Doing it wrong/doing it right [CAREER]

Have you ever been in a job that’s wrong for you, but you tell yourself it’s right? When we don’t listen to our instincts, the universe finds a way of EJECTING us, sometimes brutally, from a situation, so we can get back on track, back in alignment with our true purpose in life.

Don’t take that rejection personally, or cry too much after that kick in the teeth… it’s just a prod from your guides, trying to tell you…‘don’t waste your time doing that…. you need to do this!’

Accept the changing situation with grace, write down what you’ve learned and move on quickly. It sounds like a cliche, but if you play to your strengths and listen to the strong pull of your instinct, your next gig, opportunity, job etc., will be more in line with where you need to be and what you need to learn to fulfil your purpose in life!

‘Right now you have the opportunity to transform your life!’

© Suzy Rowland-Rigg

Remembering Windrush 1948 [VIDEO]

If you like this poem and would like to buy an A5 copy as a momento, copies are on sale at the Black Cultural Archives shop OR click here to purchase online.

Windrush poem on sale at Black Cultural Archives

© Suzy Rowland-Rigg

 

 

Windrush 48; Spirit of Windrush

I was fortunate enough to attend the service at Westminster Abbey on 22 June to mark Windrush Day. Me and about 2,000 other folk. The steel band playing in the church by Shern Hall Methodist Youth Steel band, set the scene. The harmonic twang of pan never fails to lift the spirit, and the mix of hymns and spirituals they played was a joy to listen to and even dance to as Baroness Floella Benjamin, did on her way in, with a willing member of the public! She received a hearty round of applause from the crowd, as she sashayed to her seat.

The atmosphere in the abbey was interesting: a mix of celebratory, joyful, respectful and thankful. Westminster Abbey  – seat of the British religious establishment, where graves of diplomats, politicians and British royalty are buried and royals have married –  was to host a service with a difference. I sat with Karen Roach, a pastor at St. James Church Hampton Hill, as we watched key names in British politics enter the Abbey: Prime Minister Teresa May, Home Secretary Sajid David, Baroness Floella Benjamin, Diana Abbot, Paul Boeteng.

Rev Joel Edwards gave a stirring address

The hour long service started with a solo of Jerusalem, sung by a girl with locks, followed by an enactment of Caribbeans coming to this country, some who may have perviously served in the war, detailing their thoughts and feelings as they came to Britain to help re-build the ‘Mothercountry.’

The Abbey begins to fill up

The service was led by the Very Rev Dr. john Hall, Dean of Westminster, and the Rev Joel Edwards gave an address, which intimated that the setting down of the ship had not been an entirely welcome arrival. “The children of Windrush have experienced over-representation in Britain’s prisons and mental health institutions, underachievement in education and in the job market.” He described Windrush as a spaceship and invited us to think about what where we would be in 2088, what shape would we be in then? “Settlement has meant racism, sometimes too much policing and not enough protection, and Stephen Lawrence,” he said.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, A cultural entertainment icon

I was so grateful to be there, and know that, in memory of my ‘Windrush’ ancestors (actually, my grandfather came over in 1955 on a ship called the Reina Del Pacifico), I still have much work to do.

© Suzy Rowland Rigg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SS EMPIRE WINDRUSH [Windrush Day poem]

Windrush 1948: Coming Home

 “London, is the place for me
London, this lovely city
You can go to France or America, 
India, Asia or Australia
But you must come back, to London city.”

(Calypso: Sung by Lord Kitchener)

A leap into the unknown,

hundreds of men, women, families

loyal subjects of the Queen of England

wait patiently for their boarding cards

passports to a new land, a new life –

sunny determination in their veins

spirit of slave rebellion dancing in their hearts

centuries of cutting cane without shade

pulls their backs tall,

enslavement courses their DNA

fires the desire for a better life:

 

Britain won the war

her Queen, stole Caribbean hearts.

 

 

Leaving the hot sun of home

waving goodbye to warm seas

bearing bruises of the Atlantic slave trade

borrowed names: Williams, Beckfords, Campbells,

from Trinidad, Jamaica, Bardados,

waiting on the gangplank of British warships

on request of the British government

many with a one way ticket to England

a one way ticket to cities with strange names,

 

Liverpool, Bristol, Manchester, a one-way ticket…

‘….tickets please’ ‘Tickets please!’

shouts the bus conductor

in a broad Bajan accent, with a broader smile,

he was ‘home’ a new land, a new life.

My grandfather, Wilfred N. Walker, came to England from Jamaica on the Reina Del Pacifico in 1955. My grandfather’s brother Lester, is the handsome man in the  black and white photograph, alongside his wife, Julia, who was known in the family as ‘Cookie’. The rest of his family, his wife Maud (my grandmother) and the children Colin, Aston, Valrie and my mother Dorcas, came to England on the Reina Del Mar, docking in Liverpool in 1956.

Whenever I read this poem, it always stimulates a reaction; I have seen people cry, and many of a certain age, like to join in with the song which I try to sing acappella, but sometimes emotion gets the better of me. At my last reading, at Hampton Hill Theatre, Noel Coward Suite, one woman approached me afterwards and said that she was there to see the ship arriving. A young 87, with bright green nail varnish and dyed red hair, she said that the signs outside of houses, saying ‘No Irish, no dogs, no blacks’, were not racist, but a symptom of the desperate housing situation in bombed post-war Britain.

I read this poem to remember my grandfather, who died in 2012, after receiving a telegram from the Queen for his 100th birthday. I read this poem to assert that I’m British, born and bred in Birmingham, and this is my home country, although I am often asked where am I from. I read this poem out of pride for the many positive contributions and efforts, my ancestors, and people like them have put energy into crafting, building, railway-ing, nursing, musician-ing, and generally seasoning this country to make it one of the most amazing, dynamic and forgiving places to live – in spite of the difficulties many of us still face. I see all of this as cause for celebration.

This poem is available to purchase as a commemorate A5 card, please click here to continue

© Suzy Rowland Rigg