‘We’d all be happier if we just smiled at strangers’

Vivianne Child. Picture for Question Time in the HeraldExpress.
Vivianne Child. Picture for Question Time in the HeraldExpress.

What’s your earliest memory?

Walking to Goldfield School, on my own, wearing a pale blue raincoat. Am I strange for having no memories before the age of five?

What do you wish they’d taught you at school, but didn’t?

Being able to talk to people and get on with them is just as important as academic success. The junior schools in Tring run a scheme called the 3Es; Energy, Esteem and Enquiry; that encourages children to develop those key skills for work and life and I wish we’d had something similar when I was very young.

Ignore what you’re doing now – if you could do any job in the world, what would it be and why?

My dream job has always been to be personal coach to Prince Charles.

Of all the places you’ve been in your life, which would you recommend to a stranger?

The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford because it’s the most bizarre place I’ve ever visited. It’s full of amazing artefacts (including shrunken heads!) that have been collected from all around the world. Augustus Pitt Rivers donated his collection to start the museum and he must have been an amazing character.

If you could pass one new law tomorrow, what would it be and why?

Everyone must smile and say ‘hello’ as they pass each other in the street. I’m convinced we’d feel better for it.

You can invite three people – living or dead, from any period – round for dinner. Who are they and why?

Marilyn Monroe, Florence Nightingale and Anita Roddick. I think their private personas were probably very different from their public face and I’d like to get to know them.

If you were stuck on Death Row, what would you pick for your final meal?

Champagne and smoked salmon.

And if you could write your own epitaph or come up with famous last words in advance, what would you pick?

‘Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.’ Clint Eastwood.

How do you relax?

Walking in the fantastic countryside around Tring, My favourite walk is round the reservoirs near Little Tring.

If you had to give up something tomorrow, what would you find it hardest to live without?

My husband. Everyone knows that I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I do if it wasn’t for Barry.

What’s the most important lesson that life has taught you so far?

Laughter is the best medicine. When I’m happy I feel as if I could rule the world.

Favourite films of all time?

Some Like It Hot. I love this film so much that I watched it on my wedding day before I started to get ready. The scene where Jack Lemmon is dressed as a woman, dancing with a blindfolded Latin band with a rose between his teeth makes me laugh every time I see it.