Tell us about a time where everything you’d hoped would happen actually did.
If I stand on a chair in my back garden, this is what I see on a clear day in Summer, the Swiss Alps. It was not the actual hope, but growing up in the London slums I sometimes longed to be in the wide open spaces. I had a good friend that lived in the county of Surrey, in the English countryside, and I loved to stay with her, usually a couple of weeks in the year. I could climb trees, go swimming in a lake and in Autumn collect blackberries. Her mother would make blackberry and apple tart, even turn the fruit into blackberry wine.
My playgrounds in the East End of London were bombed houses, wasteland left from the war. You ask for my hopes? I think I was a cuckoo’s egg in my surroundings. You grow up in an area and this is your life, but somehow you feel as if you did not belong.
There were advantages living in London. The cultural scene was great. Concert Halls, Operas, local famous landmarks, but I always seemed to be looking over the horizon. My first holiday in another country was the Southern coast of Italy, Amalfi, Sorrento, Ravello: visits to the Blue Grotto, to Rome. The Italian countryside was very impressive. For the first time in my life I saw tall plants, very tall, fields of them. They were corn, maize, something I had never seen and I was then just eighteen years old.
In the same year I spent a week in Paris. I heard other languages being spoken, there was other food. I fell in love with Paris.
The thoughts that were then germinating in my cockney brain were fed and my decision was made. Look for a job in another country, it does not matter where and go for it. If you do not like it, then you return home. At that time I had no responsibilities and so I left England for my new job in Switzerland. That was perhaps the first thing I hoped would happen and it did.
My next target was to speak the foreign languages I had learned in my school days. English was widely spoken in Switzerland, but if you really want to belong and take part in the daily life, then you have to speak the language. There is nothing more frustrating sitting amongst a group of Swiss all speaking their patois and you cannot join in. One of my favourite pastimes is having a good conversation. Today forty-six years later I am still in Switzerland and another hope was fulfilled. I can speak the language, although it did not happen in a few months, it took a few years. Perseverance was the motto.
But this is not just about a time, this is my life. When I have one of my brilliant ideas I always find “why not” and put them into practice. Unfortunately not all of my ideas are looked upon as being brilliant. I remember when I decided we could have a cat. In my overwhelming way I had already found the cat, bought the cat play centre and the basket to carry it home. Objections were already overruled before they were made. Now we are in the predicament of having three cats that own us, dictate our daily routine and cost money if they are ill, as well as their annual jabs, but we love them all the same. Another “hope to happen” which “really did”, but I am still wondering about that one.
I once decided I wanted to learn Russian, the alphabet looked so nice, something completely different. I enrolled for a course at the local evening school, a twelve week course, which developed into a twelve year course. These happening hopes can take a time before success is achieved. I also tried Arabic for a year, but this did not happen, it collapsed, due to the day only having 24 hours and I was a working woman at the time.
So where were we, yes the next experiment, do something for your physical health. After a half year Tai Chi, it is still happening. I have not yet given up with the hope to happen which did.
At the moment it is summer, so I have a garden to look after. Something else I always wanted, but did not realise that as you advance in years, the body does as well. No problem, my annuals are now perrenials, meaning just fresh earth and a bit of weeding is necessary and no new back breaking work such as planting.
I am still hoping to have my first novel published, but it is not yet written, will come back on that one if it did get written.