Like many people in this type of work, this is my second career. I started out as a health care assistant working in a variety of health care settings, and did this for several years including whilst at university. I then worked in the Environment Agency in logistics, communications and customer service roles for 16 years, before successfully gaining voluntary redundancy in 2014.
This gave me the time (and cash boost!) I needed to use as a springboard into a new career. I allowed myself to take a year’s sabbatical to explore what I wanted to do in the second half of my working life. I volunteered at a local forest school, started a children’s singing and story group and trained as a massage therapist at the excellent Bristol College of Massage and Bodywork. Massage was the thing that ‘stuck’, and I now run my own practice from home, as well as becoming the College Manager and one of a small team of Directors. Having vowed never to do office work again, I found that a desk-based job with a small, professional, heart-filled, not-for-profit company was tremendously fulfilling.
Combining massage and managing the College was great but I had a nagging sense of something still missing, as if I was a stool with only 2 legs, or a dog that couldn’t settle! I was feeling an ‘irresistible call’ that I couldn’t quite place. Over a long period of reflection I realised that this was to carry out nature-based, outdoor work – working with people, facilitating connection with the wonderful natural world we inhabit, and helping people feel the resonances of that world within themselves. I also felt an almost indefinable connection between that and my massage work.
During that time, I slowly started to weave together the threads draw out the story that bound them both. I realised that three things were at the heart of both my massage practice and my deep desire to facilitate ‘nature stuff’ – firstly, an ability to hold a space for people where creative transformation could take place and to be a catalyst for that change; secondly, a deep satisfaction in doing so; and lastly, a dawning realisation that massage for me was a wonder at the many marvels of the natural human body. And so, The Wheel Within was born!
I was born in Bristol and lived there for 45 years before moving to Stroud in 2018. I am at least 5th generation Bristolian on my father’s side and has a Bristolian/Yorkshire (or Viking, as I like to think of it) heritage on my mother’s side. Like most children of my generation, I grew up playing out, and spent much of my childhood with her family and friends in the quietly wonderful Badocks Wood where her mother and father adventured before her.
My family and environment fostered a lifelong love of our flora and fauna non-human companions, of the land in which we live and of myths and stories. We had lots of pets and lots of books – which is a fairly good foundation for anyone!
My strong sense of place and love for my land and homes old and new underpins much of what I do.
I live in Stroud with my husband John, two children Ivy and Taius and two suitably mad cats.