I’ve lived all over the South East really, so I grew up in London to an Irish family so it felt very much like I grew up in an Irish household.
I have so many happy memories.
Turf fire reminds me of home, although I’ve never lived in Ireland I’ve spent an awful lot of time there. It takes me right back, very evocative.
I’m here because I’ve always done art and performance and I had to take a break when my husband became sick, he was very very sick in 2015 and I had to find something in 2017 to help me get through that. I knew a couple of people from a play that I did that were part of the choir so they asked if there was any space. So I joined and it's beautiful!
It's tough, performing as yourself.
I’ve learned to be more open and listen to more people and listen to young people because they have a voice now and you know after my partner being so sick we both just opened up and an awful lot more .
At first, the choir was something for me, you know it was very selfish and I needed something to get the negative thoughts out of my head and get more interested in things for myself again. It turned into something completely different and it became about community and everyone singing together so it completely changed the focus.
I love it , I love every moment. I love coming to a rehearsal and you think that didn’t go so great and you get over it the next day and you think I’m glad I went out and did something. Or you come to the choir and think I don’t feel great but by singing you start to feel SO much better. It's just amazing! I didn’t expect to be performing so that was an added surprise.
I think it's very serious in the UK right now and I think we’ve taken a step back. Growing up in the 70s and 80s in London to an Irish family, and even though I had an English voice and English accent, you had to be careful what you said, careful what you did, people would accuse you of being terrorist. There were so many things you had to worry about and that all got a lot better as a community, and as people and we became more tolerant. Maybe it was just swept under the carpet but I can see it appearing again and its appearing not necessarily for Irish people but for other people and I recognise it. I think I’m not a terrorist, you're not a terrorist because of your beliefs and because of your religion. It's the same thing and that’s what I see in the UK in the last few years.
I grew up in east London and I’ve just been told the most diverse borough in the UK and we had neighbours next door that were Sikhs, there were Muslims the other side and there were Hindu’s over the road. We had a chap who was Scot who married an Italian catholic and he went against his parents to marry her so it felt very, very diverse.
I felt like I was cradled in the community and I loved that and that’s what I love about the UK.
I’m still living month to month and day to day with my partner just hoping he’s going to be better. I don’t really think about myself. So I’m hoping all will be well with health.
Stop, question Think, take a deep breath. Our life is not that long so we’ve got to put egos and bigotry aside.