The Blog

It’s a jolly good life - investigate

Shelagh 82 from Wales. Retired doctor. Mother of two. Married twice. Now lives in Barnes, South London.

How are you?

I am very happy to be here. I am acclimatizing to a small situation. I’ve recently downsized from my family home to my new flat. I still drive so I do still have some independence. 

How do you feel about the weather?

I love the weather especially when it’s cold. I remember when I used to wash my husbands socks: I’d pegged them out on the line and they would freeze like small pieces of cardboard. I love cloud formations too - I have a book all about them.

How do you feel about marriage?

Marriage was very nice. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a lovely experience. I wasn't married long to my first husband, just 17 years. He liked a flirt. I do feel a bit sad about splitting up with the father of my children - I think of it as a failure. I’d never do him down. I wonder if I was to blame, perhaps I didn't pay him enough attention? I married again, a retired Royal Marine. He was far more stable. He died from cancer. We were only married for 9 years. After that I made a conscious decision to put my energies into work and not get married again. I was a gynaecologist and worked til I was 75.  

What are your views on faith?

I like the routine of church and I love the music. I have terrible arthritis now and sometimes it’s hard to get out. If I can’t get to church I do the service in front of the telly. I do believe in an afterlife. 

What are your dreams? 

I became a doctor because my father wanted me to be one. I wanted to go to University to study modern languages but daddy said 'No!' y upbringing was very strict. I had a good education thrust upon me, I would never have dreamt of saying no. M

What do you like about yourself?

That I have been able to absorb a good education. 

How do you see yourself?

I was a very plump teenager. I soon lost it all when the boys started looking! I had lots of boyfriends, I used to feel very sexy - I was very happy to be popular. 

Who or what inspired you?

My father inspired me. He encouraged me. My teachers inspired me too. There weren't many female doctors in my day. So it was good to feel included. I do think it’s a very good thing to have a good education. 

How do you feel about housework?

I usually make an awful mess. I’ve never had to do much, I’ve always been lucky to pay a char.

What do you think about life?

It’s a jolly good life - investigate, have a good look and make your own opinion. Nothing is ever nothing, you have to look at every side. I like to be inquisitive. I don’t like to be fobbed off. It’s better to have first-hand knowledge than to be swayed.

How do you feel about death?

It’s coming so you just have to accept it. There’s no point being miserable, there might be a bit of lolly left to you to spend. 

What would you like to leave for the next generation?

I’d like them to think very hard about family life. To have a sense of responsibility and not do too much jumping from here to there. A bit more stability. 

Are you free?

Yes, I think so. I accept others for who they are. I am open to change and I can change my mind.