I was born in London in 1933. I have one brother, older by two years. Our father's death in 1938 and being sent for safe keeping to South Africa during World War 2 were major impacts on our childhood. If I have writing genes, I inherited them from my maternal grandfather, F S Oliver (Alexander Hamilton, The Endless Adventure, The Anvils of War) while antipathy to intrusive Government is a Recusant tradition.
Dyslexia blighted my school days and I left early to work on a ranch in what is now Zimbabwe. I returned to England aged 18 for military service and served as a subaltern in the 16th/5th Lancers. Racing across open country in a Centurion tank is fun! So were my mid to late twenties back in Africa which included a moderately insane trip to the then Belgium Congo crocodile hunting, and a year running a trading schooner on the East African coast before joining Desert Locust Control for which I worked in Kenya's Northen Frontier Province, Somalia and the Ogaden Province of Ethiopia - imagine a vast game reserve. Being shot at occasionally went with the territory.
Early friendships with the co-directors of the cult movie, Performance, Nick Roeg and Donald Cammel, introduced me to the wider world of the arts and actor Antony Quail encouraged me to write my first novel, Even With The Shutters Closed. Locust Control and the Ogaden were the background. Well reviewed, it earned me £80! Undeterred, I have been privileged in making writing and travel my primary occupations in an already undeservedly long life, and have been fortunate to live in and experience a varierty of cultures: Spain/Ibiza, Greece, France, Afghanistan and the Indian subcontinet, the Dominican Republic and, finally, Cuba for four years before returning to our cottage here in my beloved Herefordshire.