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.
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. I worked for London Electricity and its successor companies (which were numerous following the privatisation of the industry in 1989) for the whole of my career. 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. Quite a change.
I’ve always been interested in nature, both flora and fauna, and I find fishing a good way to get lost in the countryside. More recently I’ve taken up golf, which involves among other things walking across some beautifully kept courses. We invariably also do a bit of walking when on holiday.
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 eventually migrated to Apple in 2008. As a consequence I find that I am spending a lot less time sorting out computer and software problems these days, and 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.
For some unaccountable 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.
After this I dabbled in occasional courses and home learning but it wasn’t until I retired in 2008 that I decided to make a major effort to learn French - properly! This has led me to regular language exchanges over Skype, and I have now visited France on three occasions with the express intention of improving my French. Twice to Paris, in April 2013 and April 2014, and once to Nice (May 2015) where I enrolled in a two week immersion course. My current level is between intermediate B1 and B2, which enables me to hold a conversation. What has become very clear is that learning a new language late in life is challenging, but it keeps the neurons hard at work which can’t be a bad thing.
Photography is another interest. I was quite young when I got my first 35mm camera, a very basic device that none the less taught me a lot about exposure settings and focus. Modern cameras do all this for you, but in much the same way that learning to program helps you understand computers, operating a manual camera helps you understand the basics of photography.
I dabble in web design, as will be apparent from the fact you’re reading this on my web site. I also manage a site for my daughter, who teaches Pilates. And in 2018 I launched a new site, French at 60, in support of my book of the same title. As already mentioned, I set myself a challenge to learn to speak French when I retired in 2008, and my book is aimed at encouraging anybody else who shares that ambition.
Cars were another passion when I was young but unfortunately I could only afford old wrecks while lusting after the likes of the MGs, Triumph TRs and the glorious E-Type Jaguar. The Earls Court Motor Show was an annual pilgrimage. I would probably have killed myself if I could have acquired one of those cars and it’s probably a good thing that I have had to wait until recently to fulfil my dream, and in 2013 I bought a seven-year-old Mercedes SLK 350. With its beautiful 3.5L V6 naturally aspirated engine and classic roadster appearance, this was a car that ticked all the boxes for me. So impressed was I with Mercedes that in 2016 I took a big leap of faith and committed myself to a new Mercedes SLC 300 (which supersedes the SLK). This will be my last car! With the low mileage that I do I'm hoping that it will last me until I can't drive any more.
Well, I think that more or less tells you who I am and what my interest are. If you want to contact me please use the email form on this site.