Also in 1983, I took part in my very first Brain of Britain on Radio 4. I was knocked out in the first round but I queried an answer I had given which was deemed wrong. The question had been “What is a shicksa”? I had heard it as a Jewish slang expression for a Jewish girl who was behaving just like a non-Jewish girl and when I was able to prove to Ian Gillies, that I had in fact been correct, I was invited to take part the following year in 1984. I then managed to get through to the semi-finals, just being beaten by the eventual winner that year, Peter Bates. Although I could have applied to take part again later on during the 1980’s and 1990’s , I never did as by that time, it was becoming increasingly difficult to have odd days off from work as the holiday list was planned a year in advance and cover for secretaries was difficult to arrange.
My husband had taken early retirement not long after our marriage and when NatWest disestablished all the secretarial jobs in 1996, I decided to do the same. For the first time in my life, I actually had plenty of leisure time – and no longer constrained by having to ask permission for time off to go to London, I decided to have another go at Brain of Britain in 1997.
I really didn’t expect to win as everyone knows that Grannies who live on council estates are not likely to succeed - it is usually a middle class chap who is a solicitor or lecturer etc who does win. In over 50 years, there have been only 5 women who have managed it and no-one was more surprised than me when I achieved the title in 1997. I can honestly say that I only did it as something to keep me focused while I got used to not having to go to work, but my Brain of Britain salver takes pride of place in my lounge.