I have just turned 48. I have had a variety of jobs since leaving university in 1978 (BA Hons Russian, Birmingham), with a 10-year gap while I attempted to bring up 2 children. Up to now they haven't turned out too badly! Claire did extremely well in her GCSE's and A levels and is now at Lancaster University studying Psychology. She is really enjoying student life, has made lots of friends and is moving into a house with five other girls for Year 2. Sadly, students these days seem to demand a much higher standard of living than we could ever hope for and our bank balance is suffering accordingly, but we hope it will be worth it in the end! The downside is that Lancaster is a long way off - not possible in a day trip - but fortunately my brother lives in Kendal and has provided an invaluable base both fo us to stay and for Claire to store her belongings during the holidays.
Chris is nearly 16, has just obtained 2 good GCSE's which he took a year early, and will be taking the rest this coming year. He could do very well but isn't terribly keen on working, he's much more into computer games and playing and watching football. He supports Chelsea and goes to Stamford Bridge with his friend Billy as often as he can.
Having had various admin/secretarial jobs, I worked at Kingston University as a Course Administrator for six years, mainly part-time. This involved looking after MA students on various courses, many of them from abroad. I decided to leave the job earlier this year, as I could do it in my sleep and the lack of challenge meant that it had become very tedious. While I was debating about whether to leave, my mother had a major stroke just before Christmas and that really made the decision for me. I left work in February and have spent quite a bit of time since then going up to Durham to visit mum and dad. Mum is, sadly, very incapacitated and dad's health is not good either, so although they have a very good care package at home, we don't know how long they will be able to continue living there.
I have just completed a distance learning course with Chapterhouse Publishing in proof-reading and copy-editing, but wasn't too impressed with the course and am not sure I want to pursue it as a career. I have done a few weeks temporary work in London but unfortunately the longer I don't work, the less enthusiastic I am about getting back onto the treadmill again, although I am a little young to retire permanently!
John continues to work too hard, although following an unexpected heart attack in October 2004 he has tried to slow down a bit. He made a pretty good recovery and leads a fairly normal life, albeit with an alarming amount of medication. We are both spending a lot of time at the moment dealing with his uncle's affairs, following his move to a care home a couple of months ago. He is 91 and rather frail, both physically and mentally.
This is a photo of the four of us taken in Derbyshire last year.
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