AT 61 and after 37 years in journalism, 17 of them with the Bridport News, there are those who might suggest I should be put out to pasture.

But where's the fun in that?

So I am off to pastures new and starting a new career, not without a pang.

I've had great fun, starting as I did in the age of hot metal, stone subbing and strikes.

I've met and worked with some incredible characters, among them my first boss, a gammy-legged Welshman who wore a woolly hat whatever the weather and was prone to belt out 'nymphomaniacs come away' in a deep rich baritone whenever the mood took him.

I probably won’t be able to say anything about my current one but I know he’s got a better sense of humour than he lets on. I should know, he’s laughed at, if not with, me enough times.

I was there at Charlie's 'carbuncle' speech, have been condescended to by the then BBC reporter Martin Bell while waiting to interview a woman from the New York Guardian Angels while in my (very brief) Sun career, been the butt of an entire Sunday Mirror newsroom during my (even briefer) stint there for using a word with more than two syllables, disgraced myself at a CBI dinner in front of David Owen, made impertinent remarks to Dennis Healey about his eyebrows, been threatened by the British National Party and managed to dodge a group of Hell's Angels on my Yamaha R1 after they took exception to my reporting of their (alleged) affray.

Then there have been the numerous west Dorset characters I've come across since coming to live here in 1985 with a farmer more eccentric than all the rest put together.

I wouldn't change a minute of it and I hope some of you at least have enjoyed reading my Diary page as much as I've loved writing it.