About this site
It was originally going to be a history of the Coughtrey family. I never got very far along that road, and eventually left it to Coughtreys with genealogical skills and enthusiasm greater than mine. Even so, the earlier chapters and the photograph album have proved of interest to the family researchers. After the first page I got rather too interested in the history of this particular Coughtrey, and went on and on writing!
The result is a rather unusual sort of site - an autobiography just for the fun of it! It seems to me that these days, life stories that appear on the Web are usually nothing more than extended CVs. That's to say, the authors try to present themselves in as good a light as possible.
When I started this site back in the '90s, many sinilar sites were to be found. Unfortunately they've largely, perhaps completely, disappeared - thrown out of the nest by the easy automated anarchy of the 'social networking' sites. It was the lure of Facebook and Twitter that killed my once-thriving message-board and chat room stone dead and I eventually removed them.
I'm now (in 2015) instituting a 'topics' section, which is a substitute of sorts for the former message board. However, the site remains a much stripped-down version of what it once was, since the wild flower, breadmaking and brewing sections have all been removed - there was simply no interest in them.
Oddly enough, when compiling the site I didn't feel any compulsion to present myself in any particular way, although I admit to a certain amount of self-censorship - just to protect your
delicate sensibilities, you understand. Also, I was sometimes writing about people who were still around, so had to be reasonably careful.
To those who may wonder why I bothered to do it at all, I'm tempted to say simply "why not?" But the fact is that a number of things encouraged me to keep at it. I had regular readers who waited (and waited ...) for each new instalment and seemed to be entertained. Also, there were, and will probably continue to be some spectacular reunions, resulting mainly from the chapters where I describe life at Queen Elizabeth's School, Barnet. In fact I was motivated by this to set up a separate website
for former pupils, which has proved popular.
Thirdly, people contact me about all kinds of things - places, people, events, etc, that have caught their attention on the site. Most visitors arrive at the site by typing something into a search engine. Even when they don't quite get the information they are looking for, the site still sometimes interests them enough motivate them to get in touch.
As to criticisms about it being too long and rambling, etc - why should that worry me? I never had any ideas about trying to get it published as a paperback or make money out of it. All I can say is, if it bores you, surf off!
This website was started in July 1998 when the first chapter was written. The final numbered chapter was added in February 2010. Each numbered chapter is edited from time to time, to bring it up to date. For example "it's now 35 years since ..." might be changed to "it's now 38 years since ..." The date of the last edit is shown in the heading of each chapter.