GUEST BLOG / ARTICLE WRITTEN BY JAMES SOMPER
July 2017 for SOMERSETLIVE- see original article here
“What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?”
Heather Bryson-Banks smiles at me thoughtfully as she attempts to think of an answer.
“Well, I was spanked on stage once by a transvestite” she says, casually taking a sip from her iced mango smoothie.
Nothing about Heather is ordinary. A mum of two, a sex lifestyle blogger, college lecturer, occasional lifestyle columnist and teacher, she fizzles with energy like a sparkler on bonfire night.
Now a resident of Shepton Mallet with her husband and two children, her surroundings may have quietened, but her adventures have not.
“People are interested in me. When I do the school run people just stare at me,” she quips.
With a regular blog on her bedroom antics as well as occasional features and sex toy reviews in the newspapers and magazines, 40-year-old Heather has written openly about everything from having sex every day for a month (which was great she adds) to having an autistic son and living on a low income.
A former radio presenter, Heather was involved in activism and social issues from an early age.
“I was kicked out of Marxism 94 for wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Babe’ on it. I had a real problem with that. I was selling the socialist worker on the streets yet got chucked out for that.”
She then met her now husband, Wayne, a former solider in 2007 before moving to Lapland where they set up a dog sledding adventure company.
It was while living in Sweden that Heather began to blog and keep a video diary she went through a dramatic weight loss which culminated in a gastric bypass.
“I was quite big before I had my kids and had gastric-bypass surgery. When I got back to the UK I was feeling great so I thought I’d make the most of blogs and start blogging. I was quite open in my video blog when I was losing weight about how that affected my sex life. At first I was saying I never want to have sex again and then I was saying we’re having sex finally.
"I knew I'd lost enough weight when I could do reverse cowgirl."
Tired of the arctic ice, the pair returned to the UK with their two boys, one of whom is autistic.
However, they were unable to pass the residency test and had to rely on handouts and food parcels while her husband struggled to overcome PTSD.
With her husband now fully recovered, the couple run their own business together offering a handyman service alongside Heather’s blogging.
“I find being able to blog, vlog and write fits in quite well. I can do a school run, come home, sit in a café with a laptop. If there’s anything sexual that needs be done than that happens while the kids are at school. I much prefer this doing and having my own hours on my own terms than working for someone else.”
Despite her eclectic career, she’s adamant about what comes first.
“I’m a mum. I get a little bit of trolling online and sometimes dodgy looks on the school run.
People ask: She’s a mum, why is she putting her sex life out there?
“What we say is our family are really close. We’re really open about sex and nakedness and we want to give our kids the message that they really shouldn’t care what people think about them.”
Regular readers of my column, will know about the ongoing struggle I have had with my eldest son. He's always been a little bit different, amazing, but different. I had an idea that he was on the autistic spectrum, but it wasn't until earlier this year I finally had an official diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome. He'd had a difficult time at infant schools, and was even home schooled for a while. But since he's been at St.Paul's Junior School in Shepton Mallet, he has received tons of encouragement and support, and is now absolutely thriving.
A selection of special needs pupils were even chosen to have a series of confidence boosting horse riding lessons at Divoky Riding school. My son, Rowan (7) was one of the lucky few- and I was bursting with pride, when, last week he was presented with a rosette and certificate of achievement by HRH Sophie , Countess Of Wessex. It was all very hush hush of course, with a member of the royal family visiting little old Shepton.
Only parents, members of the riding school and a few teachers were in attendance. Boiling hot sun shone down on the riding arena, and we all pressed ourselves against the shaded fence in anticipation for a demonstration by the children, and the arrival of a Princess ! I welled up as I watched my usually anxious and uncoordinated child, mount his pony. She was a gorgeous 'Strawberry Roan' named Tilly. Rowan walked her around the manège, and even navigated a roundabout, and some small jumps. The Countess Of Wessex arrived, and politely chatted to everyone in attendance. She looked fabulous in a calf length navy and floral dress, and was friendly and approachable.
Countess Sophie seemed genuinely interested in how the children had progressed, and didn't even mind us taking a few snaps for the family album. Rowan had enjoyed his time at the riding school so much, we are determined to book him a few mornings at Pony Club over the school holidays. For info go to www.divoky.co.uk. OK so he only likes taking about the time-space continuum or minecraft, refuses to eat food unless it's beige, and can't put on his own socks- but he can now ride a horse, so there !
***BREAKING NEWS - Pat Bishop of Divoky Riding school, saw how much progress this group of children have made, and has set up a FUNDRAISING PAGE to allow them to continue riding with the same ponies for a whole year! PLEASE PLEASE DONATE if you can, this really will change these young people's lives- I know from seeing the huge changes already in Rowan.
Click here - every little helps even e few quid...
I hope the weather is just as hot this weekend. Or at least not rainy, as we have 'Music In The Park' on Sunday from 2pm-5pm at Collett Park. Performing upbeat covers of classic tunes, 'Twisted Vinyl' will be replacing 'Juntion 19', who cancelled due to illness. There will be hot food from Pigilicious, a fully licensed bar open from midday, an ice cream station , bouncy castles for the little ones and, of course, a fully stocked cafe.
Sadly the Big Sunday Market planned for this weekend ( and the one in August) has been postponed, due to Mendip Disctict Council's poor handling, promotion and organisation of the event, in many people's opinion! Market founder Helen Reader, is ofcourse dissapointed, but says , it will be a chance to plan an even bigger and better market for September. Lot's of people , including traders had planned holidays in August, so in some ways it makes sense. This is NOT the end of Shepton Mallet's Sunday market! Please come and support the regular Friday market too, and keep on shopping on the High Street !
Incase you missed it....
This week the Shepton Mallet Facebook group has been going crazy over #PaintItForward, a local community project. Let me explain. We have a small handyman business, ironically called 'My Big Handyman'. We came up with the idea to giveaway a home DIY make-over worth £500 to a local deserving family – who might otherwise not be able to afford it.
People nominated friends and family, and five finalists were chosen to put forward for a public vote online. However, I had not anticipated becoming so emotionally involved, or heartbroken by the stories I was reading. Thank goodness it was down to a public vote and not for me to choose! I reached out to local businesses as I really couldn't bare for anyone to go away empty handed. Thankfully Kilver Court have kindly donated family memberships and gift hampers of Sharpham Park goodies, to all of the runners up. Amazing. On Tuesday, I counted up all the votes from the website and facebook poll. Over 1000 votes in total, and we had a clear winner !
Well done to the 'Copp' family- I think you'll agree, these guys really deserve to win. William (7)and Lewis (5) are brothers who live with their parents Zoe and Gareth, their older brother Oliver (9), and sister Chloe ( 15)
William was resuscitated at birth, he spent the first 8 months of his life in hospital, and had a tracheostomy to help him breath.He has had many more admissions to hospital and intensive care due to illnesses and became so ill in 2016 his consultants told Zoe he wasn't going to make it, amazingly he did, but due to his damaged his lungs – he is very fragile, and every day is a blessing.
Lewis was also resuscitated at birth and spent the first 3 months of his life in hospital. He too had a tracheostomy inserted at 5 weeks. Lewis sadly developed muscle spasms over a year ago and after spending 3 months in hospital, he now is on a cpap machine at night.
Both boys have development global delay, so they are both unable to walk or hold up their heads, they can be vocal but not use words or sentences. They rely on Zoe and Gareth for all their care needs washing, changing, moving and feeding.The boys have 'life limiting illnesses' and consultants say William and Lewis will make not survive through to early adult hood.
The family have decided to dedicate their lives to 'making' special memories, and the bravery and positive spirit of the Copps is truly inspiring. We are so pleased to be able to help in just a small way. Visit www.mybighandyman.weebly.com to read about all our finalists and see how you could help too. Big thanks to our sponsors Right Price DIY, Maid In Somerset, and CRS Building Supplies Wells.
This week Wayne and I tested out the theory that having sex at 7.37 on Saturday night, 3rd July was best day and time of the year. Hmmmm, with kids not quite redy for bed, I can say it was tricky for starters... find out how we got on here -
THE SUN - SEXIEST DAY OF THE YEAR ARTICLE
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 :)