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The Grey Nomad - The History

The name "The Grey Nomad" was given to me a few years ago after I started my travels.

It all started after my husband, John, died.

My generation grew up in wartime. Life was not at all like it is now and, in some respects, was actually much better. Values were different then.

I was born in 1929 at home, in Somerset, in June. It was a hot summer's day. The fields were full of beautiful grasses and wild flowers in full bloom. Our house was surrounded by them.

It was the year of the Great Depression; my parents talked of great shortages and life was hard. We were some of the lucky ones though. Living in the countryside meant we had a garden. Thanks to my father and my grandfather tending their gardens we were almost self sufficient, eating healthy home grown produce. Not only were the gardens a source of home grown vegetables but there was also a section set aside for our chickens and ducks.

I remember those years as a time of sunshine and great winds, but that would be because we lived near the sea. At night I was lulled to sleep by the sound of the sea and woken on those foggy November nights by the sound of the fog horn from the Flat Holm lighthouse.

It was 5th September, 1939. I was 10 years old and was visiting my aunts in Freshford. I remember laying on top of an old stone wall when I saw my uncles, 5 of them, all coming out of the house with my aunts. All of them were crying.

World War 2 had been declared.

All my uncles had been in Word War 1 – The war to end all wars. Or so they thought and hoped.

One of them was gassed, another had won the Military Cross at Ypres and yet another had been crippled with TB (Tuberculosis), but all of them were horror stories.

The Sun was out but the earth was still. Life had changed.

It wasn't long before the evacuees started to arrive, even school changed to mornings only (8am until 12pm). Our classrooms were filled with cupboards, everything had to be put away by the end of school. This was because all the evacuees came with their own teachers, books and materials, so that they could have the school in the afternoons. This meant we never saw these children and were not allowed to mix with them, whilst in school. The beach was planted with pit props 8 foot apart creating a wall along our sandy shores. We know why they were there, but they were still ugly.

As my father was too old for the armed forces, he became a policeman.

After I finished junior school, I went to an agricultural school on the edge of the Somerset Levels. During my time, the school then became Sexey's Grammar School.

The stone buildings of the school were surrounded by apple orchards, as they still are to this day. It is still a beautiful school.

In 1947 I started a 3 year course at the Domestic Science College in Bath in order to become a teacher. After graduating, my first post was in Reading, Berkshire. It was here I met my husband John. He was heavily involved with the Scout movement and also with the Girls and Boys clubs of Great Britain. With his friend he went to Norway, representing the Scouts organisation, to bring back the first Christmas Tree from Norway for Trafalgar Square in London. Since then it has become Norway's annual gift to Britain from a very grateful nation to the people of Britain. This first tree measured 30ft high.

It was about that time that both myself and my husband became aware of the ecumenical community on the island of Iona in Scotland. We were determined to go the one day.

It was August, 1995 that my husband John died. His final words to me were "You're to go on living. Don't waste your life". Well, I haven't.

My first journey was by way of saying "Good-Bye" to John and was, as we had promised ourselves years earlier, to the island of Iona in Scotland.

So my travels have begun.

I am now 81years old, there are many of us out there, traveling the world, seeing the sights. My hair changed colour, becoming first grey and then white. Hence the name "the Grey Nomad". I am one of the many, and am determined to see other countries, experience other cultures, see the earth in all its glory. My generation grew up in wartime and many of us lost family. There can't be many people who have not lost someone. So, it is only natural that we would want to visit the places where their families fought during the wars.

So. We Travel. And I am one of them. My aim is to document my travels, my life, as I go about my adventures.

So they begin...............

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