Amanda Curtin's Home Page
I was born in my Grandparents' house in what was then a small village in Essex (Silver End) longer ago than I can bear to believe is true. I lived my whole childhood within about a mile of that house before going to Imperial College, London to study physics. I met Adam at the Sporting Motorcycle Club there and we've been married since 1990.
I spent 5 years working as a systems engineer for BAe Dynamics (now MBDA), mainly on the various versions of Rapier. I followed that up with 10 years for telecoms software company WatchMark (now Vallent), ending up as a corporate account manager. That was all very interesting and paid for lots of shoes and nailvarnish, but it didn't leave any time for anything else. I have enough shoes and nailvarnish to last for quite a while, so a couple of years ago I stepped off the treadmill to work part time with Adam doing the bits of software production that software engineers really don't like - testing, documentation, more testing, financial yukkiness and more testing :-) As a result, I no longer have bags under my eyes, I don't spend 2 hours a day in my car, I do have hobbies and I haven't been on an airliner since my last business trip :-) Oh, and I have no idea how I used to have time to fit in the long working hours that I used to do.
I know what you're thinking. "So what do you do then?" Well, when there's no testing, documentation or financial yukkiness to do and not much outstanding housework, I indulge in one of these:
- Microlighting I'm ground crew and self loading cargo. I might have a go at the flying at some point, but at the moment I'm very happy just sitting in the back admiring the view.
- Vintage aircraft I was very lucky to grow up in a family of aicraft enthusiasts and going to airshows at Mildenhall and Duxford were annual treats. When I was smaller, I preferred the more modern jet aircraft, because they were fast and noisy, but I've grown to appreciate all sorts of older things as I've got older myself :-) I'm extremely lucky to work as a volunteer in the aircraft workshop at the Shuttleworth Collection, where I'm currently helping to replace the fabric on the Collection's Tiger Moth wings. Adam and I also help out a bit at airshows, wheeling the planes in and out of their hangars. In June 2006, we took part in our first vintage vehicle parade, riding his-and-hers BSA M20s while dressed up in vintage RAF uniforms.
- Paper crafting I used to make novelty cakes for family and friends, but not everyone can have cake, so now I stick to making greetings cards. No more trudging around the shops to find a card you don't hate only to find it has the mother of all sickly greetings inside it :-) I realise it sounds like an activity for kiddies, but there are a surprisingly large range of techniques and materials that can be employed in making a greetings card. You can get quite artistic if you want to, with painting, clay modelling and embroidery just the tip of the iceberg. I'm about to expand my paper crafting into Scrapbooking, as it's an excellent partner to my next hobby:
- Photography Photography has been on the hobby list for a long time and I just now think I'm starting to get the hang of it. We do have a couple of friends who are stunningly good at it, but as long as I don't look at their pictures too often, I'm quite pleased with my own :-) Favourite subjects: aircraft, buildings, motorbikes.
- Motorcycling I first wanted a motorbike when I was five, so I could be like Daddy. 2 paper-rounds and a weekend job at Budgens paid for my first bike when I was 17 - a Honda CG125. When I passed my test a year or so later, I got a Suzuki GSX400F, which was only a slight improvement. When Adam got a Yamaha FJ1200, I managed to persuade him that he didn't really need 2 bikes and that he should lend me his lovely Kawasaki GPz900R. Permanently :-) Next up was a Kawasaki ZX6R, and I now have my second Honda RVF400 - the default short girl's bike :-) We used to do a lot of track riding, but I never really managed to relax doing it and tended to go slower than on the road to get there. For me, the beginning of the end of trackdays came when I was knocked off on one by another rider in 1999. A few other accidents followed for Adam and other friends, several of which did not have happy endings, and as a result of the inevitable attitude rethink, I no longer want to ride particularly quickly. Maybe the future holds a move towards vintage bikes? :-)
- Movies I have always loved movies. I love that you can enter a totally different world and time for just a couple of hours. Coming soon, Mand's favourite movie moments...)
- Gardening I like to sit in the garden surrounded by pretty, perfumed flowers, butterflies, tweety birdies, bees and hoverflies. Well, I am a girl, after all :-)
- Cooking I like eating, I do it 3 times a day and I really believe that you are what you eat. It stands to reason it should be interesting. And it's one of the most practical ways you can exercise your creative side.
- Reading I'm not sure I read a single book in the last few years of my full time wage slavery and I felt very poor because of it. I'm still only a fraction through the books I really want to read soon, but at least I'm making a start!