Straight outta Uxbridge: Newbury author recalls a working life around the world
SEVENTY-four-year-old Stephen Falconer Jones, who has lived in Ball Hill for the last 34 years, decided to use lockdown to finish writing the book that he had started many years before about his working life around the world.
When Stephen felt the urge to take a look at the world before settling into a humdrum job in West London, he decided to become a VSO volunteer in Zambia. That experience opened his eyes to life beyond Uxbridge and fed a wanderlust that would never leave him.
He spent the 1970s, 80s and 90s working in far-flung places, years working on overseas projects, mostly in developing countries. He began writing about his experiences in the early 2000s, but “got busy with other things and put the manuscript aside”.
The long hours of lockdown provided the ideal opportunity to “dust off” the text and to digitise old slides and photos, some of which appear in the book.
Stephen explained: “I needed an alternative to DIY, which I detest, to keep me occupied and I thoroughly enjoyed the writing process accompanied by the mental image of my grandchildren reading my words in my years’ time when I am long gone.
“It’s said that everyone has one book in them and this is mine.”
His travels afforded him the opportunity to learn about the fascinating people, cultures, politics, agriculture and much more of these faraway places, while he was seeking viable development schemes funded by international aid agencies.
This book is an enlightening and entertaining account of his adventures in more than 70 countries, from Nigeria to Nepal and from Afghanistan to Chile and Russia.
Escape From Uxbridge has been recently published by Mereo Books (www.mereobooks.com) and is available from Amazon and other internet booksellers.