As you may have already read on the welcome page, my name is Bob and I take the pseudonym Kilburnlad for most of my web activities.
I was born in Kilburn, a few miles outside central London.
That’s me in the photo - always wanting to be a cowboy when I was a young boy.
I was born in Carlton Vale, Kilburn. The cowboy picture was taken in the garden of 108, a house that no longer exists, as do not most of the others that were there when I was a boy. There has been extensive redevelopment, which isn’t always a good thing.
My childhood was one of freedom. From playing in the street around the house when I was very young, there being little traffic in the side roads, to venturing much further afield with our little gang when a bit older. During the school holidays it was nothing for us to walk to Hampstead Heath, or Primrose Hill, disappearing in the morning and not reappearing until late afternoon or evening. Parents didn’t fret and we enjoyed ourselves. A far cry from what most children experience these days.
The picture is me with a younger friend, Noel, who was from an Irish family, the Irish being a very much a feature of Kilburn. His older sister was my first love but I was too shy to tell her.
Carlton Vale Infants
St John’s Church of England Junior
Salusbury Road Secondary (aged 11 - 13)
Willesden Secondary Technical School of Engineering (aged 13 - 16)
Willesden High (amalgamation of Willesden County Grammar and my technical school)
I then went to Brunel University (1967 - 71) where I studied Electrical Engineering.
A very serious looking Kilburnlad with a lot more hair in those days.
I didn’t pass the infamous 11+ and went to a secondary modern school. However, in those days there was the opportunity to sit an exam at 13 for entry to a technical school. It was referred to as the 13+ but I don’t believe that was its official name.
I passed this exam and elected to go to a secondary engineerings school in Willesden. The catchment for the school was quite wide and I mingled with pupils who I wouldn’t have met had I remained in Kilburn. This was a positive experience.
This was the time when comprehensive schools were being established and as you can see from the summary above, I ended up joining a grammar school in the end!
I did a student apprenticeship with London Electricity and went on to work for it and its successor companies throughout my career.
Following the privatisation of the industry in 1989, London Electricity was to become part of a larger group, and over time expand even more. But not as London Electricity of course.
When I started, my patch was Hampstead, which was part of one London borough. When I left the company, which was at that time was owned by EDF Energy, it managed the electrical networks for almost the whole of the south east of England.
Computers have been a major interest ever since I bought a BBC model B in 1983. The revelation of writing my first simple program is something that will remain in my memory for ever.
Of course I eventually progressed to a PC but after some severe frustrations with Windows I migrated to Apple in 2008. As a consequence I now spend a lot less time sorting out computer and software problems. My iMac is very much a tool to get things done. And a very effective tool it is.
I also have a MacBook Air, iPhone and iPad, all beautifully synchronised through iCloud. Here I am in my study with the iMac and a second monitor, editing a fishing video.
I dabble in web design, as will be apparent from the fact you’re reading this on my web site.
I built and manage a site for my daughter’s Pilates business. It incorporates a membership system using the Sitelok software from Vibralogix. That got the grey cells working overtime!
In 2008 I launched a French at 60 website, in support of my book of the same title.
And more recently having started videoing my fishing trips, I built a Bob Goes Fishing site in support of my YouTube channel of the same name.
And another web project is Kilburnlad Photography, which was somewhat experimental when I built it, being my first project using the Source framework in RapidWeaver. It has recently been rebuilt and improved.
For some little understood reason the French language has always fascinated me. I had a brief period of corresponding with a pen-pal when I was about 13.
I also did two years of French at Salusbury Road school before moving to the technical school, where French wasn’t offered. However, in the first year of the sixth form a new teacher suggested to a few of us that we could take French for a year as some ‘light relief’ from our heavily technical A-level subjects. I took this opportunity and actually managed to pick up an O-Level, much to the teacher’s delight.
I didn’t take up French seriously until I retired in 2008. A few attempts to get back into the language before then really didn’t get me far past beginner level. I soon realised that going to a French class once a week wasn’t going to cut it. So I contacted French people over the internet to arrange verbal language exchanges. And for years since I have been speaking with them.
I continued to attend the French class and spent a lot of time listening to French but the most improvement in my speaking was due to the language exchanges. If you want to speak French you really need to speak with French people. I now can hold a conversation but am not natively fluent and have come to realise that I probably never will be. But I feel that I achieved my goal.
In 2018 I self-published a book entitled French at 60 as I thought it might help others looking for a challenge in retirement, or indeed anybody interested in learning to speak the language.