A man born and bred in Hemel Hempstead who struggled with dyslexia at school has published his first book aged 60.
Richard Blackshire’s page turner is based on his experiences growing up in the new town of Hemel Hempstead.
It’s quite an achievement for the retired IT consultant who was termed as a ‘slow learner’ during his years at the town’s Secondary Modern School.
“I had to bumble along as best I could,” he said. “I didn’t do too badly but I was never going to be destined for university like my brother.
“The last thing I would have thought of as a child growing up was writing a book. Anything to do with English or writing I would steer away from because it would show you up.”
But the book - New Town Naughty Boy - was quite easy for Richard, of Grovehill, to write and took him around two years.
“It wasn’t too long before I found I had written quite a lot,” he said.
“I knew more or less what I wanted to talk about.
“It became a hobby.”
The book includes a bit of history about Hemel Hempstead, some information about Richard’s background - he’s a direct descendant of Bedford’s famous writer John Bunyan - before going on to take the reader through Richard’s childhood and young adulthood in Bennetts End.
“Hopefully people will find it very entertaining and it is written in a way to make people laugh,” he said.
“It’s supposed to be an amusing book.”
Richard, who lives with his wife Sandra, has self published his book on Amazon and hopes it will also be his legacy.
He said: “Because I don’t have any children I kind of wanted some sort of legacy to leave behind.
“When you do finally cease to exist you kind of rely on your children to carry on the information about yourself. I don’t have tht but the book is timeless, you are writing something that is going to be there forever.”
But he was quick to add: “I don’t envisage leaving this world too soon.”