Candidate Profile

Provided by

History - General
Travel & Destinations
Vikings & Scandinavia
Mike was born in Newcastle and brought up in Scotland, where he learned Highland dancing and piping. Mike was an academic tart graduating from 3 universities starting with medicine in Aberdeen. His first year in the RAF as a GP included being Pipe Major of the RAF Central Flying School Pipe Band. He spent the next 10 years at the RAF Institute of Aviation Medicine doing fulltime research. After escaping from Farnborough, Mike had a variety of exciting posts ranging from aeromedical evacuation, senior medical officer on a flying station in Germany, command of RAF Headley Court (the Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Unit), the first Medical Adviser to the Permanent Joint Headquarters and various posts in the Ministry of Defence. During an exchange post in the United States, he became the only British medical officer to be given 14 hours of air combat training in the F-16. He was Honorary Surgeon to HM the Queen from 1997 to 2002.

After leaving the RAF with the rank of air commodore, Mike joined the oldest independent occupational medicine service in the UK, becoming managing director in 2004. He was trainer of the year in the Oxford Deanery in 2012. After "retirement", he joined HM Court and Tribunal Service as a medical member as well as becoming involved with various local charities. He is a Liveryman of the Society of Apothecaries, member of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

In addition to Alison (his wife) and family, Mike's passions include bagpipes, travel, cookery, history and writing.
1. Bagpipes. A history of bagpipes, with live demonstrations.
2. Kilts & Capers. A history of Highland dress with an account of some Scottish celebrations.
3. Hot Air & Hops. Scottish music and dance.
4. Neeps & Nips. Scottish food and drink.
5. The Borders, Ballads & Baddies. The turbulent border between Scotland and England as seen through the Border ballads.
6. Great Scots. The story of 2 Scots who created most people's perceptions of Scotland, one who had a significant impact on the United States and one who won the accolade as the worst poet in the world.

1. The American who became Britain's First Pilot. The life of Samuel Franklin Cody.
2. The Development of Medical Tests for the Royal Flying Corps. How the introduction of medical standards improved the life expectancy of pilots in the Royal Flying Corps.
3. Those Magnificent Men. An account of some incredible human experiments carried out at Farnborough during the second world war.
4. The Ice Cream Machine & the Puffing Billy. Some of the improbable bits of equipment developed at Farnborough during the second world war.
5. Things that go Bump in the Flight. What you might have saved yourself from by sailing across the Atlantic.

1. Hans Christian Andersen. The strange life and literature of Denmark's genius.
2. Three Great Scandinavian Composers. Contrasting the life and music of Sibelius, Nielsen and Grieg.
3. Poles Apart. The life and adventures of Norway's two greatest explorers - Nansen and Amundsen.
4. The Vikings in the British Isles. The impact that the Vikings had, and still have, on the British Isles.
5. Norse Mythology. A canter through the characters and legends of Norse mythology.
6. Great Danes (people not dogs). The lives of Ole Worm, Tycho Brahe, Christoph Weyse, Friedrich Kuhlau, Bertel Thorvaldsen, Niels Bohr, Anders Lassen & Victor Borge.
7. Super Swedes (not the vegetables!). The lives of Johan Roman, Carl Linnaeus, Alfred Nobel, Elfrida Andrée and ABBA.

1. Stones & Bones – the story of Venice through 3 locations and 3 inhabitants.
2. Damned to everlasting fame– the story of the Medici and the Borgia families. (The title is from Alexander Pope)
3. Men of the Med – the story of an architect, an artist and a con artist.
4. Pilgrimages. A history of pilgrimage with emphasis on the Camino de Santiago.
5. Interesting Italians. The story of Machiavelli, Garibaldi, Fibonacci and Meucci.

South America
1. Don't Cry for Me. The story of the three Perons - Juan, Eva and Isabel.
2. Beagling Round South America. The tale of Darwin's experiences in South America on HMS Beagle.
3. Around the Horn. The exploration of the notorious cape and an analysis of why it is so dangerous.
4. A Wager Lost. A tale of mutiny, murder and mayhem following the wreck of HMS Wager on the Pacific coast of Pategonia.
5. The Liberators. The men who set South America free of their colonial masters.
6. The Real Indiana Jones? The tale of Hiram Bingham III, the rediscoverer of Machu Picchu.
7. Brazil in a nutshell. A history of Brazil, including the role played by the Emperor and the Sea Wolf.
8. Argentinian Adventures. A history of Argentina, including the invasion of the River Plate by the British in the early 1800s.

Middle America & the Caribbean
1. The Conquistadors. The Conquest of the Aztecs in New Spain and the Incas in Peru.
2. Finding & Founding of Florida. The history of Florida from pre-Columbus times to its becoming a state of the Union.
3. Che. How did a middle class Argentinian become a hated terrorist and a revered hero?
4. Caribbean Colonies and Characters. A history of the Caribbean in general, with detail on the various ports of call together with an account of some famous inhabitants of the Caribbean.
5. Three colonies - a dream, a disaster and a deception. The story of Willoughbyland, Darien and Poyais.
6. Cuba - from Columbus to Castro.

North America
1. A brief history of (parts of) Canada.
2. Some Famous Canadians. People who should be famous but aren't and some who are famous but you didn't know were Canadian.
3. New York, New York. Highlights of the history of an iconic city.

1. Trans-Atlantic Crossings - E- W. A story highlighting some firsts and some unusual crossings.
2. Trans-Atlantic Crossings W-E. As for the other but heading in the opposite direction.
3. Heraldry. The rules and conventions of British heraldry with an account of how to obtain a grant of arms.
4. London Liveries. The history and strange traditions of some of the London livery companies.
5. Forties, Tyne, Dogger. An idiosyncratic journey through the shipping forecast.
6. Weekly from Southampton, Great Steamers – a brief history of Southampton and Southampton Water.

1. The Emerald Isle - A history of Ireland. An eclectic choice of historical nuggets from pre-history to the formation of the Republic of Ireland.
2. Oileáin Mhor, Meain & Oirr – the Aran Isles.
3. Isle of Poets, Playwrights and Pipers – a journey through Irish culture.

1. Rasputin - the mystic manipulator.
2. Why were Peter and Catherine great?
3. Meet the Mighty Five – the development of Russian music in 19th century St Petersburg.

1. I saw 3 ships a sailing by - a history of Christmas Carols.
2. Ding Dong Merrily - a history of some more Christmas carols.
3. Deck the Halls - a history of Christmas traditions.

1. What's in a name? Medical eponyms. Many of the people who gave their names to medical tests, conditions & treatments had fascinating lives & interests.

Far East
1. Trade with the Celestial Empire. How the United Kingdom gained a foothold in China.
2. Spices from the east. A history of oriental spices together with the role played by the early explorers and the great trading companies in bringing spices to the west.
3. Fists of Righteous Harmony. The Boxer Rebellion and the later evolution of the Chinese Republic.
4. A cup of tea. A brief history of porcelain and tea.
5. The English Samurai. The story of how an Englishman became a samurai.
Started 2017.

Cunard: 2 South American cruises with Queen Victoria V704-5 & V805-6. One Christmas cruise with Queen Elizabeth Q736.
Fred Olsen: 2 circum-UK cruises (W1707 & M1722), one to Norway & back (L1716) and one sailing back from Quebec (W1831).
One Saga cruise to the Gulf of Bothnia. 2 Viking cruises from Bergen to Greenwich.
Willing to travel at short notice. Both my wife and I hold Seaman's Discharge Books, ESTA/Visa for USA and Bermuda ID cards.

Able to host and perform at Burns Suppers (piping, reciting, speaking but NOT singing!)
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Queen Victoria V004 Westbound Transatlantic Cruise 11 Southampton Friday, January 10, 2020
Black Watch W1929 Canaries Christmas & New Year 15 Southampton Sunday, December 22, 2019
Balmoral L1923 Welcome to Scandinavia 8 Newcastle Sunday, September 8, 2019
Queen Victoria V914 British Isles Cruise 12 Southampton Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Saga Sapphire SA 370 A Story of Ireland 10 Dover Thursday, April 18, 2019
Braemar M1830 Voyage to the Islands of the Caribbean 17 Southampton Monday, December 3, 2018
Black Watch W1821 sector Canada in the Fall 12 Quebec City Saturday, October 6, 2018
Viking Sky SK180721 Into the Midnight Sun 14 Bergen Saturday, July 21, 2018
Viking Sky SK180623 Into the Midnight Sun 14 Bergen Saturday, June 23, 2018
Saga Pearl 11 P2202 Islands of Bothnia 14 Dover Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Queen Victoria V805 Grand Voyage 2018 Sector 15 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Thursday, January 18, 2018
Queen Elizabeth Q736 Bruges Short Break Cruise 3 Southampton Friday, December 8, 2017
Braemar M1722 The Braemar Highland Games 10 Southampton Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Balmoral L1716 Fred.’s Favourite Fjords 7 Newcastle Sunday, July 30, 2017
Black Watch W1707 Lochs of Scotland 10 Dover Sunday, June 11, 2017
Queen Victoria V702-711 World Cruise 2017 120 Southampton Thursday, January 5, 2017