Meet Colin

February 10, 2021

Reading time: 5 minutes

I spent my small years in Gower in South Wales, and spent a lot of time right next to the beach. I don’t think I realised what a privilege that was when I was there, but to be fair, we left when I was 11.

It’s 1980, and three blonde, tanned children sit on a white sand beach on a sunny day. A 10 year old girl in bunches and dungarees supports a grinning infant wearing a romper and sun hat. To their left is an 8 year old boy in shorts and tshirt.
Baby Colin with his big sister and brother, in Iona where the family holiday home is

My teenage years were spent in Glasgow, where I mostly enjoyed school… I enjoyed physics enough to do it twice, though somehow managed to get a D both times! Otherwise I was mainly into music, and played the drums in a band. Siri randomly decided to play one of our tracks the other day, which came as a bit of a surprise! Sorry, I’m afraid it’s only in my library and not available on streaming services – you must be devastated.

My childhood memory is a bit fuzzy, but one or two summers I spent a week on a kids sailing holiday on Lake Windermere. Then there was also a family holiday on a yacht for a week in Greece.


There was a brief interlude of a few months when I lived in the Scottish Borders with my Dad. Not much happened… oh right, I met Ailsa. There was that.

Learning some things

Next was university in Cambridge (in not at – I was at the Poly). I studied Internet Technology, which was fine, but I should have gone for Computer Science. I had the opportunity to switch in my second year, however doing so would have prevented me going on a student exchange to the US, so I stuck with it. Absolutely the right decision. I spent a semester at Valparaiso University, Indiana. I was assigned a roommate randomly who had spent the previous semester living in the forest; he was assigned the strange exchange student. Thankfully that worked out and he (and his wife and daughter) are now some of our best friends and our erstwhile Christmas family. Through him I “honourarily” joined his fraternity, Sigma Tau Gamma, and gained many more great friends.

After my US semester, I bought a VW Bus. I drove across the US, from Chicago to Seattle, then up to Vancouver, and then back down to San Diego. Somewhere along the line the brakes failed and I managed to crash the bus. I survived but spent a silly amount of money getting it back on the road, while it remained worthless. Before I left I sold it for a pittance, and a lesson learned.

The rat race… not really

My working life has (and remains) focused on web development. At the beginning this was website creation, and later on has focused on web apps, and the backend – I’m more interested in making it do cool things than making it look good. Ailsa’s worked at the same place for 12.5 years – I… haven’t – I’ve worked at a lot of great places, but have tended to find I’ve wanted to move on. The upside is that it’s given me plenty of experiences, and opportunities for growth.

I’ve rarely had to wear a shirt, so I mostly think I’ve done alright.

Cats, and pizza

If my friends were to talk about me, two words would come up. A lot. Cats, and pizza. Beer would probably come up too, but I’m one for being a dedicated cat dad and always finding a cat to pet. It doesn’t end at cats, I’ll fuss anything really… And yes, pizza. One of my most intensive bits of sailing prep has been perfecting a good, thin base Italian pizza, and I’m looking forward to using a pizza stone on our deck BBQ to keep up the skill.

A collage of travel photos. In each, Colin is petting an animal. There are sheep, a Highland Cow, a dog, a horse, lots of cats, and a selfie with a green monkey
Can I fuss it? Just some of the friends I’ve made over the years


Once Ailsa and I were established as “adults”, with a bit of money, we were able to go on holidays. Ailsa had been to Barbados with her family previously, and she introduced me, after which we went back a few times. As much as I love Barbados, I’m really glad we branched out and have now been to many Caribbean islands. I’m really looking forward to spending some more time in them, though eventually we’re going to need to go get some experience of other parts of the world – maybe in 5 years!

And here we are

My interest in sailing got reignited in 2014 when I read the best advert for the lifestyle ever – Dead Calm. I’m not sure why a story about being becalmed and boarded by a murderer particularly piqued my interest but there we go. I then read the rest of Charles F. Williams’s catalogue which is heavily sailing focused. More on what happened next here, but fast-forward to now and we’re ready to get started… hopefully.


Colin hangs upside down from a play sculpture in a children’s playground.  The earth is bare with distant snow,  and a sunny blue sky
Monkeying around during a Christmas trip to Denver in 2018