Imagine your dad being a spy when your were growing up. That was the reality for Jenny Pratt, who lived in England, Turkey and Zambia while her dad was on assignment. This lust for travel also took her to Belgium and South Africa, where they lived until moving to Werribee’s Heathglen Retirement Village. The 77-year-old tells Charlene Macaulay the full story.
Tell me about your childhood – in particular, growing up with a dad who was involved in espionage.
The reason we were living in Turkey was because he was actually spying … I wasn’t aware of it at all, but my sister knew because she was older. [Dad] was a very active person. We used to play chess and things like that, we used to do the
Telegraph crossword together, and I’ve been doing crosswords ever since.
My brother inherited my father’s cigarette case, which has all the operations that he was involved in … it’s now displayed in a museum.
How did you meet your husband Mike?
We were living in Zambia, and he was in the police force. I was out with my brother and we happened to meet and Mike asked me to dance. He said ‘I hope your boyfriend doesn’t mind’ and I said, ‘well, he’s actually my brother’. The day after, he had to go back to the bush, and I got a letter from him and we corresponded and he more or less proposed. He didn’t know at the time that my father was assistant commissioner of police, so that was a bit embarrassing for him to find that he’d married the boss’ daughter!
You’ve lived all over the world; what brought you to Werribee?
We have two children; one who is still in South Africa and one here. Despite the fact that we were in a retirement village [in South Africa], there was more and more crime and we wanted to visit the family here, but we couldn’t [afford] to keep visiting, so we had to make a choice.
How have you found Werribee compared to other places you’ve lived?
The last place we lived was Cape Town, which is very beautiful. Here was very flat in comparison, and it takes a little while to
see the beauty, but eventually you can see just as much beauty here. Yesterday we were in the You Yangs having a picnic and it was beautiful sunny weather, and it was just gorgeous.
Although you’ve lived in many places, you haven’t done much travelling. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
One place I’ve always wanted to go is Japan. My granddaughter’s just been, and I feel very envious.