About the Author
A British and Irish Heritage - "I see myself as European first, rather than English"
Early Years in the Lincolnshire Fenlands, and an Escape to Dorset as a Civil Servant
I was born and grew up in the Lincolnshire fenlands, in the East of England. As a teenager, and anxious to escape this rural retreat for the wider world, I moved to Bournemouth to join the Civil Service. After a brief, but unforgettable, career, I knew that life as a civil servant was not for me, and I decided to pursue my original goal of becoming a teacher.
Career Change - From Civil Servant to Teacher
I trained as a teacher in Dorset and later worked as a teacher and head teacher in both Dorset and Somerset, and quickly fell in love with the south west of the country. Further degrees at the University of Southampton and at the University of Bristol led me to work as a government school inspector for OFSTED and Estyn, leading inspection teams in a wide variety of rural, town and city schools throughout England and Wales.
From Teacher to School Inspector
My work as a school inspector, education consultant and adviser gave me the opportunity to witness many amusing incidents, and to listen to children's views about life and the world in general. Indeed, many of the incidents in my books are based upon these observations.
A New Life in the Sun
A strong belief in the importance of 'being able to recognise your own sell-by date' led me to put away my suits and briefcase and leave the education service, which had always excited me, and to face the challenges of a different career - this time in the sun.
From School Inspector to Newspaper Delivery
I have always loved Spain, and after a short break, I found himself delivering newspapers for a local English language newspaper. After an abortive attempt to become an advertising salesman, I was recruited as a reporter and photographer.
Canary Islands Calling...
Another unexpected challenge appeared, when I was asked to launch and edit a new English language newspaper in the Canary Islands. Although sad to leave our new home in the Costa Blanca, I welcomed the opportunity, and four weeks later found myself on a three-day voyage to the Canary Islands with my partner David, two dogs, called Barney and Bella, and a laptop computer.
Books, Columns and Blogs
In 2008, I turned the page of a new chapter in my life, and turned to writing novels, and books about living and working in Spain and the Canary Islands, as well as regular articles for newspapers and magazines across the world, including Ireland. Many seek holidays or a permanent move to sunny places like Spain and the Canary Islands, and want to find out more about living and working in another country, and many tell me that they find my articles and books helpful.
Author and Columnist
During my time as a reporter and newspaper editor, I appeared regularly on local radio as well as contributing to BBC News in the UK. I also write popular travel information and guides under the name of John Fairweather and 'The Canary Islander'. After several years as editor of a successful English language newspaper in the Canary Islands, I decided to take some time out to write a series of novels based upon the many incidents that I experienced whilst working in schools, as well as my new life in Spain. I enjoyed life in the sun as a freelance writer, columnist and author by writing about living and working in Spain and the Canary Islands for expats from Ireland and the UK, as well as for all those who dream of escaping for a new life in the sun, as well as beginning a new chapter in their lives.
The End of One Dream and the Beginning of Another
For many reasons, not least Brexit, has led to a period of uncertainty, reflection and reassessment of our lives in Spain and the Canary Islands. We began to recognise that our Spanish dream was coming to an end, and that we are ready to begin a new chapter in our lives with our return to the UK. Our new home is in Devon, a county that we know well.
We have met many wonderful people, with whom we have shared laughter, tears, joys and sorrows over the years. We love Spain and the Canary Islands, and are grateful for the opportunities and wonderful life that we have been given, but we know that this cannot continue in its present form in a post-Brexit Europe. Nothing is for ever.
Despite current challenges, the expat dream will continue, albeit without the ease and flexibility of the past. There will always be those who will seek the freedom to live and work in a country of their choosing and not of their birth. People will continue to have dreams and seek to turn them into reality. Life is short and so it is up to all of us to ‘Live Our Dream’ in the best possible way.