Hermes Birkin Trench
their art, more good activities with the schools, the Scouts It feels on the up.
his wife Lynda when I was nursing and she was really appreciative of my help. He also came to talk in the hospice when I was working there about death and laughter and I knew him as such a generous, warm man; he very kindly offered to come and help.
How did it come about? I used to go to somewhere a bit like this in Canterbury to relax when I was working as a nurse. I'd sit and paint and found it really calming. I've always loved arts and crafts even though I've only got a C in art at GCSE so I took the plunge and opened the shop with some help from entertainer and fundraiser Dave Lee, who sadly died last week.
What do you like best about Herne Bay? I grew up here and could have lived anywhere but I love being part of the town. The best thing is a real and growing sense of community, which is steadily coming back. Many moons ago there was a period when the town felt a bit grim and there wasn't much for teenagers to do; but now we are seeing more of Hermes Birkin Etoupe
Where else was he stationed? He spent half a year in Bosnia in 1995, as a peacekeeper just after the war. Truth be told at the time I wasn't worried about him. I told myself 'it's peacekeeping, he'll be fine'. Now he works as a tiler, which my dad also does.
Is that an actual dolphin nibbling your ear? It is. We had booked a holiday in Florida, when my husband was called up to Iraq in 2002. We already had all our bags packed and everyone was so excited; it was real heartache when it fell through. Then his call up was revoked and it was such a blessed relief that we decided to take the holiday of a lifetime and went off to the Dominican Republic. That picture is in the sealife centre. It was an amazing experience being so close to them.
First record? Fairground Attraction's It's Got To Be Perfect.
Where did you work as a nurse? I spent seven years at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hospital in Margate, then three years in palliative care at the Pilgrims Hospice in Canterbury which was very humbling. You just have to help people in their final days be as comfortable as possible. You end up being called "an angel" quite a lot, but you are just doing your job. It is a very peaceful place somehow.
a fabulous artist.
What is the Activity Box exactly? It's a pottery painting studio that is open to everyone. You can just walk off the Hermes Birkin Trench street, sit down, have a coffee if you like; get stuck in and start painting. I then fire it up in my electric kiln and once it is ready and cooled down it's all yours.
You also did a spot of modelling didn't you? I modelled wedding dresses for a while when I was 19. It was just a way to earn a bit of pocket money.
What kind of people come in? All sorts: from children's parties, to groups from residential care homes to young couples. My youngest visitor was two days old and my oldest was 103. I've always got different stock in so nobody gets bored. Next month I'm starting a story time activity here too; telling a story to the children, then doing some painting around the story.
How a nurse became the queen of crafts
Had you done pottery before? I've always loved arts and crafts from cooking, sewing, making quilts, crocheting but not pottery. I took a short course in pottery painting and using the kiln and off I went. The kiln can be expensive to run though, as it goes up to 1000 degrees. My electricity bill at Christmas was for the month, which was a bit painful.
Which three people living or dead would you invite to your dream dinner party? Comedian Michael McIntyre, to make me laugh; actor Jason Statham you've got to invite someone good to look at and U2 frontman Bono, because he's just Hermes Lindy 30 Gold
Why did you quit? I have two daughters, Beth, who's 14 and goes to Herne Bay High and Isabel, who is 7 and goes to Briary Primary School. Nursing hours meant I didn't see enough of them and I fundamentally wanted to embrace life. Being with people in hospital all the time makes you appreciate what you've got very strongly.
I remember he opened it for you. Had you known him well? I looked after Hermes Kelly 28 Crocodile
Your husband Neil served in the army. How was it being a soldier's wife? We married when I was 19 and the wedding almost didn't happen because we weren't sure if he'd get called up suddenly beforehand. We even took out insurance in case it didn't go ahead. He ended up being called up four days after the wedding, so we really just had one night together then were apart for six months. I joined him in Germany for three years though and after that period he left.
Have you ever seen a ghost? Yes, I saw my Gran. I was pregnant at the time and sitting down doing the ironing one morning. I looked up and my grandmother was in the doorway. It was incredibly vivid. The next day I learned I had miscarried and I always felt like she'd been there to say she's taking care of me or the little one I'd lost.
What was your first car? A Mini Metro, which I had for about two years.
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