tony-photo

There’s not much to say about me and even less to boast about. I’ve lived in London for most of my life, and in the borough of Islington for much of that. I’ve lived in the same one bedroom leasehold flat in Archway since 18 February 1985.

I don’t like living here but it’s convenient, just 20-30 minutes by tube and I’m in the City or the West End. I have a decent car but rarely travel outside my local area, in fact I’m one of the 20% of Londoner’s that maintain a car that they don’t need.

Living in London can be horrible, monotonous and boring and no one much speaks to anyone else. You could live in a block of flats and not meet a neighbour for twenty years, that’s so sad. I live on the third floor but I would like a place one day that has a small garden so I can grow vegetables.

Hopefully that new place will be somewhere in the countryside but my dream would be to live abroad, somewhere with not too many people, and ideally on the West coast of Southern France. When I play the lottery, there is a one in 14 million chance of that dream becoming true.

My family lived in Maida Vale when I was born, just off the A5, an old Roman Road and the longest in Britain stretching from here to the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales. Paddington hospital is just down the road where the A5 starts, and St Mary’s Wing is where I was born on the 11th of February 1966; five months before England won the FIFA World Cup.

We moved to Fairlawn Avenue N2 in Finchley which I don’t remember, then we moved to Vincent Court also in Finchley of which I do have some memories of. We went to Sabadell in Spain when I was five years old, for several years and my mother, sister and I, returned to England without my father and we stayed for a year with my nan (father’s side,) near Finsbury Park. It was close to the Arsenal football stadium and to Clissold Park where Nan and I often went and fed the deers.

Nan must have been glad to see the back of us and in due course we moved into a newly built three bedroom house in Holloway, we each had a bedroom. There was a large perspex skylight at the top of the stairs so that when it rained, the pitter patter would send me to sleep. I still love the rain and the sound of it hitting the windows.

In Holloway, I went to Pakeman Primary school. One day some gunshots were fired and a boy was injured. I remember it quite well. 40 years later I joined the Pakeman School facebook group and a few had posted about the incident, including the person that had been shot at.

I started Secondary school at St. Aloysius College in Highgate, it was a short bus ride then, but actually the school is 100 yards from my flat in Archway today.

In Holloway I developed many interests like reading the Barbapapa series of children’s books written in the 1970s, and the bible and books on astronomy and the military, building airfix models, stamp and coin collecting and I was also in the local army cadets. I felt that I was learning so much out of school.

By the age of 12 I had read the biographies of Winston Churchill and Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and the technical papers for the IBM computer and the Lee Enfield rifle. I began stringing some words together and my mum got me a Brother typewriter which became severely abused as I started a novel which was never completed; but those closest to me will sometimes ask: “have you finished that book of yours yet?”

When I was 18 Nan died and I took over her two bedroom council flat in Highbury. A year later I swapped it for a one bedroom in Archway where I remain today. The interests that have followed me to this day are reading, mostly non-fiction, and writing.

I have also developed a fascination with design and I like to tinker with computers, digital images and website construction. I’ve read a lot about art nouveau and I am in love with Art Deco and that era. Truly I am a sad and hopeless individual.

Work History

My first job was a porter for a removal company called Giltspur Bullens, I was 15 and a half and still at school. Not on the books, then you were known as a casual – I was a casual. Aged 21 the company sent me for an HGV Class II license and I started my first career as a professional driver.

I left Bullens to start a catering business which lasted just one year. I had saved up for a writing course and after that came a computer course. When my first article was published in Midweek magazine and when I finished the computer course, I was a published writer and a fully qualified applications programmer. However, despite having the certificates the career path was elusive.

Failing in my attempts to escape the labour market, I turned back to my HGV license and worked for Islington Council driving refuse collection vehicles. After six years as a dustman I made the jump from the workforce to management and began that as the Night Supervisor. Over the following seven years I moved up to Operations Refuse and Recycling Manager.

Although it seems I wasted time and money on those courses, they proved their worth because I used those skills to progress my career. Unfortunately, circumstances unfolded that made being at work an absolute nightmare and I became extremely discontented which affected my health in terms of stress. And so I began planning, yet again, to do something completely different, essentially to move away from a few individuals that I no longer wanted to work for.

I decided I wanted a trade so I booked a long term course. The plan was to call in sick with stress and then take off as long as possible until they finally would dismiss me. However, a miracle happened just two weeks before the course start date. Due to a staff re-structure, the Council had offered voluntary redundancy to everyone, except to me.

The GMB union called it discrimination and they successfully pursued the matter which meant that on Monday they discussed it, on Thursday I accepted the proposal, on the following Friday I finished up and just three days later on Monday morning I was at college beginning a ten month course to be an electrician, with all the finances for it sitting in my bank.

I set up Sinewave Electrical Services and started making a living – and that’s when the heart attack happened! These days I am happy to work self employed and I make a reasonable income with little stress involved. Indeed I earn more money than when I was working for Islington Council.

Changing career has proved to be one of the best life decisions I ever made, ridding myself of a dead end job and making a better future.

Born: St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London
Date: Friday, 2.15pm GMT, 11th February 1966
Height: 5 feet 10 inches
Weight: 16.2 Stones
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Ascendant: Cancer
Ruling Planet: Saturn
Moon Phase: Wanning
Birth Plant: Fern
Birth Stone: Amethyst, Onyx
Birth Flower: Iris
Leap Year: No
Lucky Day: Saturday
Lucky Numbers: 4 & 8
Tree: Cedar
Chinese Year: Horse

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Driving Career

I’ve worked in the labour market for most of my time in employment. Obtaining a goods license was a significant step because it gave me a sense of achievement.

Bullens removal van

Between 1982 until 1993 I was working for Giltspur Bullens which became just Bullens after takeovers by Unigate, Wincanton and the National Freighter Company. Fleet 40 was the first vehicle that I was assigned to drive.

I tired quickly of driving vehicles around the country and years later I would seek work more local, which was the main reason I started working for Islington Council; it meant that tachographs became a thing of the past.

refuse collection vehicle

At Islington Council my experience broadened, I drove skip and gritting vehicles as well as smaller and specialised street cleansing machines like those below. I worked for Islington and Enterprise from 1998 to 2011.

Skips

skip vehicle

Gritters

gritting vehicle

The Powerflex 2100.

The Powerflex 2100

The 636 Applied Sweeper.

The 636 Applied Sweeper

The Mathieu Aquazura

The Mathieu Aquazura