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.
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 5 children , the eldest 34 yrs and the youngest 15 yrs old. Three boys and two girls . Two of them are now in the UK and three are all here in the Bordeaux region. (I gave birth to three of them and the other two are step children who I love very much!)
I also have four grandchildren .
My main interests are personal development and compassion. gardening, gentle sport, modern literature , meditation and discussing ideas. (very chatty)
I love TED talks, stand up comedy, debates on atheism, deism and philosophy ( Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris style) and good quality art of any kind.
I’m not interested in reality TV, politics and world affaires.
My husband is exactly the opposite.
He’s a newsolic ! ( so I stay relatively abreast through osmosis). He loves his TV shows and is generally quiet and quite shy, unless singing on stage paradoxically.
Amonst other things I’ve spent many, many years teaching English both for the Education Nationale and in the Private school system in France and my husband is a full time musician and well known in the area.
I too have always been involved in the performing arts in some shape or form and I studied classical piano during my youth.
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. So we are both “Intermittents des Spectacles”
We live in a lovely village on the canal lateral called Meilhan sur Garonne where I was elected (somehow) “Conseillere Municipale” in 2008 .
Needless to say I’ve been in charge of “Entertainment” in the village for the past 7 years .
This brings me to my present job as a wedding celebrant.
Many years ago I was asked by a friend of mine who owns a chateau 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.
I agreed , largely because she said she would pay me, …….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 of celebrants in France 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?
Our world of smart tongued 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 this opportunity to say I LOVE YOU is actually very powerful.Even the most successful, trendy couples get a huge applause from their bantering , joke telling , guests when they finally “kiss” at the end of the ceremony.
I was asked about 4 years ago to organize a ceremony for a friend’s funeral and a few weeks later my family asked me to do the eulogy for my own father’s funeral.
I’ve since done 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. It’s 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