Pauline writes in January 2011
I grew up in Coventry and was educated at Hill Farm and Barr’s Hill schools and went on to Leeds University in 1965 to read Modern Languages. As part of my course, I spent a term in Spain and a year teaching English in a small country school in France. This whetted my appetite for travel and, on graduation, I decided to put off a teacher training place to return to France. There, I worked in a Teachers’ Centre, helping trainee and qualified teachers perfect their spoken English. As well as more of France, I was able to sample Switzerland and Italy. I enjoyed the year so much that I took up the teacher training place in Cambridge the following year but decided to specialise in secondary teaching.
My first post, in 1971, was in Huntingdonshire, in a purpose built mixed comprehensive school of 1800 pupils…a far cry from my own school of 500 girls! I was so enjoying all that Cambridge had to offer that I decided to remain there and to travel the 17 miles each way to work every day. I bought my first car. Three years later I began to get itchy feet again and, after contemplating posts as far afield as Latin America and Canada, settled on an FE college in Iserlohn, West Germany. Again, I taught English, managed to revive my rusty A level German and visit many regions of West Germany and also Berlin.
1975 saw me return to the UK to teach in an Upper School in Leicestershire. I did in fact remain there for 5 years, began to climb the career ladder and bought my first house. My parents were relieved that, at last, I seemed to be “settling down” after almost going off to the other side of the world to marry a Latin American! He got cold feet.
Although I decided to remain in the UK and take on more responsibility at a new school in Tamworth, Staffordshire, I did manage to satisfy a thirst for travel. School offered the opportunity for regular exchanges to Paris with the pupils and I enjoyed holidays in French Canada and North Africa.
My final posting was further north, at Crewe and Alsager College, for general language teaching and teacher training. I retired from full-time work in 1997 and enjoyed a varied pattern of free-lance teaching till full retirement at age 60.By then I had met my husband-to-be on a walking holiday and was rediscovering the joys of cycling, this time on his tandem! At the tender age of sixty-one I tied the matrimonial knot for the first time (though have legally retained my maiden name of North) and am unashamedly enjoying some domesticity and serious reorganisation of our home here in Stone to accommodate my lovely husband, Peter, and his 8 bikes! I have also inherited a charming step-son.
I am enjoying more time, in retirement, to take up old hobbies of gardening and things arty-crafty. I guess I inherit the latter interest from my mother who was a skilled dressmaker. She also enjoyed embroidery and crochet. Although I seem to be going in ever decreasing circles, travel has not gone completely off the agenda and I`ve had the opportunity to introduce Peter to Southern Italy, Spain and New Zealand. Before that he had not been much further than Belgium anf then rarely without the company of his bike!