Ireland's first female vet faced obstacles every step of the way
I recently presented an open goal to my husband Robin and he duly booted the ball into the back of the net.
I don't know what precipitated my disclosure. Maybe it was the occasion of our wedding anniversary (14th) that foolishly led me to believe I was on safe territory.
Anyway, what I said was, as a romantic child, I dreamed of becoming the first woman to ride the winner of the Aintree Grand National… and just after passing the line my stirrup leather would break and I could have been badly hurt except for the magical appearance of a knight in shining armour who would sweep to my rescue.
Even as the words tumbled from my lips, I could see a smirk spread across his gob.
What's so funny? I asked. I know the end of the story is corny but, surely, I said, the first part is perfectly aspirational. Yes, I wanted the soppy ending, but only after doing my bit to drive on female equality.
It turns out an entirely different image had popped into his mind; of me falling at the first fence and, instead of a shining knight, waking up a tubby member of the ambulance service.
Talk about shattering my dream.
As a teenager, I had a different dream, of becoming a vet. Which didn't happen either. Because I didn't get enough points in my Leaving Cert. What I didn't have to face was a societal barrier. That particular obstacle was shattered by Aleen Cust, the first woman vet in Ireland and Britain.