James R.A. Herriot
James R.A. Herriot was born in Berwick-upon-Tweed to an English mother and Scottish father – making him a proud Northumbrian and Borderer. Other than his name (inherited from his grandfather), his credentials as a published author were limited… until now.
James’s early life in the 1950s revolved around Horncliffe, a small village on the banks of the river Tweed. He was the third of four siblings, with two older sisters and a younger brother. Life at that time was very different, and James and his siblings loved to run wild and feral – the countryside and river being their playground.
At eight years of age James was sent to boarding school, where he experienced sport and the freedom to roam (good) along with academic achievement (not so good). He then transferred to an Edinburgh public school, which he found constricting, this led to his premature departure. His next port of call was Ashington, a thriving mining community at that time. There, he learned much about life, but failed his exams due to a lack of attendance. Then a short spell at an Edinburgh crammer provided him with the necessary qualification to attend Newcastle Polytechnic. After two terms of enjoying life and learning very little academically, he departed for London in the early 1970s.
James found his vocation in London on becoming a Management Trainee for Europe's first Hi-Fi department store on Tottenham Court Road. He had a meteoric rise, becoming an out-of-town store manager at just 20 years of age. He was then poached and set up a new venture for a Northern department store. Following this, he went into business independently but lost everything at 24 in an ill-conceived venture. This led to him spending a while in the wilderness, but the story has a happy ending. To cut a long story short, he set up in business with a friend, and only recently stood down as Chairman of the firm after 40 very successful years.
Work and business have played a major role in James’s life, and is something that he has thrived on, but the most important aspect relates to his family and friends. With his wife of 45 years, their daughter and son, their respective husband and wife, and four grandchildren, he considers himself truly blessed. His pandemic lockdown journal, The Sabbatical, is dedicated to them, and hopefully provides a small insight to his unique approach to life.