AGE: I was 17 in 1969 at the beginning of my memoir The New Arrival so…
HOME: The Haywoods
FAMILY: My lovely daughter Amy, her husband Takbir and their daughter Ava.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? The first year life was in Rosendale in Lancashire.
WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD LIKE? Very free and happy.
TELL US A CHILDHOOD MEMORY. I spent a large part of my childhood in the West Coast of Scotland. One day my father and grandfather took me and my brothers and sisters on a boat trip on Loch Etive and we unintentionally shot the rapids. Extreme sports long before they existed.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU LEFT SCHOOL? I was determined to be a nurse against the wishes of my headmistress and my parents who all thought I wouldn’t last as a teenage trainee nurse in Hackney in the 1970s.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES AS A TRAINEE NURSE. We worked really long hours and very hard but it was the time of my life. I had friends who were activists and former Musical Hall stars and we knew how to make the most of our one day off a week in London’s West End.
HOW DID YOUR CAREER PROGRESS? During my last year of nurse training I knew I wanted to become a health visitor and getting the right experience to do that influenced my career choices. Once I qualified as a health visitor I went to work in rural Kent in the mid-1970s which features in my second memoir She’s Arrived! (published 19 Feb 2015). I came to work as a health visitor in Staffordshire in 1978 and never looked back.
HOW DID THINGS CHANGE OVER THE YEARS? It’s a joy working with today’s parents. They are the best generation of parents there has ever been.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START WRITING? When my daughter Amy was pregnant I started to write down baby advice for her. She shared it with her friends, they passed it on and they all wanted more. Amy help me copyedit the advice into a book called Your New Arrival: learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby which will be out next year. When HarperCollins commissioned the baby book they also asked me to write The New Arrival and She’s Arrived!
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS? Non, je ne regrette rien
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? My wonderful family.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE AIMS/AMBITIONS? Continue with my career as an author and do more for the charities I support.
Car: My first car that I bought as a newly qualified nurse from a former patient and East End Car Salesman a red Austin A40.
Music: ‘In the Summertime’ by Mungo Jerry was a theme tune to my early life and reflects the fun of that time but nowadays I’m more likely to be listening to Handel’s Messiah.
Hobbies: I’m very interested in antiques, literature and history.
Paper: The Independent
Holiday destintation: Tobago is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been I’d love to go again.
Food & Drink: I’m a vegetarian. Nothing beats cashew nuts with a glass of chilled Prosecco.
Book: Never The Bride by Paul Magrs in the spine tingling Brenda & Effie mystery series. If you haven’t read them do – funny, moving, gripping and original.
Pin-Up: Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I went to see that film at Leicester Square Odeon on a blind date in 1970 and came out singing ‘Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head’.