Alan made the mistake of being born at both the wrong time and in the wrong place. The year was 1936, a short time before the outbreak of the Second World War. The place was suburban London not far from Northolt, a major RAF fighter aerodrome. During the latter part of the Blitz his parents evacuated him to safety in Paignton, a seaside town in Devon a long distance from the German attacks on the capital and its environs. However he little knew that life in the air raid shelter among the falling bombs intended for Northolt was far less onerous than living in an old Victorian house with the admonitions of elderly grandparents constantly ringing in his ears.
After the war he graduated in medicine but becoming dissatisfied with the hierarchical class structure of the new National Health Service, so redolent of the life in the environment of the class consciousness of life with his snobbish grandparents, decided to emigrate to Australia. Life In Tasmania proved too much for his first marriage. He met ‘the Blonde and together the two of them sailed a Tasmanian built wooden cutter, daring the often challenging waters of the Tasman Sea. On board the same boat they explored beautiful coasts of Tasmania, in the process uncovering some of the ghosts of the state’s colonial past.