Thank you, thank you

I get lots of cards and messages from families and friends after my funerals and it’s hard to know what to do with them. Even though speaking about death is become a more accepted part of contemporary life, it doesn’t feel quite right to share them on social media, or at least I haven’t yet found […]

Speaking at Funerals

I saw a story the other day that took me aback a bit. Father Joseph Anthony Toal is the Roman Catholic Bishop of Motherwell and he found himself all over the papers when an instruction he’d sent to his clergy was leaked to a journalist. He even made the Daily Telegraph. He told his priests to refuse requests […]

Joe’s Toes

There are emails you don’t want to get, and this one from Marie and Keith is one of them.  On 8th February 2014 you married myself and my husband at Dundas Castle. It was a beautiful ceremony and we were thankful we chose you to conduct it. This is a really difficult email to write […]

Jade and Michael’s Humanist Wedding at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh

Aged just 16 and 17 respectively, Jade and Michael first met at City Nightclub: obviously the place to be for underage party lovers! As the ‘older woman’, it was Jade who passed her driving test first and drove Michael on their first official date to see ‘The Bucket List’.  They both studied hard at Aberdeen […]

Grayson Perry – Rites of Passage

I’ve long been a fan of Grayson Perry. Not just of his work as a potter which is as subversive as it is beautiful, but also of his clear-eyed attempts to understand and explain the human condition. He’s a gifted communicator, whose easy directness allows him to connect with people from all cultures and walks of life, and […]

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral.

Many humanists are scientists, by inclination if not actual training, and I noticed today a new summation of what humanists believe that places emphasis on ‘science and reason’. As someone who failed physics ‘O’ Level and had a chemistry essay published in his school magazine as an example of ‘humorous writing’, you may already have […]

A Cockney Jock

I’ve conducted a number of ceremonies recently for former members of the armed forces, and I’ve been very touched to see their old comrades turn out wearing their berets and regimental ties, accompanied by a standard bearer with the colours bearing their battle honours.Peter’s funeral had all of those elements, but what made it extra […]

Willie The Wizard

Willie the Wizard, Indian Willie, One Match Willie, Oor Willie – whatever you called him, there is no doubt that Willie Taylor was an unforgettable character.  At first glance, he was a bit like a tiny,  Edinburgh version of Lemmy from Motorhead, so it seems a appropriate that his main interests in life were music and motorcycles.  I […]

Death, by Sean Hughes

Unlike quite a few of my friends, I never had the pleasure of meeting Sean Hughes, the gifted writer and comedian who died yesterday. I was aware of his comic genius, but I’d never read this poem, which was reproduced today in The Guardian. I hope someone is asked to read it at his funeral! […]

Regrets: I’ve had a few…

If you follow my blog, you’ll know I was delighted to be nominated, and then shortlisted for the Vows Awards a couple of weeks ago: that was entirely thanks to the many couples who voted for me to show their appreciation for the ceremonies that I conducted for them. I have been a celebrant for twelve […]