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September 03, 2020

Her title might read Professor Corrigan but make no mistake, Debbie blows the white coat wearing image apart when you get to know her. Here she lets us in on some childhood memories and what she is teaching herself to master again... 

Cooking inspires me: I love cooking, particularly cakes and desserts. Cooking is creative for me and it allows me to follow along with the recipe to mix it up and do something different. It also means that there is something delicious to be eaten and this usually means sitting down and relaxing or having a conversation. What is not happy about creating and then taking a break!

Watching a movie is one of my favourite ways to unwind: Except thrillers and horror movies. They are not high on my list! I think images are such a powerful way to communicate and movies give you insights into other people’s imaginations. You can also lose yourself in a story as it comes to life. When I am creating something I often play a movie I have seen before in the background. For me, this sets a mood of creativity, as you can see how others have imagined something. You do not have to concentrate so hard on it as you are familiar with it, even though I see something new every time I watch a movie. 

Comics and pinball are fond childhood memories: Reading Marvel & DC Comics and playing pinball were things I loved to do as a kid. My favourite comics were Justice League - the movies are nowhere near as good as the comics - and my favourites were Superman and Wonder Woman.

I love the change of pinball (and computer games - I am talking Space Invaders here from the 70s). My favourite pinball game was one modelled on a baseball game- time the bat to strike at the right time added some challenge.

I read about 100 pages every hour: So I churn through a lot of books. I am currently reading Jane Harper - Force of Nature. But I can read anything. I often read an entire book- either editing an academic book or reading a Mills and Boon novel. If I am on holiday or really engrossed in a book, I am guilty of not putting it down unless I finish it! Of course, this hasn’t happened too recently as there is always something to do - but I have a feeling having no power in the next day or two will see me once again achieve a book in one go. 

My kids think I could win the napping Olympics: I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime. This was a skill I got from my dad, the master at a quick ‘40 winks’. I love a 10min power nap. Even just 10mins can re-energise me. 

I love driving manual cars: Driving a manual car allows me to think I have greater control of the car. I find it a more pleasant drive as I do not only rely on brakes to slow the car down- you can use the engine and gears to do that. And I also think it is gentler on the car- my last set of tyres lasted 120,000kms! I particularly love driving manual cars on twisting and turning roads as I can control the corners better. I have even mastered driving a manual car in Europe (on the other side of the road and with my right hand on the gears) through the Swiss, French, and Italian Alps. Very spectacular, but sometimes scary when you meet big trucks on autobahns or tight corners!

Research is my happy place: the whole act of delving into something intrigues me and gets me involved. I think if you are going to engage in research you have to be inherently curious, but you also need to be interested in what you are researching. And I would urge people to not get too hung up on following a recipe for doing the research - so long as you can explain why you did it that way, and someone else can follow it - you should be fine. Once you have success at it, you apply it to all sorts of areas - my personal favourite is applying research techniques to shopping for big tickets items such as cars. I do find car salespeople never expect women to know much about cars! 

I love gardening: My current project is building a greenhouse with my husband so that I can grow lots of herbs, flowers, and veggies all year round. My journal is overflowing with plants to play with once the greenhouse is up and running. It is great fun putting all the pieces together as it is like adult lego, and the instructions are so much better than Ikea- even though at times an Allan Key is involved.

Take a look at the journals Debbie always has with to capture her ideas here. 

I did a woodworking course and loved it: I am proud of the fact that all the furniture I made is still in use - but the one piece that has probably endured the best is the child’s table and chairs set that I made when the children were little. That table in particular nearly gets used every day- and has seen some pretty tough use over the years. I think it is indestructible and now doubles as a small table in front of our outdoor fireplace. Even with all its dents and paint splotches from more playful times. It is also a great games table.

I am playing the piano again: I started learning to play the piano with an older lady who gave me lessons at lunchtime while I was in primary school (as in those days, if you could, people went home for lunch from school). The lessons moved to evenings in secondary school which was much easier for my Mum to manage. The lady was a great teacher- she had high expectations but really bothered to bring the music to life and got me to play music I actually enjoyed. I did music exams and while preparing for my Grade 6 exams, I broke my ankle playing netball, and I never went back to it. All these years later, you realise what control you developed in your fingers and the mental effort it takes to tell your fingers on each hand to do completely different things. It is going to take a lot of work to get some of that back, but it does come back slowly. I am always in awe of people who can play by ear. I still love classical piano- so relaxing. I listen to it in the car as there are no other fans of classical piano in the family.

Debbie x



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