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You’re never too old to follow your dreams

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You’re never too old to follow your dreams.

That’s the sage advice from first-time Hunter Valley author Paul Leonard Jones, who’s recently released his maiden book, Animal Husbandry in Ancient Egypt during the Old and Middle Kingdoms.

At the age of 59, and out of work, he made the tough decision to step outside his comfort zone.

And, now, 14 years later, he’s a fully-published writer, thanks to a lot of hard work and Abercromby Press.

It’s a far cry from Dr Jones’ original vision.

“When I left high school, I wanted to be an archaeologist,” he said.

“But, family circumstances prevented me from doing that because the only place you could do that was the University of Sydney.

“It would have meant living and boarding in Sydney.

“A decade before, we’d come through the 1955 Maitland flood.

“So, the family was trying to re-establish itself – therefore, I was forced to take another [career] path.”

That led to a profession in Newcastle as a young lad.

“The city was highly-industrial in those days, however BHP was offering 500 traineeships a year,” Dr Jones explained.

“I obtained one in chemistry, then gained a Bachelor of Science from the University of Newcastle, going on to work in the metals and chemical industries.

“After 22 years of working on Koorangang Island, I got the flick in 1998.

“I was then 52 – and no-one wanted to employ me.

“It took about 12 months to secure another job.

“But, in 2006, Delta EMD shut its doors, so heading to 59, I was even worse off.

“So, the little voice in my head said ‘take your retirement and do what you’ve always wanted to do’.

“And, that’s what I did.”

Dr Jones completed a Master of Arts (Egyptology) degree and Doctor of Philosophy (Egyptology) at Macquarie University.

His PHD was then fine-tuned to be a book.

The publication explores the animal husbandry practices and their relevance in the daily life of the Egyptians of the Old and Middle Kingdoms and their modern-day parallels; of which there are many.

“The tome was held back because it was published in England and, due to the coronavirus and government restrictions, it meant my publisher – who’s an Egyptologist – couldn’t get to the printer,” he said.

“It was ready in November but only released in March.

“However, it’s been many years in the making, from 2006 to 2020.

“But, I’ve also had two serious bouts of illness (open heart surgery and a staph infection), which knocked me about, during that time.

“So, Animal Husbandry in Ancient Egypt during the Old and Middle Kingdoms has certainly been a labour of love for me.

“I’m proud of the fact I had a dream – and didn’t let it go.

“When I got the opportunity, I worked towards fulfilling it.

“My advice to the many people, who are currently unemployed due to COVID-19 or suffering feelings of despair, is chase your dream.

“You can do whatever you set your mind to do.”

That sentiment will ensure Animal Husbandry in Ancient Egypt during the Old and Middle Kingdoms isn’t Dr Jones’ last hardback either.

“I was talking to my supervisor at Macquarie University, a professor, and he said: ‘you can’t stop now, can you?’,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“No, I can’t, so I’m working on something at home at the moment.

“I’d like to return to Egypt and visit things like the ruins.

“I’ve been there before, however just as a tourist.

“My interest is primarily archaeology – Roman, Greek, Mayan, Aztec, Egyptian.

“Just the ancient culture and what there is to learn from them, it’s amazing.

“With their animal husbandry practices, would you believe nothing’s changed in 5000 years?

“When you see some of this stuff, you marvel at how they did it.

“That’s fascinating to me.”

To order a copy of Animal Husbandry in Ancient Egypt during the Old and Middle Kingdoms, email [email protected] or www.abercrombypress.co.uk

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