Life on one leg

Stephen Saunders

Highway Hammocks
Notice Period:
Short (maybe less than one month's notice)
Entertainment and motivational (amputee), adventure. Semi-professional
Paid: £200 plus travel
14th January 2022
Achievement | Aviation

An amusing account of how rich and exciting a life can turn out after the point at which all doors appear to have closed. A flying career, including flying under the Clifton suspension bridge, truck driving for the movie industry, a wife and son, and world travel. The talk goes into the intricacies of dealing with the amputation of a leg, the mental considerations, the opportunities, the humour and the joy. 6,000 words, plus unlimited discussion in Q&A on subjects as varied as outback trucking, escaping from the FBI, hot air ballooning, prosthetics, digging one's own grave and existential philosophy from the viewpoint of an unusual truck driver, that arise in the talk. It is a motivational talk for anyone with a disability, or an obstacle to life to encourage a positive outlook and a will to succeed and be happy. It is also entertainment for anyone just wishing to be entertained, and is taken in part from a memoir of 200,000 words stuffed with anecdotes and thoughtful chapters on life and the wonder of it, entitled Truck Driver- more life than i thought possible. This contains the material for a range of talks. The category is somewhat at odds with the suggested ones. I would perhaps suggest: Life's amazing experiences and eternal wonders.

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About Stephen Saunders

I provide conversation based on aspects of my life and readings from my book: Truck Driver, more life than I thought possible. I have spent half of my undeservedly rich life with only one leg, by which I seek to inspire and motivate amputees and people with other disabilities, by example, from the point of view of a truck driver, hot air balloon pilot, amputee, adventurer, traveller, rebel, and happily married father. By the same qualifications I can also entertain and amuse.
I spent ten years living with a fugitive from the FBI, I have worked in Hollywood, and spent years as an outback trucker in the remotest parts of Australia. I delivered a Jaguar from London to Tehran in Iran aged eighteen, was attacked by Kurdish mountain tribesmen, became destitute on the gulf, was rescued by an angel, and worked on an oil rig,. I lost my leg in 91 and never looked back. I won a Douglas Bader flying scholarship, became a commercial hot air balloon pilot, won a British Design Award, drove twice coast to coast across America, and many times across Australia. I was on the train blown up by terrorists in Bologna, A sixth sense saved my life more than once. I almost stowed away on a ship. I was stuck thousands of miles from home, aged a big tough eighteen, or was it a scared and tender eighteen?
I was shot in the head with a .22 rifle by a crazy person. I have met the Emir of Bahrain, and I'm on first name terms with Hugh Bonneville. I was taken in by strangers in a rainstorm when I was seventeen. Mr and Mrs Slater, I went on the radio not so long ago to thank these people for rescuing me in the middle of the night. I was struck by a deadly poisonous snake about as far from help as you’d dread to be, I’ve swum in the crocodile-infested Fitzroy River. I have transported explosives across the Great Sandy Desert. I owned and ran the most remote bar in the world. I’ve worked in the largest open cast gold mine in the southern hemisphere. I have motored across Sydney Harbour in a boat of my own design that I built myself. I fell in love with a Danish girl called Lisa Christiansen. I was five, she was four. Her father was a Lego sales executive, what not to fall in love with? I’ve met some of the biggest pot smugglers in US history. I have been inside Lompoc prison and inside Taft prison. I had a Marc Chagall crayon drawing confiscated as a forgery.
I know the secret identity of a famous actress’s daughter’s father. I corresponded with a murderer in prison.
I met a murderer-to-be. He killed about a day or two later. I’ve had half my left leg amputated, subsequently buried in a grave marked; ‘One Foot in the Grave’. I was lucky, it’s the lower half… Nine weeks after receiving my artificial leg I walked a mile. Added tension: My fugitive friend having just skipped the country I expected officers from Scotland Yard to come to my bedside during my amputation… I have flown an aeroplane solo twenty eight times. It is still cause for astonishment and wonder when I see a plane fly over, that I have done that too. I have met the late King Hussein of Jordan, and his wife Noor. More than that, he paid for me to learn to fly… I have met the present King Abdullah of Jordan twice, once as prince and then as king. I’ve flown a hot air balloon between the twin spires of Auch cathedral, and under the Clifton suspension bridge. I have been alone in a balloon, in cloud, in the flight path to Gatwick,... highly illegal and exceptionally dangerous too. I flew a balloon at 500 ft across the inbound flight-path of Stansted Airport I was involved in making part of the cult movie Razorback… I’m a Rolls Royce qualified chauffeur. I met Donald Trump’s first wife Ivana, we were best friends for half an hour. I bought a Harley Davidson in Florida I crashed a Harley Davidson into a learner driver in the mountains near Grasse, this is how I lost my leg. I’ve been to Tom Gaskins’ Cypress Knee Museum. Yes, knees. I’ve been in a nest of Hell’s Angels. I’ve transported vintage Bentleys all over the UK and Europe. I was asked to drive a van to Novosibirsk, capital of Siberia. It’s not every day that a truck driver gets given a destination like that. I stopped four robbers from, well….robbing. I’ve been robbed two or three times… I robbed a bank. I won a bicycle in a competition on a Rice Krispies Packet. How about that? I was nine… I had an Indian foster brother for a year. I knew Bob. Yes I did; she was my sister’s room-mate at college. Her real name is Gabrielle Glaister, actress. She played Bob in Blackadder. Remember? I invented the Cabsnoozer in-cab truck hammock. I was thrown out of Roedean. This was the second girl’s school I was expelled from… I have exhibited several art pieces at Tate Modern. How many truck drivers have done this? I’ve been to 49 different countries. I lived next door to Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. I knew Ben Wordsworth, a direct descendant of William. Husband of Sarah, my landlady; friend and host to Princess Margaret and Roddy Llewellyn, whose affair might have taken place in my bedroom, before it was mine. I avoided being murdered in Zimbabwe, by not being there. I was taken on as a potential truck driver…he was released but the hostages were all killed. I delivered a calf. I saved a friend’s life. Teenagers can be pretty stupid… I had a job at the World Health Organisation in Geneva. Unofficially. I gave the same stranger money on two occasions several years apart, by coincidence. I knew the WW2 captain of HMS Belfast. He helped to sink the Scharnhorst and my parents' marriage. I nearly cut my own head off with a chainsaw. I caught a primary school-friend in my arms when he fainted as we sang ‘faint not nor fear’...… I’ve stood on the top of a wind turbine. Very disorienting when the blades start to turn… I planted the name Cabsnoozer to advertise my products in ten foot high letters created out of daffodils on the embankment of the A34 near Newbury so that each spring it becomes visible. I’ve been a naked intruder in someone’s house. And yet I am innocent as the day is long, faithful, honest and gentle. I can explain everything!

‘I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it left’, (Seasick Steve), and I would like to make myself available for a reasonable fee and travel expenses from Hindhead, Surrey, where I live.

Yours Stephen Saunders, The Garrett, Beacon Hill Park, Churt Road, Hindhead, Surrey, GU26 6HU 07585 556796 01428 483300

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