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My name is Maureen Austin. I guess that the Chief Banana, aka my grandson Matt, was only trying to be fair by asking both of us to fill in his Banana Chat! He tells me that it was because it was the centenary of the end of World War I and he wanted two people that had experience dating back and who were alive during the war (I think he means he wanted two older people, although I hasten to add that it was the Second World War and I was under 5 as I was actually born 3 days after war broke out!!). I was born in Welwyn Garden City as my mother was evacuated immediately after war was declared. My father was a volunteer fireman during the war and my mother a post woman. I then spent 60 years in the East End of London, apart from being evacuated for two years during the War, and have only now moved about 15 miles further east.
We attended High Beach in Epping Forest on Sunday as part of the Armistice commemorations, something originally started by my husband’s father after the First World War and has continued every year since. The sacrifices that the young men and women made during both World Wars and subsequent conflicts were truly unbelievable and none of those young soldiers could ever have understood what they were letting themselves in for when they left home to go and fight over 100 years ago.
What is your favourite joke?
Why did the chicken cross the road…. To get to the other side. (The old ones are the best!)
What makes you smile?
My grandson Matt, when he is messing around
What is your favourite good news story?
Advances in the survival rates of premature babies. My niece’s grandson was recently born very prematurely. The advances in technology nowadays make the chances of survival much greater than they were, even in recent history.
What inspires you?
The Invictus Games and the courage of those competing to battle back from adversity.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Eradicating childhood illnesses such as malaria.
If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?
To have a nice singing voice.
What is your favourite food?
A roast dinner
What is your favourite drink?
Cup of Tea in the morning.
If you are going on holiday what luxury item would you take from home?
My mobile phone, although according to my family I never turn it on!
If you could make one law, what would it be and why?
All children should have access to free education and water.
Give us a random piece of information about you that people wouldn’t know?
I was evacuated during the war and lived with a family in Haddon near Peterborough for two years.
What is your favourite phrase or saying?
All is fair in love and war …
What cause, project or event would you like to promote?
Who is your favourite music artist?
Who is the person that you feel has shaped your life most?
My Primary School teacher Miss Cockayne, as I spent two years in her class being a September birthday (they changed the rules!). She got me through the 11+.
PJ’s or Not?
Hot or cold?
Cat or dog?
Blue or pink?
Tea or Coffee?
Glass half-empty or half full?
Night out or night in?
Pizza or pasta?
Biscuits or cake?
Wine or beer?
Football or rugby?
Cinema or theatre?
Gym or TV?
Naughty or nice?
Silver or gold?
Tent or hotel?
Bath or shower?
Starter or pudding?
Sheets or duvet?
Love Island or Game of Thrones?
Neither, definitely prefer Miss Marple!!
Finally, apple or banana?
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