The Journey to here...

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People and things that  have inspired , delighted or entertained me...

My Dad

My Mum

Steve Clifton (Husband No 1)

Maurice Broad (Boyfriend)


Nigel Parry-Price (Boyfriend)

Tracy Williams (TSB)

Richard Walker (TSB)

Jen DeWynter (Womens Aid)

John Carey (2nd Husband)

Jason Hoffmann (Boyfriend) 

Karen Iles (ACF)

John Iles (ACF)


Anthony Robins (NLP Guru)

Jack Canfield (Author)

Tolkein (Big LOTR fan)






Part 1

I was born...(that was the opening title of a book I once read..I always wanted to use it...!) in the New Forest to parents who lived and loved horses.

My Irish Dad started life as a jockey (all 5ft 3ins of him) and my half Scottish Mum once won a show class at White City and worked in riding stables.

The first home I remember was Stud Farm in Tiptoe, Sway.  A huge house, one of the first built of concrete when it was first invented, it was cold and damp and my dad caught pneumonia. The land was sufficient for stables, barns, paddocks an orchard and a garden where Mum kept  chickens.

We had dogs and ponies, Shetlands and I'm only here today because, as Henry tried to kick my head off, I fell to the ground and he missed!

It was an idyllic childhood.  My brother David and I roamed the fields, played in the river (I had a pet crocodile..well it was a big log really but I was very imaginative) and just enjoyed ourselves. 

 Unlike most parents today, our parents left us alone.  As a result we made our own entertainment.  We didnt rely on being "fed" activities, we didnt need excursions, expensive toys and of course video games didnt exist.  It was a wonderful time.

Stud Farm didnt work. Dad was a brilliant horseman but a hopeless business-man and didnt know how to collect money from his clients. As a result of that and a partiality for Haig Whisky(!!) we dint make money and had to sell up.

Part 2

Woolmers Park Polo Club, Hertfordshire. Dad was Stud Groom and in charge of the polo ponies, the brood mares and the youngsters. Mum worked alongside him.  We had a tiny little cottage on the estate,  No4 Pipers End.  Mum had chickens and roses and Dad had gun dogs.

When we first arrived, our millionnaire boss bought horses by the boat load from Argentina.  Half of them were only fit for glue and the rest were lame. Within our first year Dad ended that practice.  It was horrible and expensive, the boss had the vet out constantly until Dad took over. 

I've seen horses that the resident vet wanted to put down get well and play polo inside a year due Dad's amazing vetinary skills.  He was in the Veterinary  Corps durintg the was and my favorite story was the one where he had to sew a horses jaw together with piano wire...

Polo days were wonderful. At 8 years old I tagged along. By 11 I was working with Dad getting  the ponies ready, looking after the players and generally doing what I was told.

We entertained celebrity players; Prince Charle's Cambridgshire club used Woolmers for practice. Ginger Baker, the drummer from Cream and one of Sting's brothers were to be seen on the immaculate grounds with their string of ponies and girl grooms!

I learned to "ride work" at Woolmers, in other words I schooled horses, it was hard going but I had a good seat and no fear! Only after Dad was dead did I learn that he thought I was a fine horsewoman, I wish I had known while he was alive.

Part 3

I left home at 16 and went to a livery stable about 5 miles away, in Essendon. They played Polo too so I saw a lot of my family on Sundays, traditional Polo days. My new boss was Randa Balding, related to Toby the trainer.  His partner was Pam Muxworthy who I believe was the sister of Brief Encounter star, Celia Johnson but I cant substntiate that.

I didnt enjoy my stint there but I dont know why. I had an attic flat that was painted dark blue by the previous occupant and I had to dry my jeans in front of a tiny oven - there was no heating or running water - I washed up in the bathroom on the floor below!

Part 4

 Back to the New Forest again and to hunting stables in Gorley Vale.  My new boss, Peter was the son of my godmother, Noreen Anson (related to Lord Snowdon) a very old family friend.

I worked myself to a standstill there but sadly couldnt please Peter. He once took a yard broom out of my hands because he didnt like the way I was sweeping.  On that note - my Dad taught me how to sweep - you put your back into it and sweep from "behind" the broom. If you sweep "across" your body it's ineffective and a greater strain on your muscles - I tell you this because 30 odd years later, it still rankles!

I learnd how to "strap"  or groom to a very high standard. I learned how to feed and about "Asatoria" an equine  condition related to too much protein.  I also learned a lot about looking after saddlery.  I came home for Christmas and didnt go back.

Looking back I think I understood horses very well but not people!


Part 5

Lady Lyle and her daughter Prue lived at "Pudiffats" in Dunstable.  Another hunting yard but combined  with Eventing. Lady Lyle was the  Master of a harrier pack...I cant remember the name.  She was small, had a stiff leg and was a true horsewoman.

Prue was David Broom's girlfriend for a while. She was amazing - she ate little but natural yoghurt and owned a Gianni Versace..I'd never heard of him but I never forgot the dress or the name!  She rode like she was born in the saddle and understood horses but not like my Dad. She was quite a tough cookie.

I learned how to ride in a different style, I enjoyed the work but by the time the season had ended I had again failed to impress. Again I think it was down to not really understanding about people. Its taken me a lifetime to learn about getting clarity and 2-way communication, about body language and 17..not a hope!

Part 6

John Tullock was the Whipper-In at Pudiffats.  His best friend was Steve Clifton, they grew up in Godmanchester, Cambridge. Sue was John's girlfriend. I didnt know what to do next after Pudiffats and John had introduced me to Steve who was kennelman at the Hambledon Hunt in Droxford, Hants. It was suggested I go and have a week at the Hambledon staying at Kennel Cottage with Steve. I visited. I stayed. We married. 

Part 7 

The best of Steve and I is manifested in Sam, our first son, who is absolutely amazing. Sadly our marriage didnt work out and I left when Sam was three.  I met a lovely guy called Maurice Broad (who I am still trying to track down) and somehow ended up in Brighton.  Maurice was a Scientologist, Steve and I were in East Grinstead at the time of our split, but a bit of a renegade and one of a growing group of people in the Scientology community who believed in the skills and the technology but were wholly altruistic and couldnt reconcile the enormous amounts of money required to attend these amazing courses.  I learned an awful lot about people during this time and my whole world and certainly my mind expanded over night!! Maurice and I were together for about 18 months - it was a wonderful time.


Part 8 

All good things seem to come to an end and Maurice and I parted company and in time I met Steve no. 2 - the father of my 2nd son, Dan.  Dan is also absolutely amazing. Sadly this was not good period in my life. My Mum finally rescued me, pregnant with Dan, in her Skoda - piled up with my belongings and Custard, the Canary. We had nowhere to go but Mum had found out about Womens Aid.  I was interviewed by Jen who ran a Refuge in Brighton and off we went - highly secretive - even Mum didnt know where the house was.  I never heard of Steve again although I have been sorely tempted to try sometimes - under the circumstances though it was safer to leave things alone.  The Refuge was wonderful - safe and clean and full of incredible women.  It was at this point that having been a tomboy all my life and never really taken other women seriously that I discovered what a great bunch we all are!!! This was the biggest break of my life - I was there for 6 months - I had Dan in Brighton Hospital and was finally re-housed in Andover.

Part 9 

I guess this is where some of the person I am today began to emerge.  I discovered that work was important - not becuase I wanted more money - I earned £1 a week more going to work instead of staying on benefits!! The truth was that as the single mother of two boys, I wanted them to see me as a role model - someone who worked and made things happen - not an idle loser.

So I went to temp at TSB as it was then.  I managed to get a childminder and took my first steps into call centre/office life.  I may have made a mistake. If I could go back, I would have only worked part-time and spent more time with the boys.  

TSB was such fun. I discovered a breed I had previously never encountered before - office workers. Clean, intelligent, smart - a big leap!  I made lots of good freinds there - some of whom I am still intouch with 20 years later.

Part 10

TSB moved to Wales within 18 months and by that time I had become permanent staff so I relocated - nothing to lose!

Again, maybe a mistake - it was really hard. I nearly lost the house, my childminder upped her charges in the first week and I was only just earning enough to cover things.  And I started to get bullied. Eventualy I got moved but the damage had been done - I was useless - scared, and constantly making mistakes.  I'd like to say I'm over it but in truth, I know the old fear is still there - 20 years later I am still capable of being intimidated and when that creeps in I just cant seem to perform.

If I hadnt met John, my 2nd husband, I think I might have gone back to England.  I was very unhappy. However, John and I became friends and after a good few years of car-sharing we started going out. 1 year later he proposed - I said No!!  Eventually I came round to the idea of being married again - we were at that stage living together - it wasnt the relationship - just the thought of being a women who was on her 2nd marriage!!  John became my soul-mate and although sadly we arent together anymore - 15 years together though - I regard him as one of the best things in my life.

Part 11

John's influence enabled me to expand in many ways.  I did so much and he backed every hair-brained scheme!  I made flower arrangements, jewellery, I joined the Army Cadet Force and went to Russia.  Amazing times.  Sam went to Canada after he left school - by this point he was living with Sue from Puddifats. He didnt like Wales, missed the horsey life and his Dad and we werent seeing eye to eye! So I borrowed some money from Mum and we shipped him off to Steve.  He had a hard time and if I could wave a magic wand - I would, but he is now one helluva guy. Two lovely children and a good marriage.  Well done Sam.

I eventually tired of TSB - now Lloyds TSB - and moved around abit trying to find the right place.  After trying a few things, I had the opportunity to try working for myself and started Happy Hounds, a dog walking and pet sitting business.  It did really well and although it was in this period that John and I split up, I made enough money to keep the house and pay the bills.

Dan went out to America - Sam is now in Maryland but was then in Virginia - and that was it for 3 years - he overstayed his visa and we were all terrified that he would get arrested if he tried to come home. He didnt stay with Sam long but found work in local racing stables and began to make a good name for himself there. Who would ever have guessed that his Grandfather's genes would turn him into a pretty good horseman - he's a natural!

Well the business only did well for 13 months and typically I found something else to play at.  In that time though I lost three stone in weight and regained much of the fitness of my horsey days..Bliss!

Part 12

Almost up to the present time...I met Jason and discovered networking. Jason is a musician, magician, artist and philosopher - punk, dark and bearded - another complete revelation - nothing like anyone I had ever met before. I have learned lots about music, marketing and magic!  We were together for 3 years.

 During this time I realised I had a talent for connecting people and that it was a service that I could provide to the business community.  It worked very well, I got a really good reputation but couldnt make a penny. 

In the end I went back to work - and it was at this last place that I realised I had had enough.  Tired of superficiality, management-speak and politics - not earning enough to keep my head above my debts, I turned to the Citizens Advice guys. Now here's where it gets was just before I went back to work - I was out with the dog and quite depressed about everything.  By the time I got back home I had decided that what I wanted was to live in a caravan somewhere, do whatever work I could on the land in lieu of rent and just exist. I knew I wanted to travel but couldnt really see how I would achieve all that.

CAB suggested Volunteering and the rest as they say is history.  12 months later I had sold the house, car-booted most of my stuff and found Spring Grove Market Garden through WWOOF (world wide opporunities for organic farmers) in Somerset where....I live in a caravan and work for my rent and food....dreams coming true nd be careful what you wish for!!

Part 13

I have no electricity, just a little solar panel that just about allows me to run my laptop and stereo - not at the same time!!  We have running water on site but not in my caravan. The loo is in a tiny old shed and is nothing more than a wooden seat on four legs over a large container. One simply does one's thing and then you add wood shaving/sawdust. Its a "compost loo". and you know what  - it works and I have no problem with it all. 

I'm not going to write any more here - the stories and pics of the next stages will form part of my blog...hope you werent too bored!!