Well, how shall I begin?
I do hope you're not sitting there waiting for a juicy story - because there isn't one. At least, not that I'm going to let loose here.
Approaching the close of my school days I distinctly remember having to tolerate people
telling me that although I was 'a bright child' I would never be able to cope with
university life. In actual fact I found it easier than many other parts of my life and in
1982 I graduated with an honours degree in economics. Shortly
after, a neighbour told me that the accountants where she worked were looking to fill a
vacancy for a financial assistant... I applied for the position and, with a little worthy
appraisal from my neighbour, I got the job. It was fine at first, but it eventually became
very clear that my boss considered that disabled
meant limited head function. He would sit himself down at my desk and, in tones as though
talking to a five year old, describe in the simplest of terms how to perform calculations
that I learnt at junior school. I am most grateful to have been given that almost tailor-made chance. However, there is no doubt in my
mind that he offered me the job because he truly thought no one else would employ me.
I was contentedly living with my parents at the time but it was increasingly becoming
apparent that my career progression would be stunted if I remained with that company. You see, I have this inbuilt determination to prove wrong all those that instilled into me
during my childhood days that I would have
to be grateful for whatever small mercies were thrown at me. So, it is absolutely
essential that I seize every opportunity. Whilst I was reluctant to leave home I took the
bull by the horns and moved to London - with an arranged position, of course. Since then I
have been employed by a major finance company in the City. I have now climbed some
considerable way up the executive ladder, and the additional bonus is that my boss regards
me for my contribution to the company and not merely as a disabled employee.
My home is a mews cottage in north London with the wonderful advantage of having private
residents parking. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it. There's an Underground
station not too far away but, whilst it's not inaccessible, the steps do make it rather
inconvenient. A far more convenient mode of transport is my car - even if it does
involve tiresome traffic jams. I need to leave home by 7.45 at the latest so as to be at
the office by nine. At work I'm very lucky to have a place in an underground car park, and
there's a convenient lift to all floors. I wish it was regarded as a perk of the job,
but unfortunately it isn't.
Want to know my interests? Well, with the amount of work I seem to take home these days it
surprisesme that I have time to even think of interests. But my view is that no matter how
great the pressure ofwork, it's vital to take time out for at least some relaxation. A
great relaxer for me is painting and
drawing. I'm not brilliant at it but most of the time the things I paint and draw look as
they are supposed to look. I'm not too fussy about what sort of things I paint, but just
about everything is either taken from postcards or books. I used to play the oboe and some
years ago I was a member of an amateur orchestra. We held a number of concerts
each year, performing music from a wide range of composers. Now I seem to have little time
to make music. Another of my interests is antiques. I've got a few bits and pieces
scattered about here and there and I always make a point of seeking out the antique shops
when I go to different places. The trouble is that the items I set my mind on always turn
out to be too expensive. But that's life.
There is another activity I quite regularly engage in, although it could not really be
termed an interest. I like to spend some of my leisure time down at the local with friends
- usually reserved for weekends. They're not long-standing friends, but people I've
got to know while in the area - there's often quite a
sizeable group of us. Kate is one of them - she's great fun and she's also into economics.
When I have dinner parties Kate is an absolute treasure. She comes round and helps with
numerous kitchen tasks and things that I find just a little awkward, like carrying items
of crockery and the like from kitchen to table. She is also invaluable when it comes to serving up courses.
We have a sensible arrangement among my regular group of friends. Very simply, no matter how near or far, or how late the hour, the men will always accompany the girls home. It's very convenient actually because it usually means that we girls are also collected from home.
About one year ago,I became
intimately acquainted with a work colleague. It all happened out of the blue one day as a
result of a project we were both involved in. I had known of him before but merely as a name
and voice at the other end of the telephone. However, for this project we needed to meet to sort out a programme
for our joint work, so I invited him up to my office to get things moving. Inevitably, the
clock raced ahead and our business was far from completed by the time we both had to break
off for other engagements. Quite unexpectedly, my colleague suggested that we should
continue over dinner and we arranged to meet at a convenient restaurant a day or two
later. I cant say it was love at first sight but the progression of business matters
was certainly hindered by frequent lengthy eye contacts.
The next morning, in our usual
morning briefing my secretary announced that Mr
(my project partner)
would like to see me as soon as I had a free moment. Only minutes later he was walking
through my door. I don't mind admitting that I felt like jelly, but held my composure and
told him in authoritative tones to make it quick because I hadn't much time. He made out
that he needed to clarify some point of our conversation the previous evening, but during
his stuttering and nervous coughing I couldn't help bursting into laughter. He then said
'Oh, what the hell, may I take you out?' Naturally, I accepted his invitation without
hesitation and we made an arrangement for that evening... We've been meeting almost daily
During the week I try to be in bed before midnight - it doesn't always work out that way
but at least I do try. It's usually around 11 o'clock when I get round to looking through
my email, and maybe I'll do a few replies. Fridays and Saturdays I'm rather more free and
I absolutely love Indian food, but now there is a little problem. About a year ago my
favourite restaurant underwent some refurbishments. They now have two dining rooms - the
main one is situated in the basement, and there's no lift. The ground floor room, so I am
informed, is only used as an overflow during busy times. The staff have known me for quite
a long time and are always very courteous and obliging. The one annoying thing is
that time after time they insist on asking me to go down stairs. A brief reminder always
clarifies the situation and I am then offered the most fantastic service on the ground
floor. But I do so wish that I didn't have to keep bringing it to their attention.
Going to the theatre is a thing I wish I had more time for, but I haven't been for years.
Even if I had the time I'm not sure that I would want to experience the traumas of my
teens. But perhaps things have changed since then. I remember only too well the
experiences in theatre foyers. I was always refused
entrance on the grounds that I was a fire risk. Can you believe it? They said that if
there was a fire I would not be able to get out quick enough, and that I would also get in
the way of others trying to get out. It's incredible that people can think
this way. I can assure you that if I was threatened by fire I would be out quicker than
Well, I think that gives you a little insight into my way of life. Of course, there's a
lot more to it than that, but they're the mundane things and I'm sure you wouldn't be
interested. There are also those secretive parts of my life that I'm certainly not going
to divulge in a domain so public as the internet - but
I'm sure you'll understand. However, do keep coming to visit me because I'm sure there
will be other bits and pieces to add. And remember, if you have any ideas for expanding my
site I'd like to hear them.
Thanks for spending a little time with me.