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18 January 2018


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Bitterne Parker: Hannah Maguire
Sunday, 30 November 2014 00:00

Hannah Maguire's Bitterne Park story goes back to 1993 when she visited what's now her home, and asked the owner if he ever put it on the market to sell it to her. She says she can feel the area becoming a lot more community spirited. And as a therapist and mindfulness teacher, a number of things still get her goat!


 What’s your link with Bitterne Park?

I've lived in Bitterne Park now for five years. Prior to that I lived in St Denys.

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

I came to what is now my house in 1993 because I knew John who lived here. I worked with him and I visited years ago and said to him, “When you're selling that house, I want you to sell it to me!” So that goes back donkey's years. And I worked with him as a psychiatric nurse in Knowle Hospital in the early 90s.

[We reminisce for a while about John, a well-known Bitterne Parker who was often to be seen in Il Picchio taking his meals. He sadly died about six years ago. We remember way back when he used to work in what was the New Inn in Bevois Valley in perhaps the late 80s, early 90s, and that he always played the best music when he was on duty!]

How could the area be better?

I think the area has changed a lot in the last couple of years. I think a lot of the businesses at The Triangle have made a big difference. So it's become a lot more community orientated and spirited: I can feel that growing.

Tell us something we probably didn't know already about Bitterne Park

There are deer at The Glimpse! [Hannah was the person who alerted us to this a few weeks' back; we were subsequently sent these photos of deer across the river].

What’s good – or not so good – about the wider city?

That it's quite diverse. When my daughter went to Portswood Primary, there was a great diversity. What I think is not so good about it is West Quay: that big concrete structure. There are good points and bad points to that but I think Southampton might have lost its sense of identity or community as a consequence of that, but you can feel that there are little pockets developing. And all you need is a seed to be planted, and growth will follow provided it is nurtured and tended to.

What's your passion in life?

My family are very important to me, combined with mindfulness and the therapeutic work that I do. I love spending time with my children and extended family in Ireland. Mindfulness is my passion and is like ‘my medicine’: it helps to keep me in check and balanced, and it's like an extension of the therapeutic work I do, which is very rewarding. Keeping balance between all of these is important, I feel very fortunate to have them in my life.

How do you put bread on your table?

Through my work as a CBT therapist, and teaching mindfulness within the NHS and private sector: I'm a nurse by profession, but I specialise in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and teach eight-week mindfulness courses.

What has your career taught you?

My career has taught me a lot. However key things are being compassionate, kind and patient.

What really gets your goat?

Lots of things get my goat, mindfulness teacher or not! I suppose feeling stressed if there's too much to be done in too little time. There's a real edge to that sometimes, and that can push my buttons. So that's a general thing. I suppose what does get my goat is dog walkers who don't pick up their dog poo.

How do you relax?

Yoga and meditation, as well as walking the dog: that kind of stuff.

Which is your favourite pub?

I don't drink – or very rarely. But I like the Butcher's Hook: that's a great place. If you'd have asked me this ten years ago I would have said somewhere like The Dolphin and Talking Heads.

What are you drinking?

Lots of juices! Lots of water! Lots of tea!

radioWhat do you listen to?

Well what I was listening to today was Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks: the best album ever! In the mornings I tune into Chris Evans, Desert Island Discs and Woman's Hour and Radio 4. Sometimes I listen to silence!!

Can you recommend a really good read?

Lots of books come to mind, but one from my school days that I quote to this day is Animal Farm by George Orwell.

What's a great day out?

Autumn weather is really nice, out in the countryside with the children and the dog and with fresh air: that is a good day out, and that's what I love. Or, we went to the Great South Run the other Sunday, which was great. We were there to support my daughter who was running; it's a free day out for spectators, so it's something about not being drawn into handing over loads of cash. And there was a kind of camaraderie – something like that I like.

What scares you?

Scary films scare me. And tonight could be very scary [it's Halloween when we chat and Hannah's house is superbly decorated for the occasion!].

What would you most like to change - in the world and in yourself?

In the world, a major reduction in plastic would be a really beneficial: plastic is everywhere, and it's not good for the environment or our health. And in myself nothing. I am what I am…

What's on your 'bucket list'?

I did quite a few things on my bucket list recently – climbed Snowden for example, and saw Van Morrison at the Albert Hall – but things that do spring to mind include travelling and developing my grandparent’s farm in Ireland into a special retreat centre.

Tell us a joke

So, have you heard about the oyster who went to a disco and pulled a mussel?"

 Thanks so much for taking part!

Hannah runs monthly mindfulness drop in sessions at the Butcher's Hook pub in Bitterne Park and in Chandlers Ford. Her website is here.

As told to Guy Phillips.

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions. But before then, do you know a Bitterne Parker we really should feature? If so, please nominate them by emailing us using the contact form, and we'll do our best. No promises, mind.

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

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