Joe Shennan was a wonderful story teller. It was a skill which sustained him throughout his professional life, and which entertained his whole family over many years at home. He loved to tell tales of his life growing up in Liverpool, of the year in Paris when he and Margaret lived on the breadline and of their decision to move out of the big city to settle near Lancaster. Happily, in the months before he died in May 2015, Joe began to write some of these stories down. This memoir is far from complete but it gives a sharp insight into the making of the man that we all knew and loved. It is a story of early loss, alienation and self-doubt redeemed in adulthood by a strong marriage and by the discovery of a place (Brockhouse and the Lune Valley) and an institution (the University of Lancaster) that gave him the feeling of purpose he had been seeking.