Alan was born in East London in 1938. and at the age of eleven won a scholarship to the Sir George Monoux grammar school in Walthamstow. In the summer of 1951 his father took the tenancy of The Victoria, a public house in Braintree, Essex, but after only three years the family returned to London to run another pub, namely The Castle in Kingland High Street, Hackney. Here Alan joined the sixth form of Grocers' in Hackney Downs, where he published his first literary masterpiece - a report of Founders' Day for the school magazine using Chaucerian English. This somewhat irreverent approach to such an important event came to the notice of the Headmaster, but such was his regard for the quality of the piece that he agreed to its inclusion.
National Service in the RASC came next. After training in Aldershot as a shorthand writer, Alan was posted to the headquarters of BAOR in Moenchen-Gladbach, Germany, where his disregard of authority ensured he kept the rank
of private until demobilisation in November 1958. It was in Germany on the beautiful Balderneysee near Essen that he had his first taste of sailing . Such was the effect of this experience that instead of enroling at university on his return to England, Alan persuaded his Father to fund the purchase of a small boatyard near the River Lee in East London. Here Alan taught himself the craft of boatbuilding, so beginning his career in the marine industry.
Jean was born in July 1944 during a V1 flying bomb raid on North London. Eschewing further education she left school at the age of fifteen to work as an invoice typist, and by the age of eighteen was married, living in Nottingham, and expecting the first of her four children. In the spring of 1972 Jean and her family moved to Poole, in Dorset, where she first met Alan, living just next door but one. A shared appreciation of literature first brought them into contact, but true love blossomed and their union was completed in the spring of 1975 when they started a new life together in the New Forest. It is a remarkable co-incidence that Jean was born and raised only a stone's throw from the Castle in Kingsland High Street during Alan's own teenage years, and yet their paths did not cross until they met in Poole two decades later. Better late than never!
In the spring of 1978 Alan landed his first overseas appointment in Northern Cyprus, followed by another in 1979 based on the island of Malta . Some time after the family's return to England, Alan started to write a record of the family's time in Cyprus based on Jean's diary and a mass of shipyard documentation he had kept. The final draft of 66 U.S. Dollars was not finished until August 2003, and after countless rejections by publishers and literary agents the book was finally accepted in April 2014 by Austin Macauley of Canary Wharf in London.
Some would say that by establishing a literary career at the respective ages of seventy seven and seventy Alan and Jean could be accused of undue optimism. But then again, better late than never!