more and just for the hell of it, I thought I would head down there just to refresh my memory about those wonderful jumps.
That weekend I got chatting to a couple of people, then a couple more joined in, then a few more and before long, the “crazy gang” had formed and were all training together. My first freefall from 4,500 feet on the 2nd August 1997 was an event in itself as I missed the handle first time and continued in freefall but got it second time. I think the rush of accelerating speed that came without the usual pull of the static line opening the chute for me threw me a bit!
A few more eventful skydives as you work your way up the ladder from 4,500 feet to “the top” which is 10,000 feet, followed by some dive exits, unstable exits, tracking, turning and back loops and then came my qualifying jump on December 27th 1997. This was 2 days after Christmas and after sleeping on a pub floor a little worse for wear from the previous night!
From that point on I could jump at any drop-zone from pretty much any height I wanted and immediately got into sit-flying and attempted freeflying. We jumped at Headcorn and Langar in the UK and the crazy gang had a week of skydiving in Empuriabrava in Spain. The next year, I sacked my boss and moved to Gran Canaria where I continued to jump from their tiny little plane that dropped us off 10,000 feet above one of the busiest beaches. Landing in front of all those holidaymakers was always cool I have to admit!
It wasn’t always plain sailing as I had a few malfunctions, including one serious one where I rode my reserve chute and later (video below), we were to lose one of our gang members in a freak accident and another friend/instructor/pilot in another malfunction. RIP Taz and Andy.
Unfortunately all my skydiving videos were stolen when we were burgled in Spain but some nice friends put together a tape for me:
I stopped jumping in Gran Canaria when my bottle completely went after another malfunction in which my canopy collapsed at around 1,000 feet. However, I have been getting the urge again lately…
Skydiving in Gran Canaria
On the right of this page is a sidebar where I will add links to new things I do, see or like that I think anyone may be interested in. I am planning on visiting a local dirt track for mountain bikes soon so that I can test out my Go Pro HD Hero 3 filming my inevitable accidents. Watch this space!
Professional photographer, videographer, qualified, licensed and insured drone pilot and internet marketer working from Weymouth in Dorset.
I mainly shoot aerial video and photography, weddings, stock and commercial projects but am open to challenges. I work anywhere within Dorset, the UK and abroad.
Married with 2 kids ; )