Dick Barton

As you say 35 years is a long time. Yours truly left the RAF in 1970, on grounds of insanitary or insanity. Boredom and booze was doing my head in so a took a three month sabbatical. For some obscure reason the powers that be were not too sympathetic about my request for an extended leave, perhaps because I had forgotten to apply for it.

So there I was back in civvy street. All sorts of plans but no ideas. After doing odd jobs I went to college to train as a merchant navy RO. By the time I finished the course I had got married, somehow the navy life had lost its attraction, so I applied for a shore job and ended up working for BAe.

15 years later(91) peace broke out and there I was an unemployed microwave design engineer who only knew about the front end of guided weapons. There quite a few of us in the same position.

Have you seen the film "Falling Down" Michael Douglas plays an unemployed missile engineer who goes on a killing spree. It is a classic. I decided to do it properly and go into the NHS. I took a degree as a diagnostic radiographer. It was not a good career move. I scraped a degree by the skin of my teeth and ended up back in engineering.

To cut a long story short about four years I was offered a job working for a company called Applied Materials at the Intel site just outside Dublin. We bought an old farmhouse in south Wicklow on the edge of the mountains about and hour from the Liffy.

So Jennie and I upped and offed. We have no kids, so moving for us is easy.

At the same time it seemed like a good idea to start a Falconry Company. Falconry is a hobby I have picked up on the way through life.So myself and two other guys did just that. There were no other such companies at the time. Like you I had two jobs. Last June due to internecine strife the business looked as though it was going to have to fold, the choice was stay at Applied and close the business or leave and try and keep it afloat. So I left, and now Foot and Mouth have closed us, for good, it would seem.

So here I am, with Jennie, a lunatic spaniel, a one legged cockerel called Long John the Noisy Bastard, two gay bantams, three hens who lay eggs where you wouldn't believe, ten assorted hawks, falcons, owls, and buzzards. At one time there were 26 flaming hawks and things, most have gone now, thank goodness. And nowhere to go. It is a funny old world.

Consequently I have time to indulge my surfing fetish.

The last person I met was in 1970 and that was Taff Thomas, some of the other guys were in the gulf together at Sharjah in 68.

I only fell across the site by accident so you might find in the coming months more heads will stick themselves above the parapet. You would not expect people who involved or were involved in communications to be far behind with the internet, would you??

Coming to Ireland was a good move, even though i have joined the ranks of the unemployed again. At least there is no stigma to it over here, everybody has been unemployed at some time, and nobody starves.

Dick Barton