During the winter my attention was attracted to the changes in the stars and planets in the sky.
I met my wife Anne who was a sociology student, and her influence together with activities associated with the student movement of the time opened up my interests amongst other things into the theatre, art, music, politics and philosophy.
My parents were neither wealthy nor academic, but we lived comfortably and they were always extremely supportive of my academic efforts and aspirations, both at school and university.
I was never very good at exams, having a poor memory and finding the examination process rather artificial, and there never seemed to be enough time to follow up things that really interested me.
After an extensive interview he arranged for my weaknesses in foreign languages to be over-looked and so I started a Biology degree at Birmingham in 1967.
My main efforts focussed on trying to identify the rate controlling steps during the cell cycle. Crucial for this analysis were wee mutants that were advanced prematurely through the cell cycle and so divided at a reduced cell size.
Like many students, I found the drudgery of real experiments and the slowness of progress a complete shock, and at my low points I contemplated other alternative careers including study of the philosophy or sociology of science.
This possibility bothered me as I thought it was not advisable to remain in one academic environment, and the long dark winters in Edinburgh could be rather dismal.
Scientific understanding is often beautiful, a profoundly aesthetic experience which gives pleasure not unlike the reading of a great poem.
I had a great time investigating the pigments of different mutant fruit flies by following experimental protocols published in Scientific American, and I also remember making my own beetle collection when it was still acceptable to make such collections.
At age 11 in 1960, I moved to an academic state secondary school, Harrow County Grammar School for Boys.
It was during my time at secondary school that I abandoned religion.