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Balshaw's Grammar School

Before I finally gave up on the UK after all the Wilson government's meddling, I had two post-grad jobs in UK industry. The first was a 2-year stint with a company called Wickman Machine Tools. Their main engineering offices were in Coventry. I started there on a "provisional" salary with a promise of a major raise after a successful first year. Unfortunately that raise was stymied by Wilson imposing a wage freeze during the first year.

To get a better salary deal, I landed a job at Norton-Villiers, in their Research and Competiton department. I was hired on the basis of my experience in test instrumentation and was told I'd be setting up a mobile test facility with my choice of instrumentation. Unfortunately, the funds set aside for that task were swallowed up in a disastrous publicity scheme, intended to raise awareness of the new company.

As an alternative, I was heavily involved in the development testing of the Norton Commando street bike and then the AJS Stormer street-trail bike. N-V was a small-ish company with a multi-millionaire owner who was a "meddler" and the research team kept getting distracted by his latest schemes.

I finally got fed up with it and landed a job with Boeing. We went though all the immigration paperwork, got our visas and headed out to Seattle in July 1968. I got laid off in the 1971 cutbacks (Boeing headcount went from 103,000 to 36,000 in 2 years) and I went to work for NASA then back to Boeing in 1974. I took early retirement in September 1998. We moved to our present home in the seaside town of Anacortes the following year. Retirement at almost 58 was a bit of a gamble, but it worked out well. We've just hit 20 years since we made that decision, and just love both the location and the freedom.


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