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BoatmanBoatman (Ashley Knowles) was born in Lancashire, and tells people that he kept moving South (showing either persistence or lack of imagination) until he reached the Channel and had to stop - which made a lot more sense when he lived on a boat in Brighton Marina, so he really did live in the Channel.

Ashley spent most of his childhood in the Midlands, and went to an old-fashioned grammar school, where the masters still wore gowns; the pupils called the headmaster The Beak. He was interested first in science, then music, then maths, then the classics, then back to science. He could always learn languages easily, but didn’t get the point of English until much later. Then it was physics at Merton College (since you asked) followed by an MSC in operational research.

Ashley has lived in London and Brighton, and now (his family having outgrown the boating way of life) lives on the other side of the Downs, in Keymer, next to the creative village of Ditchling, with his artist wife, one daughter, a lazy greyhound and several neglected fish.

He's a reluctant commuter, and spends workdays in London. Look out for him on the Brighton line in the evening, though, and you may find him in his own world, happily compiling.