Carenza Hayhoe | How Old Is Old? A Life in Perspective

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I discovered the joy of working with clay by chance. I was trudging home from my weekly shopping in the Portobello Road when I noticed a muddy front door at the top of a flight of stone steps. The door was part open so I gave it a push and walked in. Inside was a pottery group studio and to cut a short story even shorter, I was offered the use of a wheel. for over thirty years throwing domestic pots became a way of life, first in London and then on the Island of Portland.

There I had a workshop in an ancient building that had been a Chapel of Ease above Church Ope Cove. In 2000 we moved up the road into the village of Easton and set up a Ceramic and Fine Art Gallery in Stanley House, a seventeenth century cottage where we exhibited the work of some of the finest ceramicists in the country including Mick Casson, John Leach and Peter Hayes as well as giving an opportunity to young potters. Behind the gallery I had my own studio. It was a magical time full of inspiration and happiness. It was here that I met and worked with Tiffany. I’ve watched her work develop over twenty years until today she holds a unique place in the world of ceramics. It can be seen at www.tiffanyscullceramics.com to be fully appreciated you need to hold it in your hand. Eventually my husband’s health broke down and we had to close the gallery. By that time I was well into the conventional age for retirement but remembering the words of a young friend, ‘Life is meant to be an adventure,’ I became a writer and a story teller.

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My first book ‘Phoenix House’ concerns a fourteen year old girl who has discovered that she can see shadow figures which reveal the true characters of seemingly ordinary people. Her six year old sister is abducted by a group of drug peddlers. They befriend a teenage boy who is caring for his alcoholic mother and together explore unground passages and face floods and high winds. It was published before I was widowed in 2010.

I had ideas for three more novels, Willoughby’s Will, Dragonfly and Loneliness is a Killer, these have become ‘The Greyhound Trilogy ‘ but for a while I lost the will to write. I didn’t set out to write a trilogy and each novel is a story in its own right. However as each plot unfolded greyhounds wandered across the scene making their own particular contribution to the plot much as they have wandered into my own life, For the past year the characters in these stories were keeping me awake and the publication of Willoughby’s Will in September 2019 has proved that I still have the energy to write.

I write because I want to give life to my characters and explore problems such as acute loneliness, child abuse, internet dating, care for the elderly and illegal immigration, laced with a touch of romance and mystery.

Willoughby’s Will, the first in The Greyhound Trilogy, is about a woman in her early seventies who refuses to conform with the expectations that she should down size and move into a warden protected environment. Instead she buys a camper van, accidentally adopts a greyhound and makes a new life for herself.

‘And how old are you my dear?’ said an elderly woman to one of my granddaughters. ‘Two old!’ came the proud reply. Two old – too old – why is age so important? Too old to suck your thumb, too old to use the swings in the park, too old for student cheap fares, too old to adopt children, too old to be considered for promotion. Too old to be employed. To old to start on a new way of life? To share my ideas not only have I thad to catch up with the ever changing world of communication technology, I‘ve also had to develop new skills to create my own web site.

At eighty plus I am too old to see my work published in the time-honoured way, the only solution is to become an indie author. My novels and a collection of short stories may be purchased from Amazon.co.uk

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