Welcome to my web pages!
This is my opportunity to say the traditional self indulgent few words about myself, the designer and maintainer of this site. I'm not going to fill this page with a complete CV, as they make very uninspiring reading, but with just a few outline details and interests.
My early years were all spent in Essex, firstly at Cranham, then at Rayleigh, then at Westcliff-on-Sea, and after that at Marks Tey, moving with my parents and two younger brothers Justin and Fabian. While at Marks Tey I became a pupil at Colchester Royal Grammar School, from which I emerged with sufficient O and A levels to be allowed into Hull University after a year out doing nothing very much.
Student life was a most worthwhile experience, even though on looking back it was three years of not working as hard as I should. At the end of that time I was awarded a BA in Classical Studies, which is a subject which shares some similarity with Classics but with a much reduced language content and extra history, philosophy, art and so on instead. Unfortunately the Classics department at Hull was a victim of budget cuts a few years later and the subject is no longer taught there. I spent some of my spare time as a student in trying to help the student TV service and participating in Christian Union meetings. As so many people have found, it is what we learn outside the classroom that becomes useful in later life.
After my degree, the world failed to throw unlimited opportunities my way and I returned home. Not long after I followed my parents to Mistley when they moved house, and and eventually bought my own home in the village. After a about two and a half decades employed in purchasing, firstly by a major telecommunications company and then by an outsourcing business, my work was sent to a low wage economy offshore and I was paid to leave. After all those years working at a desk, I took a complete change and became a postman working for Royal Mail. There is much enjoyment to be had in working outdoors, and there were many changes to the job in those ten years, with the move away from bikes to vans and team working. However, my back can no longer cope with carrying heavy loads so it has become time to consider office work again.
It seems that religion and politics are the two great unmentionable subjects if you wish to retain your friends, and so there is a great temptation to omit all reference to them. However to say nothing about what I believe would be to ignore a major part of what makes me "tick" as a person.
I was brought up in a Christian, church attending family and made familiar with many of the great stories of the Bible from an early age, somthing which I now recognise as a great privilege; yet it was not until my mid teens that I came to realise that being a Christian is not a matter of trying to be good while assenting to a set of statements about God. When Jesus died "for the sins of the whole world" that included me personally; and so required my personal response. I made that response shortly before I went to university, and while there I received some splendid teaching at the Christian Union and the local Church, which has stood me in good stead since. Here is a message that gives meaning, purpose and direction to life, and yet means all are equal before the Almighty and none can claim to be better than they are.
About two years after returning home I found a long term spiritual home at St Peter's church in Colchester, where I remain. After a time I was invited to contribute to leading services, and so after three years part time study I was licenced a Reader to St Peters in 1992 and still preach and lead services there.
Having mentioned religion, I might as well mention politics! I have never been a member of a political party, not out of apathy but because I do not feel I can give wholesale support to the current policies of any of the parties. However I do go out and vote when the time comes, as I believe we all should exercise this privilege and responsibility.
While sick and confined to bed at the age of 12 I had nothing better to do than read some old magazines that my parents had around the house. In them I found some articles on the windmills of Essex, and so pursuaded my father to drive me to see almost all of them over a period of a few years. After University I joined what is now the Mill Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, and started a bit of private research into the local watermills. I was then invited to join the Mills Research Group, and over the years have spent time as chairman, editor and treasurer. I have also joined the much larger International Molinological Society or "TIMS" and in consequence have had an excuse to visit Germany, Hungary, Denmark, Romania, Greece, and The Netherlands among other places.
My father had the family tree traced by a commercial researcher in the early 1970s and no more was done until the mid 1990s when I started making a computer version and adding further information as time permitted. Contacts with other people with the same name have added much new material to the tree which I hope at some time to offer on-line for all who are interested. If you are related to the Breckels family, please contact me so we may share details.
At various times I have belonged to amateur drama groups, but find that at the moment my other varied interests and responsibilities do not allow me sufficient time to join in all the hard work and enjoyment that goes with local drama. I write the occasional poem, chair the Essex Poetry and Prose Society, and I am also a houseowner, and try to fit house repairs and improvements around everything else that makes demands on my time. One day these web pages might get completed!
Maintainer - Duncan Breckels