I have been tagged by Kylie from Not Even A Bag of Sugar and invited to share with you 7 Things About Me, so here goes …
1 – Before being a primary school teacher I worked for the British Consulate in Germany
When I was growing up my father worked for the Government as a civil servant supporting British Armed Forces abroad. For the last years of my childhood, all of my teenage years and young adulthood we lived in different towns across Germany. I always went to British schools but often mixed with German friends and neighbours. I loved Germany and the best years of my life, before meeting David, were spent there. I loved it so much that when my parents finally returned to the UK I decided that I would not be leaving with them. I got myself a job in the British Consulate in Dusseldorf, working in the passport section. I was part of a great team, working in German and in English. I loved my time there and it enabled me to make new friends while also keeping my old friendships with the soldiers on the barracks where we had lived. I finally left Germany when I was 24 years old. I came back to UK to go to University and train to be a teacher. I have never looked back but I do remember fondly my days working as a Passports and Visa Clerk. I learned a lot about international law and my German came on so much from having to use it everyday at work and also in the running of the little flat that I rented all on my own. I loved living on my own. And for a time I was very alone as all my friends were sent off to fight a war in Bosnia. I used to walk home from the tram each night through town, I would eat in cafes and restaurants alone with a book, it was a peaceful existence and when my friends were home from their tours of duty we had a ball! Germans sure know how to party and we made the most of their hospitality. I made one of my best friends during that time, Debbie Shillinglaw, who I am still in contact with now, though not nearly enough. And made another good friend, Cheryl, who sadly I have lost touch with now. Good times!
2 – I can’t stop eating fajitas!
Before doing IVF David and I ate a lot of pasta in sauce. We did not eat nearly as much veg as we should so when we started our treatment and I knew that we needed to eat more healthily I discovered that fajitas were a great way of eating lots of vegetables. We have fajitas at least once a week now and when we were going through our cycles probably more. In them we have onions, garlic, chillies, peppers, mushrooms as the main ingredients but often I will throw in tomatoes, spinach, celery. Also with the mushrooms we do not just have one sort but a variety. I love mushrooms! Fajitas are one of life’s guilty pleasures!
3 – I once wanted to be a hairdresser
I am not sure what age I was when I had this plan, but I know that I planned it out in detail. I had no desire to cut people’s hair I wanted to be a salon manager, a salon owner. I do have vague memories of writing to people to ask if this would be possible. I remember planning out a budget and what the salon would offer, what it would like etc … I can only have been 9! I know that I planned it all out in a little exercise book whilst staying in England with my Nan and Granddad. Funny what we think we will be when we are young! This was one of my many plans and dreams, but that is a whole other story!
4 – I got teased at school for being hairy
I am very lucky never to have been bullied at school, not as a pupil at least! Again another story for another time. I was never bullied but I did get teased and I think that the whole thing could have been avoided with the help of my mother. I was teased at school for having hairy legs and during one very low period for having under arm hair. I have always loved swimming for as long as I can remember and at the start of secondary school we swam Y7 and Y8 together. The Y8 boys used to tease me as when I swam you could see that I had long hairs growing under my arms. It was horrible, awful and has stayed with me for the rest of my life. I had a real complex about being hairy into my late teens when I realised actually that it just did not matter. The Y8 boys were pretty nasty and I hated it. I began to hate swimming the one sport that I really enjoyed and was actually rather good at. I also used to always wear really long skirts to school at the start of secondary as my legs were so hairy. It was a shame really as I was quite a skinny little thing and I used to hide under baggy clothes until one day I asked my Mum if she would help me to shave my legs. Then I started to wear short skirts to school, cycling shorts (eek!) for PE and I generally became much more body confident. It is sad that I had had to go through all the nastiness first to get there. I guess it was character building but it did not feel like that at the time. I hope that my daughter will not have the same problems, in fact I will make sure she does not.
5 – Though I love swimming I cannot dive and I don’t know why
I really do love swimming – in the pool, the sea and lakes. I love to swim. I love the water. But for some reason I will not dive head first into water. I used to, I have clear memories of diving in at the start of a gala race but these are quickly shadowed by the memories of me starting races in the pool, too scared to dive. Because of this fear I was always at a disadvantage in races but I often still won. Think how much better I would have been with a racing dive start?! I am not scared of being under water. I love swimming along the bottom of the pool or the sea. I am faster under water. The fear is of my head hitting water and I have no idea where it came from. It is an irrational fear that will not go away. But I will keep trying especially now with children of my own as I do not want them to be scared of water. I do not want them to be afraid of anything.
6 – I won a talent competition in 1987 at Haven Holidays
When I was 9 years old we went on a family holiday to Cornwall. It was great! Nan, Grandad, Aunts, Uncles and cousins. It was a really cheesy family holiday filled with fun. Each night in the club there was some form of entertainment. There was a band I remember loving called Ice Trax? The songs that remind me of this holiday are Whitney Houston I Wanna Dance with Somebody and Spagna Call Me, oh and We Are the Ovaltiney Little Boys and Girls??? Anyway, each week they had a children’s talent show and they had some very well rehearsed acts in it. My sister and I thought we might enter together singing Neil Sedaka’s Breaking Up is Hard to Do. We rehearsed a routine and everything! But for some reason we decided against. A decision I was happy with til just before the competition started. I wanted to be on that stage! I started scribbing down a poem on a piece of paper and then rushed up to the front to ask to be a late entrant. I was allowed, I was entered, I read aloud the poem I had written not 5 minutes before and I won!
I do not have a copy of that poem and I cannot remember a single word but I do remember feeling very proud of myself. The following night, because I had one this contest, I got to play Little Red Riding Hood in a play that was put on. My cousin, who won The Young Tarzan competition was in it too. I am certain he was a tree and did the sound effects, but I may have remembered that wrong! That was a great holiday!
7 – I used to pretend that my middle name was Patrick
Yes indeed! Jennie Patrick Nairn. This was to do with a game we used to play when I lived in Cyprus as a child. Something to do with the letters in your name being called and then you could move forward. You were trying to be the first to reach the caller? I am sure it was something like that. Anyway I always seemed to lose because of the lack of variety of letters in my name and so I gave myself a middle name. Bizarrely and for reasons I know not of I chose the very feminine name of Patrick! Oh to be young again!
So there are 7 things about me. Now I need to choose some people that I would like to know more about, people who have not been tagged with this already. Could be quite tricky!
Some one else who has a new blog
One of my favourite and most inspirational reads
A blog with values I admire
Thank you again, Kylie. And thank you for writing such a wonderful blog that is definitely my most read and the one which I can really relate to. Thank you for such brilliant writing and a sometimes challenging read.