It looks like we are heading slowly towards this ‘new normal’ and an ease of Lockdown. But what will that mean for Shepton, and other small market towns?
We’ve had no choice but to get the bulk of our shopping online, and from large supermarkets which remained open. Will our already vulnerable high streets and independent shops survive?
As a family, we have managed to support a few local businesses by getting the odd take-away here and there from places like Sunrise Chinese take-away, Mughal Empire Indian restaurant, Rosemary Greek restaurant, and some cakes, coffees and essentials from Denelas Bakery, Sweet 11, My Coffee Stop, The Fairy Godmother Shop, Dredge & Male and Collet Park Cafe. But with barely any income , and two kids eating me out of house and home, I admit to having relied on Salvation Army food handouts, and mainly stocking up on Aldi’s basics to survive. I’m not sure that’s going to change anytime soon, even when ‘non essential’ shops reopen. People have got used to making their food go further, not wasting anything, repairing old clothes and a sort of ‘make-do and mend’ mentality. This is great for the environment, but not for the high street. How can we balance supporting local businesses, saving the environment, and saving money? It’s something we’ll all have to think about. I don't want to see any more small businesses close down, but I also have less money to spend on them. We got chickens at the start of the ‘crisis’. I’m so glad we did, the lovely girls ‘Buttercup’, ‘Henrietta’, ‘Galaxy’ and ‘Cinnamon’ give us 4 eggs a day. We’ve been growing lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, courgettes and potatoes, and composting our food waste. I’m kind of uneasy about things going back to ‘how they were', infact I’m not sure they should. My eldest will go back to school on June 1st, but maybe just in the mornings, and probably just 4 days a week - as someone with autism, this might suit him much better than a full on 4 day week. SAT’s were cancelled, and I feel like he dodged a bullet! People can work from home, no more stupid long stuffy horrible commutes on overcrowded public transport or in gas guzzling cars, isnt this better? What Do we think about a 4 day working week? How about we pay carers, nurses, teachers, bin men, cashiers and key workers more, and respect them too? Why not take this chance to rethink society, and make it more fair. Lot’s of things have been really difficult and heartbreaking during this pandemic. We’ve experienced a kind of grief, a loss. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, however we do it, as individuals, as families, as communities, let’s do just that- let’s come back stronger and better than before.
Last weekend we really enjoyed lockdown for a change. Thursday evening’s sunny daytime BBQ gave way to joyous clapping and over the hedge chats with neighbours. We all decided on our small street to mark the next day’s 75th VE Celebration with a socially distanced ‘Street Party’. One lady kindly donated tons of bunting, and flags from her knit and chat group. On Friday morning, everybody was out on their doorstep to observe the 2 minutes silence ( slightly ruined by my eight year old shouting halfway through “Have we started yet?” After that, we all chucked each other bits of bunting, and worked out ingenious ways to hang it, without breaking any safety rules. I spent the afternoon wearing a 1940’s style dress, collecting fresh eggs from our ‘lockdown’ backyard chickens and boiling them up for egg sandwiches. The boys picked some of our homegrown lettuce and tomatoes. Wayne fixed our paste table to put out on the drive, and then went off to secure our essential beers and Prosecco! At 4pm , our next door neighbour started to play some 1940’s wartime classics, and we all plonked ourselves down infront of our houses for the weirdest ever, but quite fabulous VE day ‘street party’. We enjoyed our sandwiches, tea, squash, cakes and even an extra special treat, a gorgeous “Afternoon Cream Tea” pack of scones, cream and jam - which high street bakery Denela’s delivered to many local Royal British Legion members and local veterans. Just so you know, you can still buy freshly baked goodies from Denelas, as they have an ingenious serving hatch fitted in their door for take-away orders.
The sun was boiling hot, and some joggers, and other friends from our local roads popped by during their daily exercise - keeping a jolly 2 metres apart ofcourse! Our kids clambered on the Landrover and made toys out of twigs and leaves like the olden days. The adults chatted, danced, drank and partied till almost midnight! Athough it was a bit weird celebrating ‘freedom’ , in such a strange time- when we are far from free, it was really nice and made us all appreciate what we have. Ofcourse, most of us are anxious and unsure of the future. Money problems, health worries and missing loved ones is getting to us all. Start by being grateful for the little things, and hopefully the big things will sort themselves out.
If any local businesses would like Radio Shepton to feature them as they think about re-opening, or perhaps you have an interesting lockdown story to tell. Contact me via facebook.com/radioshepton
At the time of writing this the lockdown shows no sign of being eased, Borris has just come out of hospital, and the weather for this week looks rubbish. I’ve lost all sense of time, but I think this will be week 6 of clapping on a Thursday for NHS and Key Workers???
Joe Wicks is a distant memory, but now the boys enjoy an hour of the fantastic BBC Bitesized every ‘school day’ from 9 till 10am followed by some online study with Oak National Academy. We try to keep to early nights on weekdays, but last week was a bit messed up due to my ten year old having a new app ‘Heavens Above’, which tells you what wonders might be spotted in the night sky - in real time. I’m sure we were not the only people wrapped in blankets, staring up into space trying to spot Elon Musk’s SpaceX train of 60 starlink satellites last week. Sadly, despite two or three very late nights with neck ache, we only saw about ten to fifteen of them ( spread out, and not very clearly) plus a couple of possible Falcon rockets. Other people in Shepton seemed to get a great view, and we were most jealous of the photos adorning facebook ‘friend’s pages the following day. The late nights, hot days and long walks, made for less than enthusiastic ‘student’s and sometimes homeschool ended up being less structured. One day we just made ‘squishy soap’ with cornflour, washing up liquid and food colouring. Another, I made a ‘Tuck shop’ so the boys could ‘learn maths’ and also pay for their snacks with pocket money - genius! We also invented a probably very unsafe water slide by pointing the hose at the trampoline. Though it thrilled the kids, I was unable to enjoy getting sunburnt whilst listening to my neighbours drilling and sanding DIY project. Instead, I was sure the boys would befall some terrible injury and kept shouting “Be careful- I‘m not taking you to hospital!!!” and the classic “If you break your legs, don’t come running to me !!”
The children, on the whole, are coping quite well- but they are missing their friends. I’m especially worried about my year 6 boy, who will be going up from St.Paul’s Junior School to Whitstone Secondary in September..probably. Not only will he miss out on all the school leavers celebrations, but also those vital transition activities. As an SEN pupil, he would usually get extra help- but it’s vital for all pupils. I know that both head teachers, Mr. Chris Partridge and Mr.Guy Swallow are acutely aware of the problem- and I’ve been told that they’re meeting ( online) to discuss solutions. Remember , they’re still putting themselves and staff at risk every day to educate and protect the children of key workers and the most vulnerable in our community. I’m filled with gratitude for all our teachers, school & nursery staff. Let’s show them some love too ! Follow my socials @mrsbrysonbanks for my lockdown life.
My last few weeks have been spent doing ‘boring’ things like answering emails, doing taxes, filling in housing benefit forms, researching business loans , washing dirty clothes, cooking meals and occasionally tidying up. I’ve also been lucky enough to have some more ‘creative’ and fulfilling things to do like promoting local business or community groups and producing content for Radio Shepton.My favourite was running a really lovely ‘Virtual’ Easter Bonnet competition for local children. Helen Reader, from The Fairy Godmother shop , sponsored a fabulous fluffy bunny and sweets for the first prize winner, three year old Amelia from Doulting, and a Chic keyring full of candy for all the runners up! Though families have been isolating, many had great fun using bits and bobs from around their houses to make wonderful bonnets and easter themed crafts for our competition. They sent in pictures to facebook.com/radioshepton where you can still see these and loads more. I also edited together a really heart warming and uplifting Easter ‘Act of worship’ video in conjunction with Christian’s Together in Shepton Mallet, for Easter Sunday. It included prayers, stories and bible readings from Rev. Jonathan Hunter Dunn of St.Peter & Paul Church, Rev Graham Dart of the Baptist Church, Capt, Anne Chinye of The Salvation Army and a beautiful rendition of ‘Morning Has Broken’ by the choir at St. Michael’s. This too, is still available to watch and share on Radio Shepton’s Facebook page. I’m not religious as such, but am deeply spiritual, and in the moments between doing these boring, and fun activities, and wiping noses, or putting plasters on cuts - I have found quiet moments to contemplate and reflect.
I haven’t found it hard to find some silver linings in this unprecedented ‘crisis’. We will never return to ‘normal’, and we shouldn’t. Our normal was not good. Especially not good for women, who for all of recent history have been underpaid, under-valued and ignored.
The last big event I attended before lockdown was International Women’s day march in Bristol. Amazing that in 2020 we are still having to strike and protest, in order to be listened to and respected. Maybe now, society will see the women working from home ( with the kids running about in the background and asking for a banana whilst their mum , explains economic impacts from Covid-19, on live daytime television; or dads out of work will see how ‘housewife’s don't just stick on the dishwasher, put their feet up and watch telly! ) Perhaps, the role of Matriarchs and mothers, carers, and teachers will now be revered and respected like they originally were. Society might now truly value low paid but vital key workers like carers, nurses, teachers and teaching assistants, cashiers, administrators, refuse collectors, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, farm workers -who are keeping this country going. We all knew deep down it was wrong to pay footballers millions of pounds , whilst frontline NHS workers struggled to make ends meet. Lets not forget in a hurry.
Day 1 - Knowing the kids will be off school from Monday, I sit down with a cup of Nescafe Azera ( my favourite) and a freshly baked croissant, to write my homeschool/ isolation plan.
Here’s the plan for weekdays :
7am- Up early for yoga & morning meditations, feed the cats, and eat healthy breakfast.
8am - prepare kids similar healthy breakfast and give them their visual homeschool diary 9am PE with Joe Wicks - full school day consisting of English, Maths and Science
Afternoon : Me - feed dogs, then clean bathroom !! Finish at 3pm. Give kids their Ipads if they've been good till 4pm. Dinner at 5.30pm - Family movie and bed by 8pm ( remind them to wash hands regularly!)
Family Lockdown Day 10 …
7am - why the hell do i need to wake up this early??? 8am I suppose I better get up. Aldi brand cheap coffee and a toasted end of loaf crust with three year old lemon curd. Damn, there is no cat food and I’m not really allowed out, is it an essential? It is for the cats! Stressed. No time to meditate.
9am - No one is doing Joe Wicks PE anymore. Dad banged his head on the ceiling, whilst trying to do a more elaborate version of a star jump. He kept telling everyone he was doing ‘John Wick’ workout, in an attempt to make it sound more manly. In reality, he pulled a muscle doing ‘Pikachu’ and took Wednesday off because he was aching. The kids initial enthusiasm dwindled day by day , till they were just sitting on the sofa playing ‘spot the difference’ with Joe’s ‘living room’ set but not actually doing the exercises.
Mid morning - just sent them outside into the garden! We’re lucky to have one and it was sunny!12 noon - Wine. I’m lucky to have some, and it was sunny!!
Afternoon - it’s turned colder, so ipads in separate rooms to stop arguments. “Do something educational like TT Rockstars!” I shout. They hide under covers, playing Fortnite and eating crisps.
5pm It’s not all bad. On my escape to Tesco, to buy cat food and posh coffee ( i didn't get any!) I decided to film a LIVE video for my page www.facebook.com/radioshepton about the new social distancing measures. I’ve had a notification that 100,000 people have viewed it already...I’ve gone ‘viral’ ..in a good way!
Day 12 - No way! My Tesco video has reached almost 500,000 people worldwide.
BBC Somerset interviewed me on the Simon Parkin show. Now, that deserves another wine!
Other shows I put on Radio Shepton are doing really well too. Helen Reader, The FairyGodmother , is reading children’s stories. We’ll soon be launching a virtual Easter Bonnet competition, and streaming a ‘Christian’s Together’ Easter service. Updates from local services can be found there, and the Coronavirus Volunteer group, which I’m part of.
In other news; my hair is beginning to form dreadlocks, I've got dry skin on my hands, I still haven't cleaned the bathroom, and I’m out of wine !
*** As we are both self employed / freelance - out incomes have completely sropoed, and we arent likely to get any financial aid until JUNE !! So for the next few week I hope you dont mind if I add a little link for anyone who fancies it - to buy me a 'coffee' - it would be really gratefully recieved. Thanks you in advance ***
HERE - Buy me a coffee !
*UPDATED FROM PRINT VERSION - 80's vs 90s event has now been postponed !
Firstly, this column is only my personal opinion. You are free to disagree ! It's been a hell of a week. We've been absorbing alot of information from a huge number of sources, some more reliable than others. I'm a former Media Lecturer, and have spent many years studying mass communication. "Hyperbole" is "is the use of exaggeration as a rhetorical device or figure of speech. It emphasizes, evokes strong feelings, and creates strong impressions. As a figure of speech, it is usually not meant to be taken literally." It's used in the media to create impact, and in this case it's irresponsible use has created panic and hysteria.
When people read "Deadly" ,"Out of Control", and "Panic Buying" we jump to worst case scenarios and our brains jump into flight or flight response. The same as when we experience stress and anxiety. The reporting, and surge of social media fake news posts have also triggered people with low mood and depression, to become even more pessimistic.
This worries me more than however many peope, with underlying health condititons, who sadly may or may not die prematurely because of Covid19. In the UK we lose16 people every single day to suicide. Young people and old. Otherwise fit and healthy.
Improving mental health is complex, but this situation and the ramifications of the government's recommendations, will not help.
I'm not saying to ignore government advice- ofcourse we should wash our hands, and stay home if we are ill. Haven't we always done that!?
But we need to be very carefull about the impact of 'not socializing' . Thinking long term, or people or families trapped at home and isolated. There is surely a massively increased risk of addictions like drug abuse and alcoholism, even home-brewing unsafe alchohol or buying cheap unregulated drugs, a 'black market' already forming for blooming hand sanitiser! This doesnt bring out the best in everyone sadly. Online gaming, porn, binge watching TV and box sets, eating unhealthy processed food. Those living with domestic violence or emotional abuse, unable to get out. Child abuse and child poverty going un -noticed and social services unable to intervene or check safe living conditions. At schools many children get free school meals, care, support and safeguarding- wheh at home they are living in poverty or have a lack of care. We must not ignore the bigger picture. Looking after our community, and the vulnerable people in our community does NOT just mean- protect old people from getting a virus. It means real genuine care and systems of care, must continue. Mental, Physical, Emotional and spiritual health on all levels for all people. Otherwise we really are all doomed.
**Sadly the 80s and 90s themed fancy dress disco, with DJ Keaty, Riky Grover and myself- at The Club, Shepton Mallet on Sat 4th April, has now been postponed.
You can get your money back from where you bought the ticket or it will remain valid for the event at a later date
LATEST UPDATE - Re. SCHOOLS CLOSURE
As of today all schools and colleges in the UK are closed to most pupils.
Apart from all the crazy stuff - my day job, has for years been tutoring and lecturing- in Secondary & FE settings. I'm a qualified and passionate teacher of many subjects including Media Studies, Marketing, Film & Radio, English, English Lit & Poetry, Communications, Sociology, Psychology, General Studies, History , Politics, Swedish Language , English as a foreign language and Functional Skills.
Most recently in 2016 I worked as a Functional Skills tutor at Bridgwater College, Somerset. Before that, as a Learning Mentor and Attendance Support Co-Ordinator in Strode College, Street (where I also set up the colllege radio station) and between 2010 - 2014 I was Head of English ( GCSE Level ) at Renforskollan, Vindeln, North Sweden.
While the schools and colleges are shut, there is no need to stop learning and enjoying the subjects you love. I can offer Skype sessions of 30 - 45 minutes , at a rate you can afford ( depending on your circumstances) email me email@example.com
I can also help with college and university applications and personal statements.
The mum stuff ...
During half term the kids enjoyed our time indoors, sheltering from the various storms- but doing fun activities and making youtube videos. My boys aren’t allowed their own youtube accounts or any social media, until they are at least 13. However, I have an account , so I agreed to post some of the boys ‘child friendly’ videos on there. Firstly, they made their own ‘merch’ ( running before they could walk!) by drawing with glitter pens all over their only plain white T-shirts ( which I later realised were their PE kits..ooops!), next they made and decorated cupcakes, and finally they ’made over mum and dad’. This involved them raiding my make-up kit and painting us both with lipstick and bronzer. It stained our clothes, made the kitchen into a complete mess and gave Harry an allergic skin reaction, but at least they had fun. We also had a delicious family meal night at Rosemary Greek Restaurant, on Shepton Mallet High Street. We love it because we feel equally welcome bringing children along, as we do on a rare date night. They do children’s portions of most meals, and our boys love the pizza. They have an updated menu, with new additions like ‘Spetsofai’ which is a yummy combo of tomato, sausage, pepper and onion. I opted for Beef Stifado, a traditional Greek stew with shallots. Go along and try it for yourself!
XANDER & THE PEACE PIRATES
On Saturday, I had the best night ever. Reuniting with an amazingly talented and beloved school friend of mine, who I hadn't seen for over 22 years! Keith Xander, lead singer and guitarist from the band Xander & The Peace Pirates - was born with half a right arm. Aged 12, he showed an interest in playing guitar, and was met with a lot of negativity. Later, aged 15, he almost died- when he suffered a ruptured spleen, collapsed lung, and spent weeks in hospital contemplating his fate. He had an epiphany, luckily, for all of us..he survived- and a school teacher suggested he use his prosthetic hook as a plectrum. The rest is history, and he’s now a world class musician, and a true inspiration. Featuring on BBC 3 - ‘Amazing Humans’ and supporting Bon Jovi, and Manfred Mann on tour. The band entered The Pilton Stage auditions 2020 , and made it into Heat 6 last weekend. I was so excited for Keith, his big brother Stuart, and the band to show what they could do- in front of Michael Eavis and competition founder Neil Templar. Other brilliant bands played including ‘Young Astronaut’ and ‘LeSpectre’ played, but ultimately Xander & The Peace Pirates won the heat, and stole the hearts of an elated audience. I almost cried with joy to watch them, and to hug my wonderful friend after so many years. Now I get to see them play the final on March 28th at Pilton Working Men’s Club, you can too ! Buy tickets at facebook.com/thepiltonstage. You can follow the band at facebook.com/xanderandthepeacepirates and on spotify !
Sadly - now that both Pilton Stage and Glasto 2020 have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, Keith and his band will never know if they'd have won. Theyve also, like all bands and musicians, had to cancel all of their gigs for the foreseeable future. You CAN support them , however, buy buying a copy of their AMAZING CD, or ordering merch from the website. https://www.xanderandthepeacepirates.com/
There may be opportunities soon to watch pay what you want- live streams etc. Keep an eye on , and subscribe to their youtube -
If you're in isolation- I cannot think of anything better to do than listen to the positive uplifting music of this band- and also listen to their regular messages of hope and peace.
Peace & Love...xxx
The last couple of weeks have been pretty full on for me. I don’t really know where to start, but I suppose the ‘end’ ( until now) was finally meeting up with three of my 12 long lost siblings from around the world, last weekend in London. Let’s rewind.
I was born in 1979. My father was an overweight but charismatic, American 'businessman’ who it later emerged was actually a fraudster, bigamist and on the run from the FBI. My mum was and still is, a strong, independant and intelligent, free spirited woman.
After surviving some quite horrific experiences with this smooth talking “Riviera Romeo” ( as he was referred to in the “News Of The World” double page expose in 1979) she spent the next 16 years attempting to both ‘give me a normal life’ and protect me from attempted kidnappings and the like. She sheltered me from the drama as much as possible, but did feel it was only fair to inform me of my half brothers and sisters dotted around the world, though she was not keen for me to contact them, understandably.
The list of names included 9 brothers & sisters in the US, and a ‘Trudy’ born in the UK! In my late 20’s I tracked down my ‘British sister’ Trudy using ‘My Space’. We kept in touch online, and she discovered another UK sister, Lizzie. Eventually, almost all of the siblings were reunited online, and began a facebook group to share info/ pics and support. But none of us ever met. It wasn't until Lizzie and I met as part of “Secrets In My Family” TV show in 2018 that things got serious.
After that, we vowed to make an effort to connect with the others. Still, life got in the way, and it never happened.
Finally, after a really bad mental health crisis last November, I set up a whatsapp group with my sisters - “7 Sisters' ' we called it though three of us are most active. Jenn , 47, a Hollywood acting agent living in LA - sent me daily support and motivation. Lizzie, 40, an author and professional singer from Hampshire- made me giggle every day with silly video messages.
Trudy, 38 a former professional dancer and head of training at 02 London- lights up my life with her creativity and positivity.
Last weekend, Jenn, flew over from LA for her birthday, to scout for acting & dancing talent, see her best mate Edson, perform in Magic Mike LIVE, and to finally meet her sisters!
We all booked a central London apartment. After hours of hugging, talking, laughing and crying- we had the best time of our lives together. Considering Jenn and I grew up 6000 miles apart, we are so similar. We all are. Looks and mannerisms. None of us can shut up! My father caused misery and heartache to all of our mothers, and made our own lives far from easy or ordinary.
But now something good has come out of it. Sisters Forever !
PSSST - This is a blog exclusive - We are in serious talks with a US based writer, who is planning a Dramatisation / TV series based on our stories , working title "Daddy Issues" !!
Just as I smuggly began sharing instagram snaps off my #new year new me early morning jogs, green smoothies and yoga poses, I was cruelly struck down by the dreaded lurgy.
I’m not going to flippantly call it the flu, though I have felt like death warmed up. Your average cough & cold virus certainly seems to hit harder after you hit 40 ! I managed to escape all the ‘back to school’ bugs in September, and even skillfully avoided contracting norovirus of my husband when i ‘poisoned’ him with fresh Oysters last month. It was too good to last. I got that tell tale tickly throat and those overly dramatic sneezes early last week.Then, despite attempting to keep it at bay with echinacea, and manuka honey, within days I was a pale dribbling sofa bound zombie. My partner is still struggling through an extremely lengthly and excruciatingly painful cycle of ‘suicide’ or cluster headaches, which has now been getting gradually worse since late summer- and for which he has no really effective medication.
So, I feel guilty moaning about my ‘illness’. But, It’s still just horrible trying to get the ‘usual stuff’ done, plus some of my hubby’s chores- when you’re running on 15% battery.
It’s not my first rodeo though- and I have found some things over the years, which really work. “Night Nurse” - not any fake cheap version, but the full strength patented, trademarked, ‘kick the heck out of that head cold’ stuff from Boots. The night time capsules really can knock you out at night, with minimal daytime grogginess- and the daytime capsules are just the rocket fuel you need to help you do the school run and just about handle a ‘not too taxing’ day at work. Cups of strong , sweet tea - as many as needed.Honey and lemon in hot water - with calpol ‘SixPlus Fastmelts’ are what we use for the kids, now aged 8 & 10. They're too old for liquid and don't really like tablets- so these are great.
Best trick ever though, we saw online years ago - ‘Magic Socks’. Basically , you smother Vicks Vaporub over the kids ( or your own) feet, then pull on warm socks ,at night. It completely stops the coughing...honestly, it works, try it! I have no idea for the scientific reason, but trust me, it will change your life.
Even if I feel terrible, I try to get at least half an hour of fresh air. Wrapped up in my woolly scarf and bobble hat at the weekend, I braved the frosty air to take the dogs out. My fingers, toes and nose were freezing when I managed to stagger home, but i really enjoyed it. There was a feeling in the air, that snow is on the way! I may be wrong, but I did dig the boys sledges out of the back of the shed , just in case. The new date for Shepton Mallet’s awesome Lantern Parade, is February 1st, so any day apart from then will be fine.
New Year, New me ! Not really, it’s the same old me but hopefully with some pretty major improvements. It’s not only a new year, but a new decade. How scary was it looking back at photos and facebook posts from 2010? It made me realise just how much myself and my partner had been through, and it’s no wonder we’d had a few rough patches along the way. We’d been living in Swedish Lapland in 2010 having just had our first child ( by emergency c-section), I’d gain a lot of weight and was morbidly obese. I then had an ATV crash, and damaged my back and legs. We started a dog sledding business, and ended up with over 40 Siberian and Alaskan huskies. I gave birth to my second child in 2011 in yet another traumatic emergency cesarean) at 10 weeks old he was critically ill with bacterial meningitis, miraculously he recovered, and only has slight hearing loss in one ear.
I’d gained even more weight, and was so big I was referred for a life saving gastric bypass operation in October 2013. A few weeks later , I was hospitalised again for 10 days with complications and required more surgery. I then developed major anxiety and claustrophobia, which worsened when we moved back to the UK in 2014. We’d had to rehome all but two off our beloved huskies. Bearfoor and Ulf, came with us as we relocated to our new home in Shepton Mallet. The boys were only 2 and 4- my eldest struggled as a summer born having to immediately start infant school ( which he wouldn’t have done until aged 7 in Sweden!). We made friends, and were welcomed in to Shepton. In 2015 we got married, and got everything locally. I blogged about “My High Street Wedding” which lead to this regular column. Wayne and I had various jobs before Wayne set up his business My Big Handyman, and I founded Radio Shepton. I struggled with my weight, mental health and Wayne still struggles with his horrific Cluster Headaches. I found that watching my alcohol intake really helps, I went sober for 283 days in 2017, and this year I’m back on Dry January.
It’s crazy to think that this decade won’t be any easier in some ways- the kids will hit their teenage years, and I’m likely to face the menopause! Thankfully I’ve found some things I love though; writing, my comedy ( next Silly Sausage Comedy Night ‘Laugh Away The January Blues’ - is on 11th Jan, The Venue , Wells - tickets £10 ethertickets.com ) including my new ‘clowning’ skills and spoken word, walking, spirituality, gratitude and mindfulness. I’m grateful for the support and love of my family, and If we all stick together- maybe i’ll reach 2030 stronger, slimmer, richer , happier and healthier.
‘Cheers !’ ( with an Elderflower spritzer) to 2020 and beyond.
I'm a 43 year old, mum of two little boys- currently living in Shepton Mallet in Somerset. I'm the Founder and Creative Director of Radio Shepton, a Stand up and comedian and spoken word performer, and write a regular column for The Wells and Shepton Mallet Journal. Which is the basis for my blog usually. I lived in Swedish Lapland for 7 years until 2014 where my boys were born. My partner and I ran a husky dog sledding business. Before that I was a poet, radio presenter, media lecturer, writer, TV producer, actress and burlesque performer ! I never want my life to be boring :)