I became a member of the "SOKA GAKKAI" International NICHIREN DAISHONIN Buddhism in 2004, and have studied and achieved an A-Level Grade in this. Also late in life, I had previously gained an O-level and A-level in English, and an O-level and A-level in art.

I consider myself as self-educated, since leaving school at fourteen years of age in 1943. I met and married my dear husband in 1945, (though still only sixteen) and it was a very happy marriage. Our son was born in 1949, but sadly died in 1958. We have two daughters (born in 1953, and 1960) and I now have four grand-children and four great-grand-children.

Born in Leicester in 1929, I am approaching my eightieth year. My parents come from Stoke-on-Trent, and I have lived in Gloucestershire since I was two. My husband was also English and born in Gloucester. His paternal great-grand-parents came from Germany. He died in 1983.

In that same year, my book "PORTRAIT OF KEN" was self-published to bring a greater understanding of schizophrenia. Now out of print, it is to be made into a film for the cinema. My friend, Ken, still lives with me to the present day, long recovered from the chronic schizophrenia which had so disastrously reduced him to life "on the road" - as a tramp.

When not reading extensively, I am always writing, and have been a regular member of a Writer's Group in the U.3.A. (University of the Third Age). I have written short stories, articles and numerous poems, many of which have been printed. I have also written three biographies, still in manuscript.

During the seventies, my husband and I owned a bookshop in Gloucester, selling second-hand paperbacks.

I served on the Community Health Council for a few years, and was also chairman of the Cheltenham branch of the NATIONAL SCHIZOPHRENIA FELLOWSHIP for seven years. I have also worked voluntarily for several years among the homeless.

After coming to Hartpury, I was a weekly columnist for the Gloucestershire "CITIZEN" newspaper, but had to give it up after two years, from lack of transport.

Some of my stories were not only printed in the CITIZEN, but were read on the BBC RADIO Gloucester. I was also a "Speaker" for the W.I. for two years, reading my comical anecdotes, "LAUGHTER LINES". (Transport was provided.)

My manuscript relating the history of HARTPURY SCHOOL, "LOG LINES", was printed by them, and sold to help their funds.

As for "Writing Competitions", I have received encouragement: won second prize of 50 for a poem, three separate "SPECIAL MENTIONS" for short stories submitted, and being among the finalists of a nationwide Song Competition with a poem set to music by my daughter...which is all very pleasing, though a "miss" is still "as good as a mile!".

My own spiritual journey has taken me through Christian baptism, Swedenborg's NEW CHURCH, OUSPENSKY's "FOURTH WAY", and as a member of the "Unitarian" Church for many years. These have all contributed and culminated in my Buddhist practice as being the most compatible for me. And I am strengthened by their teachings.

Having learned over the years to trust my inner direction, I believe totally in the SPIRIT. I feel that we are all "the entrusted" to CREATE VALUE in this world, each according to their faith, regardless of nationalities or status - as SANDOR PETOFI'S "rays of light"...

I have only travelled abroad a little, but was happiest in HUNGARY!

The Apostle

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Pictures Of Joan