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Dear Diary: Nerves, floods and my moustache

I was asked recently if I get nervous before giving a talk.  The short answer is absolutely I do!  If you look back to the first few videos I recorded for my YouTube channel you will see that I am reading directly from a book, because I was so nervous.  It is only with practice and experience and to be honest the very lovely people that join me on my weekly chats that I now don’t need a script.  The weekly talks have evolved from originally having a script, down to just a few notes to now just seeing what everyone comes up with.  

As for giving talks at events, that is another thing, whether it is for an online event or an in person conference, I still get nervous.   Going way back about ten years, I gave my first talk at Witchfest.  Oh how unprepared was I?  I went expecting to talk to 20, maybe 30 people tops.  What I walked into was a conference room with about 250 people in, I nearly fainted.   One thing I have always tried to do though is not read from a script.  I do sometimes have bullet point notes to remind me so that I don’t leave anything out, but I much prefer to just talk and hopefully get some interaction from the crowd too.  It feels more natural and I think it flows better too, but that can take some practice to achieve.

Then you give an online talk and spot someone really well known and respected within the Pagan community is there watching you, eeeep!  That can be absolutely terrifying, which has happened to me on a couple of occasions.

Ultimately, I like my talks to be informal and relaxed and hopefully that comes across.

This week I met with Ness and Heather in the little town of Midhurst.  It was raining, absolutely torrential so we started the day in a café (because why wouldn’t you anyway?).  On the table beside me was a couple and their very large, hairy and bouncy dog.  And he was absolutely gorgeous.  He wanted to get to know everyone and say hello and they kept apologising! But we got chatting along with another table of customers too. 

One of the other people mentioned they had just purchased a puppy, a chiweenie – I didn’t even know that was a thing, but apparently it is a Chihuahua and a Dachshund cross.  There seems to be a lot of this cross breeding and giving it a mad name, in my day it was called a mongrel!  However, it does seem to mean people can then charge lots of money for them.  I find it really sad, please, if you are looking for a dog, seek out the dog rescue centres first rather than paying breeders lots of money.  The rescue centres are full to bursting with dogs at the moment that all need good homes.


Having sat in the café for coffee, then lunch, then more coffee the rain finally eased and we walked down a very muddy track to a lovely little stone bridge over a river.  When we were there last year it was a clear trickling stream full of dragonflies.  This time it was a full flowing brown muddy river that had escaped its banks, but it was still beautiful.  There is an old castle ruin as well and the rain had turned the stone into a wonderful myriad of colours.  It was incredibly peaceful and still and all we could hear were birds in the marshes and trees – perfect. There is something very special about this time of year.

On a personal note, I am still struggling with the evil that is the menopause. By my count I am in about the eighth year of this total madness. This new revelation of joy ... is a moustache. Thankfully not a full blown Victorian effort that I am able to wax and twirl (although that does sound a bit awesome). It was only a couple of dark hairs, but I can tell you it is absolutely horrifying. Pete has spent the rest of the week referring to me as Groucho.

On that note I include here a flash back to the early 80's photo of me at a family wedding. Oh how I miss the 80's.


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