About me

Me and BethanI was born and first brought up a country boy in Rutland, the smallest (it’s tiny) county of England. In later childhood my family moved to the nearby elegant Georgian town of Stamford. These two childhood environments perhaps sowed the seed of a lifelong love of things old, especially buildings, and things rural. Really, having incubated this germ, I should have gone into architecture, specifically of the conservationist variety. But I wasn’t academically up to it.

Instead I was apprenticed into printing (although that did perhaps engender, along with the discovery of poetry at school, the appreciation of words, both physically and spiritually. I had a religious upbringing too; something less common in Britain than America, and perhaps that inculcated a moral sense that survived after conventional belief faded. Certainly, my favourite reading is issues-based and about the human condition and I try to write to concerns like that too. The early years as a compositor lead rather naturally to graphic design, which occupied the first half of my working life.

But I began to realise that it wasn’t really my thing.

Gradually the interest in old houses, and the doing-up of them, blossomed, part-time to begin with, until eventually I escaped design to follow my passion as a lifestyle choice. I spent twenty happy years doing that: renovating old town houses, cottages and, once, doing a barn conversion; loving every minute (well, apart from when my plumbing installations leaked; that can be as frustrating as when a computer doesn’t obey your every word). On retiring from that four years ago and looking for an occupation for my mind now that – apart from laptop driving – my hands are still, I turned to writing: my autobiography, the books about houses, an (ongoing) journal of retirement and now, and my first try at it, publishing a novel.

My barn conversion in 1995

My barn conversion in 1995

As you can probably tell from the picture, another of my life’s passions is dogs. The spaniel’s name was Bethan; sadly, she’s no longer with me. So my novel is quite heavy on cottages and also on dogs! But mainly, it’s about colour-blindness and unwavering love.

My present cottage in Wales

My present cottage in Wales


About wordsfromjohn

Once a printer, graphic designer, house renovator and landscape gardener, I'm now retired and a writer of books with a passion.
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6 Responses to About me

  1. Gwen Kallie says:

    Your cottage is very quaint and lovely.

    • wordsfromjohn says:

      Thank you Gwen. Yes, I love it. The original bit (at the far end) had been thatched (but hidden beneath corrugated sheeting) until1994, when the kitchen/bathroom extension towards the front of pic was added and the cottage was generally modernised. I’ve unmodernised it again, inside and out, because I prefer old things!

  2. SBaye says:

    This was refreshing and honest. Your photos made me miss France even more than I already do and pine away for the day when I can return. Impressive flip on the cottage and there is something truly special about using the foundation of something old and making it come alive again.

  3. SBaye says:

    Nice flip on the cottage! There is something special about starting out with an old foundation and turning it into your own creation. Your photos made me remember why I fell in love with Europe years ago and always feel like I am waiting to return home to surround myself with simple beauty. It sounds strange coming from a southern gal, but I will always miss Paris.

  4. wordsfromjohn says:

    Thanks for the comments SB. Sorry about your confusion over on Amberswann. I’ve posted a lengthy explanation there that, hopefully, sorts things out!

    • SB says:

      I appreciate any time you spent and really this is a case of “me not you”. I am heading to amazon to snag a copy and thanks for understanding.

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