The Author - Stephen J Reeve
My childhood was spent in London and the Home Counties with secondary school involving a long commute to Mile End in the East End of London. I did not like school but fortunately found escape in the Essex estuaries where I developed a lifelong love of the sea and sailing. Initially the family owned a BHOD (pronounced ‘bod’) or Brandy Hole One Design, an eleven foot gaff-rigged sailing dinghy. My earliest memory of sailing was not a happy one – father and I with absolutely no experience left our return to the Brandy Hole Yacht Club slipway rather late and found ourselves battling against wind and tide. I seem to remember that it took four hours to complete the final mile – much of the time we seemed to be going backwards.
We eventually moved to Southend and joined the Halfway Yacht Club (it was next to the Halfway House pub!) but returned to Brandy Hole to win the winter series in 1970 – my first success. By now we had upgraded to a Silver Streak dinghy which I raced successfully with a girlfriend.
The three years after sixth form working in and commuting to London convinced me that I would be suited to student life so in September 1971 I packed my bags and caught the train to Newcastle-upon-Tyne where I would remain for the next thirty years. I quickly fell in love with the Geordie way of life and the beautiful Northumbrian countryside and coastline and discovered other activities such as climbing and fell walking. These activities and the location neatly dovetailed with studying geography and led to my first long piece of writing – a 25 000 word theses entitled ‘The Economic Development of Seaton Sluice and the Delaval Estates’ (more interesting than it might sound!).
Following graduation I found work teaching Geography in a Girls Grammar school (!) where I remained for a couple of years before discovering the real world following appointment to a post in a state comprehensive. I remained a teacher for twenty years before the ever increasing bureaucracy drove me away.
I had continued to sail dinghies but now bought a Sadler 25 cruiser and quickly took to the cruising life exploring the quiet boltholes of the Northumbrian coast. I established a shorebased navigation school teaching the theory elements of the RYA courses which involved the writing of comprehensive manuals for the Day Skipper, Yachtmaster Offshore and Yachtmaster Ocean courses a well as specialist meteorology courses. During this period I authored an extended hardback copy of the Day Skipper course published as ‘The Complete Day Skipper’ in 1993. This was well received and the initial print run of 6,000 disappeared quickly from the shelves helping me to find work as a book editor and proof-reader.
In more recent times I have returned to Essex to care for my mother who has Alzheimer’s Dementia. I have continued to research and write, recently self-publishing ‘British Isles Weather & Climate – Elements of Meteorology’ which is the first of an intended series of books on weather and climate focusing on the British Isles. I am heavily involved in dementia care working as a Research Volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Society, becoming a Dementia Friend & Champion and have recently presented a research proposal to a leading care company. I am particularly interested in improving the initial and continued assessment of care home residents and using that to develop activities appropriate to those in the advanced stages of dementia.
In late November 2014 deciding I needed some light relief I embarked on a flying course and after many trials and tribulations flew solo for the first time in September 2015 and am now enjoying a night flying course. I hope to gain my private pilot’s license within the next few months – perhaps there is a book in that?