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16 December 2017


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Bitterne Parker: Stephen Phillips
Sunday, 08 March 2015 00:00

stephen phillips
Stephen Phillips is a father, foster carer, mathematician, chemist, computer science researcher, tinkerer, blogger, salsa teacher and Woodcraft Folk coordinator – and says he's proud of his ability to fall asleep very quickly.

The Qs & the As

What’s your link with Bitterne Park?

I moved here with my family from Priory Road in 2007 in order to find a bigger house.

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

Cycling up Cobden Avenue to do some maths tutoring for a schoolboy while I was at university. There was a bike shop in the triangle at that time I think.

How could the area be better?

All the independent traders in the Triangle are great to have there but what about improving the pedestrian access in the Triangle? Is it just too busy to make the whole area a shared pedestrian and vehicle space such as by the Guildhall in town?

Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park

One end of the aborted pedestrian tunnel to St Denys that was worked on in the early 1900s can still be seen in use as a coal shed in the last garden to the south-west of Whitworth Road.

What’s good about the wider city?

Mostly people say Southampton’s good because of what it is near to (the New Forest, London, Winchester, etc) which is a bit of a backhanded compliment. Anyway, I think that the Art House and Rice Up are fantastic enterprises and that our art gallery and library along with the Civic Centre building itself are all great.

Southampton: points for improvement?

Better cycle paths, and not ones on pavements thank you.

What’s your passion in life?

Woodcraft Folk. I coordinate the local groups. Woodcraft Folk is a national cooperative organisation: we run groups for young people (5-16 or so) which meet weekly in term time and go camping in the school holidays. We play games and do other activities but our values are around education for social change: trying to make the world a better place. There’s a group for 6-9 year olds in Bitterne Park.

How do you put bread on your table?

My background is in maths and chemistry but I now work at the University of Southampton doing applied computer science research.

What has your career taught you?

Don’t be afraid to say you need help with something. See what you can do to improve where you work: don’t wait for other people to do it.

What really gets your goat?

People stirring up hatred of immigrants and people on benefits. Politicians using that as an excuse to make things even worse for those in need but claiming they support “hardworking families” as if they are the only ones who deserve any help.

How do you relax?

I dance salsa, cha cha, bachata, kizomba and merengue! I teach salsa most weeks at Tracies Latin Club.

What’s your favourite dish?

Gobi manchurian: the best way of eating cauliflower, ever.

Which is your favourite pub?

I know it’s been said before, but it’s got to be the Butcher’s Hook: an oasis of good beer in the desert that is Bitterne Park.

What are you drinking?

Mostly hydrogenated oxygen with various chemical additives.

What do you listen to?

My wife, sometimes.

Can you recommend a really good read?

Anything in the Culture series of books by Iain M Banks.

What’s a great day out?

A walk in the New Forest with lunch at a pub that does good vegetarian food as well as simple children’s food (still looking).

What scares you?

Nothing actually.

Tell us a secret

<whisper whisper>

Tell us a joke

What flavour crisps do podiatrists hate?

Cheesy Doritoes.

Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?

What can we do to engender a better sense of community, to get to know one another more?

Thanks so much for taking part!

Find out more about Woodcraft Folk locally from this link.

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions. But before then, do you know a Bitterne Parker we really should feature? If so, please nominate them by emailing us using the contact form, and we'll do our best. No promises, mind.

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

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