Dettra and Poppy

I grew up in the heart of London with the pigeons, regal buildings, glum state housing and the creative pulse 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, trained as a teacher and taught English to refugees and visitors from far-flung lands.

In my mid-thirties, I left London with a hangover and a rucksack full of teaching experience and went travelling. When I arrived in Australia and sank my jetlagged feet into sandy soil, I found my second home and started to grow new roots.

I lived in Fremantle, Western Australia, trained in complementary therapies and worked with people one-on-one and in groups. I met my partner on the dancefloor at a New Year’s Eve party. We moved to the east coast of Australia – Melbourne, Sydney, then Byron Bay. I started writing a book.

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. It’s been beyond tough.

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

Now he’s walking quite well but has regained very little language. He struggles to say his name and mine. Can you imagine losing your whole voice in the world? 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, Bunjalung land, with our dog and cat, a python and a bunch of bush turkeys and water dragons. 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 looked out from. I visit London as much as I can. I will always belong to two hemispheres.

I’d like to acknowledge the Aboriginal people as the original guardians of the land, rocks, mountains and water. I thank them for all their ongoing connection and care. They’re also the first storytellers. I believe the Dreamtime stories tiptoe into every person living here in Australia, whether we consciously know it or not.

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