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From the comments received, I know there are visitors to this site who are familiar with some of the places and time periods depicted here. They must find it odd that they do not remember a Harry Marshall.

The answer of course is that Harry Marshall is a pen name. Only the extremely naive - or the extremely brave - use a real name on the internet. There are some very disturbed people out there, and, once again from comments received, I know that they can be easily offended. So a choice was made - I had no wish to figure in the sort of scene I could remember from my youthful cinema-going days: "Who does e think e is? Eave arf a brick at im, Arry."

BACKGROUND

I was born in the market town of Faringdon, Berkshire, England. The boundaries have now been redrawn, and Faringdon is now included in Oxfordshire.

My childhood was spent in various towns in the West Country until my parents finally moved to Cornwall where I attended Falmouth Grammar School. (Now incorporated into Falmouth School.) It was probably Falmouth with its historic links to the sea that gave me my wanderlust and led to many years spent travelling overseas.

Links with Faringdon were never lost, and I feel equally at home in the sweeping agricultural landscapes around Faringdon or the rocky seascapes of Cornwall. A special warmth goes to the area near Faringdon known as the Vale of the White Horse, where so many of my ancestors come from. My pedigree is thick with local country names traceable to the time parish records began: Jackson and Sollis from Faringdon, Seary from Buckland, Kent from Fernham, Bartlett from Bampton, Heath from Hinton Waldrist. And a host of ancestors from Little Coxwell variously known as Hawkence, Hawkince, Hakkins, or (finally) Hawkins. Little Coxwell churchyard is thick with long-dead relatives emanating from the dynasty founded by John Hawkins when he married Ann Web in 1698.

But amateur genealogy is a macabre business. As I drive back home to Cornwall after a trip up country, the last image in my mind is always of that ancient graveyard with its sagging headstones and the decaying stonework of the 12th Century church. The usual detour to pay my respects to my Gran.

CAREER

Most of my working life has been spent overseas in the Far East, the Middle East, and Africa, but always in the electronics industry. My experience has ranged from military radar equipment, telecommunications systems, navigational aids for Civil Aviation, industrial electronics, computer systems engineering, and finally web page design where the main claim to fame is designing funny little spiders which bungee up and down the page.

Since returning to the UK, I worked in the London area for a number of years, before returning to Cornwall where I now live on the Lizard Peninsula.

INTERESTS

Ever since my time in Hong Kong I have had an interest in Chinese language and literature. I studied for several years at the Working Man's College in London and then followed a degree course at the Polytechnic of Central London. In 1981 I spent the summer studying at Renmin University [Renmin Daxue], Beijing, China.

I am interested in skiing and mountaineering and have climbed in the Alps. Main highspots so far are the traverse of the Skye Ridge, and leading the Prow on Blaven.