Death Cafe

12th August 2106


Last year I published the post linked to below. It’s about a friend and fellow business owner Susan Holden and her Grief Recovery service.

Since then Sue has branched out. She’s now a qualified funeral celebrant.

And, linking to that, she is running a Death Cafe at the Dojo Cafe in Swindon. See below for more information.

Good grief!

“My latest qualification as a Civil Funeral Celebrant (NOCN Level 3 Diploma) QCF and member of the Institute of Civil Funerals, dovetails in neatly with my grief work.

I now see myself more as a Life Supporter. People suffer through grief when their lives are turned upside down by a negative change in some form of emotional relationship with another person or animal, or a hope, dream or expectation. This may be bereavement, divorce, miscarriage, onset of dementia, a terminal illness diagnosis or loss of a job or exam failure, for example.

How Can I Help?

I can take people through a course to understand what grief is, how it manifests itself and what one can do to work with it and move forward in life.

Through my celebrancy work I can reflect and carry out the final farewell to a loved one at a time when one wants to do the very best for someone for one last time, yet are least able to do so. I am a mirror for their wishes.

Both of these services support a person at a time in their lives when they need it most. I listen and give people the ‘tools’ to help them help themselves and to move forward again in their lives. And I do what is wished for by a family to celebrate a life that has ended and to support those that remain.

About the Death Cafe

I am also going to run a Death Café, which is a social occasion where people come together to discuss death and dying with coffee and cakes! This is an informal set up with no agendas, objectives or themes.

The purpose is to ‘increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’ Through discussion of this somewhat taboo subject, I hope to bring people to a point of appreciating their present life and being more comfortable around the subject of death, which is a certainty for us all!

I’m offering to give talks to groups like W. I’s, Rotary, carers, hospices, any charity to do with dementia, Alzheimer’s, care homes, religious groups, bereavement groups, funeral planners, will writers and NHS employee associations, to name but a few. The talk is around what choices people have over their funeral and how it can be important to talk about it and plan for it.”

Visit the Death Café

When? – Tuesday 13th September 2016 and then monthly

Where? – Dojo Café, Crowood House, Gypsy Lane, Swindon, SN2 8YY

Time? –      From 7pm to 8.30pm

Just turn up!

Contact Sue:

01793 978 617
07941 273 589

Jon Underwood in USA founded the idea of death cafes based on the work of Bernard Crettaz a Swiss sociologist who started the first one in 2004. In the last 3 years there have been over 1400 death cafes in 26 countries.”

There’s recently been an article in The Independent on the subject of Death Cafes. Read more about that here:

Here’s an extract:

‘… But despite this ingrained reluctance there are signs of burgeoning interest in exploring death. I attended my first death cafe recently and was surprised to discover that the gathering of goths, emos and the terminally ill that I’d imagined, turned out to be a collection of fascinating, normal individuals united by a wish to discuss mortality.

At a trendy coffee shop called Cakey Muto in Hackney, east London, taking tea (and scones!) with death turned out to be rather a lot of fun. What is believed to be the first official British death cafe took place in September last year, organised by former council worker Jon Underwood. Since then, around 150 people have attended death cafes in London and the one I visited was the 17th such happening..’


Bluebird care: Swindon’s services for older people

Bluebird care: Swindon’s services for older people

23rd June 2016


Free event will focus on Swindon’s services for older people

Bluebird care logoA quick shout out here for an event from Bluebird Care:

When and where:

July 5th at Christchurch Community Centre in Old Town.

Cricklade Street, Swindon SN1 3HB


What and Why:

A free event aimed at showcasing services for older people is being staged in Swindon by the town’s leading care at home provider Bluebird Care.

It’s a chance for older people living in the area, and their family and friends, to find out about what services are on offer to help them stay safe, secure, healthy and independent in their own homes.

The event will feature stalls and displays from a number of organisations, all of which support older people, ensuring they can make the most of later years.

Ben Curtis, Director of Bluebird Care Swindon, which looks after well over 100 people in their own homes, says:

“Over 65 year olds play an important part in our society. Not only have they contributed in previous years to the development of civic life but they also add greatly to the economy and give hundreds of hours of voluntary time to community groups.

 “We rely heavily on older people for all they do, often providing care for loved ones; spouses, siblings, or nonagenarian parents, not to mention the support they give by helping out with grandchildren.”

 Organisations taking part include Healthwatch Swindon, Bluebird Care Swindon, Wiltshire Farm Foods, CAB Swindon, the Alzheimer’s Society, the Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust, the Aster Group, Swindon Dial-a-Ride, Swindon Carers Centre, Age UK Wiltshire, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service Prevention Team, Swindon Seniors Forum, Akcess CIC, SEQOL, Health and Wellbeing Ambassadors, the Samaritans, Care Planning Services, the Hearing and Mobility Store Ltd, the Lydiards Link Scheme and Action on Hearing Loss.

In addition to the many stalls, visitors will be able to relax and enjoy music from local pianist Lisa Williams and the Cantanti Choir. Tea, coffee, and cakes will be provided by Bluebird Care staff and volunteers.

Ben added: “Too often, older members of our society feel isolated with no one to talk to. Part of the job our care workers do includes spending time with people, keeping them company, and giving them a helping hand around the house.

“Our free event will give older people a chance to meet others in similar situations and make new friends.  Also they will be able to discover the array of organisations we have in our area who are there to help.”

The event will be held at Christ Church Community Centre, Cricklade Street, Old Town, Swindon SN1 3HB, from 1-4 pm on Tuesday July 5.

For more information, contact Bluebird Care Swindon on 01793 239498 or email


SAPAC: South Asian Performing Arts Centre

SAPAC: South Asian Performing Arts Centre

28th May 2016


Hello listeners – here we have some lovely information from Indu Sharma about SAPAC! Not so long back I put a post on here about the Swindon Indian Association so this a welcome addition to Born again Swindonian. Read about Swindon’s Indian Association here:  There’s a link to their website at the bottom of the page.

Jai Ho!

SAPAC: South Asian Performing Arts Centre

SAPAC logo - South Asian Performing Arts Centre

“SAPAC of Swindon is the only diverse art organisation in Swindon and the surrounding area. It exists to bring dance and music from the South Asian sub- continent.

In 2009, three community associations, Hindu Samaj, Swindon Indian Association and Swindon Tamil associations realised that a partnership was needed  to offer multi cultural activities on a regular basis, so they got together to form SAPAC with a distinct aim to provide regular South Asian cultural programmes locally. Since the formation of SAPAC, the three associations have been working in partnership to offer joint cultural performances at a larger scale”.  Read more here:

SAPAC came to life in late 2009 when four large ethnic communities in Swindon decided to come together to promote music and dance from South Asian countries.

Membership of the centre is open to all and everyone in and around Swindon and Wiltshire, regardless of ethnicity and age. The Centre hosts performances from world class artists and is a hub of south Asian performing Arts in Swindon where people can regularly appreciate and participate in cultural diversity locally.

We invite international dancers and musicians to perform in Swindon. No need now to travel to London or Bristol to enjoy well known artists.

We arrange classical as well as contemporary dance and music programmes and if you want to learn, we arrange classes too.”

Upcoming Event

Our next event is on 2nd of July this year when internationally renowned  instrumentalists will play their music  which promises to be toe tapping and exciting music.

The programme will be at Phoenix Theatre in New College , Swindon. There will be Indian food on sale too, if you feel peckish.

Tickets are only £12 each and discounted rates for families of 4.

Please ring Indu Sharma on 07808648829 to book tickets.

For more information about the artists and programme, please visit SAPAC website at

Swindon Indian Association:

Swindon Tamil Association:



Golf Fore All

Golf Fore All

9th April 2016


Straight down the middle

Now Mark Twain famously referred to golf as a ‘good walk spoiled’. I’m not entirely in disagreement I won’t lie. Golf is in fact surrounded by quips and quotes and here’s a couple more of my faves:

“Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps.” Tiger Woods. And if you hark back to the way golfers dressed in the 1970s in particular you can see exactly what he meant.

“I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.” 
― G.K. Chesterton

Now this golf related blog is a guest post from Lee who I ‘know’ from Twitter. I’m delighted to have it because I do like to cover as many aspects of Swindon life on this blog as I can and golf is surely one of them?

I gotta say that I hesitate to refer to golf as a ‘sport’ – surely any game where you can progress in a motorised cart, and that can be played by overweight middle-aged men with cigars in their mouths, can’t reasonably be called a sport? But, for the sake of argument, I’ve categorised this post as ‘This Sporting Life’. Reluctantly.

Lee takes an interest in sport. He’s written previously on here about Swindon Town Football Club for a start. So thanks to Lee for being my roving (coughs) sports correspondent and sending me these lines and the photographs. Lee also takes a keen interest in history and that’s reflected in his musings.

Among his photographs is one of Swindon’s own golfing success story: David Howell. Now I hail from Worksop – home of another very successful golfer: Lee Westwood – his mother used to be my chiropodist. She was always full of stories of ‘R Lee’. Time was I had a partner that was a keen golfer – I used to threaten to get a T-shirt printed with ‘David who? on one side and ‘I HEART Lee’ on the other. But I thought we might have been blackballed or whatever it is.

Anyway – with no further ado – Lee’s words:

“I love golf but to be fair I’m not that good at playing – not exactly a natural you might say.

In the Swindon area we are spoilt for golf courses. There’s Ogbourne, Marlborough, Bowood and the lovely Wrag Barn at Highworth. Then of course there’s Brinkworth and South Carney. The 9-hole course in Highworth presents quite a challenge but the courses at Moredon and Coate are 3-par and friendlier.

All these courses have their histories but none so much as the jewel in Swindon’s Broome Manor Golf Complex. 

Here there are hidden acres of woodland not far from the ancient villages of Hodson and Coate – it really is a golfer’s paradise. Will it remain so with the plans currently afoot for a 50 room hotel at the complex?

Many good players have paced the fairways at Broome Manor – or Broome as it’s referred to. 

A well-known name in the golfing world is that of Swindon born David Howell. Continuing to shine, David fine-tuned his game at Broome Manor. A six times winner in Europe he still is in the worlds top 130….with power to add hopefully when he returns from injury. David’s achievements with the niblick have been recognised at the club with an annual Pro-Am in his name. Here he is action. Oh and it’s in the rough … !  😉

David Howell

David who?

The driving range at Broome was opened by none other than Ian Woosnam – and to throw in a bit of history, the Old Broome Farmhouse still stands – a remnant of the 1000 year old manor.’

There’s lots of fab information here about Swindon’s various manors. I was going to quote some bits but the coding on the site won’t allow it. So if you’re interested you’ll have to visit it.  

The train now standing … is the Locomotive Broome Manor built in Swindon in 1938

‘In filthy condition ex GWR 1938 built 7805 Broome Manor is parked at the back of Tyseley shed.

Although the back of Tyseley this and a parallel line extended to the main Warwick Rd in Birmingham affording a view of several locomotives that were in steam without the need to trespass. The shed had two turntables and these overflow lines were an extension from them. 7805 had certainly visited the coal drop before being stabled here.’

Says Lee: ‘This is a negative that I found in an old envelope, I think it was given to me in around 1969.’

Now to round this off, and despite not being a huge golf fan, I can take pleasure in a novelty song. And here we have Bing Crosby and Bob Hope from 1957 and ‘Straight down the Middle’. They wish. As the man says: Fore!


I want muscle!

I want muscle!

28th April 2016

This post is a call, a shout-out, from Swindon man Barry Mitchell to join him in forming a ‘Global Justice Now’ group here in Swindon.


Global Justice Now:

Twitter: @GlobalJusticeUK

Global Justice Now logoFrom the GJN website: 

“Global Justice Now is a democratic social justice organisation working as part of a global movement to challenge the powerful and create a more just and equal world. 

We mobilise people in the UK for change, and act in solidarity with those fighting injustice, particularly in the global south.”

Read more here:

And now for Barry’s call to arms – well not literally!!! #obvs

Time to exercise your democratic muscles

Every day governments around the world fail in their responsibility to protect their citizens from the worst ravages of neoliberalism. Whether its international trade, the food system or climate policy, multinational corporations dominate the policy of democratically elected bodies, both nationally and internationally.

I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely worried and frustrated about the growing inequality and lack of democracy in the world we live in.

Globe people

How can I as an individual do something to combat this and help the general population to regain its democratic control? Not very well on my own.

But I know from experience that the power of the common people is massive when we get together. I’ve been involved with Amnesty International and Oxfam, and I know that through collective action we can help to have a game-changing impact on thinking and policy.

So that’s why I want to start a Global Justice Now group here in Swindon. If we work together, we can contribute to challenging global inequality and building a more democratic society. And there are other groups nearby we can work with, in Bristol and Cheltenham.

We can start with a discussion or meeting, but then move straight into organising events and activities to spread the word and mobilise people locally about the crucial issues Global Justice Now is working on – like TTIP, CETA, energy democracy and corporate control of society generally.

I know there are many like-minded individuals here, so let’s get together and make a difference, or forever regret not trying. Get in touch and let’s get something going!

E-mail Barry Mitchell: or call him: 01793-430880 – If he’s not there then leave a message and he’ll get back to you.


Chop Chop!

Chop Chop!

27th April 2016

Helen Browning’s Chop House

A pig Helen Browning's Chop House SwindonI haven’t yet had a chance to visit the new chop house on Wood Street in Old Town so what we have here dear listeners is a guest review from my friend Gill Thomas – otherwise known as Contemporary Botanicals. 

Before we get to that here’s a snippet from the restaurant’s website:

‘Good, fast, simple, casual food from great ingredients.  Brunch, lunch and supper, Wednesday to Sunday from March 30 in Swindon’s Wood St; serving our own organic beef, pork & lamb.

We like to feed children. We don’t care what clothes or boots you are wearing. We’ll even take dogs. Our default response is ‘yes’. We very much look forward to welcoming you in. ‘


So far so good – so what does Gill have to say about the place? Read on!

Helen Browning's Chop House in Swindon

“We arrived a few minutes before 7pm and it was already pretty full but thankfully – I’d say crucially – we had a reservation because people were piling in all the time, at one point forming a queue! 

The decor and discreet lighting provide a subtle, warm ambiance which was matched by the warm welcome from the staff.  The seating is a mix of dining tables and high cocktail tables – we had the latter which was turned around to give better access. 

Nothing was too much trouble.  The menu is small, offering a limited choice of meat,  fish and veggie options which is more than enough choice, most accompanied by skinny chips and salad.  There is no pretension here, just simply good food.  We both went for the salads of the day which were large, fresh, full of textures and flavours that just filled the mouth.  The meat meals  that we saw were handsome steaks and nicely presented steak sandwiches held together with a “dagger”.  The wine list is similarly brief but, again, we found it more than adequate and chose the house red, a very nice Merlot.  

It was really busy and the manager and one waitress really had their work cut out in providing good service which they did with efficiency and good humour.  To use an old phrase “the joint was really jumping” – diners were clearly happy and we were so impressed that we ended up making a reservation for next month.”

All of which sounds really fabulous and leaves me with only one question: is this small but delicious menu served on plates? I’m utterly bored with boards and browned off with baskets and saddened by slates. I simply want my food on a piece of plain, white china. It’s not much to ask surely?


Find the chophouse on Facebook:

Contact the chophouse:

01793 527082

opening hours Helen Browning's Chop House in Swindon