ZANDRA Kelly (40), originally from Lismore Lawn and now living in Avondale is a true Waterford girl. The mammy of two girls, Julia (17) and Jaimie (12) she works with children in the areas of Montessori teaching, Special needs and Autism studies. She is the daughter of Sean and Mary and has one brother Jonathan and sister Sheena who lives in the UK with her partner Jonny and twin boys, Shay and Milo (12), who she hasn’t seen since August 2019, due to Covid-19.
A life in a day
I recently dislocated my elbow so the day to day routine has changed drastically from the busy Childcare Worker, who was training for triathlons, swimming in a pool, cycling, going to the gym, jogging daily, and being a busy mammy. I get my children up for school, drop them off and then head out to the Guillamene Swimming Cove for a nice icy dip for 10 to 20 minutes. I find the cold water a great therapy for the chronic pain in my arm, so I can go about for the day pain free, and pain killer free. I’m not allowed to cycle yet, as the vibrations from the wrist into the elbow would be too painful and might cause me to have an accident while out. I’ll head home to walk my dogs for about 6-8km, depending on if I feel fatigued, and then back home to clean up and have lunch. I will try and completed 3 rounds minimum of Physio exercises during the day to keep my arm mobile. Then back to collect my daughters after school, home for dinner, sit down painting Warhammer 40k miniatures with my boyfriend Caolan to relax, while watching some Netflix.
What school did you go to?
I went to the Presentation Secondary School from 1993 – 1999. I always remember the finish year, as our Debs was on the 9/9/’99.
What teacher do you remember most vividly?
I remember many teachers, but one especially due to her nature with all the girls in school – Ms Gildea, our Irish teacher. She was strict as they come, you would not dare cross her, but she was fair. She never picked on anyone, never made anyone feel like they were less than etc.. She knew all our personal abilities and would set homework accordingly – e.g. if I was able to learn 10 lines, but another could only learn 5 and another could learn 20, she would expect YOUR best from you. That ethos has always stuck with me and is probably why I adored Montessori Teaching, a child will learn at their pace and move on when they are ready and have “absorbed” the information. It still baffles me why children are rushed through the education process, instead of letting them all get through it at their own pace and ability, which in turn makes they thrive more and achieve greater.
What advice would you give your 15 –year old self?
Get your 3rd level education done straight after school. I did courses here and there, never stopped upskilling and improving, but didn’t qualify from UCC until 2016. Now at 40, and with an injury which could realistically impact me ever going back into the sector I adore, I have to accept that I may have to retrain and upskill in a whole other area to be employable in the future. This is an intimidating concept… so live your life, but get your qualifications first…
How do you relax?
I go Sea Swimming and paint miniatures. I started Sea Swimming with the “Sunday Dippers” out in Annestown before lockdown hit in 2020. I found it great for head space, relaxing and resetting any anxiety or stress I was carrying. With Lockdown restrictions at 2k, and then 5km and Pools closed, I then had to find another outlet. So at home, I sit down and create colourful pieces of art on “plastic crack”. It is not a cheap hobby, but there are websites which have sales on pieces, as well as a local shop out in the Waterford Airport Business Park, Waterford Airsoft Supplies, run by John Power. Pre-elbow injury I loved axe-throwing!
What is your favourite film and piece of music?
Monty Python’s Life of Brian is my Favourite Movie and
I have many pieces of music I love: My favourite live rock piece – My Hero – Foo Fighters/ So What – Pink, My favourite Musical Song – Bring him home from Les Mis
When was the last time you cried?
Unfortunately, there has been a lot of that over the last 12 months, for a variety of reasons, so I won’t give a specific answer to keep privacy. But I will state, it is good to let it out.
What has been your happiest moment of recent times?
Myself and Caolan went to Tenerife in August, we are both scared of heights, and decided to do a Paratrike into the sky. It is like paragliding, only you are sitting in a trike, with a pilot behind you and the parachute above you, and a fan behind him, powering you on. Pushing myself through my biggest fear was the greatest thing to bring me so much joy. It was an amazing experience, which I would do again in a heartbeat, and made me realise most of my barriers, are in my own head.
Do you pray?
My mother will kill me for saying no, as she gives me the St Anthony prayers, and I do have the prayer cards of loved ones who have passed away – Kathleen Hauck and Tom Hayes, but I do not pray on a daily basis.. No. I’m more Atheist, with a spiritual and moral compass.
What is your biggest fear?
That I will struggle to get my arm working. I would like it to be nearly at full mobility when all the investigations – MRI, Nerve Study/ surgery/ physio is done. The accident was in March 2021 and I’ve been told it takes 12 to 18 months to heal, and that’s if it is a straight forward recovery…. mine isn’t.
What is your most treasured possession?
I was about to say my children, but they aren’t a possession… a beautiful Pisces necklace, given to me by a great friend, Sharon Houlihan for my 40th, I wear it most times I go anywhere.
What is your favourite thing about living in Waterford?
We are spoiled for water areas for swimming, even living in the city, I am about 20 to 30 mins away from Dunmore East, Rathmoylan Cove, Guillamene, Newtown cove, Annestown, Bunmahon, Stradbally… not to mention the nature walks and trails including the Greenway. We are spoiled for nature escapes, and they are all free. Now if those using those areas could bring their rubbish home with them afterwards, these areas will be beautiful for longer.
If you could change one thing about Waterford, what would it be?
The Quay… it’s a mess. I don’t go to town anymore due to the tailbacks, the one-way systems and then the price of parking. Yes I know there are affordable places to park for €1 an hour, but if I take my mother to town, her mobility isn’t the same as mine, so parking closer is the only way, which costs me more, and no, she isn’t bad enough to qualify for a blue badge. There is just no incentive to pop in. Bray is 30c an hour, we went to Sea Life with the kids a few years back and it only cost 90c for 3 hours to stay there and have a picnic on the beach and walk around.