John Halewood-Dodd column

John Halewood Dodd.
John Halewood Dodd.

The most positive development in my personal life of late is that my adult daughter, Sasha, has moved in to live with me.

As a result of personal issues, and the fact that she has been studying, and latterly travelling, we have not spent as much time together as we would both have liked.

I was pleased as punch when she said that she would like to stay with me whilst completing her studies at the University of Cumbria.

Friday is her 23rd birthday and whilst discussing her plans to celebrate she asked what I was doing when I was her age. As is often the case with me there was a tale to tell.

When I was 23 I was a student at college with Sasha’s mother, Michelle. During the summer break we decided to visit Canada where Michelle’s father was resident.

Being students we had little money and decided that it would be a working holiday. As Michelle had dual citizenship she also had a Canadian national insurance number. This meant that she was able to work legally, whereas any work I found would have to be on the black market.

When we arrived in Vancouver we both set out to find employment and I was fortunate enough to be able to obtain work as a labourer on a building site. It soon became obvious that they were unwilling to pay me cash in hand and as such I decided to give them Michelle’s national insurance number. Therefore, I began work as Michelle Halewood-Dodd.

This may sound strange but given that a fair percentage of Canadians are of French origin the French pronounce Michael as Michelle, albeit with a different spelling.

Therefore, nobody raised an eyebrow when I told them my name was Michellle.

The only problem was that I found it really difficult to remember my new persona, and more often than not I would completely ignore my work colleagues when they asked ‘Michelle‘ to do anything.

After a week or two I got used to being called Michelle and spent ten glorious weeks working on this building site earning good money.

Oh to be young again but without dual personality.