Ellen, 90, retired housekeeper

How do I feel about being 90? I’ve got to live with it. I reached it, I can’t go back, my life is OK, I’m healthy – I can’t complain.

I was happiest when my daughter had her first child. I now have three grandchildren. To be honest, I can’t say that I’ve ever been unhappy – I’ve been happy all my life. I’ve lived with family for four years; that makes me happy. I’m with my daughter and my son.

When I was younger, I worked for a doctor as a housekeeper, for going on 40 years. He had a practice on Harley Street, number 10. Him and his wife used to take me to Cannes with them every summer. I worked every day of the week. In the school holidays, the children would be welcomed, too.

Dr Gould, who I worked for, had a big impact on me. He appreciated me; taught me all the Latin names for the plants in the garden – and all the medicines, the complicated names. If he did ear syringing, I used to hold the syringe – I thought ‘don’t do that to me!’ – I didn’t need it!

I would have loved to be a nurse. That’s one regret. But I had a big family – I was one of 15 – and my mother needed help. When I was doing a job, I used to help the family financially.

Tipperary is where I grew up; it’s a long way. In my early teens I had to live somewhere else, as there were so many children in our small cottage. Then when I was between 18 and 19, I came to England.

I don’t have any other regrets, none at all. Although one thing I’d change is the election results, I’d go back and change that if I could.

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By , 14th May 2018
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