What kind of career’s advice did you get as a young woman?
None. It was assumed I would go into the convent and become a nun.
What did you want to be when you left education?
I thought I wanted to be a nun but I chose to be a nurse instead. My father was very disappointed.
Did your mother work?
She worked as a weaver in a mill but always seemed to be there for us.
Love & Relationships:
Do you think getting married is important?
My boyfriend was going to Switzerland to do his PhD so I followed him and got a job nursing. When I found out I was pregnant we got married in Switzerland because our parents would not have wanted us to have a child without being married.
What did you dream your future partner would be like when you were a little girl?
I thought I was going to be a nun so I never thought of boy friends.
Is your relationship with your partner the same as your parents’ relationship?
Difficult to answer that since my parents married in the Catholic Church and would never have broken their vows. I got married to get away from home and live my life, and not one that my father wanted for me. My partner and I divorced.
How like your mother are you?
In looks not at all. As a person she was kind and loving as am I.
What are your hopes for any daughters or young women you know?
That they will be strong, independent, loving, kind.
Do you bring your son up the same way as your daughter? Do you think boys and girls should be brought up differently?
I have two sons and they are their own people, that would be the case whether they were boys or girls.
Expectations and Dreams:
Who are your heroines and why?
Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, Nora in the Doll’s House, Dorothea in Middlemarch. Women who feel trapped and oppressed by others but, however painful, try to be true to themselves.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
Leave my marriage.
What drives you?
Being a free woman always looking for a challenge both mentally and physically.
What are your values?
To be true to myself, to respect others’ opinions, to be kind and loving.
What is your biggest achievement?
How old are you?
What has been your favourite age to be and why?
Now – I have travelled a long way and at last coming into my own.
Do you think it’s better to be young now than when you were young? (Or better now than when your parents were young?)
Difficult to say. Much has changed for both my parents and me. They had a war to manage which brought the community together. We have more choices but are more isolated.
What are the pros and cons of being a woman?
The pros: being pregnant, seeming to have closer relationships, not needing to be right all the time. The cons: not assuming our rightful place in the world, not as physically strong, thinking of others before our own.
What have been the biggest challenges in your life?
Accepting that I am responsible for my own happiness.
Self-image – Body or Looks:
Why do you dress the way that you do?
To look slightly different.
What would be your musical soundtrack?
Only one!! Impossible. “I’ll be Watching You” Sting.
Do you have a life’s motto?
Love is in the letting go.