I have a very creative family. My dad and two of my brothers work as stonemasons. When I was born, I inherited my grandfather’s stone masonry tools, but I have always enjoyed art and so at 17, I went to the Glasgow School of Art.
I joined in with the other students smoking dope, and soon I was dealing to my friends. I got asked to leave even though I knew that the tutor who caught me was a smoker too. It didn’t bother me too much at the time, I got a job as a carpenter and went and did shuttering work all over Germany, and then on to Greece and Crete working in restaurants and as a labourer.
After a while I came back to Scotland and set up my own business. It was called ‘Leaded Lights’ and I worked for all sorts of clients, including the Church of Scotland, making beautiful stained glass windows and other artwork. I earned £28 an hour teaching glasswork classes, and life was pretty good. I had a son too, though it didn’t work out with his mum.
In my free time I still loved travelling, and being my own boss meant I could take time off to go over to India and go free climbing with a friend. I don’t remember my accident. All I remember is waking up in hospital. I was flown to New Delhi and after a while my son came to get me. I didn’t know who he was. He took me home and looked after me, but meanwhile my business was going downhill and because there was no money coming in, I couldn’t pay the bills.
My friends found it difficult too, as I just wasn’t myself, though my memories were coming back and I was recovering physically. I felt very frustrated and I didn’t want to be a burden to my son, so one night I just packed a bag and got in my car, intending to go over to Europe. When I got to Dover the ferries were on strike. I got chatting to a bloke there, and explained my situation. He took me to Emmaus Dover, and I ended up staying for five years.
I have really enjoyed the company at Emmaus as it’s been good for me during my recovery. I’ve accepted who I am now, but it was very difficult at first, I was angry that everything I had worked for had been taken away at the drop of a hat.
One of the problems with my head injury is that I still forget things. I might be in the kitchen and forget I’ve turned on a ring, and I get dates muddled up. But I haven’t forgotten how to work with glass, and I’m hoping that I’ll soon have the opportunity to teach again. This is what is giving me the inspiration to want to move on from Emmaus.