Photo by Susie FitzSimmons, 2009.
I'm Stephen Petter, born 10 May 1937.
Now retired, I live in Bristol, but I expect shortly to move to Wolverhampton, to live near my daughter and grand-daughter.
I am a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and have over the past fifty years taken an active interest in its spirituality, its social witness and its administration. I regard my spiritual development as the most important part of my life.
I'm a member of the Alister Hardy Society which is closely associated with the Religious Experience Research Centre.
Also a frequent attender of retreats organised by the Bede Griffiths Sangha, of which more anon.
I am also a member of the Green Party, seeing this as part of my Quaker witness.
My tertiary education included getting a degree from the Open University, starting in its first year, 1971. It was mainly in the field of socio-technical systems, which included the study of organisations and management. Earlier I had obtained qualifications in Electrical and in Mechanical Engineering and in Management Studies.
After school I was a Trainee Chemist, then a Radar Fitter in the Royal Air Force for five years. In 1961 I became a computer engineer, then a programmer and systems analyst, a job which I enjoyed greatly, to the extent that I avoided promotion to management. I also spent some years in Management Training then in Employee Participation and Communication. From 1972 to 1976 I was an Open University student. For the final 20 years of my professional life I was an Information Technology consultant working mainly in multi-national corporations. I operated as a one-man Ltd Co and as Sole Trader.
My OU Student number (A0096502) is etched in my brain, as is my RAF number (4185537).
Also in 1972 I started attending Quaker meetings.
Throughout my adult life I have been very active in a variety of voluntary organisations. I set up (actually, "incorporated") Quaker Homeless Action and later, Friends of Sangam Foundation (which supported a school in India) as Companies Ltd by Guarantee, and as Registered Charities. In both of these I was a director and trustee and Company Secretary. I have completed the Facilitator's course in AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project ) and I was also its Company Secretary.
As a Quaker I have held appointments at all levels. See: Quaker (organisational) Experience
See also: Extensive CV - My life history in detail: my varied career, my memberships, and my participation in voluntary organisations.
Other sites created by me.
Petter Family Tree
My BLOG (Web Log)
1940: I was 'evacuated' to British Columbia, Canada. (4 years)
1960: With the RAF in Hawaii (1 year)
1982: Mauritius; New York,
1986: Den Haag
1980s: Madrid and Orlando for conferences of my professional body.
1990s: Honduras and New Mexico for conferences of FWCC (Interntional Quakers)
1990s: Several European cities for conferences of EMES (European Quakers) (Prague, Brussels, ? in Netherlands, Helsinki, Berlin)
2000: Sleeping under the stars in the Western Desert (Egypt)
2001-2002 round the world journey
2004: Sri Lanka and India for six weeks
2004: Palestine for the second time
2005: Sri Lanka as an International Monitor of their Presidential election
2005: USA & Canada
2006 - 2008: Spain, France, Italy
2009: USA, BVI, and Canada.
2011: Sri Lanka and India again.
2013: Nerja, Spain
2014: India. Morocco over Christmas
2019: Spain 1. Alone 2. Took family.
Long Term Plans. How they change!!!
1. Written in 2000: My intention is to devote much of my time to the formation and development of organisations to address some of the world's major problems - deforestation and the persecution of indigenous peoples that live in them, conflict between powerful states and minorities seeking independence, and economic injustice seen in the widening gap between nations that consume and pollute at the expense of those many of whose citizens starve.
2. Written in 2009: The fact is I've been retired over 10 years but have not found time to get started on these three big projects. However, the dreams have not quite disappeared.
But now I accept I will not move from my present home, am too old to do any serious sailing, and will never be rich. I hope to spend more time with my extended family, also much more time traveling cheaply in my region, in Britain and Europe, and (by surface transport) to and in India. In fact I hope to stay in India for some months, more than once. I dream of a bungalow on a hilltop in the foothills of the Himalayas.
I have become very keen on my garden and allotment, which bodes ill for travel plans! I've given up most of my Green Party and local political activities but am still spending much time on Quaker and FOSF administration. In June 2009 I spent a month in the Caribbean and North America and expect it will be my last time there partly to avoid air travel and partly due to cost. I probably will not get a partner, mainly because I am not prepared to devote the time to any one person to the extent that most women seem to expect.
3. Written in 2014: Intention to stay here (281 Redcatch Road) shattered by Jim and Sarah saying they intend to move, i.e. leaving this house and garden on which I have spent much time and money. Intention to not have a gf foiled by Sarah 3, for which thanks. Intention not to fly about to be broken by another trip to India. Intention to undertake three big projects all non-starters.
4. Written in 2021, when about to leave Bristol. Sarah 3 died suddenly on May 9 2020. At the age of 83 I have had to accept that I shall never realise all my plans and dreams. No sailing single- handed across the Atlantic! No running a backpackers' hostel in Cambodia. No residing by a lake, river or the sea. No chance of returning to live in London, or New York, let alone San Fransisco. Not spending months in an Ashram in India. But I do have dreams which are almost expectations. Lots of friends and dinner parties in W'ton, lots of films, music and videos, lots of art galleries. I think I'll re-apply for a National Art Fund Pass. I also hope to do something useful, AVP , Mentoring? Get not-too involved in Quakers. Time to thank God for a very good life, and an undeservedly long one.
Sailing - Dreams, Plans and Qualifications.
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