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My Personal History.
I was Born in Liverpool England in 1952.
You can click on any of the photo's below to enlarge.
This is me at the
age of about 5. Wasn't I sweet, and doesn't life change you?
For my first 5 years. I lived in an
ex-Police house in Aigburth, Liverpool with my Mum & Grandma Hough plus
the lodger Joe Barrow. Joe or Uncle Joe as I new him was an ex-policeman, who
saved my life when I was about 2. I was choking on a boiled sweet. He grabbed
me by my feet & whacked me on the back while upside down. Yes I am afraid
it worked and I wince when ever I see a child eating a boiled sweet or a lollypop
My father's name was John David Baird, although he was always know as Mac even
by his mother, Grandma Baird. He became a second officer in the British
Merchant Navy with a first officer's ticket by the time he retired from the
sea, when I was about 12. He left School at 14 and became a officer cadet in
1937, so he was 16 in the early part of World War 2. His mother told me long
after his death, that he had survived torpedo attacks on three different
vessels during the war years.
For part of that time, he served on the route
between Malta and North Africa. He never spoke about anything like that to me,
only ever recounting funny stories about the war years, like running between pub's wearing
a colander on his head for protection against falling shrapnel, colander where made of metal
in those days. This may have been in some part due to me only seeing him for a
few months during the first twelve years of my life, because he was always
sea. However I have found that the real heroes very rarely speak of their
exploits and if you hear a lot of heroic stories first hand they are more
often than not vivid imagination. He lived for the sea in those years.
My Mother was Phyllis Hough
before marrying my father, so for all of you who thought differently, I am
actually legitimate. She was educated to Grammar School standard at St. Edmond
Girls school in Toxteth, Liverpool. Her dream was of being a Photographer
after being a photographic model. She enjoyed being evacuated to Dinas Dinclar
in North Wales during the War where the main activity as far as I heard was to
fraternise with the Royal Air Force Officers at the local Training Base.
Me (Douglas Paul Baird)
I was named Douglas after my mother hero a British flying Ace Douglas Bader who had
taken part in the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940. The British were so
short of pilots at that time he, somehow, became a Spitfire pilot even
although he lost both legs in a flying accident in 1923. He was shot down,
captured and then escaped back to England. He then rejoined his squadron and
was eventually shot down over France again. Unfortunately he had to leave his
legs behind in the Spitfire because they where trapped in the controls. It is
said that a Lancaster bomber was sent to drop, by parachute, a new pair of
legs for him. The Germans, after many escape attempts, were so feed up with
him they confiscated his ‘new’ legs and transferred him to Colditz, the
infamous prisoner of war camp. He finally died about 1975.
So why do I call myself Paul you might well ask? Well it wasn’t my fault,
but that of my Granddad Baird. He started to call me Douggy - a great name for
a boy as far as I was concerned, but my mother hated it, so she started to
call me Paul. I would much have preferred Douggy as Paul sounds like some
poofie lady's hairdresser to me.
I started School at the age of about 4 years at Sudley Rd, School annexe, an
old church hall in Aigburth Vale. Our first writing implements where a slate
& chalk. At 11 years I had failed the 11+ with honours and then went to
Morrison Boys Secondary Modern school in Rose Lane, Allerton. By the age of 13
I decided that I had better do some work so I achieved a reasonable amount of
success by the time I left at the age of 16.
My first job was a food porter at
John Lewis department store in the town centre. It started as a holiday job
because I desperately wanted a motor bike and bought a Yamaha 50 chicken
chaser. While I owned this machine the throttle only new 2 settings fully open
& fully closed. It soon
dawned on me that I had to keep up the payments so I should have to get a
proper job. It also dawned on me that I had better learn how to repair the
bike, so I took a job offered to me as an apprentice mechanic.
Apprentice mechanic at Harry Sullivan's Church Rd Wavertree Liverpool.
This was a 'real' job, which I quite enjoyed despite everyone being a boss! As
a form of degradation, I, like everybody else, apart from the foreman Jimmy
& his mate Ted where given a nick name. Mine was (at first) was Dougal named
after a long-haired shaggy dog on a children's TV program called The Magic
Roundabout. It then became Mac Dougal after the MacDougal's self raising flour
TV advert. So after that I was either Mac or Dougal & only MacDougal when
I was really in trouble: this was, however, most of the time. Little did
they know I was very happy with the nick-name: had they realised this, they
would have changed it immediately. I passed City & Guild's exams in motor
vehicle technology at Riversdale Technical Collage. However I left to became a
counter assistant in a automotive parts shop before finishing my time at the
age of about 20 and a half years.
If you want to here some amusing
tales of the garage click on this.
You can click on any of the Photo's below to enlarge.
This is me at the age of about
19 - 20
KAR BAR (Bolton) Ltd. A counter
assistant earned more that an apprentice mechanic, nearly out of his time and I
didn't fancy the idea of lying under cars at the age of 40. My manager in the
Auto parts shop was a
man called Alan, I can't remember his second name. He had a red Triumph
Spitfire sports car, driving it round Liverpool with driving gloves and sun
glasses - even in winter! You know the sort, he probably had a Porsche key
ring to put on the bar. He left after I had been there about three months. I was hoping to get
the manager’s job at that time as I had very quickly learned the job - there
was little to learn in reality as I not only new ever component in the shop I
could also fit them. However, that was not to be. I had a new
manager that I had to teach the job too, a guy called John Harris. Now he was a good bloke
- he had left Fords car plant in Halewood recently and amongst other things in
his life, he had been an able seaman. I ran the shop, which I was able to do
standing on my head, whilst he played with his Sunbeam Alpine car in the side
street. The more he played with it the worse it looked. But he did me favours
too, like making a mad dash to my bed-sit to wake me up at about 11a.m. on at
least one ocasion. The reason I was still asleep was due to working until about 3 a.m.
in a night-club in town called the Cabin, to boost my income.
Anyway, he left after about a year or so and I finally became Manager, having
to manage myself as I was now the sole employee at that branch. It was some
time around then I got married to Joan at the age of 20. Not long after that,
due to a high wage bill & a low turnover in the whole company, (there
where eleven shops in all) the managing director, Howard Hammond, decided to
split up the company into 11 different companies with the managing director of
each, owning 49% of the shares. I think this was in part due to my asking for
a wage rise. At a management meeting I had spoken to the rest of the managers
who where in the same boat as me, asking them what they thought they where
worth to the company. This I asked them to put on a piece of paper anonymously. Some were
such wasocks they couldn't do even that. Anyway at the end of the meeting, I
spoke to Howard first putting the rather low amounts on the table from the
other managers telling him this is what they thought they are worth to the
company. I had saved mine till last, which was 70.00 pounds telling him that
this is what I new I was worth.
KAR BAR (Garston) Ltd. So the new
company was formed and, guess what, my first wage was 70.00 Pounds;
coincidence maybe. I now had to do it all, apart from the bookkeeping, still
managed from head office for a management fee, which related to the profit
made by the original branch. Clever hey? Well I think so. In the previous
regime we were restricted to the stock we could order from the stock sheets.
These where devised by a chap called Geoff Holt, a nephew of Howard. He had
been educated at University, and came away with letters after his name, but unfortunately he
knew nothing of what the customers wanted, even less about what you did with
them or the components.
Soon it was time for the first trip to the cash & carry warehouse. I was
amazed by the excellent range you could obtain there and I quickly increased
the turnover by a further 50%. This allowed me to employ a manager. From that
time, we grew from a turnover of 2,400. pounds a month to about 200,000.,
sixteen 16 years later. In 1992, I purchased the remainder of the shares from
Howard, thus obtaining sole ownership of the company. Then I started to travel
to places we were buying stock from, such as Taiwan. I decided to go to a
trade fair there to see what more ‘goodie's’ I could find. A good friend
of mine Mr. James Sothill (known to his friends as Sooty ) said he would join
me: in fact he organised the whole trip, suggesting that we spend five nights
in Bangkok on the way back. Having never been to anywhere east of Turkey I
said "yes why not?" Taiwan was interesting and also shocking.
The site of a young man crawling along the gutter in the Snake market pulling
a small trolley attached to one of his legs in witch people placed money.
Really shocked me, he was crawling because his body was so deformed this was
all he could do, it almost reduced me to tears, it's a sight I will never
forget. But when I got to Bangkok I was amazed, to say the least. I very nearly didn't
go home at the end of that first trip. From then I made it my sole task in
work towards living out the rest of my days in Thailand. So here I am selling
Some of the things I have done
You can click on any of the
Photo's below to enlarge.
Before, during &
This event was held in the Garston
Hotel just over the road from the Shop. It was in aid of Give a Child a
Chance a local charity run by Radio City one of the local radio stations. That evening we raised over a
thousand pounds. By the third picture I must admit I had consumed a few
beers. My Wife Joan had been nagging me to get a hair cut all that year,
each time I would reply you wouldn't like it when I do. ( she didn't )
We, as a company, also raised cash & collected aid for the Romanian
orphanages after the fall of Caucescu. One of my drivers, Lynn, made
several trips to Romania during those days. Most of my staff including
me helped collect and load the trucks.
Hobbies & Pastimes
Grass Track Hot Rod
||The first one is me Winning, the
second is me Crashing.
||The winning car equal first in my
club in the first year of grass track racing.
Grass Track Bangor Racing.
||The first is a Mk 1 Ford
Escort & the second is me feeling very cheesed off because my
distributor drive snapped when I was in the lead in a Hillman Hunter.
Motorcycle Enduro in Wales.
events in Wales with my good friend Nick Banks.
Nick is the main force behind
the Tour of Wales one of the premier events in the Enduro Calendar in
the UK. I used to help him pick & mark routes through Clocaenog
Forrest near Ruthin North Wales. Entrants to the 6 day International
Enduro have come from our club. Andrew Evans who despite suffering a
broken pelvis in day 2 completed the event about 1996-7. The last
picture is just before I had a nasty accident 1 hour into the Welsh 2
day event in 1998. I received a suspected broken neck and a
badly dislocated shoulder having hit a foot thick Oak gate post &
steel farm gate at about 40 - 50 MPH. However that was nothing compared
to the poor bloke that wiped his face out on the dry stone wall a few
minutes later, after having hit the same invisible thing that I did. So
I ended up marshalling and getting the ambulance for him that had been
ordered for me.