I had quite a typical upbringing in 1960s Britain after having arrived in London from Jamaica at the age of 5 years. Typical in that life revolved around family and friends and when school finished, there was always time to play. At 10 years we moved up to North Wales, place of my father’s birth and life settled into a routine which was decidedly a sign of the times – family, church on Sundays and school assembly every day!
I went to boarding school at 13 years and I loved my time there until I left after A levels. I was blessed that the school was encouraging in the arts and I played clarinet in the school orchestra and sang in the choir too! If there were plays, I tried hard to get a part even though I was very shy when it came to standing before an audience. I did love however, to read in school assembly whenever I could!
At the beginning of the 1980s I felt my options were limited although why I would believe that is a mystery given who my parents were! I chose to go to secretarial college 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, but never militant!
I was persuaded at age 25 years to go back to college and I signed up for a drama course which should have only been 2 years. At the same time I was the singer in a ska band and it was a fortuitous moment when half of the band went on holiday to Barcelona one Easter and I fell in love with the place! The following year at college saw me switch courses to be able to include Spanish, as gigging all over Catalunya and other parts of Spain saw a natural talent that needed to be exploited. Whilst the band came to an end for me (not them though, still going strong 30 plus years on!), I then enjoyed travelling to Israel and Brazil and as fate would have it, the continent beckoned!
Work & Travel
1992 saw me working on a yacht in Italy and when the season came to an end, I knew one thing for sure! There was no way I was going to work on a yacht anymore! I had had the best summer of my life but the fighter in me was not the best employee to put up with the whims of the wealthy and I found my way to Mallorca, thanks to one of my siblings who was here.
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 who accepted me in 1999 when we decided to move out of the capital with our then only son. Now there are two sons and one ex partner who is still a wonderful co parenting father and 12 years after separating, we get on better than ever. To top things, my elderly mother moved over 2 years ago as did my elder sister and the family is still close as the kids become responsible adults.
My feline house companions are Miss Mypenny Mixau who walked in one day during the summer of 2013 and dominates the landing for scuffles and scratches every time I walk down the stairs! Sitting on his router WiFi throne is Bones, official name Felix Hector, who I found whilst out walking one day in the summer of 2017 when just a few weeks old and on his last legs. He’s the snottiest of companions but means well even if he does snore and sneeze all day long!
If anyone were to ask me about my working history, I have done a lot! I have milked cows on a kibbutz as well as working in the cotton fields there! I have taught English -badly – in Brazil. I have worked in offices for all sorts of companies in London and Mallorca and I’ve bossed people around whenever I’ve had the opportunity! 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!
Being a Celebrant
In 2011, sitting on the beach one summer’s day with my good friend Jo, a teacher, I got a call from a mother of a 4-year-old who wanted a ceremony in which she would appoint another friend as his godmother due to the fact that his original godmother had died from a cancer. She’d been told I would be perfect for the ceremony by Joanna Walton the florist, a woman I regularly met on the networking circuit when I had a proper job for a local self-storage company. Quite how Joanna thought I was a celebrant is still a mystery but 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! Thanks to this mother being a friend not only of Joanna but also of wedding planner, Tor Cooper Evans, I was asked by Tor to do my first wedding the following year. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity she gave me and also her trust in me as I went on to do her own wedding back in 2014!
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; my love of the mystical, pondering questions of who am I and where do I go from here and my endless curiosity of human nature – why do we do what we do and when will we learn! A dear colleague, photographer Vicki McLeod, reminded me recently that my first wedding was actually her’s, 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.
Since I went full time in 2013 to concentrate on celebrant’s work, I have studied some more! I did a funeral celebrancy training with the UK Fellowship of Professional Celebrants in 2015 and then I did 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 and I want to offer my services at end of life to support those who feel they have no religious faith and to know there’s something out there for them. I want to be called, just like the vicars and pastors of old, to the dying to administer some words of comfort as I truly believe we are here to be supported at these 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 as I know no one who does this work here. 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 blessed, light, wisdom, happiness and magic and of course, honoured to share so many important moments with so many!