I always had terrible hand-eye co-ordination so I was never going to be a sportsman or a craftsman.

However, as a child I did listen and observe a lot. No-one suggested to me as I grew up that these were valuable attributes. In fact they were seen as distinct liabilities. Only later did I realise their value in working with people. I hope I have not betrayed them as I have got older. They have served me well.

I have worked in all sectors of education, and in a range of community and voluntary organisations ( I include unpaid work in that).

I have had a vicariously unplanned career which has introduced me to Chinese cooking, performance poetry, community action,  and a host of other interests.

I have worked in wonderful cities and for inspiring bosses. I've also met the others.

Younger people seem to think that those of us growing up in the 1960s were somehow charmed. Maybe we were.  I have no idea what it is like to be young today, any more than my parents had any idea what it was like to be young in the 1960s. I don't envy the young, the odds are heavily stacked against them. Almost as much as they are stacked against the poor.

We thought we could eliminate the poor in the 60s (not literally of course). Most of my work in the past thirty years has been in "poor" communities. They are full of vibrant people who will not be walked over. They are also full of broken people who were walked over one too many times. What knowledge and experience I have is at their disposal  as long as they accept me for who I am.

I have terrible hand-eye co-ordination, I am no sportsman or craftsman. I am a listener and observer. And I like a pint of Guinness.