I first met this month’s guest when she turned up at a meeting of our local writers’ circle. Then she emailed us to say she was looking for guests for her radio show. I volunteered before I had a chance to lose my nerve and, although I was petrified going on air, my host was so relaxed and so professional, I loved every moment of it and have been back several times since. She spends a lot of time interviewing other people; this time we’re turning the tables on her. I am delighted to be chatting with Bea Hutchings, or Sooty, as she is known to her listeners on Riviera fm.
Hello Bea; thanks for stopping by. Let’s start at the beginning: what is your earliest memory — and how old were you at the time?
One of my earliest memories is scraping cockles off a sand bank in the middle of the river Dart. The tide would rattle in so fast we had to jump in the boat before we were washed away! I was about four years old at the time.
What was your favourite subject at school — and which was the lesson you always wanted to avoid?
My favourite subjects at school were English and art. I always wanted to avoid maths even though I wasn’t that bad at it.
Talking about yourself, how would you finish the sentence “not a lot of people know…”?
I had ballroom dancing lessons when I was little. My granddad’s next door neighbour was a sequence dancer who made her own ball gowns; I’d often see her carrying huge swathes of gorgeous coloured tulle and bags of sequins. I still love watching Strictly (Jay is amazing!) but I can’t remember any of my lessons – very long time ago!
Where is your favourite place on earth — and why?
The river Dart. The scenery is just so beautiful and it’s very peaceful. I have many happy memories associated with it.
How do you relax?
I love to paint, read, or go for a walk with my dog.
If you knew you only had 24 hours left, how would you spend them?
With my family and friends having a fantastic time.
If you could change one thing about yourself or your life so far, what would it be?
I wish I’d learnt earlier in life that ‘confidence is just an act.’ A tutor at South Devon College told me this and I’ve never forgotten it.
Describe your ideal menu — and where would you like to eat it?
Lemon Sole cooked to perfection, drizzled with just a squeeze of lemon. Or anything with tomatoes: olive oil; goats cheese; feta; olives etc. I would like to eat this in Venice, Tuscany or Cephalonia; washed down with a delicious glass of local wine.
What would be in your ‘Room 101’?
If you were a car, what type would you be — and why?
1961 Jaguar XKE. It makes me smile.
If you could meet one person from history, who would it be — and why?
I think I’d like to meet the English painter Christopher Wood. He had so many knock-backs and disappointments but he never gave up. He had a favourite proverb: ‘La vie s’arrange…mais autrement’ ‘Life always works out…not how you expect it.’ Good to know?!
What have you been doing creatively in the last few years?
Painting and writing! I’ve written a crime novel (now editing – a lot!) Had some poems published and a short story, so trying to knuckle down and write loads more in between walking the dog; being chief cook and bottle washer at home; and doing my Friday morning radio show on Riviera fm. (I’ve interviewed some wonderful guests!)
I’ve also been a member of TOADS Theatre Company in Torquay for six years; acting in various plays and having a great time, and for the past eight years I’ve been a committee member with Torbay Poetry Festival. It’s a very busy weekend (22nd to 26th October) but it’s always fun, and the poets, whether internationally known or local, are amazing. So that just leaves the painting/drawing – love that too! Especially trying out different mediums and styles.
Thanks for chatting to us, Bea; see you in the studio very soon!
Torbay Poetry Festival : www.torbaypoetryfestival.co.uk
Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.
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