About Charles Corbett.
I was born in Oxford in 1953. My father was Patrick Corbett and my mother Nina Angeloni. I have an older brother Simon and we both live near Edinburgh.
My schooling was mixed and largely unsuccessful so at 16 I went into the Royal Engineers at Chepstow but because I was unqualified for any of the trades I fancied (they offered me training as a chippie), I eventually discharged myself.
My stepmother’s next idea was for me to get a job on a farm on the island of Hoy in the Orkney Isles (she had been there as a student) so up I went from one end of the country to the other and spent over two years with some of the most hard working, hospitable people in the most dreadful weather I ever experienced. However in the long summer days it was sometimes lovely, but it was not much of a career so I returned to the Scottish mainland to Sutherland and worked as a ghillie at Loch Choire and Dunrobin, both then part of Sutherland Estates. Being a gamekeeper was another thing I knew nothing about but I fell in with some of the most hospitable, hardest drinking people I ever met and saw some beautiful countryside.
After giving up the idea of doing it for a living I decided to train as a Joiner and this I did in Dunfermline. After that I returned north to Caithness where I worked during the council house building boom of the mid 1970’s. I spent four years up there in the coldest working conditions imaginable and then with a wrench left my rented farm cottage at Sibster (with mice scuttling around in the loft) and departed for Edinburgh. There I worked in house building until 1990 then gave it up to make furniture which I did full-time for several years making tables, cabinets and chairs etc, all bespoke hardwood furniture, much of it for local people.
In 1993 I met June and we lived together in her flat in Stockbridge Edinburgh for about three years when Charlotte our daughter was born and then we moved to a house with an acre of ground on the side of the River Almond in Mid Calder: we have the river flowing past and woodland on two sides. June’s expertise is in health care management and she works at Stirling University. When they go out for the day I work in the garden or build extensions or do woodwork. In my spare time I read and collect early editions of travel literature, at least when there are no more chores to do. I have two half-sisters Kate and Tori who live in Sussex and to them and my brother Simon I am indebted to having a splendid collection of nephews and nieces.