I was born on St Luke's day, in Dulwich Hospital, in the London Borough of Southwark, to Geoffrey, a personal officer at the BBC (and later head of Pensions there) and Margaret, a librarian for BP (who stopped working when I was born). Two months later, we moved to Cudham, in the London Borough of Bromley, and also in Kent, where I spent my entire childhood. Two years later, my brother Duncan was born.
I went to school first at Green Street Green primary school, and then at Eltham College (which is in Mottingham and not in Eltham). From there I went to Peterhouse, Cambridge to read mathematics, fulfilling an intention I had first formed at the age of ten. I was a wrangler, and winner of the Tyson medal, and so naturally I started a PhD, which turned out to be a great mistake, and I gave it up after three months.
I got engaged soon after I came up (we spent our first evening disagreeing strongly about the relative merits of Gladstone and Disraeli), and therefore spent much of my undergraduate life in uxorious seclusion. I later made up for this by haunting the university for far too long, doing all the foolish things I had failed to do earlier. In our search for a place to get married, we discovered Little St Mary's and converted to Christianity. We then broke off the engagement.
Soon afterwards I went to Grenada in the West Indies to teach maths at the Anglican High School. My pupils were adorable (for the most part) and entirely without mathematical aptitude, which made the year rather frustrating. I did, however, get the opportunity to conduct an oratorio, and to sing The Trumpet Shall Sound to huge acclaim, and to appear on television.
I then went back to Cambridge to read for an MPhil in Theology, and wrote a dissertation on the theology of quantum cosmology, a subject which has the advantage of being so obscure that very few people are in a position to argue with me. I was also secretary of Peterhouse MCR and spent far too much time there.
I later moved back to London, to live for two years in a lay community founded by Fr Cyril Bickersteth CR, and to eat for the Bar. I did pupillage at Enterprise Chambers and 9 Stone Buildings, before moving to Jersey for a year to advise their government on finance legislation.