Peter Miller Photo World - Making The World A Smaller Place

Where To Start

Some people find it simple to talk about themselves, I do not fall into this category, although I have been known to blow my own trumpet occasionally.  So, just an insight will be enough.  I don't expect this to be the most exciting part of the sight.

I am not a well paid sports player, mountaineer, test pilot, space traveller, catwalk model or anything near so glamorous, I'm just little old me.  That does not mean I have not made my mark on this most wonderful of planets.  I am sure everyone has contributed something at some point, be it good or bad.

Well, let me make a start, I am Peter Miller, Peter James William Miller to be exact.  I came into this world kicking and cursing at 12.00 pm on the 18th May 1963 (great year of course).  From that you may have guessed I am 43 years old and fast approaching 44.

I was born in Bloxwich Maternity Hospital, Staffordshire, England, now a home for the insane and infirm (this would explain a lot).  My parents lived in Hawbush Road, Leamore, Walsall, so as you might expect this is where I lived (it is in the same road as the senior school I went to which is covered further down the page)

Though I did not know it at the time I already had one sibling, a brother, I will call him Brian, for that is his name. At the time of my birth he was slightly older than me, a mere 25 years to be exact.  He had obviously already experienced much of life growing up in the 40's, 50's and 60's, ok, I digress, let me carry on MY story.

For almost a year I did what most babies do, ate, slept, puked and other less savoury things.  Then there came another sibling, he was named Anthony after my mother (just joking of course).  So then there were three.

With my elder brother being 25 years ahead of me you may wonder about the age of my parents at the time of my birth:

  • My dad, James Henry Miller was 53 years old
  • My Mother Prudence (she hates that name) Marion Miller (nee Fellows) was 42 years old

No spring chickens I guess but already well versed in the etiquette of child rearing.  I doubt they expected myself and my younger brother to appear and disrupt their impending autumnal years. Life for them would never be the same again but oh! how we have kept them young and on their toes.

Poorly Peter

Poor mom and dad discovered at an early stage that I was born with congenital heart disease, this resulted in me having not 1, 2 but 3 holes in the heart and a faulty valve (not sure which one but I know they had trouble inflating me when I went flat).

I was technically what is known as a Blue Baby, Do I hear you say, you mean you had a trashy mouth.  No, of course not, it means I had a Cyanotic Heart Defect.  Look at the links if all this is losing you.

This resulted in me having open heart surgery 3 times at the ages 5, 7 and 10, what is known as a Tetralogy Of Fallot.

                                                            

Poorly Tony (Anthony)

Not only did they have to cope with my illness but younger Miller was born poorly as well.  He was born premature weighing the same as a 1 kilo bag of sugar, which would be 1 kilo.  He has put weight on since and you would need a wheel barrow to transport the sugar now (just joking Tony).

I think he had other ailments as well but hey! he can tell his own story on his website,  www.anthonymillerpending.co.uk .

Back To Moi.

Due to all these operations and being ill I missed a fair bit of school, which in essence was not a bad thing but in reality it made it difficult to fit in, especially when you miss the first six weeks of senior school.

I well remember my first day of senior school like it was yesterday.  It still fills me with a sense of horror.  I found the classroom I was supposed to be in (A band of course) and nervously entered.  There was a silence, everyone's face came rushing to mine and I was hoping there was a hole behind me to fall in.

I looked around, who could I sit by, I recognised a couple of faces from the junior school I had attended but seats next to them were already occupied.  Can't quite remember who I sat next to but it was with a sense of foreboding.

The lady teacher began to call out the register, eventually she called my name out.  "PETER MILLER",  "YES MISS" I heartily replied.  "Oh! you're here" she said.  "YES MISS".  "So where have you been for the past six weeks".  With trepidation I replied "HEART OPERATION MISS", "ARSE OPERATION" she said "ARSE OPERATION" (explosive laughter from the class members).  "NO MISS A HEART OPERATION".  "Oh I see" she said, "Nice to see you".

Now, you may not believe this but the proceeding conversation kicked off a 5 year spate of bullying that I had to endure, I don't think I can remember a day without some verbal or physical abuse.  Okay, okay, it's all in the past now (stop bleating you say), many years have gone by but believe me it is something that stays with you for life. Having a "BAD" heart and also being short for my age was a sure fire cocktail for harassment.  Oh yeah I won't name the morons who hounded me but if I had an AK47 I would still......................

Something I Will Never Forget:  A Story With A Sticky Ending

Well, that is the morose bit over with but I would like to just give an account of a time before I went to the junior school and even before I went to infant school.  Due to my health issues I was not able to get a place at a "normal" secondary school, so instead, I had to go to a "special school" for the mentally and physically handicapped.  This school was in Willenhall, West Midlands (if I can remember the name I will let ya know).

So, there I am, sound of mind and sound of body (from an aesthetic point of view anyway), surrounded by people with plates in their heads and sporting leg irons.   These guys quickly worked it out that I would make an appropriate slave.  Please do not think I am joking, basically, I was a gofer for a bunch of cripples because they were all bigger than me.  If I resisted I got a slapping.  So I had to fetch this, do this, do that but fortunately not the other.  As you can no doubt imagine this was a depressing time.

There is one occasion I will never forget.  The school had a playground that backed onto a railway line, I seem to remember this quite well.  Something else I remember is the smell of Coal Tar Soap in the washrooms.  Okay, back to the playground, in the middle of it there was some kind of a pole, I think it was a telegraph pole.

Anyway, one day, during break, while innocently standing around and thinking surely one day I will go to a "normal school" I was accosted from behind by a guy in a wheelchair.  Then others in wheelchairs and leg irons moved in for the kill.  I was surrounded, suddenly some rope appeared and I was dragged and hog tied to the above said pole.  I was kicking and screaming.  Then came the part that sticks in my mind the most, these guys in wheelchairs and leg irons began wheeling and hobbling around the pole.  I can only describe this as a scene from a cowboy and Indian movie where the Indians have surrounded the camp and are going round and round it, yelling and screaming.

Then, to add to the indignity of it all, I lost all muscle control and not for the last time in my life, I CRAPPED MYSELF.

               

One more thing with relation to these early school years.  Due to the fact that we had no private transport and public transport was unsuitable for me I had to go to the "special school" in a "special ambulance" (it was all very special).  So, this thing picked me up in the morning and deposited me back home at night, I can still the remember the smell of diesel fumes and plasters.

Most of all I can still the remember the coat that my mom bought to send me to school  in.  She must have thought it looked wonderful, only as mothers can but believe me I found it horrendous and at the same time discovered what the feeling of being embarrassed is.  This coat was pillarbox red, just below waist length and had a hood.  You guessed it, I looked like Little Red Riding Hood and was duly christened that by the ambulance staff, teachers at school and other denominations.

I pleaded with my mom for many a day, "please mom I don't want to wear it", "you look lovely" she would reply.  After a long time and a lot of tears I was finally able to rid myself of this atrocity.

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Moving On - Infant, Junior and Senior School

Infant, Junior School

Firstly, just a few words about my infant and junior schools.  After the nutty school, I managed to get a place at Harden Infant and Junior School in Harden, Walsall (or Harden Primary School as I think it is called now).  Harden is just one of a number of suburbs in Walsall.

I have both happy and unhappy memories of these schools, though in reality they were mainly happy.  Not so many bullies here, as most of us then were all the same height.  It was a good learning ground and even though I had already missed a lot of school, I did well. I was a quick learner and enjoyed most of the lessons except PE (physical education), this was due to the fact that I could not run for toffee.  This did not stop the PE teachers from forcing me to do something that felt like it was going to kill me.

If there is one thing that sticks out in my mind the most this has to be my first girlfriend, her name was Deborah Fellows (wonder what she is up to now).  From what I can remember she was OK.  Don't know how I managed to become her boyfriend because she was very popular and all the sporty, good looking, top guys wanted to go out with her.  She was the first female I kissed apart from my mother and I thought I was going to marry her.  Well, you do at that age don't you.  Glad I didn't because I am now married to a fantastic lady who appears lower down in the story..

Anyway she eventually dumped me for a guy named Andrew Coughlin, she obviously liked a bit of rough, by the way Andrew was supposed to be a mate.  She was the last girl I kissed for 5 years.  She did not put me off girls, it's just that my younger brother "accidentally" hit me in the mouth with a golf club, full swing, knocking out two teeth and making a mess of my bottom lip.  I required emergency dental surgery.  The missing teeth and thick lip gave me a complex about girls not fancying me.  Thanks Tony, however I forgave him and never mentioned it again (not).

Below is a photograph of me at Harden Infant School, aged 6 (taken 1969), with a few classmates and the teacher Mrs. Grice in the middle.  I can name several of the other pupils but at this stage do not feel the need to do that at the moment.  If you ever get to this page and recognise yourself on this photograph, please contact me with your name and some minor details of your present situation (if you like).

As you may of guessed, the white arrow points to me.

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Senior School

I was not a brilliant academic and would never profess to be, I was in the top band all the way through senior school but then again most of the other pupils were no hopers.  Come on Pete, don't run yourself down.  Just a note, originally I should have gone to grammar school, my final year test results proved this, however at the time we were a bit strapped for cash but at the same time could get no funding, therefore I ended up at Forest Comprehensive.

Forest Comprehensive School was opened in 1973 in the buildings formerly occupied by W. R. Wheway School. It also shared an annexe in Field Road with Manor Farm School.  I believe  W. R. Wheway was a former Mayor of Walsall from 1950 until 1951.

I suppose one claim to fame this school has is that a former teacher Dr David Brian Plummer was on the television programme Calendar with Richard Whitely of Countdown fame. Richard had his finger bitten by a ferret belonging to David during a live edition of the show in 1977. The clip has appeared on out-take shows all around the world.

Below is a photograph of some of my teachers from Forest Comprehensive School, it was taken in 1979 the year I left for the big working world.  It's a bit seventies I know.  Brian Plummer does not appear on here but you can click the link above if you wish to find out more about him.

I cannot remember the names of all of them but the ones I do are listed below from left to right:

  • Top row:  1. Mr. James Barnett, 2. Mr. Thompson, 3. Mr. Taylor 4. Mr. Robertson
  • Middle row:  1. Mr. Chester (Charlie), 2. Miss Pearson, 3. Mr. Eden, 4. Mr. Hicks, 5. Miss Heggarty, 6. Mr. Martin
  • Bottom Row: 1. Mr. Edinburgh, 2. Miss Green, 3. Mr. Wiltshire, 4. Mrs. Blythe, 5. Mr. Davies

Thanks goes to Amanda Wilkes for filling me in with missing names for the  above teachers.  If anyone has anymore info on their status, i.e. are they still going then please let me know.   email me.

                                               

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First Job

I had no real idea what I wanted to do when I left school, not much different now really.  I seem to remember I wanted to be an industrial chemist or a forensic scientist, neither of these were out of my reach.  I got good exam results in my final year and was studying 'A-Level' chemistry.  Most of the bullying no hopers had left so life was pretty good.

For some reason I remember taking an exam or be it a test to determine if I could get into a School Of Mechanical Engineering.  I had no interest in engineering at all but other people had other ideas. 

My Dad came to me one day and said "son I have arranged an interview for you at my old company" which was Talbot Stead (Tube Investments) or TI Sunhouse as it was known at the time.  At this time dad was in early retirement due to ill health but he had spoken to the powers that be at the company to get me a position as an apprentice toolmaker.  My bottom lip must have hit the floor.  "I don't want to do that Dad" I said, but arguing did not matter and there was never any doubt that that was what I was going to do.

The first year of the job was spent at Wednesbury Chamber Of Commerce doing what they call "off the job training".  Here I learnt the basics of engineering, e.g. milling, grinding, lathes, welding, fabrication, electrics, etc.  I think I did learn something but was never sure, a lot of time was spent messing around with the guys at the training centre and basically having whale of a time.

                                                               

It was while training here that I also learnt about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.  well not so much of the sex.  OH YES, it was here that I learnt about Moroccan Woodbines and Status Quo.  I will mention one thing, I have never really been without female company since I was sixteen but I do not feel the need to go into a great amount of detail, let's just say I never went hungry.  I am married now and in that sense that is all that matters to me, the past is the past as they say.

During my term at the Chamber Of Commerce I was made redundant from TI Sunhouse because it went into liquidation. My training officer found me another position at Cooke Bros. Birmingham Ltd. which was and still is based in Aldridge, West Midlands.  I must say my time at this company was a brilliant time.

Very quickly, I had a few problems with the old ticker from around this time right up until 2001/2002.  Hopefully that is all behind me now.

I was 7 year apprenticed at Cooke Bros., I qualified as a precision toolmaker and thought I could make more money elsewhere, so I left a secure job for a position at a company in Norton canes, Staffordshire, I got the sack within a month, whoops.

This was not a good time for this to happen as I had a girlfriend, a child and a mortgage, I drifted in and out of a few toolmaking jobs up until the early nineties.  By that time, the girlfriend had departed and I sold up and moved back to the Leamore area where I was born.

Big mistake, nice house, not a nice area, anymore.  Rough area big time, here I received 3 good beatings, had my house broke into 3 times, had my car broken into many times and to top it all off I was hit outside my own house by a guy in a stolen car, this cost me 6 weeks off work.

At the time of the accident I was  married to the current Mrs. Miller (just kidding Lyn), so we decided it was time to move.

Rock And Roll – Me In A Band

Before I continue with my story, here is an interlude.

When I have uploaded them, you can look at some photographs of me in various rock bands, my position being lead singer.  I had always wanted to be in a band and started my singing career by singing along to Elvis Presley and Beatles songs.

Around 1984 my brother knew someone, Kevin Allsop, who played rhythm guitar in a band and they were looking for a vocalist.  When he mentioned this to me I was scared but at the same time very excited and asked him to get me an introduction to the band.  They rehearsed at Forest Comprehensive School, a mere stones throw away. Tentatively I went to see them, joined in with a few songs, both, their own and cover versions. My vocalist days were born.

It was a 4 piece band, Kevin on rhythm guitar, Mark Underhill on bass, Mark Richardson on Lead and a drummer whose name escapes me at the moment.  If any of you guys are out there at the moment I would love to hear from you, especially Mark Richardson whom I did some travelling, backpacking with.

We were called Moonfleet but we never gigged although I do remember some girls banging on the rehearsal room windows.  Here is where I blow my own trumpet, I am a good, solid rock singer, this has been told to me by others as well and not just my family.  So, I found another band, War Against Sleep, an anti establishment outfit with a message.  With this band I gigged on many occasions and we started to get a small following.

As bands go, we split up, I joined another one called Stranded, again, we gigged and got a good steady following.  There was a band around at the time called Patriot, I sneaked off and did an audition with them.  For some reason I told the guitarist in Stranded and they sacked me.  No worries though because Patriot took me on.  This was a band going somewhere and we got some great gigs and supported much larger, much more, well known bands.  This was one of the best times in my life.

Eventually we parted ways because I was being a bit naughty, getting drunk, then missing sound checks and rehearsals.  It’s just rock ‘n’ roll as they say.

I was in one more band called Tarot, this was in the mid nineties, we had a reasonable time and lasted maybe a couple of years.  Now, it’s a song in the shower or Karaoke when I get the chance.

Below is a taster photograph, I am 2nd from the left. The band is Patriot.

Check out the rest of my band photos on Flickr.  See Photo Gallery for the links

                             

Return To Staffordshire

It was in the year 2000 that we moved into the Chase Terrace area of Staffordshire, that is as much as I am going to tell you about where we live, unless I know, trust or like you, although liking you does not mean I trust you.  At the time of moving I was working in a foundry as basically, a semi-skilled labourer.  The money was good though.

I decided I needed a new challenge and set about improving my working life.  I began applying for supervisory positions within the company, now at this time my face did not quite fit in due to the fact that I was a bit of a rebel.  It took some time to get anywhere.  After 2 years of perseverance I managed to get myself into the wages department, then process contol, then a supervisor and very soon after that a Process Improvement Engineer.

The Process Improvement Engineer part was great because it enabled me to go the the USA for a while for some training, it was still sort of a holiday.  The comany (Grede Foundries) went into liquidation which left me out of work for several months.  I worked in a pub for a while.  I got another job as a production engineer at QDF Castings in Derby.  That lasted 2 years then the place went bust.

I did another nine months in the pub I had previously worked at and then landed a role at BBT Thermotechnology near Chesterfield as  a production engineer, this company is part of the Worcester Bosch group.

Update: 07.05.08.  I left Bosch in June 2007 and spent another 5 months back at the pub and in November 2007 landed a role at Kienle and Spiess Uk in Bilston as a process engineer.  I am still there (at the moment).

So, we are all now up to date with my life and work experience.

To round off this page, I will give you a few quick Factoids

I love my wife, most of my family, music, beer, photography, travel, films, computing, eating, pubs, motorcycling, rock music, rock 'n' roll music, music that your parents like, music that your parents don't like, our house, our area, our country although my views on this subject can change on a daily basis.

Time to put more meat on the bones of this site!!!!!!!!!!!

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