I’ve been trying to find my voice recently. You know. When you write you are supposed to have a voice. A depth of character. Something unique to you.
So I thought I’d let you into my life a little more. Let you know who I really am. And hopefully as time passes I’ll be able to talk to you on a deeper level, knowing that you know my background a little better.
1. Warned by Police for being a Ninja
Yes it’s true, I used to be a ninja. Or at least at the age of 11 I thought I was. One of my favourite pastimes at this time was dressing up as a ninja and then climbing and swinging around outside my house. One evening a passerby spotted me, I know not great ninja-ing skills, and she called the police. About 15 minutes later I was receiving a warning off the local police about wasting their time and how ninjas weren’t acceptable in those parts of Worcestershire.
2. Went to School and University in Sweden
From the ages of 5-7 my whole family moved out to a suburb of Stockholm. I was put into a local school and learnt to speak Swedish. Later in my early 20′s I went to University in Northern Sweden and studied International Marketing too. I still have a love affair with Sweden and like to visit whenever possible. It’s a great country, with clean air, lots of space and fabulous people. If you haven’t visited yet put it on your list you won’t regret it.
3. Can Perform the Splits
Spending most of my childhood practicing martial arts my flexibility has always been good. You will generally find that those with a background in martial arts, dance, gymnastics have good flexibility even into their old age. It’s a strong argument for getting kids moving at an early age, it pays dividends into later life.
4. Love Real Ale
My sister and her husband run a country pub. The ale tastes amazing, my favourite is “Hereford Pale Ale”. Beer doesn’t really agree with me so I seriously limit my consumption of it. But if ever I’m in a pub you will never catch me drinking lager, I’m a real ale man all the way!
5. Opera Speaks to my Heart
Nothing talks to me more powerfully than opera music. I’ve seen some great operas all over Europe, especially in Vienna. My favourite Opera is Puccini’s Tosca and I’m a bit of a Wagner fan too!
6. Applied to be a Stunt Man
Remember at school when they’d ask what you wanted to be when you grow up? Well I always wanted to be a stunt man, and not like the Fall Guy (if you remember the TV show), I’m talking the real deal. I went as far as to start ticking off all the qualifications and sent in an application form in my late teens. Never made it though, always struggled with the high diving part.
7. Also Run a Diamond Tools Business
In 1999 I started a diamond tools business. I pioneered a number of new products for the clock and watch industry and now sell tools all around the world. My wife currently runs the business and it’s still growing year on year.
8. Been to Every Country in Europe except Ireland
It’s funny how we often miss what’s right underneath our noses. I love to travel and adore the mixed culture of Europe but I have never ventured over to Ireland. I train lots of Irish clients so I must get over there soon.
9. My Creative Skills are Zero
I received an ‘F’ for art at school and really struggle with design visually. It’s ironic that all my close friends are artists of one sort or another, some are performance artists, others documentary makers and others musicians. If you are an expert at design then I would love to hear from you. I need some help with my website and with other projects.
10. Love Blue Cheese especially Stilton
Cheese has to be my Achilles Heel. I generally don’t eat dairy because it does’t agree with me but when Stilton is around I go weak at the knees. I remember at university stealing my best friends wheel of Stilton. He went nuts but it was worth it.
11. Rarely Read Fiction
I love to read but spend most of my time reading non-fiction stuff, usually about Philosophy, Business, Nutrition or Anatomy and Physiology. My wife gets through at least 1 fiction book per week but for me it tends to be much drier material. I should read more non-fiction for escapism but there are only so many hours in the day.
12. I’m a Huge Film Lover
I rarely watch regular TV but I am a total film addict. I love all movies from old to the new, art house to Hollywood. I’m a big fan of the Cohen Brothers but haven’t heard great things about their latest film Gambit.
13. Don’t Like Football
As a kid I was in all the football teams both for my School and local town. Now I can’t get into it. I don’t like the play acting on the field and I don’t like the idiots beating the shit out of each other because their team lost. What is it about the UK and football that turns a usually sane individually into a drunken lunatic.
14. Had Serious Asthma until my 20′s
I missed a lot of school as a kid due to asthma. I spent a lot of time taking inhalers and going for tests. I was actually born premature too and had breathing problems from birth. Martial Arts and fitness I believe helped me through it. Now I don’t suffer at all but my wife does and we are working at ways to improve her breathing.
15. Bit of a Workaholic
When you work doing something you love it often seems strange to admit that you work too much. But I do spend too much time working on my business, sometimes up to 16 hour days. The problem is when I’m not working I’m often thinking about work. Learning to switch off is a real challenge for me. Meditation, Walking in the Mountains and playing Sports all act as a great distraction.
16. Used to Ride A Classic Motorbike
Wow, I loved riding that Triumph Bonneville. I don’t really care much about cars but a good old fashioned motorbike is a love affair. Every summer I’m tempted to get another motorbike, maybe next year. I also have a plan with a friend of mine to ride across the width of the USA on a couple of Harley’s. We have given ourselves another 3 years to get it done!
17. Have a Degree in Philosophy
You may have expected me to study Sport Science of something similar at University but I wanted to do something different. I chose Philosophy because it teaches you to think. Most education teaches you to remember facts. With Philosophy you can apply thought processes and rational reasoning to any subject, it’s a fundamental skill and totally practical.
18. Allergic to Horses
The irony here is that my mum worked with horses most of her life and my sister was a keen horse rider too. I remember ever Wednesday having to sitting in the car for an hour while my sister took lessons. I’ve never ridden a horse but maybe now I could handle it.
19. Went to College in Michigan
At the age of 20 I was going nowhere. I worked at the local supermarket but didn’t have any direction to speak of. I knew I needed a drastic change so I shipped off to college in Northern Michigan for a year. This really was the turning point in my life. Not only did I meet my best friend who inspired me more than any other but I discovered education. I’ve been a scholar ever since and will never stop learning.
20. Achieved my Black Belt at 16
Martial Arts was my life up until the age of 21. I absorbed books, watched all the films and trained daily. I’ve now studied 12 different styles and taught in 3 countries. I’ve trained with the World Champion and been knocked out by him several times. Nothing has shaped my health and fitness more that my martial arts.
21. Mum thinks I’m Selfish
Sorry mum if you are reading this. I’ve always been very focused and when I set my sights on something I keep going until I get it. In my Mum’s eyes this comes across as being selfish but for me it about giving everything to achieve your dreams. I’m a very happy and positive person because I learn from every experience and I’m relentless in achieving my goals.
22. Have a Dragon Tattoo
Actually its a Lizard tattoo but it could be mistaken for a dragon. At the age of 18 while surfing down in Newquay my friend and I got branded. Yes it’s a Lizard Tattoo and no it doesn’t look that cool anymore. It also put a stop to that weeks surfing because we had to avoid water at all costs.
23. Once was a Tree Surgeon
I had many jobs after I left school but this was my favourite. Being a tree surgeon in the Cotswold’s was great. Lots of tree climbing, throwing around heavy chainsaws and logs, and wearing a flannel shirt everyday. I almost bought the pickup truck but didn’t quite make it.
24. Silly Sense of Humour
Most of my friends know me for my sense of humour. It’s silly. Lots of Dad jokes. Making up songs. And generally being cheeky. I also love films by the Farrelly Brothers and one of my favourite comedies is Happy Gilmore!
25. My Sister was the Risk Taker
As a child I used to climb a lot of trees. My cousin and I would set up rope slides in the garden from one tree to another. But when it came to testing them that was my sisters job. We were both to scared to go first so my sister would slide across them. Luckily nothing ever broke but my sister certainly had more courage than the two of us back then.
26. Started my First Business at Aged 10
I’m not sure if you remember but back in the 80′s fluorescent socks were all the rage. I had this great idea of creating sweatbands out of my fluorescent socks by cutting them into strips. I then sold the sweatbands at school. The business took off and within weeks everyone in the school had my old socks all up their arms. The business came to crashing end after one school disco when the sweatbands got banned but not before I staggered home with 2 loaded pockets full of 10p’s.
27. Great Great Grandfather was Famous Cricketer
Cricket is my favourite sport. I love to play and to watch. I started at a very early age practicing with my grandfather. It wasn’t until later that I discovered that Sydney Barnes was a relative of mine. And for those of you who don’t follow cricket Sydney Barnes is still regarded as one of the finest bowlers in the history of cricket.
28. Used to Mediate in the Wardrobe
That’s right as a young boy I was into mediation. When I travelled to visit my aunt over in Florida she caught me one day sitting cross legged in her walk in wardrobe mediating. I was a strange child.
29. I’m Tone Deaf but my Wife’s a Singer
I’m very proud of my wife she’s an incredible woman and definitely the love of my life. She used to be a professional singer and in a popular band in the 90′s. She once had a no.1 hit in the USA dance charts. She often makes fun of me being tone deaf. She says I’m the only person who can play the guitar in one key and sing in another. We both love music and its a big part of both of our lives.
30. Qualified Climbing Instructor
I love the outdoors and from the age of 12 I have been into rock climbing. I thought that I would work in outdoor pursuits or something similar but it never quite happened. I still climb whenever I can but the level of difficulty has declined over the years. I now prefer long climbs over the short ridiculously hard ones.
31. Failed English at School
Yes it’s true. I received an ‘E’ for English at school. I hated school. I didn’t pay much attention. If it wasn’t for school sports I think I would have really struggled. It’s interesting how I ended up taking an English based degree and now spend hours each day writing. I know my English isn’t great but I won’t let that stop me and it shouldn’t stop you from writing either.
32. Happiest in the Mountains
My wife teases me because every time we go to the Alps or Snowdonia I tell her “I’m happiest in the mountains”. Its true. I love it there. I like the sea but for me the mountains are my spiritual home. I hope to spend my coming years spending more and more time exploring all the worlds great mountain ranges.
33. Spotted Dicks my Favourite Dessert
If you are from the USA or have never heard of it before then I suggest you look it up but be careful what you type. It’s basically a suet pudding that is steamed. I had it at my wedding and my mum cooks it for me sometimes when I visit. Spotted Dick with custard, nothing could be finer.
34. Going Bald Rapidly
It seems to be the source of many of my dad’s jokes but my hair is falling out. It seems I’m destined to have short hair now until my dying days. I sometimes dream of my think blonde hair that I had in my surfing days but sadly it’s now a distant memory. And before you say it no hair implants are not on the cards.
Hopefully now you understand a little more about me and when we talk in the future you will know what makes me tick.
Does any of this resonate with you?
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