I was born in Lancashire, and I tell people that I kept moving South (showing either persistence or lack of imagination) until I reached the Channel and had to stop—which made a lot more sense when I lived on my boat in Brighton Marina, so I really did live in the Channel.
I spent most of my childhood in the Midlands, and went to an old-fashioned grammar school, where the masters still wore gowns and we called the headmaster The Beak. I was interested first in science, then music, then maths, then the classics, then back to science. I could always learn languages easily, but didn’t get the point of English until much later. Then it was physics at Merton College (since you asked) followed by an MSC in operational research.
I’ve lived in London and Brighton, and now (my family having outgrown the boating way of life) I live on the other side of the Downs, in Keymer, next to the creative village of Ditchling, with my artist wife, a teenage daughter and a very lazy greyhound.
I’m a reluctant commuter, and spend workdays in London. Look out for me on the Brighton line in the evening, though, and you may find me in my own world, happily compiling.