I began writing facts about my life the other day - one for every year I've been alive. I took you all from 1950 - 1982
32. Prince William was born.
33. I started a part time degree in Computer Literacy and Management in Education
34. Nissan agree to open a factory near my old home town. Its still going strong.
35. Married life less than perfect!
Sinclair C5 launched
36. Separated from first wife. Achieved a 2:1 hons degree. Alex Ferguson appointed manager of Manchester Utd and the first case of BSE found in cattle in the UK
37. Met the future 2nd Mrs Atkinson! The sinking of the ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise, the Hungerford massacre, the "Great Storm". The storm was not predicted and weatherman Michael Fish was in some ways blamed for that failure.
38. Married again and daughter born. Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea 167 killed.
39. Sky TV starts broadcastings as the first satellite TV station
40. My 40th year. Changed jobs and started working in Dewsbury. Margaret Thatcher replaced by John Major and Channel Tunnel workers from France and the UK meet beneath the Channel.
41. First website created at CERN.
42. Annus Horibilis for the Royal Family
43. My father died in March. Appointed deputy head at Bradley Junior school.
44. I'm working in the school from hell! Son in trouble with the police! Mum moved to Yorkshire to be closer to me.
45. War in the former Yugoslavia. Cliff Richards receives a knighthood.
46. Passed an audition to become part of Huddersfield Choral Society. The Dunblane Massacre - a gunman kills 16 children children, their teacher and himself.
47. A landslide General Election victory for the Labour Party under Tony Blair, the transfer of Hong Kong, the largest remaining British colony, to China and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
48. Good Friday Agreement between British and Irish Governments is signed. My son is in the army and posted to Northern Ireland.
49. Millennium bug
Labour government wastes £6 million on a bug that was due to cause computer crashes at midnight on New Year's Eve. Nothing happened! Celebrated at a hotel in York with wife and daughter and a gang load of friends.
50. Fifty years old. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was 100 years old.
51. 9/11 - terrorist attacks in New York. I went sick diagnosed with clinical depression.
52. Returned to work in September. Discharged myself from the doctor, wife couldn't cope with my illness.
53. War against Iraq.
54. A party of 23 Chinese cockle pickers were drowned in Morecambe Bay. Sunderland's FA Cup Winning Manager died. Statue erected outside the ground.
55. Retired from teaching with and enhanced pension. 7/7 bombings in London.
56. Started work for Halifax bank in Leeds. Separated from 2nd wife and moved to Mirfield.
57. Smoking ban in public places came into force.
58. The world was devastated by another financial depression with the major banks seemingly at fault.
59. Harry Patch (111) oldest WWI veteran dies. Started writing novels and poetry.
60. Cadbury's taken over by US Kraft Foods!
61. Phone hacking scandal hits the news.
62. Retired from work to spend more time with mother. Mother died in October.
63. Holiday to Canada and USA.
That is very much a sample and there is almost nothing about my children, my music and little about my writing. However, in another year or so I may produce a different list. The point is that such an exercise gives points of reference that could be useful when developing a character. Questions like 'where were you when...' can give opportunities to put flesh on the bones of your hero or heroine.