€1,000 won’t pay for a holiday to Phuket to visit her granddaughter and she’ll have to save a bit more for the trip she hopes to make to visit her niece in Melbourne, Australia too, but Pauline Osgood was over the moon to receive her cheque at the Euro Weekly News (EWN) Costa de Almeria office in Mojacar.
Over 1,000 readers answered a survey carried out over a two weeks in the EWN at Christmas, sending their completed forms to the newspaper by regular post or via the internet.
The winning entry was Pauline’s handwritten form.
Born in Highgate, Middlesex, seventy four year old Pauline lives in the Los Gallardos area in a rented bungalow. She left her Edgware school at 15 and took a job in Dixon’s camera shop.
She met her husband John Two years later and they have been married to for 56 years.
They moved to Spain together 20 years ago. “I’ve had a really hard life” said Pauline, who has three sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren.
“One son has been very ill with schizophrenia since he was 19”.
He’s in his 50s now and lives alone in a flat in the UK with some help from social services. She said she’d been lucky too though, because of having been able to travel a lot in Europe, especially in Spain.
Antequera, Segovia, Salamanca, Cordoba, Ronda, San Sebastian, Sevilla, Madrid, Vigo and Llerma are just some of the Spanish towns Pauline has visited.
Hard-working Pauline has had many jobs, but is now retired and volunteers at the English language library in the Artisans Centre, Mojacar Pueblo.
As a book-club organiser and avid reader she loves her volunteer work at the library.
She especially enjoys classic literature and once attended a reading by the great-great-great grandson of Charles Dickens.
Pauline’s other volunteer work has included being a model in the PAWS fashion shows because the animal charity’s cattery is run by one of her friends runs.
The PAWS shows weren’t the only modelling experience that Pauline has had though:
She travelled around for eight years working as an artists’ model for art-college students in London, and once met Harold Wilson, former British Prime Minister, at a fashion show at one of the colleges.
“If you are comfortable you can sit completely still for an hour at a time,” said Pauline.
She remarked that she didn’t mind nude modelling because “they’re not looking at you as a person” but wouldn’t go to a naturist beach.
Pauline loves writing too, and goes to a writers’ group in Bedar once a week, and is in the process of writing her autobiography.
One of her short stories that she’d like to get published is a frightening tale about an experience she had whilst modelling.
She likes the EWN letters page and has had letters published in the newspaper and in some UK papers.
Pauline likes the people in Spain but isn’t keen on the food. She learned some Spanish in the one-to-one classes that she used to take with a local teacher,
Jose who has since become her friend. Pauline and husband John first lived in Agua Amarga, Cabo de Gata, after having responded to a package deal property advert in their local British newspaper. She said she particularly likes the ‘wildness’ of the Almeria region, adding “Fate brought us here.”
Since their time in Agua Amarga, they have lived in Mojacar Playa, Antas, and in a farmhouse in the Sorbas area.
“Buying the house in Antas was the worse thing I’ve ever done,” said Pauline who had a bad experience renting out the property to British people after her and John moved to their current home, a rented bungalow in Los Gallardos.
Pauline would love to travel more. If she had won enough money, she would have bought her daughter an all-expenses-paid trip to visit Clare – her 22-year-old grand-daughter – who is doing volunteer work in Phuket (Thailand) with special needs children.
However, she will put the €700 she left after having bought a well-needed pair of glasses, into the bank to save for a trip to Rochester and the South East of England this summer.
By Susan Leach