Postle: Alistair (1969 – 1974)

Armstrong House

I left school in July 1974 and signed on the dole as was the norm in those days. Unfortunately, within 2 hours the labour exchange had found me a job as holiday cover in tobacconists in Stockton on Tees. Money was good – the hours were terrible – I had to start at 6am and finish at 6.30 pm but being a smoker at school I was possibly very knowledgeable regarding the stock that they sold. I don’t smoke now – it’s no fun when you are allowed.

Parents of course wanted me to get a profession (not a trade) so I was pointed in that direction.

I had written a letter to Barclays Bank and got an interview with the Regional Manager; they existed in person in those days. He said I was too bright to go into banking(!) and should consider Law or Accountancy. My A level results told a different story – I had not put in the hours of study I should have! Too much staring at the walls and not listening. So, my route to accountancy was necessarily longer.

The job leaflets had suggested accountants got paid more than solicitors (first mistake) and as I wanted to be a millionaire, I chose accountancy. I didn’t have the requisite number of A levels so had to do a Higher National Diploma in Business Studies at Teesside Polytechnic first.

I don’t think my Dad had any money left to send me to University even if I had had the brains.

I gained my HND with a little effort and went to work for my Dad’s accountant and worked my way up to Senior Clerk, passed my accountancy exams and became an accountant and I have been calculating ever since. Debits, credits the lot! Calculators and computers came along and adding machines with till rolls went out with analysis paper and treasury tags.

Got married, one daughter, got divorced and now blissfully single with a reasonable job as one partner in a two-partner firm. I wear a suit and tie for work and this satisfies my clients that I must know what I am talking about. I find that this has been my greatest asset. If you look like a successful accountant, you must be one!

Still waiting to be asked – if it takes one man an hour to dig a hole how long would it take three men.

I have never used logarithms, nor has the history of the Napoleonic Wars been of any help in my career. Maths and English have been of great use and I thank those teachers that drummed it into me.

When I left Scarborough, my life was all in front of me. As I sit at work now I ponder whether I can retire before I am 70? Will my pension be enough? Should I downsize my stately home? Should I have done more exercise? The ads for stair lifts are becoming of interest!

My best years were at Scarborough College but being optimistic maybe the best years are yet to come. Retirement means doing nothing all day and this, I know, I am qualified to do!