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Quite apart from the amazing comfort, spaciousness and support, the village is a wonderful combination of lots of activities, wonderful friendliness, and the chance, when you want, to be alone and undisturbed. Everyone can do their retirement their way!

Ruth Finnegan OBE - Author

Shenley Wood Village

Meet Ruth!

Resident Ruth Finnegan OBE is a renowned scholar and celebrated writer. Ahead of her book launch in February Ruth discusses her latest work, her writing process and why Shenley Wood Retirement Village is the perfect place for her.

Can you talk about the process of writing your latest book and how you started writing in general?

My latest academic work is a book called Communicating, the multiple modes of human communication, it was a lot of work, researching into animal as well as human communication is a huge subject. It’s a third edition so though it has a lot of the original 2002 material, it also has more research.

I naturally started writing almost as soon as I could read and from then on I’ve somehow never stopped. In my job at the Open University I had to do lots of writing but a major turn was when, about 12 years ago, I added creative writing to my repertoire. That began in dreams as an in-between state that’s both asleep and awake.

Whats your favourite thing about being a writer?

The chance to be myself I suppose.

Which of your many works are you most proud of?

Usually whichever one I’m working on or have just finished!

I like Communicating, the multiple modes of human communication best. I’m really proud that it’s already got some good reviews on Amazon.

Of creative books I’ve written “The helix pearl, the tale of the wine-dark garrulous sea” is my favourite, it’s inspired by Homer, I’m proud of that!

Why did you decide to move to Shenley Wood Village and where were you before?

I thought for a long time that a retirement village would be right for me but not for my husband who had been ill, so when he moved into a care home, I had a flyer through my letterbox, and I applied to move here from our long-time home in Bletchley Milton Keynes. I’ve been here since June 2023 and I love it!

I feel totally safe and secure. I think I’m not really a person who suffers from loneliness but if I did this would certainly help.

Whats your favourite thing about living at an ExtraCare village?


Do you involve yourself in activities or events at Shenley Wood, is there a writing related group you are a part of?

Yes. Lots! I’m involved in the library and IT suite, choir, gym, seated exercise, church services, expeditions, street meetings – oh, and just walking along the warm corridors and meeting people who become friends.

I have also contributed to “Chatterbox” and belong to “Sharing Words”. That makes me feel I want to contribute as well as just take, so along with others I plan to start a book club as soon as we can find a slot. If there’s any interest I’d also like to run a small clinic, maybe in my apartment, on writing and on publishing as I have experience of both, including running a small family publishers.

Would you recommend living at Shenley Wood Village?

Absolutely. Quite apart from the amazing comfort, spaciousness and support, it’s a wonderful combination of lots of activities, wonderful friendliness, and the chance, when you want, to be alone and undisturbed. And it’s such a beautiful, beautiful setting!

Everyone can do it their way!

It’s also a huge relief and reassurance for a resident’s family, for them it’s the greatest of benefits.  

What would you like others to know about living here?

Yes, it costs, of course. But it’s amazing value and everything is made so easy.

Why should others take up writing?

Well it’s more that writing takes up you! What might otherwise be blank time can keep your mind going, it lets you be yourself.

It’s unlikely to make you money but that’s not the point. With luck others will read what you write, enjoy it, even learn and feel inspired.

Where is your latest book available for people who are interested in reading?

Communicating, the multiple modes of human communication is on Amazon here.

My most recent novel is Black Pearl Island: Kris and Kate explore the universe one of a series about a girl’s adventures, it can be found here.


For anyone who’d like to attend Ruth’s book launch event will take place on 29th February in the Shenley Wood Village Hall and will feature two guest speakers.


Other Stories

When my parents got older, I reduced work hours to part time to support them. I didn’t want to put my children in the same position, being here we don’t have to. Here we have everything we need, it’s the banter and the wonderful sense of community that I love, it really is amazing.

Brenda & George

Lark Hill Village

The best thing is having the support. We see each other most days. You can argue with a friend and you could never speak to them again but if you argue with a sibling they are still your sibling in the morning. I’m very protective of my brothers.”

Betty, Jim and Liam

Hagley Road Village