Last in our little series of examples of writing from our students.
Talking to Claire
by Qasim and Asier
Claire sits in front of her computer typing when we arrive. She introduces herself smiling and we move to another room to do the interview. Afterwards she starts to talk about her early life.
It was very different from ordinary childhood. “I was brought up on a barge where I spent almost all my childhood. When I wasn’t at school I was sailing and swimming in the river all the time” She lived there for 9 years until a strong gale came and the boat she was sleeping on capsized, so they had to get off in the middle of the night.
For a short period, she became homeless and had to move to another barge. “It wasn’t until I was 16 that my mother sold it and I went to live in a house, terrible!” It’s clear that it had a big impact on her future life.
On the one hand, she experienced different problems at school during her infancy because of dyslexia. “School in the 1950’s didn’t know anything about dyslexia and they used to call me stupid and lazy, even though I knew I wasn’t. It wasn’t until I found out that my children were dyslexic that I thought that perhaps this was my problem. Because of that fact, I took up teaching.”
“A friend of mine said I would make a very good teacher. I disagreed!” she felt dubious about this, but before long she took a course and she actually became one. By that time she was 45 and her children all were grown up and had left home. Currently, she is retired from teaching, but still working at LSI.
On the other hand, she started learning music, playing the clarinet and the piano. Shortly afterwards, she had an accident and stopped playing, but kept studying the theory and started to play percussion in the school orchestra.
When she moved to Wales, where she worked growing and selling organic food and vegetables, she stopped playing drums too. It was only when she came back to England that she started to play the hand drum again.
She used to play in a band with her second husband until they decided to found their own band in which she played for 6 years, between 2006 and 2012. But then she left again. “I had to leave the band because of a hip injury, but then I joined them again last summer in Gosport, so… I have three gigs soon”. Looks like performing in front of the crowd amazes her, as if all her problems disappeared when she plays music.
She also studied art in London, where she used work in a theatre making clothes and dressing the stars. In addition, she used to sew her own clothes, which is quite impressive even though she considers herself very “slapdash”.