I was brought up in a small village in Ulster, the second of three daughters. I think my parents were ‘humanists’ although they would not have used a label. In Northern Ireland, Ulster, we were a family of outsiders who did not go to any church, but also in the village were a family well-known, well-regarded and accepted. When I left home for university (at Queens, Belfast) the ‘troubles’ had not yet begun. When they did, my then husband and I were living and working in London, and had small children.
London is where I began my work-life and met the psychoanalytic people, friends, therapists, colleagues, who have influenced me most, though I have never become a qualified therapist. Instead, I began as a teacher, five years in ‘nursery schools’, thanks to the then Inner London Education Authority, a return to my love of maths/science via a PhD in history of science with Heinz Post at what was then Chelsea College, University of London, then physics teaching, then to Edinburgh to become a teacher trainer. I thought I would be teaching ‘ways to teach science’ but it was then 1990, so I became a trainer of anyone, and any profession who came by. I found myself teaching ‘emotional education’ of the psychodynamic kind and ‘social justice’ by which I mean fair practice, anti-discrimination, celebration of difference, etc. and this is still my greatest interest though I think the way there has yet to be found, and that a variety of different processes, at every level from individual to community to government, will need to develop. I believe this includes understanding and using our feelings well.
I have never returned to live in Ireland, I feel cosmopolitan, not Irish, but paradoxically realise that if I can indeed belong anywhere, it is because I once belonged there. My work, my family and my friends are my chief interests/occupations. I have three much loved sons and two very wonderful daughters-in-law, who come from opposite sides of the world, USA and China. I have three very beautiful grand-daughters, the USA family, and two grandsons, twins, born in China, and in a short life so far have moved to New Zealand and back to China, this time to Shanghai. I have been in all these places with them. I have two sisters, a niece and a nephew, and my niece has twice made me a grand-aunt. I spend much time with books, art or films, and a variety of things which involve walking and outdoors. I am trying to learn Chinese, since 2004 have often visited my in-laws in China, have been to chinese schools in Beijing and Guangzhou and lived with chinese families.