Posted by: Admin | May 12, 2012

The Saturday Interview 18 – Julie

Do you know, it’s almost a year since I posted a Saturday interview? That is about to change with the 50 Facing 50 Exhibition project gathering pace. I hope to feature a selection of images from individual participants on the photography blog on a Friday, followed by an interview here on the Saturday over the next few weeks.

First up is Julie, whose positive, life-affirming approach to life in her fifties epitomises the spirit I want to capture and celebrate both here on project50 and in the Exhibition!  From the moment I meet her, I am drawn to her attitude that you get out of life what you are prepared to put in.

Having grown up on a farm, Julie was always an active, outdoorsy girl. Although she didn’t enjoy sports at school as she was never quite good enough to make the teams, when she was 19 she joined a ladies’ football team and has been sporty ever since.

“I’m proud to be this fit in my fifties,” she tells me, “In fact, I’d say I’m fitter now than I was in my thirties!”

Finding herself gaining a little weight and stiffening around the hips a few years ago, Julie lost 2 stones over a year of healthy eating (low carbs) and concentrated activity – training at the gym with a personal trainer, running, mountain biking, skiing, golfing and taking up yoga to forestall the pain in her hips which, she feared, could be propelling her into hip replacement territory.

It is this attitude that saw her undefeated when she was made redundant from a job that she both enjoyed and found convenient.

“I was serving as Ladies’ Team Captain at my Golf Club and my job fitted in perfectly,” Julie explains, “so I approached the Golf Club and suggested they use me as and when they needed someone to supplement their staff.” Gradually, Julie carved out a niche for herself at the club and now works there permanently.

In the meantime, she took any job available to her, including all-night ironing.

“That was interesting,” she says with her characteristic sparkle, “I loved people-watching in the ironing warehouse.”

I suggest to her that many women would have been crushed by the experience of losing their job and having to work night shifts in an unfamiliar role, but Julie just shrugs it off. “You do what you have to do, don’t you?” Indeed.

Part of the key to Julie’s zest for life appears to be her obvious love for her husband of 25 years, Geoff. They met playing squash and clearly enjoy each other’s company. (Note to other husbands reading – Geoff still regularly tells Julie she is beautiful and if you could have seen her face when she told me this, you would be telling your wife that on a regular basis too…)

Their main indulgence in life is to take a skiing holiday once a year. In fact, they renewed their vows on top of a mountain in Loveland, Colarado on Valentine’s Day this year. As the only British couple, they attracted local press attention and a collage of the day takes pride of place in the smallest room of the house!

“We might never be rich,” says Julie, “But we have a very rich life.”

For her photo shoot, we agreed that, sports being such an integral part of Julie’s life, we had to feature one of them. Mountain biking was Julie’s choice, so we went off to local beauty spot, Harlestone Firs for a bit of muddy fun (I’d better not use that phrase as a tag to this piece, had I!)

“Do you want me to wear my helmet?” Julie asks me. We discuss the risk to pleasure-benefit ratio, consider whether we should be politically correct and ultimately decide that we’ll make a stand for talking responsibility for oneself and throw Health and Safety to the wind. You can see more of Julie’s photos here.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on living life to the full in your fifties with us here, Julie – it was such a pleasure to meet you (not to mention sample your divine hand-baked cookies!) and thank you for your support for the project.



  1. I smiled all the way through this post…what a joyous, living-life-to-the-full lady!

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