It could be thought of as paradoxical that I, a brand-new-comer, and life-long out of towner, should find myself contributing to Littleport Life Magazine. Most believe that it is important to remain open to life’s paradoxes and possibilities. This is definitely a new possibility for me! I’m definitely in a new space, a new place, and I’m loving it.
This possibility began to unfold for me a few weeks ago when Lyn Gibb de Swarte, current editor of Littleport Life, resident and exskater, paid me a visit, at my request. You see, I have recently moved here (if you hadn’t already guessed) having, at last, broken free from the education system in which I had been ever-present for about 30 years. (100% attendance!) And pursuing a life-long dream, had started my own business that’s called Tutor Doctor, Mildenhall.
I had contacted Lyn to see if there was a way in which I could contribute to the magazine. Lyn filled me in on many aspects of life in Littleport, past and present and was very happy to help.
We spoke about my upbringing and my years in the big southern metropolis aka London, and how I’d arrived there in my late 20s, to teach (primary) and how I was only a stone’s throw from the now bright, shiny and new, Olympic Park. Of how I’d spent many years teaching, enjoying the feeling of community, connection and contribution that teaching brings.
My motivation then, as now, has always to been to try and make a positive difference to the lives of young people. Over the last 30 years, I have worked with primary age pupils, from reception age to Year 6, and I have taught at a postgraduate level on a teacher training course I helped to set up. I have worked in senior leadership roles and I have worked with pupils with special educational needs at both the primary and secondary levels. I once also started a brand-new school in what I think is record time – 4 weeks from scratch!
I am really enjoying being here. For one so used to brick and concrete and closedin spaces, the fens are a revelation of flat-land, soft light and big sky. I am regularly astonished by the open spaces and just have to stop what I’m doing and stare. I am enjoying getting to know people here, all kinds of different people, some larger than life characters, some quiet, but all caring, all concerned about the same things, all wanting community and connection. All mindful about where they are and how things are. I get a real sense of people caring about their communities and caring about each other.
And so to return to my starting paradox. Although I have been here a short while, and am by no means an expert, I can say a few things about Littleport. It has a little-known and fascinating history; its many active community groups give it a real community feel; it has good schools and a warm neighbourly feel. It is a place where nature takes its time and unfolds to her rhythms. It is a place where people spend time to talk, spend time to get to know each other and would rather help than hinder.
Although I’m new to life in Littleport and Littleport Life is new to me I am loving being here. Say hello if you see me!