50shadesofsun

News, Opinions and Life

Blue Skies Ahead

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Hello and welcome to my blog

First of all, you may like to know something about me. My name is Ian Franks and I was born on 8th November 1952. I have enjoyed a career in journalism and public relations, really two sides of the same coin. I am married to Lisa, who was born and brought up in New York City. We married in 2011 after we both gained divorces from our previous partners.

I was born in England in the village of Chelsfield, in what was then Kent, but from the age of four my parents had moved our family to the nearby town of Orpington. From 1964 to 1970, I attended Cray Valley Technical High School, in Sidcup, leaving at the end of the Lower VI to start my very first job as a trainee reporter at a local newspaper in Woolwich, south east London.

During my newspaper career, I have undertaken so many general news and specialist roles that they are just toYour blogger Ian Frankso many to list here. However, they culminated in being both a sub-editor and Rural Affairs Editor of a weekly regional newspaper group in North Wales, of which the lead newspaper was the Caernarfon Herald. The ultimate accolade for me was being named Wales Farming Journalist of the Year in 1999.

As a volunteer, I spent more than 10 years as an adult leader in the Scout movement, including seven as a District Commissioner, before joining St John Ambulance and being appointed Regional Public Relations Officer for North West Wales. For the last two years, I have been Secretary of MS Synergy Independent Support Group Charity.

Oh yes, MS, multiple sclerosis – I had better mention that. I have MS, my mobility is impaired and have to use a wheelchair to travel more than a few yards. So, I live with a disability. But please don’t pigeon-hole me as a ‘disabled blogger’ because I am not, I am a blogger with a disability who likes to concentrate on his abilities. Please look at my ‘CAN do attitude’ page for more about that.

So, that’s me in a nutshell. Later this year, Lisa and I will be moving to Spain to live in our dream home that we have purchased. Follow this blog for more news about this and other things.

Why does blog┬áname begin with the words ’50 shades of”? Well, my beloved wife says I am her Mr Christian Grey but without the troubled childhood…

Don’t forget to Follow the blog and to Like what you enjoy reading.

Thank you.

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5 responses to “Blue Skies Ahead

  1. Sad to hear of the illness delighted to read about your attitude ….. well do you remember this:

    1b

    armstrong
    baker
    baxter
    buckley
    chisnel
    colyer
    couchman
    franks
    fry
    gibbs
    gould
    graves
    green (he left before we got to 15 went to Glynn Grammar School)
    griffiths
    harris
    heals
    kings
    lovell
    mattin
    (mills left year 2)
    mulvanney
    neal
    pell
    phillips
    stevens
    tapsell
    thorp
    shepherd (he came late & was added on the end)

    Keep that determined positive attitude & get in the water a lot its very healing no matter what, thats how Ive kept going all these years despite the rugby injuries

    Like

    • ian franks says:

      Hi thanks for your comment

      I remembered most of the form register and how we sat in class, I sat right behind you in alphabetical order. I knew I was missing one on row 3 (Green) and row 4 (Mills) and am delighted to once again know the full list. Not many of the old class on the website, do you know anything about any of the others? I broke my ankle in 1968 and had to attend school with my leg in plaster and on crutches. During those 6 weeks, I was allowed to use the main staircase and I was accompanied and my case was carried by my friend Andy Pell. I often wonder what happened to him in later years.

      Like

  2. David Baker says:

    Dear Ian,
    Well I have read your blog and it seems a fine way to communicate; so here goes. I have not spent a life in journalism, so my thoughts will not be as erudite or as grammatical as yours but I was taught by Mr Mayo so all is not hopeless, and the spell checker will help with what he referred to as my diabolical spelling!!
    I left CVTS with what I have always reasoned were a good set of values and an interest in most things. I got an OK degree in Chemistry from the University of Leicester and after a year teaching went to work for the British Government at the Tropical Products Institute in the Essential Oils section. TPI was a key part of the Government aid programme and the advert for the job contained the enticing (for me) phrase: may be expected to spend short or long periods overseas. I did not take it too seriously but decided to give it a try. Imagine my surprise when after a mere 6 weeks I found myself doing applied research distilling nutmeg and lime oil in Grenada in the West Indies!! I worked hard in this paradise and played harder and while on the assignment married my Wife of (now) 45 years in less than 3 months!
    During a fascinating career I worked in some 30+ countries and made friends all over the world. The highlights were 5 years in Paraguay, Two years in the Coca growing hinterland of Bolivia, and shorter spells in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania. I didn’t make much money but we are richer than most, in experiences and happiness!!
    I took early retirement when Mrs T turned the aid programme into a business, and did freelance consultancies for the UN, DFID and the World Bank. This culminated in 2 years working in the Amazon after which I hung up my boots as it were. Well as the saying goes ‘follow that’ and I decided i could not easily find a more wonderful place to do my last paid work.
    We have two boys who for some reason, unlike their parents, have the innate ability to draw, Leo Warmsley would have been pleased with them, and who now make a more than reasonable living that way. We lived for most of the described period in an old grade II listed building in Biddenden, Kent. But, once the boys left to bring up families in Wimbledon and Melbourne, we decided to go to live in Spain. We have always been fascinated by the poetry and culture in Spain especially Andalucia and the laid-back but respectful way of life is just what we craved. You know the sort of thing, when people meet on the street they greet each other with a cheery Buenos Dias. and enquire after their well being, even when they have never met before. So we have bought a cave house in the delightful village of Galera, in the spectacular high plains area known enigmatically as the “Altiplano Los Bad Lands”. The village has a population of about 750, accept for the months of July and August when the children and grandchildren come back to visit their families and enjoy our cultural festival. During that time there are programmes of music, theatre, sport, poetry and fun for the children along with much drinking, traditional foods and time to just ‘hang out’ with friends.
    My wife has a beautiful voice and I can just about hold my own (thanks Mr Woodward) so we have joined the choir and we have great fun singing in all manner of events from concerts of Spanish traditional songs, villancicos (carols) to singing in the church mass once a month and an old peoples home on occasions. No, I am not a Catholic or particularly religious but I enjoy it immensely!
    I mentioned to you the importance of learning Spanish. Of course each to his own and I in no way wish to lecture. But the vast majority of the British community in our village have not made much of an effort, which restricts their social life to mostly the British community. And, many have, unlike us, actually sold up in the UK and moved here lock stock and barrel. To not make the most of the friendship and camaraderie of ones Spanish neighbours seems daft to me. And, do not believe a word of what you might read in books like A Year in Provence or Driving Over Lemons, about never being accepted in the village. It makes good copy but in our experience just isn’t the case. I will illustrate this by a little anecdote. The 6th January here is looked forward to by the kids even more so than Christmas. Known as ‘Reyes’ (Kings) it is the day when children young and old receive their presents. So in villages all through the land three locals dress up as the Kings and after a parade through the streets, usually accompanied by music and singing and the frenzied throwing and catching of sweets, the Kings hand out presents in the main square to dumbstruck, delighted children. Last year I was asked to be Melchior and spent the evening in heavy disguise in the prescribed manner. One little boy I gave a present to, was my best friend in the village, Jesus’s grandson. Little Pablo did not recognise me but was very pleased to get his gift. Later my mate Jesus e-mailed me to say that as far as his grandson was concerned I will always be a King. I’ll admit to a few tears and the certain feeling of acceptance!! Well I have just reread the last section and it sounds terribly cloying and self congratulatory but I will leave it in so that you will know what a ‘big girls blouse’ I am.
    OK Ian I will close now and hope that you have not already poured petrol over yourself and struck a match. Do enjoy your new home, Vino del Pais, (which paradoxically means local plonk rather than revved up Rioja) and Flamenco; they both invite you deep into the Andaluz soul.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ian franks says:

      Hi David
      Thanks for your comment. It was certainly an interesting story and one well worth telling on the school blog site. I am sure Colin would be pleased to receive it.
      Lisa and I chose our new home to be able to enjoy the companionship and the way of life of the Spanish people, not just Brits, and have serious intentions of becoming more than comfortable in ‘espanol’.
      It is interesting that you have a cave house as there are a few around our new home but, being close to Cuevas del Almanzoro, that is hardly surprising. There is also a superb cave restaurant.
      I have no idea about local geography yet, so I am not sure how far it would be to drive, but if it is possible we’d love to meet up.
      Ian

      Liked by 1 person

  3. palmdubai says:

    Thank you for droppingby my fun picture blog!l u have an interesting blog. Wish u the best…

    Like

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