Graduation day at the House of St Barnabas has arrived!

19 July 2018

Typical! On my way to HoSB and the heavens opened; I look like a drowned rat. This reminds me of the problem-solving day booths held in Soho Square, it lashed down that day, but that’s another story!

Now we have our mug shots done, you know that saying a face that launches a thousand ships? Well, I have the face that breaks 1,000 cameras! I asked the photographer if there was any chance of a soft focus lens, my double chin removed or my photo being airbrushed.

Well, onto my speech, ‘Jean Jeanie’s Journey’. I truly wasn’t being a drama queen or diva but I really didn’t want to read it out, especially with my dulcet tones booming over the mic despite reassurances from Brian, Employment Academy Support Officer at HoSB, “you will be fine”, “you won’t regret it”, “it will be a great experience” blah! blah! blah!… I was not convinced.

What if no one likes it? What if I sound like a foghorn? What if no one laughs? What if I get all emotional? – I cry at the opening of an envelope. The jury was still out and at the last minute my gob running away from me, shrilled I’ll do it.

Oh my gawd! Before I knew it my name was called out. Deep breath. I walked up the three steps in the chapel which felt like 99 steps. Too late, I’m behind the mike, legs wobbling like jelly, lips quivering and eyes filling up. I heard my voice saying “Jean Jeanie’s Journey”. At the beautiful chapel my journey at the House was read out in a nutshell for everyone to hear.

I have to be honest it was all a bit of a blur, I don’t really remember that much! Thinking back now there were so many memories that I could have shared, but I would have been there all day. I want to thank my buddies at Front of House, for being so helpful, kind and patient. Well, can you imagine when on one of my shifts a guest knocked at the door and an old fossil like me opened it slightly overzealous and full of gusto I shrieked “How can I help?” His face was horrified as I frightened the life of him!

Anyway I digress, going back to my speech I was shocked at the reaction so many people congratulating me on how funny and moving it was. It was great that people were laughing with me and not at me that was a mad moment. Oh what am I like, I’m welling up now.

I want to thank everyone involved with the HoSB. A lot of people have invested their energy, expertise, faith, money and time in me. Something I won’t forget. I am not going to lie, it wasn’t a breeze and there were some very difficult times, but I done it, I graduated.

Yes, I have a lot to be grateful for I have a great loving mum, and a caring, lovely and supportive daughter Ellie. She is now carving out her own journey, last year she trekked to the base camp of Mount Everest raising thousands for charity; she recently visited Thailand come September will be starting her third year at Uni studying Medical Science.

I am moving on got a lot of great memories and am ready for work. No doubt it won’t all be hunky-dory but I will face the fear and do it anyway.

Now Jean Jeanie is starting another journey, I have created a blog under the name of randomjeanjeanie.wordpress.com (still trying to work it out) slowly, but surely I’ll get the hang of it, don’t know which year though! I will be writing about issues and random topics that take my fancy, which in the main will be light-hearted, i.e. reality shows (I am so over them).

Yep, Jean has left the House, but I will be back. Cheers big ears to the magical House of St Barnabas.

To participants and graduates; embrace and enjoy… although if you want some Lemon drizzle cake get to reception early, I am still bitter about not getting a piece because they had run out! (Hee! Hee!)”