IT’S never too late to learn as a Belford woman, who has recently completed a year-long beauty therapy course, has proved.
Carol Wood is a 70-year-old great-grandmother, and last September she embarked on what she described as ‘the greatest challenge’ of her life.
After she and her husband retired from running their guesthouse, Mrs Wood decided she needed something to do and the year before last took a crash pedicure and manicure course as well as a correspondence course for the theory.
“I just can’t stand being inactive and I have always liked feet,” Mrs Wood said.
“I found people and friends my own age couldn’t bend down and cut their toenails and things like that.
“I thought ‘I’ll go in for this and learn about feet’.
“Then I wanted to learn how to wax faces. Before I knew where I was, I was on the course. They let me do it for free which was a good incentive.
“Retrospectively, I should have been a chiropodist, but it would have been too expensive and I would have had to go away. This was the next best thing.”
Mrs Wood, who has two daughters, two granddaughters and a great-granddaughter, studied her Level 2 beauty therapy course in Berwick, where her time was split between Northumberland College and the student beauty salon at the top of Hide Hill.
She learnt how to wax, shape and pluck eyebrows, apply false eyelashes and extensions, do facials as well as improving her manicure and pedicure technique.
Mrs Wood struggled in one area – bikini waxing – as she ‘was too frightened about hurting people’.
The other problems that she came up against were perhaps not the ones that other students might encounter, including using computers.
“It was the practicalities of it that were difficult – there were three flights of stairs in the training salons,” said Mrs Wood. “I’m reasonably active but the young kids used to moan about that.”
She also said that her hearing and her unfamiliarity with the Berwick accent made it difficult at times.
Mrs Wood said that the other students, who ranged in age from 17 to early 40s, were very tolerant of her and very helpful.
“They must have found me a complete oddity,” she added.
Nonetheless, Mrs Wood turned out to be an excellent student and at the end of the year was ‘thrilled and proud’ to be named Adult Learner of the Year for beauty therapy.
She thanked the tutors, fellow students, friends and not least husband Stan for their support, as well as being her ‘guinea pigs’ in the case of the latter two.
Now it’s all about continuing to put her skills to good use, helping people in north Northumberland and she is looking for new clients for her mobile manicure and pedicure business.
“I like doing this but I think some people, especially older people, have terrible feet if there are inactive and cannot get about,” Mrs Wood said.
“It’s amazing what a difference you can make.”
Mrs Wood, who is a member of the WI, will have a stall at the WI County Day, which takes place at Glendale Middle School in Wooler on Saturday, where she will demonstrate techniques such as paraffin wax hand treatment.