Report of Diss U3A October meeting

The guest speaker at October’s meeting was Jenny Gibbs, her talk “A Turkish Shirley Valentine” was reminiscent of the film many of us are familiar with telling the story of a woman’s life changing holiday.

For further information on Diss U3A please visit our website or telephone 01379 642674.

The next meeting will be on November 7th at Diss United Reformed Church commencing at 10.30am

Jenny Gibbs talk “A Turkish Shirley Valentine” was reminiscent of the film many of us are familiar with telling the story of a woman’s life changing holiday.

Until then Jenny had spent a fairly unadventurous life, marriage to a Suffolk farmer and holidays spent camping on her parents’ Gloucestershire farm were the sum total of Jenny’s globe- trotting lifestyle. Until 1993 Jenny had never been abroad and as a gift for her 50th birthday her work colleagues arranged for her to go on a cruise (despite having a morbid fear of water). Being too polite to decline Jenny flew to Turkey to join the ship. However, her imagined cruise liner turned out to be the size and style of a Norfolk Werry. Regardless of her fears she allowed herself to be shown to her cabin where she remained for almost a week. Towards the end of the cruise and with the boat safely moored Jenny plucked up courage to look outside and at that moment was immediately entranced by the scenery. The sea, sun and the light all worked their magic on her and at that moment Jenny resolved to come back to Turkey not just for a holiday but to live. After returning home just long enough to leave her job, tell her family and buy a phrase book she arrived back in Turkey and despite being unable to speak the language having no job and nowhere to live she was once again captivated by the sights, sounds and customs of the country and knew she had made the right decision. With the aid of her phrasebook and simple gestures she managed to make herself understood even if she didn’t always understand what was said in reply, which is how she found herself working long hours in a restaurant kitchen. This situation continued until one day she found herself facing the prospect of spending a weekend alone when the restaurant closed for a Turkish holiday. Rather than leave her on her own the head chef suggested she spend the weekend with him and his parents in his village. This led to them buying and restoring a house together and embarking on a relationship that has lasted for 20 years and given her a life that she could never have imagined.

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