Who the F##K is
Alice Peter N Bernfeld?
For one of the few times in my life I took the conventional route and was born at an early age. Apparently as soon as I could walk I was always wandering off down the road but in the dim and distant days of the middle of the last century you were allowed to do that without Social Services taking you into care and prosecuting your parents. Over the years, I’ve lived and worked in various places and have a number of ex-professions to my name. It’s all been jolly interesting and it isn’t over until they fill in your grave. Ex-jeweller, ex-helicopter pilot, ex-airline pilot, ex-publican, ex-hypnotherapist, ex-shipwrecked sailor and now bus driver–well, you’ve got to pay the bills, haven’t you? I’ve written fourteen books to date, ten have been self-published and the others published via the more traditional route of an agent and publishers. I have absolutely no intention of becoming an ex-writer any time soon.
Ex-jeweller: I stopped working for my father in the family business, based in The God-Begot, Winchester. I went off and qualified as a professional pilot. There was a recession, a couple of airlines went bust and there were no jobs. However, the North Sea oil boom had just started, and there was an urgent need for helicopter pilots. I persuaded the British Government and BEA helicopters to sponsor a conversion course onto rotary wing.
Ex-helicopter pilot: I started my career in the Shetland Islands, flying for BEA Helicopters which became British Airways helicopters. They (British Airways) eventually sold the company to Robert Maxwell, who promptly raided the pension fund. Luckily, long before that I had changed company and location, moving to an oil rig in the middle of the North Sea flying for a company called BEAS (British Executive Air Services). The two weeks on the rig could be a bit wild and woolie but the two weeks off were nice. I took up sailing as a hobby, which led to other adventures later. BEAS were brought out by by Bristow helicopters and I changed locations, going to Borneo, Singapore and Nigeria. Note that two of the companies I flew for eventually ceased to exist. Oh you know, that’s not quite true. Bristows also went through some sort of merger with, I think, a Canadian helicopter company, having at one point being owned by an American company. I’m a bit hazy on the details but you get the idea.
Ex- publican and restauranteur: With my then wife and young daughter, I owned and ran a pub/restaurant in my hometown of Winchester. The recession of the early nineties (1990s), hit hard. The business was sold, and I acquired, if that’s the right word, an ex-wife. Unfortunately this also meant that I became a part-time dad. Daughter Pauline became used to staying with me in a variety of different locations. I would guess that her aversion to marine toilets probably dates back to times spent on boats. Either canal boats or one particular sailing boat variously located in Guernsey or the Caribbean. I did have the opportunity to become a full-time father again when she lived with me for two years whilst studying for her A levels. It was an interesting experience for both of us, well OK it was an interesting experience for me and in case she’s wondering and reads this, I do know more about what you got up to than you think I do! Moving swiftly on….
Ex-airline pilot: During the sale of the pub, I began working for Air Sarnia, a soon -to- be defunct airline based on Alderney, in the British Channel Isles. I then flew for Aurigny Air Services, based in Guernsey. Aurigny are still going strong, but considering my track record I don’t give much for their chances. A move to Suckling Airways saw me mainly operating out of Southampton and occasionally Luton (LA International Airport?). Suckling Airways became Scottish Airways and now is owned by a company called Loganair so yes, Suckling Airways is no more. Hmmm.. Anyway long before that happened, I moved to Brymon Airways at Bristol, a successful wholly-owned subsidiary company of British Airways. True to form (mine and theirs actually) BA merged Brymon with a couple of their franchise operators. This saw me flying for two days a week out of Southampton airport and working three days a week in an office in the Isle of Man. I had become a very junior ‘management type’ and worked in the safety department as an incident and accident investigator. I left them when (prophetically as it turned out) I saw a pension projection which suggested it would be a waste of the next ten years of my life flying for them in the hope of a comfortable retirement. The company, and you just know what I’m going to say here, went from being the largest regional airline in Europe to non-existence a couple of years after I left.
Ex-hypnotherapist: Following my decision to leave Brymon due to the pension forecast, I trained as a hypnotherapist and set up a practice with two other hypnotherapists. At the time I lived in the village of Upper Clatford, just outside Andover (UK), and that was when/where daughter Pauline came to live with me full time for two years. After she moved out to make her own way in the world, I decided that I wanted to retire early and sail round the World. I briefly went back to Aurigny to build up a cruising fund.
Ex-round- the- world-sailor: I had the slightly dubious distinction of clouting two reefs in the Pacific. Of course I did name my boat ‘Troutbridge’, after the Navy ship in the BBC radio comedy ‘The Navy Lark’. That Troutbridge was always clouting things so I was merely carrying on the tradition. The second reef, in Fiji, proved to be a reef too far and it took eighteen months to salvage and repair the boat. I managed to continue as far as Malaysia, but the repairs had drained my pension fund, and I was forced to sell Trouters and return to the UK to seek employment and continue writing. The publishing industry today is in turmoil and this does not surprise me in the least. I am involved in it, so how could it not be?
You can find my books on my Amazon author’s page:
For a sideways look at life and current affairs, as well as news about forthcoming books: http://www.peterbernfeld.com
To read about how I became a shipwrecked sailor, and what happened next: http://www.blog.mailasail.com/troutbridge
Why am I writing this blog?
John Donne wrote no man is an island, and I think the word event could usefully be substituted for man. Unfortunately, the media today always seem to miss the big picture and just report on events in isolation, so I aim to give you the big picture and connect the various events.
I also want to chronicle my journey of discovery as a paperback writer, or should that now be eBook writer? There will be links to magazine articles I have had published, extracts from some of my books and news of works in progress. It’ll be fun, welcome aboard.
No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
John Donne, 1572-1641