Tony Jervis - Who's he?
Your potential new Editor spent his working life (1959-1999) as an analytical chemist of one sort or another, obtaining initial experience with a manufacturer of laboratory chemicals. In 1965 I became a civil servant, working first in a research establishment on fuel cell design, then on broader waters in Her Majesty's dockyards at Portsmouth and Rosyth, and finally with the then Lothian Regional Council's water and wastewater department, subsumed into East of Scotland Water from which I was soon glad to volunteer for early retirement on grounds of redundancy.
I was born in Somerset, schooled in Bournemouth and spent forty years living on the South Coast of England in various towns between Weymouth and Portsmouth. My first visit to Wick and Thurso would have been in 1962, after having watched the restaurant car being shunted from the northbound to the southbound train at Kinbrace. Further whistle-stop tours of Scotland's farther flung railway extremities followed at two- to four-year intervals.
During an early visit I found myself effectively stranded in Inverness on a Sunday; fortunately it wasn't wet and I was able to while away the day by finding a bus via the Kessock ferry that allowed to me to walk part of the former Fortrose railway branch. A railway enthusiast even before anoraks became the de rigueur end-of-platform fashion accessory, my main interests lie in the history, geography and infrastructure of the network rather than the locomotives and rolling stock; at the Bournemouth Railway Club I became known as that strange chap who waited until the train had departed before taking a photograph of the station! I collected railway tickets during the early 1960s, desperately trying to keep ahead of Dr Richard Beeching's axe. Today I take solace from that unfortunate period by exploring on foot the railway lines he removed from the map.
Finally, I must not hide my faults - I have an irrepressible sense of humour and an ability to create headlines with punishing puns!