I was born in Blyth, Northumberland, and spent the first four years of my life living with my mother, brother, grandparents and aunts/uncles at 39 Croft Road. My father was in the Royal Navy, so my early years were heavily influenced by my mother and her mother.
When I was four, my father came out of the Navy and we moved over the road to a mid-terraced three-bedroomed house of our own at 36 Middleton Street. My father was working at the local shipyard at the time, but soon went to work at the local power station. I don't know the reason but, in 1969, we moved to Clackmannan in Central Scotland, and my father went to work on the newly-built Longannet Power Station.
I had a very happy childhood, from what I remember. As a family, we would often go for walks on nice summer evenings and, once my father bought our first family car, weekends were for exploring the area. We had many happy times picnicking near the river at Dunning Glen, and going to the beach at St Andrews or Burntisland. My father was very interested in wildlife and nature, a love he has passed on to me, and we would spend lots of time learning about birds, trees and flowers with him.
I attended Lornshill Academy from 1971 to 1977, then on leaving school went to Clackmannan College of Further Education to take a secretarial course. In 1978 (March to be exact) I sat and passed my driving test on my first attempt, and was keen to get a car of my own. I hadn't much money, and I remember my first car - a second-hand Morris Marina in a mustardy colour.
I had a varied working career, starting out at a print room operator with Gestetner Papers at Kilbagie Mills in Kincardine On Forth, moving onto be a telephonist/typist with Sterling Furniture Group and in 1982 I started working with the local authority as a telephonist/receptionist. I worked my way up from that job to become a Housing Officer in 1984, a position I held until October 2000.
I was married in September 1983 to Steven Boyle. We had no children; he had previously been married and had a young son. He was the Transport Manager at Sterling Furniture Group, which is where we met, but went on to become a bus driver, a job he continued in long after our marriage failed in April 2000. Through the fairly-new medium of the internet chat room, I met my new husband Paul online. We had a very whirlwhind romance - from first contact to first meeting was three days. From first meeting to moving in together was 77 days! In April 2002, we finally married once our respective divorces were finalised. In 2007, Paul left the company he had worked with for 27 years (British Polythene Industries) and took a position as a Production Manager with Mainetti, the UK's largest manufacturer of plastic garment hangers, based in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders.
Since moving to Scotland, I have had a number of jobs; I washed dishes in a local restaurant, did a three-month stint as a ward clerkess on the orthopaedic ward at Borders General Hospital, spent a year working for Emtelle as an administrator/receptionist, then a year working on a production line at Mainetti. I then spent five months as a shop assistant in Mountain Warehouse, an outdoor clothing shop, working only 16 hours a week. In October 2010 I began working with Sainsburys supermarket as a Customer Service Assistant four days per week, four hours a day