AFTER a career in the Royal Navy, a stint as a regional director of the NHS, an argument with Jimmy Savile and opening a language school in Croatia, Michael Sykes has enjoyed an interesting life.
The 68-year-old from Stubbington has now put his passion for life and learning into a new book about the evolution of the English Language.
Michael said: ‘I have always had ideas in my head about language and it is at this point in my life that I have had the time to do it and so I have written Why the World is speaking English.’
Michael joined the Royal Navy when he was 14 years old and rose up through the ranks, becoming a submarine officer, and left as a lieutenant commander in 1987.
The father-of-three said: ‘I became a regional director of the NHS for a while and had a bit of a row with Jimmy Savile when I was trying to update Stoke Mandeville Hospital and he told me in no uncertain terms and foul language that I could not change his spinal injury unit he had built there.
‘I moved on from the NHS about a year after that and myself and my wife packed up and went to Croatia.’
Once there, Michael started up an English language learning school for adults called Sterling.
He said: ‘When we got there I was arrested a total of 15 times because the Croatians thought I was a spy because I had been in the navy.’
The school is still in existence and is run by an Australian.
Michael said: ‘Throughout my time at the school a lot of my students commented on how easy English was to learn which goes against common thinking.
‘This book was a way for me to explore our language and the impact mobile phones and the internet has had.
‘It is the official language of the airways, shipping channels and recently banking and the world of business.’
Michael believes his book caters to all ages.
He added: ‘I have really good responses from readers and a 14-year-old is apparently avidly reading it so I would say it is for anyone and I have tried to make it light and add humour as well.’
Michael’s book is available at austinmacauley.com/book/why-world-speaking-english-sideways-look