I wanted to go to sea ever since I can remember. My mother says that as a toddler I went up to sailors on the street, and on one occasion dragged home a dead seabird because it smelled of the sea! I was entranced when my great uncle Tom Clay, a seaman in square-rigged ships who had sailed around the Horn in the "Cutty Sark", took me over this ship. As a young boy I read everything about the sea and I was especially terrified by a description of a great storm, but longed to go to sea to experience one.
I won a scholarship to a grammar school, but my mind was captivated by seeing low grey shapes far out to sea, outward bound to who knew where. I passed this sight every day on my way to school; my scholastic performance suffered!
In the hope of having the nonsense knocked out of me, my father sent me to a tough sea-training school. This only strengthened my resolve for a life at sea and at fifteen I joined the Royal Navy.
After leaving the Navy (rated Petty Officer) I practised as an educational psychologist. I worked for some time in Hong Kong, where I was commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve.
I now live in Devon with my wife and literary partner, Kathy - and two Siamese cats.