Tony Cleaver (1958-65)
Do you remember the Prefects’ camp in our last year at WCGS? It must have been in discussion with a group of us one night in the course of that week that I seem to remember Brian Gurden saying: “If you go to university, make sure you leave home!”
I thought at the time: “What’s so bad about home that I ought to leave it? I love my family, etc. etc.”
But he was right! A year later I left home and I have hardly stopped travelling since. I find myself pushing 50 from the wrong side now and still I wonder: when am I going to stop and settle down?
I left university and got my first job in journalism. Bored with that I dropped out and joined a commune in London for while (!). That led to supply teaching, marriage and the decision to take up teaching seriously. My next post was in Singapore - three years setting up the Economics department in the United World College of South East Asia. It was a life-changing experience. This was followed by a Masters in development economics, more teaching in Berkshire (6 years and two children), then Santiago de Chile (a spectacular country - 5 years and two more children). I came back to the UK and then set off almost immediately to The Netherlands for one year in the Prince Willem-Alexander College before it went bankrupt (!), which forced a move to the University of Durham. Three years later brought separation from my wife (I never saw it coming) and the decision to return to South America to rebuild my life. In Bogota, Colombia, I was for three years the Head of the secondary section of The English School (a misnomer - its a school for bilingual Colombians) where I fell in love with Maria Cristina. We are now resident in Grey College, University of Durham where I lecture in development economics, live with my oldest boy and Maria Cristina’s eldest girl and try to keep some sort of order over 400 plus undergrads and postgrads. It’s a really lively and stimulating community. (Check the web-site: www.dur.ac.uk/GreyCollege)
If any one is travelling through the north of England and wants to stop over for a night or two please call in. Durham is a beautiful place and I might just settle down here...