Hello! I’m Gareth J M Saunders.
I grew up in the Scottish Borders. I studied Practical Theology and Christian Ethics at the University of St Andrews, graduating in 1993 with a Bachelor of Divinity (with honours).
Following a few years working in textile mills in the Scottish Borders, and with homeless young people in London, I moved to Edinburgh where I read for a Master of Theology in Ministry at the University of Edinburgh, while completing my ordination training with the Scottish Episcopal Church. I spent one attachment as student chaplain at HM Prison Edinburgh (aka Saughton).
I was ordained deacon on Saturday 28 August 1999 and priest on Saturday 25 August 2000. I served my curacy at St Andrews Cathedral, Inverness, and then three parish churches in Edinburgh (St Salvador’s, Stenhouse; the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield; and St Ninian’s, Comely Bank) and hospital chaplaincy at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh before I moved into full-time web development in 2006.
From May 2006 to August 2018 I worked at the University of St Andrews, first as assistant information architect / web manager, then as web architect, focusing mostly on DSDM agile project management and business analysis. I was also the warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall, a large hall of residence at the University of St Andrews for two years, from 2016 to 2018.
Between 2019 and 2021, I worked as a Scrum master with Vision (In Practice Systems Ltd), now called Cegedim Healthcare Solutions, in Dundee. In May 2021 I moved to Sky to work as a Scrum master within two teams in the Sky Business Connect clan.
I was a member of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain from 1987 to 1997; I am now involved with NYCGB alumni choir on the alumni champions committee.
Some stuff I’ve made
- I’ve written a new book, I like to write back—a collection of silly replies to unsolicited email between 2009 and 2013.
- Clergy Malt Club is an inclusive, welcoming online community of church workers at Christmas, and now also at Easter as Clergy Gin Club.
- Each year I create a Scottish Episcopal Church digital calendar of feasts and readings that can be imported into Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook or Apple iCal. It now includes some browser extensions and a Windows Sidebar Gadget.
- For a few months during the 2020 UK coronavirus lockdown I wrote a silly, daily blog called You Must Not Go Outside!
- I review releases on a metal, rock, hardcore and punk review website called 195 metal CDs. It started after I acquired 195 CDs from someone on Freecycle.
- In 2006–2007 I wrote what became the third edition of the late David Pritchard’s Teach Yourself Mahjong for Hodder Education. See Books page.
- I compiled a Blueprint CSS framework cheat sheet, which was bundled with Joomla! 1.7 for their Atomic template.
- My Rubbish Photos — because even rubbish photos have a story.
- Wikipedia Named my Band — four simple and random rules to create fictional bands and albums.
- Snail-Monkey — there is no such thing as a snail-monkey.
Also check out the contact page for links to social media.
Why ‘potting shed’?
A few people have asked me why my blog is called ‘View from the Potting Shed’.
It goes back to when I was a child, and my brother and sister and I would make handmade birthday and Christmas cards for family members. We thought it would be fun to invent our own card companies, and just like commercial cards, add the company name to the back of the cards. My sister’s was called ‘Castles in the Sky’, I can’t remember what my brother’s was called, but mine was called ‘The Potting Shed’.
I called it ‘The Potting Shed’ because that’s where I believed inventors and scientists came up with their best creations: in a potting shed at the bottom of the garden.
So, my blog became ‘View from the Potting Shed’: how I see my little world from the comfort of my special creative space.