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Margaret Underwood and Teresa Bolter


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Audio interview with Margaret Underwood and Teresa Bolter

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Underwood, Margaret (Subject of)


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Margaret Underwood with Teresa Bolter

Interviewed by Tony Thompson

Date: 22/03/2012

MU: I’m Margaret Underwood, I live in Parkholme Road, Dalston.

TB: Good girl, yeah. Is it a nice house?

MU: Yeah, yes

TB: What’s it like?

MU: Nice [laughs]

TT: What do you like about it?

MU: All my family

TB: Who do you live with?

MU: Teresa, John, Maggs…

TT: Who is Teresa? What relationship is she to you?

MU: Little… sorry I can’t remember [laughs]

TB: I’m not your Mum am I, who am I?

MU: Teresa

TB: I’m your…

MU: …Auntie

TB: [laughing] I’m not your Auntie, I’m your…

MU: Sister

TB: That’s it.

TT: Where are you from?

TB: Whereabouts were you born Marg, where were you brought up?

MU: Near Liverpool

TB: Near Liverpool, yes

MU: Muggle

TB: Muggle, yes

TT: That’s an unusual name – how long did you live there for?

MU: Yeah, me father died and me mum

TB: And then what happened? Then we said where are you going to live? Are you going to live with Helen? That’s our other sister

MU: Yeah

TB: Or are you going to come and live with Teresa?

MU: With you

TB: And what did you say?

MU: Alright

TB: I want to come and live with Teresa didn’t you?

MU: Yeah

TT: Have you been in London a long time now?

MU: Yeah

TB: Nearly 11 years now – you came in 2001

MU: 2001

TT: How long have you been doing your art work? For a long time?

MU: Long time

TT: Do you like doing your art work?

MU: Yeah, I like doing it

TB: Why though, can you think why you like it?

MU: Yeah, yeah. I like doing a job.

TT: What kind of art work do you like doing?
MU: Sewing, sewing

TB: what else do you do? Mostly you do drawing don’t you?

MU: Yeah

TB: You’re not that keen on painting, you do drawing

MU: Yeah

TB: But you do some painting

MU: Yeah

TT: Tell us about Trowbridge and Tony?

TB: What’s he like Tony – Tony Fowler?

MU: I have to help in put away all the things before dinner time. When we make tea, dinner.

TB: You tell me about Tony don’t you? And do you do your exercises with Tony?

MU: Yeah, I do exercise with Tony

TB: What else do you do? You always have a joke with him don’t you. She always calls him names and he calls her names [laughs] Is Tony a nice person?

MU: Nice person. Joyce takes me in the minicab

TB: That’s how you get there, or sometimes you go on the bus – why do you go to Trowbridge?

MU: Nice things there. I saw one of your busses today

TB: Did you? [laughs] There’s nice things to do there. And do you meet anybody there besides Tony?

MU: Gloria

TB: Your friend Gloria, and who else? You’ve got other friends there – little…

MU: Kevin

TB: Little Kevin. Who else? Who’s naughty sometimes and wants a coke?

MU: Maheedi

TB: [laughs] Do you think you go there to meet those people?

MU: Yeah [laughs]

TB: You’ve been making something lately haven’t you – what have you been making? We have to mix it with the glue, put the pieces of paper in – what have you been making? You have to squash it flat to make… paper don’t you?

MU: Yeah

TB: You’ve been doing that at Trowbridge. You go on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Where do you go on Monday – tell Tony about that place…

MU: Go on a bus for cooking

TB: To go for cooking at Clapton

MU: Round Chapel

TB: Round Chapel – lots of people have heard of that place. What’s it like there Marg Tell Tony what it’s like

MU: Gloria’s there

TB: Gloria’s there. That’s her friend. There’s something you don’t like about going there isn’t there – you have to go up…

MU: Stairs

TB: Lots of stairs, and that’s hard isn’t it

TB: I suppose that’s another good thing with Trowbridge – with the lifts and everything. Yeah, she likes going in the lift. Sometimes Tony tells you to go up in the lift upstairs doesn’t he… take your dinner money up? What else then, you’ve told us about your cooking and your art work – these friends of yours

MU: [laughs]

TB: Mainly Gloria

TT: How did you meet Gloria?

TB: She was probably the first person that you met in London

MU: Yeah

TB: At the centres, and she’s not let go of you since

MU: No [laughs]

TB: What’s Gloria like? Tell them what’s Gloria like?

MU: She always kisses. Kisses all the time and…

TB: Kissing and cuddling you isn’t she and tries to help you with your bag. Sometimes you get cross with her when she tries to help you too much, don’t you? You have to say to he”stop it Gloria” [laughs]

TT: I really like your pictures. Do you like doing them?

MU: Yeah, I like doing them

TB: You like doing them. How long do you take over a picture? You don’t do them quickly do you? No… how long did that take you?

MU: A minute

TB: More than a minute

MU: Long time

TB: You spent a long time doing it

MU: One for the barn

TT: You said that you don’t like painting, so is it a painting or drawing?

MU: Drawing I think

TB: Yes, that one’s drawing

MU: Yes

TB: To me that one looks like it’s pastel I think, and this one is it felt tip?

MU: Yes

TB: Tony always gets you to do different ones doesn’t he. He says she loves drawing, but she doesn’t like very much getting the paints out.

TT: I think the Trowbridge people sound like very special people to me

TB: There’s a lot of socialising isn’t there? ‘Cause Margaret was 60 last year, so really not preparing now for a job anymore, although she would probably have liked to have a job if she was younger, but you’re doing relaxing things like Tony said, fun things at Trowbridge

MU: Yeah

TB: They have exhibitions there don’t they? Yeah at Trowbridge – about wice a year they have an open day and all the pictures – Tony would probably like to go along to that, ‘cause all the paintings are not very expensive at all, and it helps to keep the building going. And they have all sorts of pottery and things on display – you always have a few pictures up on the wall don’t you? And you’ve got some pictures up on the wall in Trowbridge in the dining room…

MU: Yes

TB: …that they wanted to keep up there didn’t they?

MU: Yeah

TB: I always look at them when I go and see. Do you remember that picture you did with Ruth – tell Tony about that – it’s a great, great, great big picture that you wanted to bring home, covered in little…? [whispers] What are these called? [pointing at Margaret’s buttons] Covered in little…?

MU: Smarties?

TB: No [both laugh] They do look like Smarties [laughs]

MU: Buttons

TB: Buttons yeah, do you remember that picture you made?

MU: Yeah

TB: It was a huge picture with…

MU: Buttons

TB: Buttons all in patterns

MU: Yeah

TB: That was a lovely one – she wanted to bring that one home

MU: Yeah

TB: But you couldn’t could you?

MU: No

TB: Why not?

MU: It was too big

TB: It was too big, and they wanted it because somebody had bought it I think

MU: Yeah

TB: What would we do if Trowbridge wasn’t there Marg? What would it be like?

MU: What would it be like

TB: What would it be like – you’d miss it would you?

MU: Miss it

TB: what would you miss about it? Miss Tony? Miss meeting your friends? Do you like going to Trowbridge?

MU: Yeah

TB: [laughs] We go to meetings there too, don’t I yeah?

MU: You got a meeting to go to on…

TB: Tomorrow – that’s work though. I come to meetings that are Trowbridge don’t I?

MU: For my review

TB: Yes, we have your review there – What’s a review Marg – tell Tony, because he doesn’t know what a review is, he hasn’t been to one

MU: All things for… about me

TB: Yeah that’s right, they tell you all the things about you, they say ‘this is what Margaret’s been doing, she’s been a good girl, she’s worked hard’ – do they say that?

MU: [laughs]

TB: Tony comes to your reviews doesn’t he?

MU: Yeah

TB: And Olivier, she sometimes comes

MU: Yeah

TB: Sometimes we have reviews in this house, don’t we?

MU: Yes

TB: And it’s just so they can talk about how you’re getting on, and your health and all those things. Margaret likes going to Trowbridge, that’s the main thing from my point of view. She’s always enjoyed going to Trowbridge. She’s met lots and lots of nice people there over the years there. She remembers them and she talks about them, and it’s given her something to look forward to doing. If it wasn’t there I don’t know how we’d manage without it. If Margaret’s at home, she sometimes likes a day off, I can’t deny her that, she sometimes has a day when she doesn’t feel very well and she wants to stay at home, but if she’s at home she gets very bored. And she loves socialising and meeting all those friends of hers. And if we didn’t have it you wouldn’t see any of your friends would you?

MU: No

TB: I don’t know where you’d see them if there wasn’t a Trowbridge Centre

MU: No

TB: If I’m being honest, I didn’t know how gifted is at drawing. I’ve only known that since she came to live with us. Although they must have done a lot of similar activities when she was at the project at the day centre when she lived with my dad, not a lot came of it came home – and there wasn’t someone like Tony who is actually an artist, and who is able, to sort of really challenge her. Because although she prefers to do drawing, he’s encouraged her to work in mediums, and when she brings something home and she’s really proud of it, that she’s done something, it’s made her. That’s the word – it’s made you happier – you’ve been a very happy person over the last few years. Considering what we all went through and that, when dad dies, that wasn’t a nice year but – she keeps filling up when I say that – but she is very happy now. If she feels a bit blue, when she’s feeling a bit sad, they’ll always take the time to talk to her and cheer her up. They know how to cheer you up don’t they? Give you a little job that you like doing, tidying something, tidying a cupboard or tidying some pencils, or doing a jigsaw, because that’s your other big hobby – you like jigsaws

MU: Yeah

TB: That cheers you up doesn’t it when you do that, feeling a bit like when Pat died, when you were upset then. Everybody was really nice, weren’t they, and took you to the funeral. Everybody was really kind.

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