Life in 60s Britain was rather typical! After all, I’d arrived there on a banana boat from Jamaica at an early age. Family and friends were priority and when school finished, there was always time to play. Eventually we moved to Wales, land of my father. Life settled into a routine – a sign of the times – family, church on Sundays and school assembly!
I went to boarding school at 13 years and I loved my time there until I left after A levels. School encouraged us in the arts and I played clarinet in the school orchestra and sang in the choir too! I enjoyed acting too, even though I was very shy going on stage. However, school assembly provided me the opportunity to overcome any fears!
At the beginning of the 1980s options were limited but I chose to go to secretarial college. I always liked imagining that I could one day become a CEO of a multinational. How grateful I am in hindsight for discovering my feminist years although I was angry for many of them, never militant!
At 25 years I went back to college for a 2 year drama course. I was also the singer in a ska band. It was a fortuitous moment when half of the band went on holiday to Barcelona. It was Easter and I immediately fell in love with the place and we played two gigs! Back at university had me switch courses to be able to include Spanish. Whilst the band came to an end for me (Maroon Town are still going strong), off to Israel and Brazil I went!
Travel & Mallorca
1992 found me working in Italy aboard a yacht for the summer season! I had the best summer of my life although I wasn’t the easiest employee to put up with the whims of the wealthy. I found my way to Mallorca, thanks to one of my siblings who was here, fell in love and had my first born in 1994.
Fast forward to 2019 and I am still here, more lines on my face and definitely more kilos around my waist! Happy to call Mallorca home and totally grateful to the town of Binissalem where I’ve been since 1999. Two adult sons are my life and one ex partner and we manage to wonderfully co parent. My elderly mother moved over a few years ago as did my elder sister and life is good.
My house companions now the kids have left home are Miss Mypenny and Bones who lie around all day, just like cats do!
Becoming a celebrant
I have done a lot in my life, from milking cows on a kibbutz and working in the cotton fields too! In Brazil I taught English -badly – and I’ve worked for all sorts of companies around the world! Whenever I’ve had the opportunity I’ve also bossed people around ! But the best job I’ve had, has been that of a celebrant and quite how that came about will always be the best story I can tell!
One summer’s day in 2011, whilst sitting on the beach, I got a call. It was from the mother of a 4-year-old who wanted a ceremony. Her son’s godmother had sadly died and she wanted another friend to become his new godmother. She’d been told I would be perfect to officiate the ceremony by Joanna Walton the florist!
Quite how Jo thought I was a celebrant is still a mystery as we knew each other from networking events! Yet it makes for a perfect story as that day changed my life! I said yes as is my wont to do and a couple of weeks later I performed my first ceremony for this family! Luckily the family were happy with the outcome and told all their friends, one of whom was a wedding planner! That’s when Tor Cooper Evans asked me to do my first wedding the following year. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity she gave me and also her trust in me. I even went on to do her own wedding in 2014!
On the right path
Looking back I shouldn’t be surprised as all the signs were there! My love of churches but not of the patriarchal religions. My love of reading out loud and using my voice for comfort. Interest in the mystical, always pondering questions of who am I and where do I go from here. And my insatiable curiosity of human nature – why do we do what we do and when will we learn! My friend, photographer Vicki McLeod, reminded me recently that my first wedding was actually her’s! That was back in 2005 over on the south-west of the island when she’d asked me along to translate what the registrar would be saying! I had a chuckle that day as her guests thought that I was the registrar! Who would have thought it started way before that summer’s day on the beach in 2011.
More learning and training
Since 2013 I am a full time celebrant, having studied some more! A funeral celebrancy training with the UK Fellowship of Professional Celebrants happened in 2015. There followed a year’s course on spiritual end of life care with Asociación Vinyana in Barcelona in 2017. Since December 2015 I have been facilitating the Mallorca Death Café on a regular basis, fascinated how every encounter is different and how grief is so overlooked in our society!
I want my future to delve deeper into the sacred, being there at end of life and supporting those who may have no religious faith. I want to be called, just like the vicars and pastors of old, to the dying. If I can administer words of comfort that will help those facing such profound moments.
I am proud to call myself a celebrant and to be part of a movement that is changing the way we do ceremony. I am forging a new path and sometimes feel lonely living in paradise from a professional point of view. However, I am confident that all will be revealed to me in due course as long as I put one foot in front of the other, day by day!
If I were to sum up my life in a few words I would say I am blessed! There is light, wisdom, happiness and magic all around me and of course, I am honoured to share so many important moments with so many!