A little bit about me

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Eloise is not my first name but when I started reading and responding to a particular blog, I found that there was already someone with my name and I didn’t want to be confused with her because I didn’t agree with what she was saying!  I like Eloise better anyway.

I am a sixty year old mother of three and grandmother of five. You don’t get to my age without having made a few wrong decisions and I’ve made my share. But along the way, there have been a some right ones too and sometimes a decision turns out to be so very right that you just can’t believe your luck.

That’s how I felt when, after many years working in HR, training and health & safety for an international energy company, I took voluntary redundancy with the intention of finding a part time role where I would no longer have to drive thousands of miles a year. I allowed myself a bit of breathing space and the job never happened because one morning my daughter, a college lecturer, suggested that I could possibly think about a “course in something”. That afternoon I mailed The University of Worcester – just an enquiry; a vague notion that there might be something to interest me. The reply was almost immediate. It was already August and too late to bother with UCAS so I should send a CV and personal statement, it said. Five days later, the day before my fifty-seventh birthday, I was interviewed and offered a place there and then.  It was that quick. I was in shock. I called my daughter.  “They’ve offered me a place,” I said, tears running down my face. “I can’t believe it. I never thought they would take me.”

“I never thought they wouldn’t,” she replied.

Always one to analyse decisions, deliberate the pros and cons, and make plans for ‘just in case”, I can barely believe that not for a single moment did I have a any doubts about this; not once did I question what I was doing. It was as if I had been biding my time; waiting for this moment. Three weeks later I was a full time mature student – a fresher on the Bachelor of Arts degree course studying English language with Creative & Professional Writing.

During the first weekend an intensive writing retreat was held.   Oh, how I enjoyed it, every moment. It’s hard to describe something as the best ever because that somehow diminishes the importance of the rest. Nevertheless, this weekend was up there with the best. It confirmed, gloriously, that I had made the right decision in deciding to commit the next three years of my life to studying.

I was, by a good many years, the oldest on my course and friends asked how I ‘got on’ with the young students, some young enough to be my grandchildren. I told them that I got along fine; they were like any other group of people, some I liked a lot, others I had less to do with.  When we were struggling with an assignment or waiting for our grades, we were all in the same boat and I was just one of them. At first there was some mild bemusement, but if thought it strange that someone my age should decide to join them, they never said.

Three years later, each time I drove through the university entrance I still felt lifted by the sheer wonderfulness of having been granted such a fabulous opportunity.  I discovered a drive and focus I didn’t know I had and my hard work was rewarded not once, but twice with scholarships for £1,000 each for Outstanding academic achievement. But the best part was when, in 2016, I graduated at the wonderful Worcester Cathedral with a joint First Class B.A. (hons.).

As a student my income was tiny compared to what I used to earn and given that my husband, several years older than me, had just retired, spending inevitably had to be curtailed but new clothes, once bought with barely a thought, no longer mattered. Indulgent holidays, regular spa breaks, my passion for beautiful shoes all gave way to …what?  Well, nothing really because the somewhat startling truth was, that for those three years, I no longer needed any of those things. Content and fulfilled in a way that I had never before been, I was, and remain, a different person.

20 thoughts on “A little bit about me

    1. I wondered, too, what I might write about, but it’s surprising what springs to mind. I have some ideas for my next posts, but right now I’m just taking five, as they say, from being in the garden – not actually gardening, because I find that a bit difficult with arthritis, but I do tidy up things, such as sweeping paths and so forth, and deadheading plants. Just daily routine things often make the basis of a post, I think you will surprise yourself.

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      1. I enjoy your posts about your day to day life, Margaret and I think you’re right – inspiration will just come to me. I like my garden but I don’t do gardening.

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    1. That is a lovely comment, Jane. Thank you. I think that for the most part I have a pretty ordinary life but everyone had their tale to tell. I’m not sure quite where my blog is going but I am enjoying just writing for writing’s sake. X

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  1. Just found your blog and enjoying your writing, I am nearly 70 and can still drive myself to dancing anc choir and a host of other activities, do school runs and care for g.children, we are such a lucky generation I feel, don’t you. Love your post about the tile Museum, working out a route from Dorset. Thankyou. Sarah in Dorset.

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Sarah, and so glad that you are enjoying my blog. We certainly are lucky to have the opportunity and freedom to do so many things at an age which, a generation ago, wouldn’t have happened. It’s very early days into my blog and I do hope to attract a few followers! Thank you for finding me. The tile museum was absolutely fabulous.

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  2. Somehow, 60 didn’t seem too bad, but I approached my 70th birthday with horror! Absolutely banned any cards with 70 on them (although two or three still filtered through) and I felt really depressed at the though of being so OLD!
    Of course, nothing changed overnight, my days went on as usual and actually, it didn’t feel any different.
    Mind you, the mug that someone bought me with “I am 70!” is firmly at the very back of the cup cupboard and those tell-tale cards weren’t on display.
    As you say, thinking back to previous generations, our Mums and Grandmas all seemed very old before their time, so very different in their ways.
    My car is my freedom; I pack my tent and all the gear into it and enjoy my camping holidays; I drive to various seaside resorts to meet up with friends who come to Cornwall on holiday; bundle the dog in the back and set off to the coast for a day out and head to many destinations suitable for walking with my dog.
    No, 70 (well, 72 now) isn’t too bad at all and I intend to enjoy life as much as I can for as long as I can.
    Loving your blog – you need a “Follow” button so that we can all press it and become official Followers!

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary, for your comments. As you say, nothing changes overnight but we do face these milestone birthdays with a sense of horror. I think we just have to do the best we can and make the most of life. It sounds as though you certainly do your best to do so. Cornwall is a lovely part of the country. I do envy those who live near to the sea. I am in Worcestershire – a lovely county but just about as far from the coat as it is possible to be in the UK!
      I’m so glad that you are enjoying my blog. I didn’t realise that no-one could follow me! I will investigate.

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      1. It is really important to not let ourselves think that we’re old. My body may be sixty but my mind is a jumbled confusion of ages each related to the events in life that have contributed to the person I am today. I’m sure that I am not the only person to feel twenty one minute and ninety the next.

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  3. You have summed that up so well, Eloise. That’s exactly how it is, 20 one minute, especially when I hear some music from my youth – hearing Moon River can bring tears to my eyes, remembering so long ago, or perhaps Elvis singing GI Blues, or Buddy Holly singing “Everyday” which brings to mind a wonderful youth trip to Germany in 1960 with my school friends, and us all singing this on the train as we crossed from Belgium into Germany and on up to Luneburg where we were to stay for a fortnight. Ah, wonderful memories of wonderful days. Then later, when young and married and with our first son and our new Dynatron record player and hearing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the first classical record we bought, along with James Last and Classics Up To Date … who remembers James Last, or even plays his music, today! And another time, I will feel old and stiff and crotchety! But thankfully, even though old and stiff and achy, I hope I’m still young in mind. As I say, I’m not old enough to be 72!
    Margaret P

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    1. When I was writing that response, it was music from my youth that went through my mind, followed by my aching knees! My first classical record was Holst’s Planets and my first pop single Dusty’s Son of a Preacher Man. Oh, I remember James Last.

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      1. The first classical record I bought was The Peer Gynt Suite and it was on a mono LP. This was when I was at school and we did Musical Appreciation in those days, and we listened to this record and I liked it so much that I saved up my pocket money and bought it.
        Oh, Dusty was lovely! Our first classical record we bought when we bought our lovely record player, a Dynatron (we still have it in the loft), it was the Rolls Royce of music systems in1969, was Beethoven’s 9th. Since then we added many more and we still have them and play them. We still love our old vinyl.
        Margaret P

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      2. I often listen to Classic FM in the car. I like so many genres of music and have a very eclectic collection. We have a few vinyls left but I mostly listen to CDs. My husband has all our music downloaded/copied onto a tiny hard drive. I can say the words but this means nothing to me! He thinks I am resistant to new technology and, to a degree, is quite right!

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