Here I will attempt to introduce myself to you as candidly as possible. I’ve left out all the failures, which are just the stepping stones to success ( someone said).
I’ve been in France since 1984!! So yes…… yonks.!
I was born in colonial East Africa (Uganda and spent my childhood in Kenya). Moved to Cornwall UK to finish my schooling and then spent a few years in London studying.(the book of life!)
Returned to Kenya for a couple of years and travelled a while, to get it out of my system and truly realise that I’m happiest in Europe.
I have 3 children and 2 step-children .The eldest 37yrs and the youngest 19 yrs…… And six miraculous grandchildren .
My main interests are personal development and internal struggle, compassion. gentle sport, modern literature , outdoors ,half-hearted yoga, meditation and discussing ideas.
I love TED talks, stand up comedy, debates on atheism, deism and philosophy ( Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris style) and good quality art and music of any kind.
I’m not interested in reality TV, politics and world affaires.
My husband who is a professional musician is exactly the opposite.
He’s a newsolic ! ( so I stay relatively abreast through osmosis).
Amonst other things I’ve spent many, many years teaching English both for the Education Nationale and in the Private school system in France .
A good 12 years ago George (my husband) and I wrote some songs and a stage show for early language learning www.singalangue.com .
After jumping through endless burocratic loops our “singalangue” project was endorsed by the “Conseillers Pedagogique de l’Education Nationale” and is recommended as a valuable teaching aid in primary schools. We’ve been doing our show around the country for years now.
We live in a lovely village on the canal lateral called Meilhan sur Garonne where I was elected (somehow) “Conseillere Municipale” in 2008 .
This brings me to my present job as a wedding celebrant.
Many years ago I was asked by a friend of mine who owns www.chateaurigaud.co.uk near St. Emilion to perform a bi-lingual ceremony for her.
I had never considered this job before although my husband provides the music for 50 to 60 weddings a year!
She insisted I’d be perfect for the job as I’m used to public speaking and performing ; I’m bi-lingual, and most importantly I’m “into all that spiritual stuff” as she put it…….and I absolutely loved it!
I had a “non-religious experience”.
I felt like my whole life had prepared me for this.
I feverishly did some anthropological research about rites of passage and humanist values and I trained with the referenced humanist group www.celebrantsinfrance.com for a year, with whom I did 35 wedding ceremonies and then set up on my own with a website. www.englishcelebrantinfrance.com
I have now developed my own style which is constantly evolving . I learn something new from every couple and I think my ceremonies are meaningful and joyful without losing solemnity.
Many people see it as a cheesy moment in peoples’ lives and weddings all seem to be filled with “hoo ha” but I see it as a privileged moment I share with a couple who are expressing their love for each other publicly and sincerely. Does one ever have another opportunity to publicly express, in such an unabashed way one’s love for our partner?
Graphic violence journalism, trendy mockery , slick design and focus on the world’s negative drama all leaves the subject of “Love” hidden in a private area we all seem to be embarrassed about . So making the most of an opportunity to look at your life partner and say I LOVE YOU publicly is powerful. Even the most successful, trendy couple gets a huge applause from their bantering , joke telling , guests when they finally “kiss” at the end of the ceremony.
I also perform quite a number of funeral ceremonies for ex-pats here in France . In a way I enjoy doing this job even more than the weddings. It is the same kind of work, strangely. Much harder to perform , of course and it’s very delicate speaking to bereaved members of someone’s family and friends , but it is an honour and I’m always profoundly grateful for the experience.
That’s about it in a nutshell for the moment
With Warm Regards