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From England to Finland and Drawing board to Computer Screen
I started life in a small coal-mining village in South Yorkshire, England.
Realised on first day at school that teachers and fellow pupils had speech impediment as they could not pronounce my surname. Yugoslav father + English mother = unpronounceable surname.
When I was 16 the whole family moved south to London Town. Where I found work as a Tea Boy in a firm of architects. Not only did Londoners have a the same speech impediment as my Northern compatriots they also were hard of hearing. For months they kept asking me to repeat myself. Of course, the reason was my Yorkshire accent, which was not broad by any means but obviously confused these Southern natives.
In 1970 a chance meeting, in a pub in Piccadilly Circus, brought me and my future wife together. We fell in love and 18 months later were married - in Finland, but returned to London.
By 1973 we both decided to move to Finland. Laura found a job as a translator with Rank Xerox and I as a draughtsman for a Heating & Ventilation consultancy. Whose name I had great difficulty pronouncing.
Three years later I had had enough of drawing ducts, pipes and sprinklers. So I swapped my Rapidograf drawing pen for an Olympus OM 1 camera and started out as a freelance journalist and photographer.
As I specialised in the construction industry, I got work from several building magazines and construction companies in Finland and the UK. In 1980 I joined KONE Oy as the first editor of their in-house magazine "News & Views".
In 1982 I returned to freelancing and in 1985 Laura and I founded Oy Intacom Ltd to offer translation and English copy-editing services. The following year we took a calculated risk and invested in a Xerox 6085 Documenter Electronic Publishing System and entered into the Information Age. We began by editing, designing , printing and distributing newsletters in addition to translating and offering English language copywriting and editorial services.
In 1990 we launched an online travel guide to London on a Finnish Ceefax service (the first of its kind in the world). This later morphed into an online guide to Britain in association with the British Tourist Authority. Which was later licensed to CompuServe but discontinued when the World Wide Web arrived and CompuServe was bought by AOL.
By this time we were already in a position to offer consulting and Internet development advice as well as localisation services to companies. Which we did up until a few years ago when we sort-of-retired.
Nowadays I have returned to writing and taking photographs for pleasure and attempting to squeeze out that novel that is supposedly in all of us.
Finland is not paradise (especially in November), despite what Newsweek says, but it gets close at times.