Pete's Biography

Some potted facts to give an idea of what I am:
  • I was born and bred in Liverpool, but couldn't wait to leave. This was jointly due to (a) the place itself, and (b) the need to get away from parents. In the end I left both home and Liverpool pretty much as soon as practical, aged eighteen. I have returned to Liverpool only very infrequently since.
  • I am an only child, so I remember spending a lot of time playing on my own. Favourites included Lego, Action Man and Subbuteo. Having recently discovered electricity I one day decided to "convert" my Subbuteo floodlights to run on 240V mains electricity rather than the 3V batteries for which they were designed. Bang!
  • I have a standing joke with my wife that the photographs liberally scattered around my parents' house, of a cherubic choirboy complete with surpliss and ruff, are in fact not of me, but are a of long-lost twin brother.
  • I was so mad about football that I wrote to Jim'll Fix It asking to play for Everton. The letter must have been lost in the post, and my Maradona-like talents went forever unnoticed. My Grandad, on the other hand, almost became a "real" footballer, signing for Liverpool. Unfortunately a guy called Hitler decided to visit a place called Poland, and put paid to Grandad's budding career.
  • I went to an all-boys secondary school. Good for education, but very, very bad for social skills. Female geography was unknown to me until university. Female logic still evades me.
  • I loved sport but wasn't much good at it. I realised that "niche" sports were the key and ended up playing for the school at hockey and baseball. My hockey career ended ignominiously when a hockey fixture clashed with an Everton match. In the sixth form, I convinced the school to treat my growing snooker habit as a "sport", and so skived off Wednesday afternoons.
  • I became a junior politicoe, delivering leaflets on Maggie's behalf in '83 and missing the Brighton bomb by about twenty minutes a year later. The mistakes we make when we're young...
  • I originally wanted to be a lawyer. I only changed my mind to read physics because..... oh sh*t, why the hell did I change my mind???
  • I ended up going to University College, Cardiff. The main criterion of choice? It was "down south"!!!? Recovering from the shock that Cardiff was in Wales, I settled down to three excellent years in a place absolutely made for students. Could not recommend it highly enough. At college I met friends I was sure I'd keep in touch with for ever. I didn't.
  • I met my first real girlfriend (all the other ones had been fake!) in my first year of university. The first night we spent together obviously disappointed her - especially when I got up early the next morning (Saturday) and announced that she had to get out of my room because I had arranged to go and watch Everton play that day. (In my defence, this was 1987, the year of their last championship. What a team!) But the tone had been set...
  • My party piece at university was reading excerpts from the bible, loudly and in a strong Liverpool/Belfast accent (depending on mood), and one of my nicknames became "The Reverend". Note to politicians - only funny when very, very drunk
  • Simonne only went out with me after I'd convinced her that I didn't fancy her mate. Actually I did, but not the mate she thought! Simonne, if you ever read this and remember me, the memories are fond and I hope its all worked out well for you.
  • In my second year, I became veggie. Vegeburger and Sosmix became staple foods. I remained veggie for 9 years, until I was living in the USA and in grave danger of starving to death/looking like a lettuce!
  • For my last year at college, I wore dreads. Liberal dosings of home perm and Black and White, washed in Persil. Hair is quite thin these days... I was heavily into reggae, and although my music collection is now far more diverse, Bob Marley still strikes a chord.
  • I met Jo at the start of my final year and we stayed together for two whole years, becoming engaged along the way. Nice girl, but boy what a mistake that would have been.
  • Post-college I was offered a job at Sellafield, but politely declined. I worry enough about my genes as it is! Settled down in far more genial Oxford instead. First month's paypacket, after living expenses, was £250, and I wondered whether it had all been worth it.
  • To celebrate getting my first job, I took Jo away to Paris for Valentine's weekend, going by coach and staying in a real dive on the Boulevard de Magenta. In the City of Love we argued incessantly. Highlight of the weekend happened a long way from Paris, and was Nelson Mandela's release from Robben Island, however it did mark the start of my love affair with the city. Jo and I split later that year.
  • After a long time in a humdrum job, from 1994 my career started to take off. After getting my "big break" - a job programming in a prestigious software house - I ended up playing a lead role in an internet startup, spending much of 1996 working over in the USA. Upon returning to the UK I started my own business as a consultant, something which still pays the mortgage today.
  • My height of bachelordom was a swish 2-bed apartment in Southampton's Ocean Village. A brand new sportster completed the picture. Trouble is I didn't know anyone in Southampton so the car was mostly exercised going up and down the A34, to visit old mates in Oxford, and going across the New Forest to a client's in Poole.
  • It was on a drunken night out with some of the guys from this client that I met Jacqueline, at Chablis (now dearly departed...) in Bournemouth. She'd had a crap day at work and was out with some of her workmates to wind down. We talked for ages and ages, and I left her with my phone number. When she called the next lunchtime I thought "Crikey, she's keen", although she maintains to this day that she was only phoning to see if I knew the whereabouts of one of her workmates (who'd got off with one of my workmates, neither having been seen since!)
  • First date was at the Petit St Tropez in Christchurch. I'd become seriously cynical about dating and I thought that even if it turned out to be an awful experience, at least it would be a good meal. Fortunately I struck lucky on both counts.
  • I knew I could trust Jacqueline when, after only having known her a week, I got up early one morning to drive over to Gatwick to go on holiday. I left Jacqueline sleeping in the flat (along with her sister in the spare room). When I got back a week later, my meagre possessions remained intact and I knew I was onto a winner.
  • Jacqueline knew she liked me when her cat - Lucy - gave the thumbs up. Suffice to say, I have a long history with cats - I love them and they love me. Lucy liked me so much she peed on my freshly-ironed work shirt one night!
  • Within only a few months of knowing each other we'd holidayed in France three times, once at the sumptuous Domaine des Hauts de Loire, near Tours (filet de boeuf, sandre) , again to Paris to see Marco Pantani win Le Tour, and finally for a full week chateau hunting in Saché. Great to see that my passion was also becoming hers..
  • Jacqueline became pregnant within two weeks of us deciding to try for a baby. God knows how (well, no, I know how, but god knows how come we managed it so quickly!).
  • When Jacqueline was five months pregnant we'd booked to go on a short break down to the Corbières region, when shortly beforehand - while in bed - I suggested turning the holiday into a honeymoon. That was the closest I got to a proposal, but it was just the natural thing to do. When you know you're with "the one", the decision is easy to make.
  • We got married at Bournemouth Registry Office on 11th March 1999, with just two witnesses. We went straigt from the registry office to the Royal Bath, where we celebrated by having afternoon tea plus champagne. We told everyone else later.
  • Jacqueline had a crappy pregnancy (sick for 9 months) and a horrible birth. When Alice was born, by emergency caesarian, the first thing she did was to pee all over me. I'd been warned...
  • Francophilia has extended to the world of film. I'm not at all big on celebrity but actors who seem to consistently appear in films I like include Jean Reno and Johnny Depp (who at least has the good sense to live in France). If I were pressed to pick a single favourite film it would be Le Bonheur est dans le Pré, starring Michel Serrault (another brilliant actor). Things likely to make me laugh include (I'm afraid) Dad's Army, Royle Family, Gavin and Stacey.
  • I own music from all different genres although I count reggae as my lifeblood, in particular Aswad and of course Bob Marley. Also I've never lost my love of punk.
  • I am still deeply interested in current affairs, though nowadays my taste is more to the left. I have the utmost respect for people like Tony Benn, and wish there were more like him. I disapprove of the foreign policies of the US and the UK, especially with respect to Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan. I would prefer if Britain had a government which looked more toward Europe than toward the USA, though I am not a supporter of the Euro.
  • I don't read newspapers. I rely on sites such as the BBC, the Guardian, Liberation and sometimes even al-Jazeera.
  • I read a lot, generally having at least two books on the go at once, but mostly factual work. As I get older I realise more and more at just how little I know, and am trying to do something about it - our history is so important to us if we are to understand where we have come from and learn from our mistakes. I also like to read (non-Showbiz/Sport) biographies, I think by learning about other people we learn about ourselves.
  • I enjoy sport, I still follow Everton, though not as close as when younger, and enjoy watching cycling. Marco Pantani was a particular favourite - I cheered him on the Champs Elysees in 1998 - and I was devastated when he died. I would love to have seen people like Bobet, Coppi and Mercx.
  • I have bikes of my own and cycle every day, either commuting the streets of London or enjoying the tranquility of the New Forest on my Trek road bike. I only came back to cycling a couple of years ago after a fifteen-year break, and it has done wonders for my weight and my health.