John Arnold Stewart

My interests
My hotel
Douglas family
Northern Ireland
Hamilton family
Open University
Stewart family
Far East
Mutual Societies
New England
photo sales
Wild West


Personal Interests


The world is my oyster! I like to see the different cultures of the world up close. So far I've restricted myself to reasonably 'civilised' parts of the world (or at least cultures not too different) as I'm a bit of a coward I'm afraid. So far the most exotic has been Goa in India but I'm going to have to branch out soon as I'm running out of 'civilised' places to go to and ended up in Argentina in November 2000 (pretty civilised: not really "South American" enough for me). I was off to Bulgaria in August 1999 to see the eclipse and hoped to see my next one in Ceduna on December 4th 2002 but 'twas not to be and the next one will likely be Turkey in 2006. You can see my pre-trip notes for some of the recent trips here (Australia, Hawaii, Hong Kong, New England, New Zealand, Paris, Singapore, Thailand, and the American Wild West) which could save those of you planning trips to those places a good deal of time & effort hunting through the guidebooks as I have included page references to all the sights worth seeing. Since we've been living in the south of France, I've spent a good deal of time in running up a guide to the Pyrénées Orientale and areas adjacent to it.
I read pretty widely, or at least I used to as I just don't seem to have the time these days. I was once accused of being a 'living encyclopaedia' but I'm not really: like most people I know lots about some things, a little about a lot of things and nothing at all about a vast expanse of human knowledge. In recent times I have been doing a lot of reading about the places that I've intended to go to (I have more travel books than most bookshops!), quite a bit about investment (mostly keeping up to date via magazines and newspapers) and a fair bit of science fiction and fantasy. I like to slip a classic into my reading schedule now and again and also a book from a new area the odd time (I've not much time for non-course reading at the moment). I'd love to do some serious writing but it takes a lot of effort to sit down and start writing anything substantial after getting home from work so I guess that the novel will have to wait a couple of years.


I sort of like studying in the sense that I like having achieved the end result and I quite like the learning along the way. It's just the exams and the homework and the lack of free time that I don't like (Hmmm, perhaps I don't really like studying??). Sometimes I get these urges to do degrees but mostly it passes and I regain my senses: so far I've only succummed five times with the Computer Science degree straight after school, the MBA three or four years ago (warning: trying to do an MBA part-time and a full-time job at the same time is really mad!), the marketing diploma just after that, the French diploma in October 2004 and I started on the Spanish diploma in February 2005.
I keep telling people that I like learning languages but so far it's just French, a little Spanish, a lot less Greek (it's actually pretty easy to learn once you get past the alphabet 'cos they don't have all the little exceptions to the rules that crept into later languages) and an absolutely tiny amount of Latin (I'm fairly practically minded and learning a 'dead' language seems rather pointless: it was one of the compulsory subjects). During a brief period of insanity in 2001 I applied for the Open University French diploma and finished that in October 2004; the insanity has continued and I'm starting the Spanish diploma in February 2005.
The country
I love the country and I currently live in the vineyards in the south of France after having had a rush of blood to the head and buying a hotel in October 2003. When I was little the family rented a cottage in the country since before I was born and while my granny was alive we all used to stay there over the summer months, travelling to work in the car. To say that the cottage isn't terribly grand is something of an understatement: we're talking 1850's vintage thatched cottage here, no indoor plumbing, no electricity and a rent of about UKP 1 ($1.50) a week. It did make a nice change from the city though.
I enjoy taking photographs of beautiful places. I generally don't take pictures of the people though, except in 'western civilisations' as it seems a bit intrusive. I sometimes print my own photographs in the old fashioned way (Cibachrome) but really I need to see about getting a few more hours added onto the end of the days...
Specifically the Stewart, Montgomery and Douglas families. This is a kind of background interest for me as you seem to spend years searching for some information then are inundated with it. I thought that I was doing pretty well sailing back into the 1700s when I hit a pothole: when I tried to confirm some information that I'd picked up from the Mormon website in order to join up with a probable connection 50 years earlier, it seemed that a number of locations that I'd collected for places of birth and the like weren't as accurate as I'd been led to believe. That's knocked things on the head for a bit as I will need to confirm a line straight back to the early 1800s which will take quite a while.
I used to be really into this but with the hotel, it's taken something of a sideline for now. It has been very useful in funding the purchase of this place though.
Apart from work my main interest in this is to help the above. I don't really see it as an end in itself and I never frequent the chat rooms or anything like that although I have used chat to talk to friends that I've known in other ways beforehand. In case you were wondering, these pages were started for two reasons: 1) to build up my CV and 2) as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family around the world.
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Current Projects

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Biographical Information

Queen's University of Belfast

University of Ulster

Open University

British Computer Society



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Contact Information

Street address
Auberge Mas Camps, 66460 Maury, France

Electronic mail address

Web address

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Comments and Suggestions

Please mail me e-mail with comments, suggestions, queries and possible improvements or write them into my Guest Book.

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