Dettra and Poppy

I grew up in the heart of London with the pigeons, regal buildings, glum state housing and the creative throb that is the bone marrow of my home city.

In London, I worked with kids, the homeless and even the dead. I studied social science at university, trained as a teacher and taught English to refugees and visitors from far-flung lands.

In my mid-thirties, I moved to Fremantle in Western Australia, searching for new adventures and experiences. Australia delivered. I immediately binged on sun, sea and warmth, three things we Brits feel deeply deprived of.

In Perth, I trained in complementary therapies and worked with people one-on-one. I became a skillful listener and very sensitized to people’s deep feelings without them saying a word. Over time, I buffed and polished my own particular way of working with people. Eventually, I taught alternative modalities and regularly travelled to tiny dots on the Western Australian map to do so.

When I met my partner, we moved to the east coast of Australia – Melbourne, Sydney, then Byron Bay. I continued working with people one-on-one, and my writing life began.

Then the unimaginable happened.

In April 2016, my fit, healthy partner had a massive stroke. He lost every word, both spoken and written, was paralysed on his right side and couldn’t walk. I became not just his partner, but his caregiver.

I wrote an article for elephant journal about the experience:  When the unimaginable happens and life goes into freefall

Three years on he’s walking well but has regained very little language. Imagine! He can’t yet say my name. On the brighter side, he’s become exceptionally good at mime. Our journey continues.

We live near Byron Bay, on the east coast of Australia, with our dog and cat, a python and a bunch of bush turkeys. It’s banana country. Tall palms whisper their secrets to heaven, and ear-splitting thunder scares me witless when the summer clouds collide. It’s a very far cry from the six-lane traffic I grew up next to, and the high-rise flat I peeped out from. I visit London as much as I can. I will always belong to two hemispheres.

I love animals, walking, swimming – and the irresistible combo of drinking wine with girlfriends.

Professional Qualifications
BA (Hons) Applied Social Studies
Bachelor of Education