How I left school with no maths at all and now run a business (the voice of a 50 something blogger)


This, is I suspect, a slightly unusual blog for White Cloud; I have been asked to compose a blog that might be included on a website specifically designed for those of us over 50www.high50.com so, after a decent cup of coffee and a lovely morning listening to Desert Island Discs, here goes…

Like almost everyone else I know who is over 50, it is hard to believe we are actually that old- it only seems about 20 years ago that I was at school sweating away in 1976 (the hottest summer ever!) for O Levels.  I was singularly useless at maths and wasn’t even good enough to be put forward for CSE which meant I managed to leave school in 1976 with no maths whatsoever..  

My despairing maths teacher (I seem to remember I was in a remedial class of about 4 and that wasn’t just my year, it was the whole school!) would have been absolutely astonished to know that 7 years ago (or 34 years later) I was to set up a business with my husband Guy.  Fortunately for me he is astonishingly adept at maths (he had to teach me how to do long division over the telephone, one particularly stressful evening when I was a student at Roehampton in the late 1980’s in order to calculate the mathematical proportions for lettering and calligraphy!)  I now have to cope with maths on a daily basis; this can range from calculating stock adjustments to filing online VAT returns and everything else inbetween.    If it wasn’t for the calculator, I would be singularly inept, but I have realised that actually maths is not the battleground I thought it was, it is just horribly logical.  It is kind of fascinating that 2 out of 3 of our sons have inherited Guy’s maths skills and the youngest has inherited my love of English.  For that matter, how can 3 boys, with the same parents, end up looking so incredibly different? One of those things that one, at our advanced age, finds oneself pondering upon…

What I have found, setting up and running a business a little later in life, is that you can really surprise yourself at what you can tackle and achieve.  Had I been told that I was going to have to learn how to:  import products, sell products, design a brochure, maintain stock levels, find the right people to help with packaging, design and run a website, assist with accounts and generally run an office, I might have gulped and said no.  Fortunately, it’s a bit like having small children, the whole thing grows with you and at some point you realise it’s happening and you have managed.  For my part, I am proud to have shown our boys that changing direction in life is possible and that Mum should stand for Massively Underestimated Mother…

 

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