‘I was asked to be the voice of Hubert in the eBook called “I Didn’t Like Hubert”. We made the eBook to raise the funds for the Humpty Dumpty Foundation so they can buy life-saving equipment for sick babies in hospitals.
‘Hubert is full of life and full of energy. I’m not sure what age he is but he is a young child. He has the most amazing imagination ever. He uses his imagination to create incredible adventures. When I was a you ng child I would have loved to hang out with him and visit his make-believe world. But the other kids don’t seem to see just how cool and full of life he is. The other kids in the story seem to think he is weird because he dresses differently and has his crazy hat and a pet rat. But one day one of the kids notices just how much fun is Hubert is having and begins to change her mind about Hubert.
‘I feel a connection with the character Hubert and there’s a story to it. I love the fact that Hubert has big dreams because I always dreamt of being an actor. I am lucky to be living my dream. Hubert gets to play all these different, funny characters when he is playing his imaginary games. And with my acting I get to play different characters when I am acting. I feel for Hubert when the kids say unkind things to him. I have had times when people have said unkind and not very polite things to me and it has made me sad but then I remember I am living my dream of being an actor and have been involved in fabulous projects and have worked with amazing actors and directors from around the world. I am proud of my achievements and I don’t worry about the things they have said to me anyway.
‘I think the themes in this story are something that everyone can relate to – young and old. Children are very clever and I know that they will understand one of the main messages of “I Didn’t Like Hubert” that being different is OK. Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try something new. You may surprise yourself with how much fun you have!’
‘They (Department of Education) told me in later years I wasn’t to hug the children and I said, “Well, it will be a long day before I can’t hug somebody.”
‘I can’t stop children from coming up and hugging me. I said that I won’t stop hugging them. I never did.
‘You know all children, doesn’t matter which ones they are, they all need love. You have to give it to receive it. I doesn’t matter how much their mums and dads love them, you can always give them a little bit more because everybody needs love and you can always do with a little bit extra of that.
‘Children are so hungry to be loved. That’s all most of them wanted – to be understood and loved. Because that’s the real main thing in life. Nobody listens much you know – they talk but a lot of people don’t listen to you, you know?’
‘I used to be a high school teacher in maths and geography. 30 odd years ago I went to England and I was teaching over there for a long time – long enough to get married, have a daughter, get divorced. You know…the usual story. When I came back they’ve changed the rules on me. I’m no longer qualified. They consider me a new starter. I haven’t got a specialist teaching qualification so despite the fact that I’ve got 30 years’ experience including head of department I can’t teach without going back to uni for another year. I can’t afford that so I’m making scarves to keep myself above the streets rather than below them.’
‘If I sell a few scarves a week, I’m happy. The first couple of scarves buys all the wool I need. The next one buys me food for the week and the next one puts some petrol in my home.’
‘When I was 15, a lady came to our school and spoke about exchange programs so I went and spent a year in Costa Rica. I did my year 10 in Costa Rica and learnt to speak Spanish and lived with a local family there. We lived in the mountains surrounded by coffee fields. Before I went, I didn’t speak Spanish or anything so I didn’t really know what was going on. It was a poor school – 3,000 students with just a couple of teachers and none of them would turn up. No one really cared.
‘There was one teacher; she was a biology teacher, and she really cared that I understood what was going on and that I actually learnt. She told me to go and buy some rope and some paint and she taught me to make a really thick rope – like macramé. She was teaching us about DNA so it looked like a DNA thing. So I made a really big one – she taught me how to make it – and she told me to paint this knot blue and this knot green and I did everything she said and at the end she was able to explain all the parts of the DNA. To this day, I still only know them in Spanish.
‘Then she told me to go buy some smaller string so I could make bracelets for my friends and family. This is the jewellery I make and sell now.’
‘When our kids were young, I tended to be the bad cop and he was the good cop but then it swapped when they were teenagers and he became the bad cop and I became the good cop.’
‘I think social media and the internet has put so much extra pressure on kids growing up. There is too much happening and there is too much opportunity for bullying and that kind of thing. Life’s just getting so complicate…d really. I found that daunting. And I think kids are under more pressure these days. Everyone’s got to achieve so highly. Where’s the old playing outside kind of lifestyle?’
Is that something you try to instil in your students?
‘I try to but it’s virtually impossible. I teach at a selective school and the kids are highly motivated and pressured by their parents. They’ve been going to coaching college since they were about five. So a voice against all of that pressure is pretty weak really but I try.’