Drawn to Mistley

Liz Meston, co-founder of The Curtain Exchange in Coggeshall and acrossthe UK, tells Essex Life why, even after 20 years, she still loves Mistley

Tell us about your family I have been married to my husband, William, for 27 years and we have two sons, Dougall, 23, and Felix, 21, and one daughter, Louise, who is 13 years old.

Do you have any pets? We have Tilly our adorable Labrador, who is 11 years old, and Squeaky the guinea pig.

Where do you live? Magnificent Mistley! I just love it.

How long have you lived there? For the past 20 years.

What do you like about where you live? The people and the water.

What do you do for a living? I work in the interiors trade and employ 30 people. I started The Curtain Exchange with Juliana Galvin in the recession of 1990. We are primarily famous for the second-hand curtains we provide. Back in 1990 we were the founders of this industry and way ahead of our time. We have four managed shops: two in London, one in Bury St Edmunds and one in Coggeshall, and franchisees in other parts of the country. Now we have moved into a new side of the trade, supplying beautiful curtains and blinds with a huge choice of fabrics. There is also a curtain and blind trade department which makes up products for many interior designers.

Most Read

What do you love about your job? Dealing with the variety of clients and the challenges they throw at us.

What has been the proudest moment in your career so far? Our first day of trading in 1990. We made sales amounting to �500.

Where do you see yourself in five years time? Helping behind the scenes for an old age charity.

What are your hobbies? Reading, travelling, tennis, walking, riding, shopping and chatting to good friends.

How do you relax?When I get the chance I enjoy a big glass of wine in nice surroundings and in good company.

Do you have any hidden talents? Keeping secrets.

What is your worst habit? Partying.

Which five guests would you invite to a dinner party and why? My maternal grandmother, Mary Alexander, who was one of the first female Scottish doctors and qualified in about 1915. I'd also invite Terence Conran, one of the great design innovators of our time, and Dali to have a chance to try and get into his brain. I'd like to learn from the wisdom of Gore Vidal and I'd invite Henry VIII because he was such a character and seemed to like women.

What is your favourite song or piece of music and why? Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto; it was my son's first violin piece.

Where are the best views to be had in Essex? Mistley of course.

Describe Essex in one sentence: Off the beaten track

What is your favourite town in Essex and why? Manningtree. A huge talent lurks in its midst.

Who or what is the greatest love of your life? It has to be my husband.