After the demands of a 30-year career in teaching you wouldn't be surprised if David Ramshaw decided to take life a little bit easier.David, who was born in Darlington and brought up in Hull, decided to take early retirement in 1995 so he could pursue his writing and many other interests further.
Pausing for breath: The energetic, multi-david skilled David Ramshaw
at home with his
dogs Jess (seated) and Badger.
Below left, a handful of David's
Not so.Retirement has opened up a wealth of opportunities for the former physics teacher - he is an author and historian, has set up a publishing company (and published 30 books) and is active in a local astronomy club.
latest book is about to be completed.He
has joined forces with local historian Denis Perriam, who he
met in the Cumbria Record Office at Carlisle Castle, while researching his
first book The English Lakes: The Hills, the People, Their History.
Their new book, Great Corby and Wetheral: An Illustrated History, delves into bygone years in the two villages and the authors are now putting in the final corrections.
The book has seen David
and Denis, both from Carlisle
, spend hours researching and compiling details to bring to life the colourful local characters associated with the villages.
, 66 , said: "We hope to have it available by the end of September.It has involved a lot of hard work but it is very rewarding."
This is not the first time the pair have collaborated - they worked together on Carlisle Citadel Station: 150 Years of a Railway Centre published in 1998, which won The Border Television Prize for Best Illustrated Book in June 1999.
It was Denis who inspired David
to start work on his own historical book.
"I wanted a project after retirement," said David
, who witnessed earlier floods in Carlisle
in 1968, said: "I went out at about 10.15am and I was able to walk around the edge of the water.I met one lady who had gone to work at the Cumberland Infirmary
overnight and came back to find her
car completely under water."David
went to his
daughter Louise's home at Cote House Farm, Wetheral, which had an electricity generator so that he
could work on the book as the city had lost electrical power.
A cheque for Â£4,500 from the proceeds of the book was donated to the Flood Recovery Fund in March 2005 and the book received recognition in the Lakeland Book of the Year Awards 2006.He
is a keen walker in the Lake District, Scotland, Majorca and Halkidiki, in Greece, and this was the inspiration for his
very first book and countless since.David
first book while still teaching and it was through his
Friday night hill walks, organised for staff at Trinity School
that the book came about. David
introduced colleague John Adams to walking in the Lakes and John developed a passion for the mines dotted throughout the landscape.
ventured into the world of fiction in 2005, with his
debut historical novel Victor, a love story using his
knowledge of the history of the area as a basis for his
characters and events in 1820s Carlisle
said: "I thought I would get everything in one novel but there is still more to add so it is just one of a trilogy.I have said I won't write the final two until the first book pays for itself."
Other titles include Aira Force: A Brief Guide, published earlier this year, and The Lakeland Ospreys.
As well as his
books and guides on the Lake District, David
has also written a guide featuring 20 walks in Halkidiki in Greece following a holiday spent walking there.
Based on the book, which was published in English and German in 2000, he
organised two 10-day walking tours in Greece in 2003.David
also publishes books for other authors.
The subjects David
taught for more than 30 years have also influenced his
moved to Cumbria in 1967 for a job teaching physics at Carlisle
Grammar school and Trinity School...
and took over the astronomy club.He also taught physics, astronomy and science at Carlisle Technical College, where he built a small observatory on the roof of the college.He moved back to Trinity to be head of physics in 1973 and it was at this time that he joined Border Astronomical Society.
In 1979 he
got the chance to buy a 16ins telescope mirror for Â£300.He
persuaded the education authority to buy it with a view to building an observatory and telescope with the help of Carlisle Technical College
students.It would be managed by the Border Astronomical Society
The observatory was opened in 1988 and is still up and running today.
"We did it on a shoe string," said David
."It was a great way to get students involved and is still used today."
August sees the annual Star Festival, which takes place in Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire and involves three nights of observing the skies - David
has been attending and giving talks at the event for the past four years.He
said: "It is a fantastic weekend.If you don't want to stay up all night you can put a flag on your tent or caravan and you will be woken up in the middle of the night to start observing.
"There are computer-driven telescopes and this year we had one really good night where we could see deep sky objects."
In 1997 the comet Hale Bopp was visible in Cumbria and provided David
with the opportunity to write a book - Hale Bopp - published that year, featuring photographs taken by the astronomical society.Any spare time David has is spent helping with the Duke of Edinburgh Award at Trinity School, working as a health and safety advisor for the National Union of Teachers for North Cumbria and giving one or two illustrated talks a fortnight.He is also a committee member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and a keen cyclist, recently spending four days cycling from Edinburgh to Carlisle.