Personal Page of John & Shirley Olsen


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Photo of John and Shirley

Well here we are again. I'll tell you a little bit about us.

Shirley and I were married on the 19th. August 1972 in Exmouth, Devon, England, and shortly afterwards moved to Tavistock on the edge of Dartmoor. I was working for Ambrosia, who make rice pudding, as a process development technologist. Shirley had been trained as a nurse, which she had to give up with the birth of our two boys.

In 1987 we both decided that it was time for a complete change. But to do what? In the end, with the boys being older, we decided to buy a Post Office and shop. In the U.K. most of the post office net-work is privately owned, with the Postmaster being an agent for the Post office. Needless to say we don't get paid a wage, but are paid on commission. The smaller the office the lower the commission. But that's another story.

The post office is situated near to Wakefield in West Yorkshire. Over a hundred years ago a famous person lived in our house.

Shirley and I are both Christians and are very much involved in our local church.

My hobby is cultivating cacti and Shirley enjoys going for long walks.

Sadly, Penny, our Xbreed dog, has now died. She was 12 years old and had been very poorly for several months and then on the Sunday after Christmas, 2000, she went off and that was the last time we saw her. The year before, Twitch our rabbit did the same thing. She had escaped from our garden and we thought that we had lost her. Then we heard that a couple in the village had found a rabbit on the cricket ground and had taken her in. They brought her back to us, but she seemed poorly. Two days later she died. Penny loved everybody that was asked into the house, but you had to beware if you hadn't been invited. Twitch even when she was 12 years old was the boss in our back garden, chasing Penny or any bird careless enough to land too close.

A regular visitor to our house is Simon from next door. He's 12 years old. He lives with his dad. While his dad is at work we look after him. Even at the weekends he seems to spend a lot of time with us. We don't mind though as he's a good lad.
After about 10 years of working such long hours and for what we considered a pittance, we decided to put the property and business on the market, but not with any success. Then on 2nd. March 2001, I suffered a brain haemorrhage and was off work for 6 months. (Please read my full account). I did go back to work again, for a year.
During the year that I had been back at work, I realised that my doctor was right and that I shouldn't have gone back to work. I found that I couldn't really cope, and got stressed out too easily. The answer was to sell up and move. As the business had been on the market for several years with no interest, we decided the way forward was to close down the business and sell the property as a domestic house. We closed down the post office and shop on 2nd. August 2002, and at the moment I am out of work. We finally said good-bye to the post office and Horbury Bridge and moved into our new house in Horbury, on 4th. October 2002. I have been put on Incapacity Benefit for the next 5 years. So although finances are tight, I do have some money coming in.
During early 2003, Shirley suffered appendicitus. After much pain, she finally had her appendix removed - just in time they said.

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