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Meet Nigel Ridgway


   Nigel was born in Somerset, UK, and was a child of her Majesty’s services; moving around England, Germany and Jordan. He attended two boarding schools. His early working life was mainly as an unskilled worker, trying many jobs. He emigrated to Australia in 1966 as a ‘Ten Pound Pom,’ arriving in WA after working in Queensland.

   Nigel eventually became a West Australian primary teacher for twenty-one years, then a high school relief teacher, while all his adult life he also played music part time.

   He married a 4th generation West Australian lady, Aileen, in 1991. They are very happy. Nigel has always sailed since high school in Germany, and has had many adventures, both overseas and around the coast of Australia.

   He still plays music with Perth jazz bands and the cabaret band, The Haze Showband. Since retiring he has become an RVGA guide, a guide on the Duyfken replica, and an active member of U3A. He’s always had a passion for writing and wrote, Lotus 11 – an Indian Ocean Adventure in 1992. He wrote for ‘Cruising Helmsman’ magazine for twenty years. He is a popular guest speaker for Probus and U3A.


     Nigel’s very personal story is told simply and honestly, and with humour and enthusiasm. The many adventures of this English migrant who loves Australia reveals his passion for the sea, his family and his music.

     Though shattered by the tragic death of his daughter, this ‘Different Drummer’ continues to live a full life pursuing his many interests.

     His escapades, and his thoughts on life in the time of COVID 19, is shared in this refreshing 'sortamemoir’ you won’t want to put down.

A Different Drummer - The Escapades of a Ten Pound Pom can be purchased from the following links - to list a few:





A Book Review from The Senior Magazine



Mardi Gow, Queensland

I just finished your book at 2am this morning! Loved it! I’ve always known that everyone has a story in them and yours is so interesting.

Val Dekenah

I have just finished reading your book – one hellova story!  I enjoyed it immensely, well written and with such honesty. I shed a tear reading of the tragedy of your daughter, I don’t know how you come to terms with something like that, but I do think that you are a very brave and resilient person.

Thank you for sharing your very interesting life, it has certainly shaped the person you are today – generous, compassionate and a terrific sense of humour!

Robyn Hudson 

Have just finished your book. ...... in one sitting tonight!  I have loved it.   It was so entertaining, at times chequered, no punches pulled and so honest.   I could really relate to your observations right at the end on the big questions facing us all.  A really good read.


What a brave and honest read Nigel!  It is truly a ‘warts and all’ expose and extremely honest.   I was very impressed with your opinions about the world being better ruled by women.   Seriously, well done.  I hope you have many sales.

June and Jim Barnes

Nigel: We have both read your book and found it thoroughly enjoyable -- full of detail and as if you were speaking. What an interesting life you have led. The highs and lows were so well and honestly explained, and in some places it was very moving. We hope that the sales soar and that many others get to learn of your exploits. Who knows, you might have another book in you!

Tony Hanson

I’ve read Nigel's new book and enjoyed the read. He has a flair for an entertaining style of prose that encourages the reader to continue reading rather than put the book down for a rainy day.

Although I knew he was a Muso, I didn’t realise that he used to make a nearly full-time living from it; and of course, reading about his and Aileen's extended cruise in Toroa was of special interest.

Pat Paleeya - Have a Go News Review

The author and I (not together of course) frequented the same jazz clubs in the 60s Eel Pie Island and Ken Colyers and maybe we rubbed shoulders at the Two iis. Skiffle groups and jazz clubs were sprouting everywhere, and Nigel Ridgway was part of this music explosion with his first band Bee Vincent and the Voodoos.

Nostalgia aside, this isnt the only reason that I enjoyed this sortamemoir. It is because this book is unpretentious warts and all, highly interesting and entertaining. Anecdotes flow freely throughout and every chapter is written without a wasted word.

As a child he lived for a while on an island near Denmark where he found a metallic object buried in the sand dunes. He banged it with his air gun, dug around it for a bit before realising that it was an unexploded bomb. The disposal unit blew it up and there is a photo of the crater on page 19 sans bits of Nigel.

He came to Australia in 1966 and worked at various jobs including labouring, storeman, delivery driver and the like until being accepted as a student at Graylands Teachers College in 1976.

From the light-hearted humour which is the core of this memoir comes the unexpected and shattering chapters that tell of the death of his daughter Carita and the harrowing circumstances that unfold. It is understandable that Nigel found this very hard to write about, yet he does so with much dignity. The love that he has for Carita pulsates with every word written.

Nigel still plays music with Perth jazz bands, is a member of U3A, loves sailing and is called upon to be a guest speaker at Probus and U3A. He shows much sagacity with his musings at the end of this book and yes Nigel, as a silly old sod, you can toss your ideas around without having to justify them. The book is published by Helen Iles at Linellen Press and is available directly from the author Nigel Ridgway for $20.

Mike Godrich

Just finished reading your book. Loved your writing style.  Couldn’t put it down. What an interesting (sad at times) and varied life you have had. So different from mine where I spent about 30 years in corporate Australia and all that comes with that. (And I don’t like sailing I am a land lubber!). Thank you for sharing your story. I was born in 1955 and agree the baby boomers have been through a “lucky” time.


I found your book easy to read, evoking a past that was both familiar and edgy. Yes, the loss of your daughter was a nightmare. We parents hope against hope that our’s will not be the ones to play a key role.

You wrote so well with the the perfect balance of a parent who has endured the worst possible loss of a child while acknowledging your daughter made her own choices as an adult. You did not try to continue your parenting beyond its use by date. That is so hard to achieve. The book has laid out the truth of the world that our children must enter and hopefully will survive. We, in our turn, took our chances. 

Thank you for the opportunity to revisit the time of our youth, from which we learned our present humility and understanding. I am so glad to have read that you are now in a good place with a wonderful partner. There is so much more ahead of us, yet. I believe the years of our youth have been the ‘golden age’.

Ruth Belben

I loved reading the book.  I found it so interesting and I liked your openness and honesty.  What an amazing life you have had.  I was sorry to read about the death of your daughter in Japan and at such a young age. 

Heidi Pember  (U3A Lesmurdie)

I have just finished reading your book "A Different Drummer " and want to tell you how much I enjoyed learning about your life. You have certainly been doing lots of different things and travelled the world! I am so sorry to read  about Carita! A parent's nightmare! The love you have for Aileen and your music shines through!

Garry Gillard

I've read a lot of books in my time, but rarely anything as frankly confessional.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and not just the sailing stories.  It's very well organised and written.  I loaned it to another sailor who may give it back one day … Many  thanks for the book!





21st February 2024