Author turns to verse to take light hearted swipe at great Brexit debate
Jenny, who published her first fictional novel last year, Keepsake and Other Stories, won rave reviews for the anthology of tales.
Described as a "woman ahead of her time" as she has lived in some of the world's most dangerous places, always preferring to travel alone.
Living in countries like Bolivia where social unrest, political fragmentation, drug trafficking and human rights violations were all part of everyday life became the norm for former teacher Jenny.
And it was a far cry from her idyllic childhood growing up in the picturesque village of Twiston near Downham where she returned in 2008.
Those wonderful years as one of five children was captured by Jenny in her autobiography Nowhere Better Than Home which she published in 2012.
She followed that up with Pastures New which takes up where the first book left off. It describes her life after a year abroad studying German, returning to Reading for her final year, working as a teaching assistant in Germany and as an insurance clerk in London, before lighting on a career teaching English to foreign students which took her from working in Ramsgate to far-flung places like Libya, Spain and Mexico, interspersed with trips to North Africa, the Middle East and various parts of Latin America.
Jenny who self-published a family history, going back 400 years, called Whipps, Watsons and Bulcocks, travelled to Bolivia in 1984 when she took unpaid leave from her job, rented out her flat and set off, travelling through Peru where she climbed to the foot of Machu Picchu.
She said: “At the time there was a lot of political unrest in Bolivia and I met a lot of women who were campaigning for human rights by going on hunger strike. “I admired their determination and tenacity and I managed to interview a group of them and my story was published.”
Jenny was also honoured to meet Domitila Barrios de Chungara, the wife of a Bolivian tin miner whose book, Let Me Speak, chronicled the hardships faced by Bolivia’s working class and her own efforts at organising women in the mining community.
Jenny said: “Bolivia was a life changing experience for me because in a way they were going through austerity measures similar to what we are experiencing now in the United Kingdom, but in Bolivia’s case it was 10 times harder.”
During her time in Libya Jenny said she was largely unaware of the political unrest created by dictator Colonel Gadaffi as the majority of people were just trying to get on with their lives. She said: “The people were lovely and friendly and we all used to go for picnic lunches amid Roman ruins on a regular basis.”
Here is her poem:
Mist drifts up the valley,
hugs the side of the hill
a blue tit reminds me
to put food out on the sill
The winter solstice approaches
that apex of the year
when the nights are long
and we could do with some cheer
Will it snow at Christmas?
bring us festive goodwill
or will there just be mizzle
with no comfort at all?
The politicians bicker
‘We’re at an impasse,’ they say
unable to find a compromise
Will we leave, or will we stay?
Some impregnated sheep
wander past my window
a sign of life to come
when all this is done