One piece of A4 paper changed my life forever. It contained details of a two year full time course at Portsmouth College of Art. The Restoration and Decoration of Historic Buildings.
The skills to be taught on the course were Specialist Painting, Gilding, Wood carving, the Study of Architecture, fine plasterwork and would offer visits to Historic Houses. Reading the course details made all the hair on my body just raise up.
I read the paper twice, the first in awe on what was on offer and second to acknowledge to myself, that this was everything I wanted, I just had not realised it. With any hesitation I said ” I don’t know quite how this is going to happen, I will apply and what do I do next.”
The woman with the smile on her face told me to submit the application to the College as soon as possible because the Course would start in three months. Prepare my portfolio and I would get an appointment within a week.
I smiled, thanked her for her help and walked away. I did not bother to buy the suit I came for and then when I drove home I realised that I had no idea what a Portfolio was? First thing to do was to fine out.
I did not tell a soul what I intended doing. Two days later I delivered my application form, four days later I attended an interview, clutching a selection of cartoons that I had made, photographs of furniture I had restored and a house I had worked on.
I told my Interviewer that I intended doing the course and if I did not get in this year I would be back. Mr Nigel Mussell smiled said that he was prepared to take a risk on me , that he would be happy to offer me a place and I would start in September. That was the beginning of the beginning of my new life. What happened next was a shock to me and to everyone else. I was 43 years of age and I was going to become a full time student and dammed if anyone was going to stop me.