​​Living: A Memoir

There is no doubt we live in extraordinary times.

In my lifetime, we have gone from bust to boom and back again, both locally and more recently globally, perhaps a dozen times.  There have been Conservative and Labour governments aplenty, and even the ragtag LibDems got in on the act in Cameron's Coalition.  In the US, the Democratic and Republican parties swap places in a never ending round of personal abuse and broken policies in an arguably broken electoral system.  Devasted nations across Europe pulled together to form a cumbersome and poorly governed EU, looking for peace and prosperity (and until recently finding it), and welcomed former Soviet satellite states with the fall of Communist ideology and resultant break up of the USSR.  Germany and Japan, on the losing side in World War 2, grew spectactularly to become world powers and the biggest ecocnomies in the world (after the US, of course).  Former colonies like Brazil and India, a resurgant and once more independent Russia and the huge China have joined them, whilst Britian's power and influence on world events has shrunk.  And of course there has been the apparently unstoppable rise of Islamic fundamentalism and other largely religion driven global terrorism.

In the City, we have a moved from quillpens and ledgers, through mainframe and personal computers to tablets and now devices you carry in your trouser pocket that carry more computing power than took Apollo 11 to the Moon and back.   No longer do you need to visit your bank manager for a stressful interview to obtain a loan: use an app on your bank's website via your mobile to do it online.  Radio lost ground to television, which in turn is losing out to downloads on your pc, tablet and phone, and the way people listen to music went from vinyl to tape to CD to digital downloads.  Printed entertainment - newspapers,  magazines, books - have gone online too.......you're reading, this right?

The Apollo program was not even the greatest feat in aviation: there followed a re-usable space shuttle, and probes that are now travelling beyond the Solar System, landing on other planets and moons, and even comets moving at tens of thousands of miles an hour.  And all of them sending back huge amounts of information that daily improve our knowledge of how the Universe works.  And yet, when I was born most airliners were either converted World War2 bombers or based on them, and had piston engines and propellers.  By the time I was 20, we had jet engines and jumbo jets and supersonic Concorde.

Our climate is changing, and argument rages as to whether this is a natual cyclical phenomenon, or a result of man's addiction to fossil fuels.  Once common and splendid animals like the elephant, the giant panda and even the blue whale, are fighting a battle against extinction, and tropical rainforests are being decimated, often illegally, on a daily basis.

Extraordinary times, indeed.  The world is changing before our eyes.

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Living: A Memoir, mixes the story of how a working class kid from a council estate grew up to work in the financial services and IT industries (that neither mum nor dad ever understood), going from a rented council house to his own four-bedroom detached house, and now a small flat in another country (and raised two families along the way), with the tumultous changes in the world at large and  how they affected him and his loved ones.  It is a story about ordinary people living ordinary lives, while all this extraordinary stuff is going on around them - often unnoticed.

It's a work in progress that I hope will answer the "what were you doing when you were my age, dad?" questions that my kids sometimes throw at me, in what I hope is an entertaining and interesting way, that will be enjoyed by everyone - not only my family.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Luxembourg 26 September 2017