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he had an eye for the pretty girls

Jan 83 from London. Lives in Surrey, married for 63 years. She has three sons, four grandchildren, one great grandchild.

How are you? 

Inside I feel the same person I always have. Although I am more patient nowadays. I am happy with my lot. My dread is dementia or going blind.

What’s your most memorable experience? 

I was evacuated during the war to Chichester, I was 10 years old. I moved in with a family where I had to share a bed with their daughter. Her father was a lorry driver and they only used to bath once a week. I had come from a middle class family - it was very different. One day we had been out for a walk and when we returned I was told my Mum and little sister had been killed. A bomb had hit our house.  My Dad had been at work so he survived as did the family dog. I remember crying myself to sleep.

What do you think about children?

I always said I’d loved to have had a daughter. I would have called her Gillian after my sister but I had three boys. I have grand children and great grandchildren now.  I like my role. I think we’re seen as the elderly couple who have a swimming pool, do Sunday lunch and send nice things in the post on birthdays. 

What do you think about marriage?

We have been married for 63 years. I finish his sentences. We are lucky, we like the same things. We have friends that loathe each other. We read together. We have a similar sense of humour and he's a great friend. Mind you he did wander a bit - he had an eye for the pretty girls but it just made me stronger and more determined!

I was very lucky with my mother- in- law too. She never gave advice unless I asked for it and that would be my advice too.

What brings you down?

My middle son. We are permanently in a state. He was deprived of oxygen at birth after a very long home birth. It was the 1950s, nothing could be done. He is our constant worry.

How do you like to spend your time?

I read a lot. I’d commit suicide if I couldn't read. I love biographies, social history, and I absolutely love history books, especially the Tudors. 

How do you best express yourself?

I write letters. I correspond with women that I’ve known for a long time. We used to have au pairs from all over the world - I still keep in touch with some of them. I write my diary too.

Where does all you energy go?

Looking after my Husband. I spoil him. I bring him breakfast in bed every morning. I pamper him. I walk everyday and tennis is a big part of my life. I’d like to die playing tennis.

What’s your view on faith? 

I go to church most Sundays. I don’t know the bible very well but I believe in God and I have comfort in that.

How do you see yourself? 

I am satisfied with myself. I don’t want anything to change in spite of everything life hasn't been. I’ve had a happy marriage and we have never been short of money.

What do you think about body image?

I can’t bare it. I stopped taking the Daily Mail when I was presented with Victoria Beckhams boobs! 

Who or what inspires you?

I am in awe of people who climb mountains - I wouldn't want to do it myself though! Margaret Thatcher inspired me, she came from humble beginnings and the Queen, of course. 

What do you think about life?

Things are ok in my little world but I feel terribly sorry for people in places like Syria and Bangladesh. I am very sympathetic and feel the plight of other people. I support a charity called Zane that supports people in Zimbabwe - what can you do?

What do you think about death?

My Mum was a dancer and loved to read poems. When someone dies you lose their voice. My father died when I was 39, it’s extraordinary that I’ve never had to nurse an ageing parent. Grieving is very important - I don’t bottle things up. 

Are you free?

Oh yes, I am my own person. 

 

 

 

 

80'sSam Bunchjan 83Comment