LIFE LESSONS · TWENTY SOMETHINGS

29 Questions with Trainee Blue Badge Tour Guide and British History Enthusiast Catherine Raggett


“Just be who you want to be, never act a certain way just because you want to get in with a certain crowd because they’re not worth it and usually if they’re dicks it’s because they’re dicks rather than cool, cool does not exist.”

A few months ago my good friend Liv introduced me to her good friend Cathy, whom she’s known since school. Liv said she lived in the area, loved kids and would love to meet Maia. We hit it off straight away and Cathy and I have met up pretty regularly ever since.

We talk about everything and I feel like I’ve known her for years. I’ll take Maia every week or so to visit her and her many animals at home. (For more on her animals, take a look at this post).

I’ve probably said this in a previous post, but Cathy is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. – And you just know it comes ever so naturally to her. She is innately a warm, loving person, who gets a lot of joy from making other people happy.

In such a messy world full of the selfish, the vain, and the just pure ignorant; Cathy is like a breath of fresh air.

Before graduating with a 2:1 in French and Italian from Manchester University, she lived in both Paris and Bergamot as part of her year abroad and became fluent in both languages.

Passionate about British History, History of Art and Culture, Cathy is currently studying to become a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, something she will no doubt excel at.

As well as taking care of her many animals (we’re talking dog, cat, chickens, geese, and soon to be piglets), she also volunteers at two stately homes: Kenwood House as a room steward and at the under 5’s activity group and Stonor House where she is doing an internship.

When she’s not memorising the history of the United Kingdom or changing straw for the chickens, Cathy works as a childminder for two days of the week. She’s a busy woman. – The perfect candidate for my next interview:

1. Hello! Hows your day? What have you been up to?
My day’s been really good, I got up really early, the first thing I did was feed my dog Phoebe, and Mowgli, my cat, and then I went into the garden and I let out the animals, got their food ready and did their waters, then I came back and waited for the cleaner to arrive, then I  walked my dog, then I came back, spoke to my brother on the phone, then my good friend Angie and Maia came over.

2. What does your typical day look like?
Waking up, doing basically what I did this morning, doing the animals, walking my dog, doing a bit of work.

3. What do you do?
I am training to be a Blue Badge Tour Guide

4. What does that involve?
I have lectures on Tuesday and Thursday evening and we learn different things like history and basically everything about Britain, the architecture, everything. Then on Saturdays we go to the places that we learn about so for example last week we went to Hampton Court, we just learnt everything that we need to do then we have exams.

5. What inspired you to become a Blue Badge tour guide?
Well at first I thought about being a teacher, cos I really like telling people about things, then it sort of just grew into actually rather than being a teacher, do tour guiding and teach people about specific things. I discovered that this Blue Badge was sort of the top one to do and I thought well I might as well apply, start at the top and I was lucky I got on so, it’s amazing.

6. How do you unwind at the end of the day?
I like to go to the pub with friends and just have a few drinks and just see where the night leads. That and just watching TV shows.

7. What are your favourite TV shows?
My all time favourite series is The Vicar of Dibley. I’d say one of my top has to be Parks and Recreation, it’s so funny. At the moment I’m watching Gilmore Girls, Suits, can’t ever go wrong with Friends. But I also love things like First Dates, The Graham Norton Show and The Apprentice. 

8. What would be your dream career or careers?
So the tour guiding, what I’m doing, but what I’d really love to do is be involved in an education team in a museum so doing school trips within the museum but also doing tour guiding for groups, older people. In particular, I’d like to be able to work with children in the tour guiding industry. Potentially go into schools and teach them about the history of England in a fun way.

9. Favourite bit of life advice or quote?
I’d say, oh what is it.. “It’s not how many days are in your life, but how much life is in your days”. 

10. What would you tell your fifteen year old self?
I’d say don’t worry too much about all the struggling with work because you get through it and you make it to Uni and you make it through Uni, and then you discover what you want to do and it’s great.

11. What are your favourite books?
It’s a French book and it’s called La Vérité Sur L’affaire Harry Quebert by a Swiss writer, Joël Dicker, it’s a murder mystery. My other favourite book is The Island by Victoria Hislop, I’ve read three of hers, but The Island, I remember reading it when I was younger and I just loved it. Another favourite, I love The Tiger Who Came To Tea, that children’s one. I do love anything by Agatha Christie, and the Jack Reacher books by Lee Child.

12. What are your favourite films?
The Rock, it’s about Alcatraz.
Gladiator with Russell Crowe.
Comedy, I’d say I love Johnny English and The Internship, hilarious.
Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson and The Young Victoria.

13. Name five things that bring you joy?
Friends, family, MAIA!..and Angie..
Pets, animals
Alcohol
Playing squash even though I don’t do it that much
Singing

14. Any general life advice to younger people?
Just to be who you want to be, never act a certain way just because you want to get in with a certain crowd because they’re not worth it and usually if they’re dicks it’s because they’re dicks rather than cool, cool does not exist.

15. Favourite holiday?
I’ve got loads, but one of them probably has to be when I went to Budapest with two of my friends from school and it was just really jokes. We stayed in a hostel and we were very lucky on the first night we met these guys who were staying in our room too, we went on a night out with them. We basically hung out with them the whole time, the next day we were meant to move hostels but we didn’t, so we just stayed in the hostel again with them on the floor and it was just so so fun, amazing nights out. I was nineteen maybe.

16. Favourite Countries?
I’d say Italy and France just because I have a really close connection with them having lived there. Also Vietnam, it’s just so beautiful, everyone’s really nice and my parents live there..That’s another one of my best holidays ever, travelling with my friend we bought  a motorbike and we travelled all the way down on it.

17. Do you have any habits that you’re trying to work on?
Not getting so drunk that I do embarrassing stuff.
I should probably drink more water.
Spot scratching my Eczema, actually put on the cream.
Don’t bite my nails…

18. Describe your perfect day:
Waking up lazily, but not also too late so the whole day’s gone and then maybe going to a museum or a gallery, and then going for a walk and ending up in the pub and just hanging out with friends and just being really chilled.

19. Name three things you couldn’t live without:
Friends and family. Food, couldn’t live without food or water. And happiness…oo laughter.

20. Name three things you’d change about the world:
Get rid of poverty and famine.
No racism.
I would change the invention of guns and weapons.. so they were never invented.
The idea of class.

21. Who is your biggest inspiration?
My Mum because she’s the most selfless person and she always helps everyone and just is so kind. Any of my friends who have lost a close friend or relative and can continue life.

22. What did you want to be when you were little?
A power ranger – the red one.

23. Best bit of advice your parents gave you/something you’ve learnt from them:
Table manners – that’s a pretty good one, generally being a good person I’d say they’ve done pretty well with that. They’ve just always been so supportive in whatever I’ve done, even if I didn’t do well in certain exams my Mum would always be like “That’s amazing!”
I’m like“Mum, I failed..” “Noo that’s so good!..”. 

24. Name the people you’d most like to meet:
Julie Andrews, Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Prince Albert, Dido Belle

25. Who is Dido Belle?
She was around in the 1700s, her father was a Naval Officer and had a child with a black slave, he brought her to England and she was raised in Kenwood House by her Uncle.

26. What are your biggest pet peeves about other people?
Unnecessary rudeness and people who look down on other people.

27. Name three things you’d like to say you did before you die:
I’d love to have been able to go to South America.
To just meet a stranger, and just make their day somehow, in some very small way, so a random act of kindness.
To be in love and to be loved, I think if I don’t have that, that’ll be sad.

28. What did you learn yesterday?
I was hungover yesterday.

29. When are you happiest?
When I’m with all my friends and family and just hanging out but really chilled. Also, another side though, I’m happiest when I’m on a night out and I’m dancing.

 

 

 

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