Catch Up with Elizabeth Tavares (née Taylor)

Elizabeth Tavares (née Taylor)-2I really enjoyed reading other people’s catch-up auto-biographies so I decided to write one myself.

After school I studied Biological Sciences at Lancaster University where I enjoyed the atmosphere of a new university still in the process of developing. I briefly toyed with the idea of doing a PhD but a spell of holiday work in a lab showed me that I wanted to have more contact with people. I knew that biology teaching was becoming more discovery based and decided to try it. I did my teacher’s training at Keele and then taught in Chippenham.

In 1973 I married Pedro, we had become friends at Lancaster when he was doing his M.A.  We made our home in Portugal, where we have lived ever since. The first year I taught English for a few months and lived through the revolution of 1974, which although relatively peaceful caused quite a lot of social upheaval. The second year I improved my portuguese by doing a year’s course at Lisbon University. After this I was very pleased to get a job teaching biology at an International School near where we live. At the time it was relatively small and the future was very uncertain due to the revolution. However, it survived and grew into a thriving school where I taught very happily for 37 years – becoming Head of Biology and eventually Head of Science. I really enjoyed working in an international environment, the school and the ways of teaching changed so much that it was always interesting, also my fellow biology teachers were very supportive friends.

Music has continued to be a very important aspect of my life, it was through music that I met Pedro and I have continued to enjoy playing the piano and recorder as well as singing. Working in a school provided all sorts of musical possibilities, I even returned to playing the clarinet in the school orchestra.

We have two daughters who both live with their families in Cambridge, they each have three young children and now that we are both retired we are able to spend more time helping them and enjoying their company, fortunately we are are able to see them several times a year. We have also continued visiting the Island frequently as I still have several family members there, although this will change somewhat as my mother died last autumn.

Now that we are retired and freer we spend more time on the fruit farm that we have in Alcobaça, a town with a lovely old Cistercian monastery. We indulge in gardening, conserving the wild plants and encouraging the wild animals to stay around, one of our delights is seeing how the number of fireflies is increasing every year. The rest of the time we live in Oeiras just along the coast from Lisbon, where we can enjoy seeing the sunrise and the cruise ships from Southampton going into the River Tejo!