Eileen is 74, and is a retired Photojournalist.
She is a widow, doesn’t have any children, and lives alone in the house she bought with her husband.
She went to school with Bill’s mother, Alice, and they were close friends until Eileen moved away.
She rented out the family home and spent 30 years travelling the world.
Her husband, David, was also a journalist and they frequently worked together on stories.
David died suddenly in 2001, and Alice moved back to the family home, becoming something of a recluse.
She has thousands of photographs covering major world events, spanning several decades.
She is fiercely independent, but beginning to find it more difficult to manage without help, particularly with the garden and shopping.
She would love to digitise her extensive collection of photographs, and secretly longs to share her photos and stories, but has lacked confidence since David died, and now struggles to ‘break the ice’ with people she doesn’t know.
She is very concerned that the village shop may close down, as it is a lifeline, and she no longer drives a car.
In 2050 Eileen would have been 104. Sadly, she didn’t quite make it to 2050, and died in 2042 when she was 96. That said, she remained active well into her 90s and really enjoyed the last thirty years of her life.
When we first met Eileen, she was rather unhappy and anxious about the future. It didn’t help living all on her own in a house full of memories.
However, life started to improve when she was re-introduced to her old school friend, Alice (Bill’s mother). It was as if they had never been separated, and they started doing things together. One day, Eileen showed Alice some of her photos, which Alice then mentioned to Bill when they were eating supper that night. Small villages being what they are, word spread, and within a few days Eileen was persuaded to give a slideshow and talk at the Taylor’s business co-working space. That then led to an exhibition at the village hall.
One thing led to another, and the project to digitise ALL of Eileen’s photos was born. With the help of the Taylors, Tom Young and a couple of other friendly local businesses, the photos were scanned, categorised and contextualised, and published on a website. The physical and digital worlds met when the village hall was repurposed in 2028. Visitors were able to ‘journey through’ Eileen’s images, and explore them further with additional information presented through virtual and augmented reality.
Several other factors helped to improve Eileen’s life:
- She took in a lodger, Ellie, and they became friends. Having company really helped Eileen’s confidence, and Ellie was able to help around the house, and with the shopping. Eileen continued to take in lodgers when Ellie left to go on her travels.
- Instead of failing, the local shop went from strength-to-strength as a community owned social enterprise. Stocking local produce (including vegetables and meat from Bill’s farm), it was staffed almost entirely by volunteers, which helped to keep the costs down. Eileen even volunteered there herself for several years.
- Medical technology improved apace. As so often is the case, something that started as science fiction – the powered exoskeleton – was pioneered by the military, and became ‘normal’ in the mid 2030s. By the time Eileen needed help walking, the technology was so good that it just resembled slightly thicker than normal knee bandages.