Carol is a chartered accountant who has spent most of her career in education. After teaching at Solent University for 18 years she moved to the University of Southampton where she still works. She says teaching is very demanding, but also very rewarding: “There is a lot of job satisfaction in helping a student take the first steps in their career”, she says.
In her spare time she’s on the committee of both Southampton Allotment and Gardens Association and Bitterne Local History Society. She also writes a monthly newsletter for Cameo, a local ladies’ group that meets in Highfield.
What’s your link with Bitterne Park?
I grew up in Midanbury, and many happy hours were spent in Riverside Park. I moved over the other side of the river, to Swaythling, with my parents when I was 16. I returned to live here in 1992.
What’s your earliest memory of the area?
Riding the miniature railway in Riverside Park. I was probably only about five or six at the time.
How could the area be better?
Two main things: the one that is relatively easy to deal with is less litter; harder to solve is the volume of traffic. This is a city-wide issue and probably needs government action for any real impact to be felt.
Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park
Mousehole Lane does not have any houses numbered 1 – 39. The first house, where Cobden Avenue meets Mousehole Lane, is number 40. It isn’t the result of war time bomb damage, so I've no idea what the reason is. If anyone knows, I would be interested to hear.
What’s good – or not so good – about the wider city?
It has a fascinating history, but the council does not make the most of it. Sea City is a great museum but it barely scratches the surface.
What’s your passion in life?
Probably my cats – we have three of them. My husband says I treat them better than him, and he is probably right! They can be irritating at times, such as when they walk over your laptop as you are typing, but they give a lot of love and don’t care if you are having a bad hair day.
How do you put bread on your table?
The bread comes out of the breadmaker. The pickle or jam that goes with it is home made from fruit and veg grown on our allotment.
What has your career taught you?
That we all have the same insecurities, it is just that some people hide them by being extrovert.
What really gets your goat?
Cyclists who ride on the pavement – particularly over Cobden Bridge where there are cycle lanes both sides. I don’t mind young children on the pavement, but don’t see why I should be almost mown down by adults.
I also get fed up with cars parked on the pavement, forcing pedestrians to walk in the road. Priory Road and Neva Road are both bad for this.
There is a bit of a theme here – pavements are for pedestrians!
How do you relax?
I love gardening and with my husband have an allotment at Witts Hill. I am on the committee of Southampton Allotments and Gardens Association so get involved in organising the plant sales we hold and the annual show at Peartree Green church hall in August.
I am also interested in both local and family history. I go to the monthly meetings of Bitterne Local History Society and in October 2015 became their treasurer.
Which is your favourite pub?
I don’t really have a favourite pub – we tend to visit pubs when we're out for the day, so it's wherever is convenient. We always intend to visit local establishments but somehow never seem to get round to it.
What are you drinking?
Usually a cup of tea - all the better if there is a slice of cake with it. I don’t drink a lot of alcohol, but am partial to a cocktail. My husband is very good at making them.
What do you listen to?
I have very wide musical tastes so during the day tend to listen to listen to Wave 105. I enjoy the variety and the local information. If I am putting a CD on (I don’t do downloads) then it might be anything from Bryan Adams to James Morrison, Snow Patrol or even Take That. I also like local band the Delays.
Can you recommend a really good read?
'The Ginger Tree' by Oswald Wynd. I picked it up at the library – it was surplus to requirements so they were selling it off. It is about a young girl who goes out to China in 1903 to marry the British military attaché. After an affair with a Japanese soldier she is forced to leave her husband and she flees to Japan. It's the story of how she survives in an alien culture, and it is fascinating.
What’s a great day out?
Somewhere like Mottisfont where you can have a bit of culture, a walk in the estate and afternoon tea in the café.
What scares you?
My face going under water. I love splashing about in the sea or a swimming pool but can only just swim and cannot float at all. Numerous people have tried to teach me, but I lack the confidence. Whilst I like big boats I won’t try anything like sailing or canoeing because I don’t want to end up in the water.
What would you most like to change - in the world and in yourself?
In the world I would like to see people become less selfish and more considerate of each other, of wildlife and the environment. Personally I would like to improve my work life balance – I end up spending too much time working. I suspect many teachers have the same problem, because it is a job where you can always do a bit more!
What’s on your ‘bucket list’?
I would love to learn to play the piano. I had lessons when I was a child, but the teacher scared me so I gave up. I regret that now and wish that I had just asked to change teachers.
Tell us a joke
This is a joke that I use in my lectures. It was told to me by my sister-in-law when she was about eight or nine. It normally takes my students a few minutes to realise I am joking – accountancy is not usually much fun
Q: What is the difference between unlawful and illegal?
A: One is contrary to the law, the other is a sick bird.
Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?
If your house was on fire, and you could only save one of your possessions, what would it be (excluding children and pets).
Thanks so much for taking part!
Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions.