The Story of Derby...

Derby’s Personal History…

As an infant my world was magical, filled with wonder, with colour and music, I loved exploring woodland and messing around in boats. I loved everything the same, the spider in her web, the dog beside me on the sofa, the tree in our garden, sunset, sand between my toes, the scent of roses, the sound of laughter, the grace of a butterfly.

People were more complicated to my infant mind, but I learned much from reading emotions, the unspoken words. I was fully fluent in sensations and energies of all description before I managed to curl my tongue around the spoken word.

My black Mama, Effie, was my true connection to mother, to earth, to unspoken truth, to life and love. She taught me to judge not at all, to appreciate every moment, to see goodness in all things and people.

Calvin, our wonderful gardener, encouraged my love of plants, and my green thumb was respected from age 3, when I grew my first flowers – pansies with their charming laughing faces.


Mom was a healer, though she never knew it. She acted completely by instinct and from her creative core. Her love poured out through her care – our house sang with sensitivity and nurture, care for our growing minds and bodies. From her I learned healing touch, the simple mystery of imbuing a place with a deep sense of safety and beauty, a place blessed by the joyous heart. And she taught me by elegant example how to put people at their ease, how to recognise their worth, enjoy their difference and connect with shared ideas and experience.

From Dad I learned to be true to myself, to understand the value and necessity of integrity. I learned that grown ups could be big kids, and that this was essential to true happiness. And he taught me, through his own desperate need and extreme difficulty in verbalising his feelings, how to read body language, tone of voice, and energetic field so I knew what he meant. Dad understood me and supported me with kindness and love, our communication  is largely responsible for my being able to read people and create safe places.

I realised I was different…

I realised I was different, and that was good. People were all different, and until I got to school I didn’t come across the concept of trying to “fit in” and be like everyone else.

Difference was fascinating exciting, exotic, wonderful. Everything was new, untried. But school taught me that to be different was dangerous, that to speak out was rude, and that every rule must be obeyed – even the unwritten ones, and the silly ones. I learned early the meaning of hypocrisy, for it was the glue that kept that social set together… and it was melting.

I refused to give up my curiosity, I kept asking questions and I learned quickly – it was my best defence in a world where conformity was the norm. It was a hard time to be a wise kid, but there were always gifts along the way.

When I was eight, Gran did the unthinkable – she took a “proper” picture down off the wall and put one of my paintings into the frame. I was horrified and thrilled. That moment affirmed me as an artist, and gave me an invaluable sense of myself. Art gave me a way to express what I could not say, and was not allowed to say until high school and college where at last I was encouraged to think, to share, to really learn and to gain my voice.


My teens were wonderful, wild years of experimentation, protesting, learning, writing, dancing, and I was encouraged and supported my many wonderful teachers, counselors and mentors. There was so much I wanted to do, so much I needed to know before I could make that Big Difference I wanted to make. My first task was to rescue myself from my disintegrating family. I knew I could not fix the breach between them, nor help any one of them to learn their own lessons, but while I was near I was the listener, the carer. In that sad environment I could not be my true self, so I took up the challenge and left my home and country at the age if 17 in search of me, and a place to grow.

I leapt into the university of life – with no idea where to go. Being a foreigner allowed me the freedom to be odd. Years of counseling, healing and reading showed me my inner self, my connection to the energy of creation, and clarified my purpose and my path. I wanted to help people, and I had learned enough to take the first step onto my path.

The leap across the ocean freed me, opened up endless doors, each step in the path bringing an unexpected gift and a lesson. Neither the inner nor outer journeys were smooth and simple, but then we all learn from the challenges and rough patches. All my experiences, personally and professionally formed the wealth of resources I needed to solidify my dreams and hopes and visions. I did a lot of learning both on line, at distance and locally. All about self growth, many types of holistic healing, herbalism, gardening, seeing life from creative and spiritual perspectives.

I had several different jobs in those years – in education, the arts and training, some in the voluntary and charity sectors. I trained trainers and I met many wonderful people, learned masses about life, the danger of expectations and assumptions, and the practical aspects of business, marketing, planning and learning. The last job I had was in the media – full circle to my studies at college and as a post-grad. My heart and soul hated being there, my logical mind kept clinging to the practicalities.


A pivotal point in my life was losing that nice safe job…
and I thank the Universe for intervening.

After thirty minutes of tears and fears, I was planning to move to Scotland (which had been my dream for retirement) and find a job that I could be proud of… A couple months later with the house all cleared and tidy, and me surrounded by a heap of job applications I was beginning to wonder if this was the right move. Then a dear friend asked me what I really wanted to do.

My heart and tongue connected

I said,”I want to create a safe haven, a welcome home from home, where friends, colleagues, and anyone who is looking for a place to be healed, helped and inspired, can come and stay, and gain what they need, and leave with hope, enthusiasm and to be more truly themselves.

A place so flexible that I could continue to grow and learn, as well as sharing all I have learned and I am continuing to gain.

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Lorn & Mary

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