The Happy Cartographer 1991

In which my fortunes progress from Pauper’s Allowance to a student grant, and maybe some loans. I had started a degree previously, but interrupted my education to concentrate on the baffling business of how to be a mum. It was the general consensus of opinion that this would be the ruin of my life, and I would not be able to do anything with my life subsequently other than drop out several more illegitimate progeny and drink too much cider. They were kind of right about the cider.

‘February 1991
I’m on Employment Training now, learning to help people with literacy. Facilitating, they call it. I should have a City & Guilds certificate by September and then I should be off to do my B.Ed [degree.] Life seems to be taking a more definite shape, the direction definitely forwards, shame it’s not a more gold paved path.

March 1991
Great Grandfather’s ninety-first birthday. Daughter drew him a picture and we bought two bags of Devon toffees. He loves toffee, whiskey, flowers and China tea. Last year he received twelve bottles of whiskey, of which one remains. He only got two this year.
It’s reassuring to visit and hear them talk; ‘Oh, no, he’s not very old, he’s not seventy yet, is he?’
Before we left, Daughter was given 20p and I had a whiskey.

October 1991
Just moved to West Yorkshire
Looking forward to Christmas, have an overdraft to cover presents. Daughter settled into nursery, we are wallpapering ceiling to floor with her paintings.’

 The goal I had, to get my degree, was my own and not a reaction to public opinion. That’s not to say I wasn’t sensitive to the negativity, I just reflected on what I wanted to prove to myself and where I wanted to be and acted on that, rather than thinking what I needed to do to prove other people wrong. I’ve been a bit eccentric all my life, so I must have grown up accustomed to other people’s frowns. I have included the bit about the 91st birthday as this also highlights a bit of eccentricity that encouraged me to continue being myself. Not sure the overdraft was a good idea, but we definitely enjoyed it. This is a very brief entry for quite a momentous event, mainly as I was too busy doing things to do much personal writing, things that were very exciting to me at the time, like finding the laundrette and getting a library card. One of the best things about having a goal is the sense of being on an adventure as you travel towards it. Life needs adventure. 


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