Writer's Profile of Shirley Baker
Born in a remote corner of Jamaica in the Parish of Clarendon, I came to England in 1956 with my mother at the age of 15 years. We were joining my father who had immigrated to England in 1950.
I attended the newly opened Eltham Green Comprehensive School and was the only black pupil amongst 2000 pupils in its first year. After leaving school, I followed careers in teaching and educational psychology, becoming the first black female principal educational psychologist heading such a service in England. I worked several years in local authorities before becoming an expert witness in different courts throughout England.
As a single parent of two children I juggled full-time work with parenting for several years until my children left university to follow their own careers.
My hobbies are travelling, cooking for different food preferences like vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and meat eater. I love good foods and wines and enjoy eating out, going to cinemas, theatre, opera houses, art galleries and other places of interest. Generally I keep physically and mentally fit through walking, stair-climbing, stretching and balancing, dancing and yoga; also reading, writing, scrabble and photography. Through my love of gardening I am a member of a Garden Group that allows like-minded people to visit different types of gardens in London and different counties, inspired by writers, artists and other professions. I am also a friend of the Royal Greenwich Park that organises regular nature and musical events throughout the year.
I retired at the age of 71 years and continued travelling annually to my homeland and to different exciting parts of the world, mainly as a lone traveller, with the occasional group holidays. I have also resumed writing as a serious pastime. I have written about my psychological journey back to my homeland after living 28 years in England. I am currently attempting to complete my autobiography through turbulent and calm periods, and how my different experiences involving places, family and friends (past and present) have influenced my life. I am now editing first complete ,manuscript. Inevitably my age memories include many departed loved ones who have influenced my life.
Approaching the age of 80 years, I regard myself as a strong, determined and compassionate senior citizen, who still leads an active, independent, happy and sociable life.