Category Archives: Journalism

‘Exclusive’ Interview with Mrs. Leach

Reblogged from a post by my Georgian counterpart, Mrs. Leach, on her blog…

In December, I had a call from journalist Lynne Dixon, who was interested in writing an article for Exclusive magazine, about the ‘Academy’; we arranged an interview. As I’m quite a shy and retiring person (some might find it hard to believe?!), I must admit that I agreed to this with trepidation.

But when the interview took place just before Christmas, I found speaking with Lynne a pleasure: she was not only very friendly, putting me at my ease, but also non-intrusive, which I found very reassuring.

Arrangements were then made for a photographer to take some images to accompany the article – which really did worry me: for a very long time, I’ve really disliked having my photo taken (a family trait, among other issues). But I got through the post-Christmas ‘photo-shoot’, thanks again to sensitivity and kindness, by  the photographer, Alex Cantrill-Jones (ACJ Media) – though I still prefer to be less visible than I am in the photos! And I must apologise to Alex again for keeping him waiting for some time, while I tried to safely fasten my costume.

(Having to make numerous alterations – perhaps due to eating far too many Xmas treats?! – I’d been working on the costume somewhat frantically to complete it in time for the ‘shoot’; this required much work into the preceding nights – including the early hours of the morning of the photographer’s visit.  Sleep deprivation, and trial and error dressmaking, not being an ideal combination, led to much fumbling with pins, tapes and straps on the day – and Alex was great about it, for which I’m grateful, and about the numerous times I had to interrupt his preparations for shots to hitch up dress slippage.)

As it turns out, the costume isn’t very visible, due to the shawl worn to add colour. For Georgian costume aficionados, I wore my respectably dull 1790s teaching garb, comprising a simple v-neck grey ‘spencer’, over and period replica black leather walking shoes, and a simple white round gown, influenced by this much copied garment – for the sake of practicality, without a train. I hope to take photos when I try on the finished gown, and post here.

I received a copy of the magazine on Saturday (I think), but due to some rather unpleasant dental problems, I’ve not been up to much for the last few days, so have only just read the piece.

I’m happy enough with it – bearing in mind that (paradoxically, given my line of work) I’d far rather not have such attention: Lynne & Alex have done good jobs, as I anticipated they would.

There are very few inaccuracies (I expected more, as I can talk very quickly when engaged in enthusiastic discussion!), and these are mostly unimportant (I’ll recheck when I have another, more detailed, read through). The one point that I want to set straight is with regard to my time teaching at the University of Oxford: the article states that I taught here for four years, when in fact I taught a short course four years ago (and I want to make clear that this, and my other teaching, was through Continuing and Professional Education departments and schools).

I’d like to thank Lynne and Alex – and Exclusive magazine – for this opportunity to spread the word about the ‘Academy’.