This month’s talk for the Lytham St Annes University of the Third Age (U3A) was an amusing romp through chef Philip Caine’s career.
Starting in Barrow in Furness, Phil worked his way through many countries not on the usual tourist trail.
Phil was determined not to follow his father into the ship yards of Barrow and, much to his father’s horror, decided to become a chef.
He was doing okay, but not making much money and had a young family to look after, when an offer came to chef on one of the oil rigs off Aberdeen.
He set off the next day for Aberdeen, stayed in a B&B,sleeping on the floor and eating his first “Aberdeen Breakfast” – a can of beer and a bacon butty.
After 17 years in the North Sea and despite his wife’s concern for his safety, Phil moved on from offshore work to logistics and facilities management, setting up accommodation bases for rig workers in Algeria, then Nigeria and Kazakhstan.
There he had dealings with the KGB and Russian mafia – affectionately known as “dodgy guys”.
Fortunes were made and lost and latterly he found work in 2003 when he was offered a position in Baghdad, providing accommodation and facilities services to 30,000 American troops.
In 2010 Phil moved to Dubai and managed an oil field services company operating in Iraq.
His wife joined him in Dubai and loved the life there, and according to Phil “her finger nails are still in the door frame” when unrest in Iraq forced them to close down the company and leave Dubai for sunny Barrow!
Back in Barrow, retired and at a loss for how to fill his time, Phil joined the ‘Ulverston Writing Group’.
Inspired, by his career and 10 years in the Middle East, Phil has written three books using his knowledge of the countries in which he worked and the characters he met and friends he made.
Picnic in Iraq, To Catch a Fox and Breakfast in Beirut were on display and provoked a lot of interest.
The members were riveted by the exciting adventures of Phil, but fairly sure they would not wish to follow in his footsteps – better to read the books!
Find out more about Philip Caine www.philcaine777.wixsite.com/philipcaine