I was born with my father away “up north” and lived my first 6 years with Mom at gran and great gran in Port Alfred.
A few years after Dad returned he got me into the boy scouts where I ended with a Queen’s Scout award (yes, Queen!) and a wonderful trip to UK for the 50th anniversary of scouting World Jamboree, attended by 35 000 boys from nearly 90 nations, a seminal experience. Our trip to UK was extended to visits to Holland, Belgium, France and Northern Ireland, a huge privilege at the cost of £250! Scouting ended with leadership experience at patrol, troop and Jamborally camp levels.
I read mechanical engineering at Natal University and a brother and two sisters joined the family while dad worked to rebuild from the effects of the war-time economy. An Iscor bursary funded the university years which required working the loan back at Iscor, but it became clear that the consequences of 1948 gave me no future in a state owned organization. I had had the benefits of a great school, Pretoria Boys High, at which an English master told me that if ever I left engineering, I should do something with writing, so I studied law and became a Patent Attorney, writing patent specifications, in which profession I spent my working life. A partner and I built the firm from an insignificant practice in a suburban home to third position in the country, experience in patent trials in the TPD in Pretoria and the AD in Bloemfontein were deeply satisfying experiences; I seem in retrospect to have specialized in defending against more powerful opponents, where several times I managed that “right” triumphed over “might”. Scouting deeply imbues the principle of service and I served as Chairman of N. Branch of the SA Inst. Mech. Engineers and President of the SA Inst. of Intellectual Property Law.
Three children were raised in my first marriage, from which I now have grandchildren in UK and SA, a second marriage took me by surprise as I adopted my wife’s three children and have raised them too, capped by another “surprise”, a daughter who is just now finishing her school career. Having moved to the West Coast in the Cape my wife and I now enjoy retirement in Port Owen, where I indulge my love of sailing and have served as chairman of the Port Owen Marina Authority and now Commodore of the Port Owen Yacht Club.”