Being of a certain age, I’m always delighted to feature books on Linda’s Book Bag that are not just about 30-somethings, so it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome Catherine E. Winton, author of Forty is my Forte, to the blog today to tell us a bit more about her future plans as a more ‘mature’ woman.
Forty is my Forte is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
When Catherine started behaving oddly, her friends and family were a little concerned. ‘It’s a midlife crisis’ people whispered around her as she took to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to busk on an instrument she couldn’t play. ‘She’s looking for a toy boy’ others gossiped as she drove an armoured people carrier under the carefree instruction of a teenage boy.
But when she auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent, with not a shred of talent to her name, people began to worry about her sanity.
This middle aged woman’s response to hitting the big four oh will have you laughing with her, and at her. And maybe, just maybe, it will inspire you to make your own crazy list of ‘firsts’ to celebrate your next big birthday.
A Guest Post by Catherine E Winton.
Since the release of Forty is my Forte, people are always asking me what I’m planning to do to celebrate turning fifty. The nifty fifty perhaps? Quite honestly, the idea of coming up with an even longer list of challenges brings me out in a cold sweat; the trauma of coming up with ‘new and fun’ ideas still a very fresh memory. But what would be the top three to head up the list, you know, if I were to make one, for the next round of life accomplishments?
First up, something I got challenged to do many times during ‘forty’ and didn’t quite manage. That is to take up running, properly, and complete an event. It would have to be a decent distance. I’m no runner; anything more than a slightly accelerated saunter causes my brow to dampen and breathing to reach near-deafening levels. But I’m fairly sure even I could manage to Scout’s pace a 5k if there was the promise of a Mars Bar and a space blanket at the end. I like the idea of a half marathon, or even one of those obstacle courses with giant inflatables and plenty of mud. I don’t much like the idea of training for it though, especially now the evenings are dark and cold. Maybe in the Spring. I’m pretty sure I’ve uttered those words before.
The next one is a bit of a cheat. It’s not so much a ‘first’ as it is a ‘first in a long time’. I’d really like to use my passport. My younger days were filled with travel and adventure, but ever since I acquired some of those responsibilities commonly associated with mid-life, foreign travel doesn’t seem very high up the agenda. In fact in the last ten years all I’ve managed is a rain-soaked week in Majorca. I can’t pin down a destination I want to visit, there are simply too many.
I always said that when I had children, they would be given a rucksack for their sixteenth birthday and told to leave the country for two weeks. ‘Have an adventure!’ I’d tell them. Obviously this gem of an idea was born before my children. Sixteen now seems rather irresponsible, however it does concern me slightly that I might be raising children whose idea of foreign travel is a trip down to England to see Grampa. I need to take action, for their sake if not mine. I imagine we’ll start with a camping trip to France and build up to backpacking round Vietnam, en famille, from there. I feel confident about this one – the camping part at least.
Finally, a bit of a dream. As aspirational young newlyweds, my husband and I embarked on our own list. It wasn’t so much a bucket list as it was a ‘pie in the sky’ list. If you were to pick something you wanted to do, what would be the absolute best way to do it? Right up there was hot air ballooning. And if you’re going to do hot air ballooning, it would have to be over the Serengeti, we decided. Then we busied ourselves acquiring all those responsibilities and who knows where the list is now! Of course I’d need my passport again. I really better give it a little trial run and check it still works.
Fifty is fast approaching, but not so close that there isn’t time to win the lottery / invent the new must have product / have my debut manuscript turned into a Hollywood blockbuster (Kate Winslet would play me, in case you’re wondering). I’m holding tight to the belief that I’ll be celebrating the next milestone, clinking glasses a thousand feet in the air, as the sun rises over the plains of the Serengeti. Either that, or in a tent in France.
(Oh, I can recommend the Serengeti Catherine. I loved being there. Vietnam too actually. Dig out that pie in the sky list and get going!)
About Catherine E. Winton
As a child, Catherine had many aspirations; working in a shoe shop, winning an Olympic medal (sport to be confirmed) and owning a Peugeot 205 GTi in electric blue were high on the agenda. None of these came to pass.
She studied Hotel and Catering Management before committing to an itinerant life of under achieving.
Notably absent from her list was becoming a writer. She started writing accidentally in her early twenties, mostly journals scrawled while travelling and the occasional ranty piece in the student magazine. She found humour in the calamitous. Successful missions were given short shrift, while multiple pages were devoted to anything that didn’t quite go according to plan. Self-preservation, or a twisted sense of humour. You decide. Catherine lives in Edinburgh with her husband and two children.