Alastair R Agutter Founder of Pineapple Blue, Best Selling Author, Philosopher, Computer Scientist, Creative Digital Artist, Publisher, Writer, Musician, Songwriter, Producer, Environmentalist and Humanitarian.
"The Arts, Hobbies, Interests, Crafts and Pastimes have served as a measurement of a civilized society over the ages, and a mark of humanity by those who pursue them." ~ Alastair R Agutter
Dear Friends, A warm welcome to my Biography Page. These days they call it a "Bio", to me that sounds more like a health hygiene issue that needs to be resolved with some deodorant. Perhaps it's just me these days being more examining and critical, as I continue to age, and now these days well over the horizon, descending down the other side of the hill in my 63rd year of life.
The earliest picture of myself (Alastair R Agutter) back in 1967 catching my first Mullet on Southend Pier.
Alastair R Agutter
I was born in a small Maternity Hospital in Farnborough, Kent, England on the 28th of November 1958. In fact the area is better known as Biggin Hill, or the London Borough of Bromley today!
We did in fact live in the Valley at the end of Biggin Hill Airport famed for the Battle of Britain, and the Cold War, housing Operational Vulcan Bombers. The Hospital that I was born in was literally within walking distance of where I lived, down a small winding road, and at the very end of the road, near the entrance of our home was a Post Office on the left hand side, with an old fashioned street gas lamp just on the corner. We lived in an old bungalow surrounded by a fair amount of grass land, mostly overgrown. The walk from the grassed driveway entrance to the door of our home if I recall, was the only areas where the grass was tamed, or should I say cut.
We had what you would call back in those days a lean too, today the posh name being a Conservatory. But this was more of a timber glass house, attached to the bungalow, with a huge grape vine weaving it's way in and around the structure. These magnificent structures, just like the old Post Office at the end of the road, built from red brick, were the last historical remnants of a Victorian era of empire. When ever I watch Harry Potter, and see the glass house where the mandrakes are kept, the scene always reminds me of our lean too, sorry conservatory glass house.
We also had an Orchard at our home. I distinctly remember the Cherry Blossom, and in the following Spring of my birth in 1959, when laying in my pram underneath one of these Cherry Trees in the pram looking-up, I was presented with a majestic blaze of colour, consisting of greens, pinks, reds, and whites. I could clearly see and hear the Bees actively collecting pollen, and the humming from the Bees was a reassuring and calming sound, one I will never forget . The complete opposite was remembering the terrifying sound of Vulcan Bombers taking-off, and I clearly recall to this day, seeing the undersides of these British Engineering Masterpieces, as they took-off, reaching for the sky. We also had a vegetable plot, as I say we had a fair bit of land at Biggin Hill, and in those days, even though rationing had finished in around 1954, fresh food and produce were still in demand, and in short supply.
My Parents met in the Wartime, Mother spraying Aircraft, and Father in the Drawing room, designing and refining Fighter Aircraft Wings. Similar work Father continued into the mid 1960's, contracts with the Ministry of Defense and other Industry leading giants like Beechams and Ford, as an eminent Architectural Model Maker, Designer, Scientist, Engineer, and Toolmaker. To describe my Father in one word, he was a "Perfectionist," and as his Son, that was a pretty hard act to follow! To put my Father's (Horace Agutter) ability into perspective, as I do not use my words likely, and the word eminent, is an exact definition of him and his work. For in his field of expertise, contracted to the Ministry of Defense and these other industry giants, there were just two people who were ever commissioned for the work, and my Father was at the top of the pile, with exhibits of his work in the British Science Museum back in the 1960's, sharing floor space and keeping company with the likes of Alan Turing the Father of Computing, and R. J. Mitchell CBE Aircraft Designer and inventor of the Spitfire, to mention just two!
In addition to my Father's high standards, my eldest Brother Anthony was a Math genius with "O" Levels by the age of 11 years, and "A" Levels by the age of 14 years, going onto Kings Imperial College London, where he was asked to stay on after his post graduation, to be the University's Professor of Math. But to my Father's disdain, Anthony turned down the offer for the post of Math Professor, as he had other plans and ideas.
Shortly after the my birth, we moved several times, and I think this related to my Father's work, being in need of privacy, surrounding sensitive work he was carrying out for the Ministry of Defense. First to Esher in Surrey, and then onto Thundersley in Essex around 1961. The property was completely out of the way in the sticks as they say, literally! For the new property was an old bungalow again, but with a fair bit of land that had outhouses, sheds, and a workshop. We were mainly surrounded by woods, and even had an unmade-up road. I should imagine the property was built in the very early 1920's, if not earlier, as the large lawn and gardens also consisted of an Orchard, and a sunken Victorian Style Pond.
As a small boy living in Thundersley, Essex, down Wensley Road in fact, back in the early 1960's was a Child's paradise, especially in the heat of the Summer. I was also fortunate to have my immediate family around me. Nan and Granddad, along with Mother, Father, and my Brother Anthony, all living together in Thundersley out in the sticks. Grandfather (William Agutter) was retired and a World War One hero and veteran, and my Nan (Elizabeth Agutter) also retired, was a former Head Cook in one of London's top Hotels. And so when it come to food, and knowing how to cook, we were really fortunate, for my Nan was like a modern day Mary Berry in our home, especially when it came to Apple Pies, oh my word, they were truly something else. And in those days with the shortage of food still, it was a family hands-on affair, with Granddad cultivating Vegetable Plots, Father and Mother rearing live stock in the way of Chickens and Rabbits. And coming up to Christmas, it was a period I will never forget, for our kitchen was a hive of industry everyday with chicken feathers everywhere, as many of the birds were prepared and sold to Folk in the local community, and through our local butchers. Chickens must of been the main stay in those days when it come to Christmas Dinner. For I couldn't recall Turkey until the early 1970's. All our Chickens and the Rabbits were free range. Eggs were in abundance, but collecting the eggs everyday was a different matter, and a mission in itself handed to Grandfather, as he had to run the gauntlet every day, taking his very own life in his hands, as he fought-off our giant Rooster, who would swoop down from a post he stood on, attacking my Grandfather. And not a day went past, without my Grandfather mumbling under his breath, about getting that ruddy rooster one day!
As I discovered the woods and world around me, I had my very own instant Wikipedia for information and answers, by having my family around me, and they always had the answers. And if one of them I asked didn't, they would soon point me in the right direction as to who would have the answer! My mind was a sponge for taking in information, and by the time I was 5 years of age, I could operate a Myford Lathe, Weld Plastics together with Chloroform, Silver and Lead Solder, and Spray using a compressor. back then I think it was normal, or it seemed to be the case to me, to learn and make things, and it didn't seem anything out of the ordinary, for the most frequent conversation surrounding my endeavours and exploits was very often the question of "what am I making!"
Winding forward just quickly to today's generation, and upon reading some of my more recent reviews in a Pandemic (Corona Virus), it seems strange to some, that I have a range of skills and ability, and this doesn't include the fact that I am also a Father of Five Children. Sadly, I sense from some of these reviews, it is more of a reflection on the individuals who have written the comments. In a time of crisis, it is a time for all of us to come together and be kinder towards each other, not to be ugly and bitter. For I can assure all, life is tough for everyone, and upon further reading my biography, such events, setbacks, and heartache, will be revealed. I do get the impression sometimes, that Folk think all writers and authors make fortunes. To set the record straight, this is a complete myth, especially in my field of specialist books, covering; Hobbies, Interests, and Pastimes. In fact, it is fortunate that I do have these skills today to write, edit, design, photograph, plan, and publish my books. For if I had to contract all these processes out to others; very few, if any of the books at all would be published, as they would not be financially viable due to very small print runs, as these are niche publications, and the big publishing houses stay well clear of such works. Lastly, on this point and subject, I like to write the old fashioned Oxford way, and also try to share my experiences, findings, references, and research with readers. And in such a way, as if I am speaking directly to them. Books to me are personal treasures, I do not regard them as sanitized sterile objects of information, but to be from the formulation of atoms, ether threads and nodes, connectivity gateways to further enlightenment of specific fields of personal interest.
This now leads me onto the picture above, where I am pictured back in 1967, at the age of 9 years, holding up the very first Mullet I caught. It was soon after the Winter of 1963, when the big thaw came. I was outside exploring one of my Father's sheds, when I discovered some fishing tackle. Consisting of some wooden reels, bamboo rods with green heart rod tips, and a tackle bag with some floats, hooks, and split shot.
Currently updating Biography: 31st March 2021