Undertakers, Who'd Have 'em?

"Undertakers, who'd have 'em" This is one of the funniest books around. Not only does it let you into a world that would otherwise have remained fairly secret, it lets the cat out of the bag in terms of what the undertakers, morticians and policemen, get up to, in their own peculiar and somewhat specialised, brand of humour.
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About Alan Smith

Born in Ashton-Under Lyne in Lacashire (now Tameside) at a date I am not going to disclose for now! I spent a long unsatisfying childhood of broken dreams and promises.

I decided I was going to start work as an apprentice cook, so I started work illegally at the age of fourteen,- still not satisfied, at Walls factory in Hyde in Cheshire. That was during the school holidays. Once the holidays had finished, it was back to school to finish at the age of fifteen.After a brief period of being an apprentice welder at Sturtevant Engineering in Denton I started on my Electrical career and being then a "nearly time-served" electrician, after a 4 year period, I decided to go labouring for the extra money needed.

Having an electronics background as a hobby, I thought it was only natural that I should persue this and when I was 21, I joined the Royal Signals, studied Telecommunications, got married, had two wonderful girls and travelled throughout Cyprus, Germany, England, Gibraltar and Ireland.

I Started a folk group whilst stationed in Laarbruch in Germany, called Penny Farthing. We travelled all over Europe with the group. (Well, Belgium, Holland Germany) I Play G banjo,Tenor Banjo, Guitar, Cittern, Bouzouki, Mandolin, Bass, Tin Whistle, Dulcimer and sitar. Keyboards figured well into my life as I learned to play the piano at an early age, materialising as keyboards in a band.I got my first computer, which was the ZX Spectrum 48K (wow, so much memory!), I started to program in BASIC.

When I left the Army in 1987 - now you can start to put together the clues on age! I started working in Telecomms and later on Data companies like IBM and Lucent Technologies.

I wrote many comedy songs. During the course of my writing career, I have written many thousands of pages of comedy, speeches and commissioned works for other people and their companies and many hundreds of CV's for people looking for work.
So, in effect, my writing has literally helped me through the hard times when I was out of work.I still write the books using a real pen and paper, the analogue version of a word processor. When I first started writing books, I was amazed at, after using computers for work and providing documents, how hard it was to control my hand to do real writing. It was unbelievable! It was like a drunken spider had crawled out of an inkwell and walked across the page. If it wasn't for the fact that I use lined paper, I think it would be impossible for me to write in a straight line. My fingers didn't seem to be in sync with my brain when it came to writing. Sometimes, I had real trouble trying to make my fingers write the words I was thinking. Now I have been writing on paper for quite some time, I am getting used to the correlation of brain to fingers and everything seems to be working OK.
As I had put pen to paper, it was time to find a suitable way of getting all the written information onto a computer. I installed Dragon Dictate and spent a few days learning how to use it, giving it plenty of time to learn the words that I spoke, so eventually, I could speak into a microphone and it would automatically type in the words I uttered.
Now, don't get me wrong, the software is extremely clever and it does what it says on the box. I had to speak the word 'comma, period, newline' etc etc to give directions when I was speaking into the microphone, so it would know what to do. It did, I didn't. It was taking more than three times longer to speak the words and correct all the wrong words that came up on the screen, than it was to retype what I had hand-written, so we parted company.
Maybe, when I have more time on my hands, I will start to educate myself to the software and continue as friends, rather than enemies!

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