When I was 7 years old my parents sold their house in Chelmsford, bought a VW Combi van and wrote ‘London to New Zealand or Bust’ on the front of it before heading for Europe. They got lost on the way to Harwich and any number of times after that but eventually made it through Holland, Belgium, France, Italy, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Greece and Turkey – not necessarily in that order. With unrest growing in Asia they booked passage on an immigrant ship from Greece and we ended up on one of the last ships to go through the Suez Canal before it closed. One of my strongest childhood memories is watching tanks move alongside the Canal as we slowly motored past.

It took almost 2 years for us to reach New Zealand because we ‘bust’ in Australia where we spent time in the ‘outback’ picking fruit and going to school. When we finally reached New Zealand, we moved to the Manawatu, north of Wellington, where my father taught mathematics at a local secondary school.

I completed a B.A. (Humanities) at Massey University courtesy of the New Zealand Army, before working for two years as an area organiser for one of the largest trade unions. I left New Zealand for ‘overseas experience’ in 1981.

Ending up in England, I trained as a chef and we opened a restaurant in Norfolk. It was called ‘The Writing on the Wall’ and was housed in a lovely old beamed 16th century merchant house with a ghost. Despite having been exorcised by Doris Stokes, the ghost seemed to be very much still in residence. The writing was on the wall though and after a year I moved back to London and retrained as a secretary to keep body and soul together.

I worked as an Executive PA in London before retraining yet again in 1986 as a programmer. I ended up working for an international software consultancy, on a large ‘vapourware’ project (it did actually become firmware in the end), onsite in Texas, Paris, Bristol and Romford – all the best locations. In 1995 I began working for myself as a software consultant which initially entailed moving to the Isle of Man for 5 years.
Somewhere in all this I managed to study for a Masters degree in Law.

In 2006 it was time for another change when I set up Jo Walker design – a boutique interior design firm – in order to provide highly personalized residential design services to what has become an international client base.

Languages – English, French and Italian