For about six months during the first half of 1996, I alternated 2 months at a time between Sydney and London. I was finishing up with my Sydney clients and beginning to get established in London.
I had no real plan for my London Life. I had come back to be closer to Aunt in Ireland (the main reason), and to satisfy my lifelong love affair with London (a minor reason). My first goals were to get established in the home I had bought, and to spend time with Aunt.
I suppose it was inevitable. In Sydney, I had been lecturing at various colleges, seeing clients in my office and writing articles and books. In London, I was asked to lecture at two colleges. I took rooms on Harley Street and began to see clients one day per week, and my agent had commissions for four books for me to write. “Everything changes, everything remains the same”. All was well, or so it seemed. Only it wasn’t.
At that time in 1996, it seemed that no one in the UK knew what a naturopath was. The best guess I got was “Oh, you mean you’re a homoeopath? The Queen has a homeopath!” An explanation from me was generally useless and unwanted. I had already written several books and had always put my contact details in them. The one that was published at about the time of my London arrival was ‘Fatigue – the secret of getting your energy back’. Gradually, as people read my book, they began to trickle into the practice. I saw an endless number of people with fatigue. Little variation there.
One notable day a client phoned to say she could not make her appointment because her asthma was acting up.
“That’s no problem, I can help you with that.”
“Oh, do you deal with asthma too?”
It was clearly going to be an uphill battle to establish that being a naturopath, at least in Australia, was similar to being a general practitioner, but one who focused on nutrition, herbal medicine and other non-toxic approaches to supporting homoeostasis (health) rather than on medical drugs.
As time went on, I grew bored with little to do except deal with fatigue. I decided to take time out, continue with lecturing and writing, but to let the practice take its limited course. Instead, I would treat this time as a research ‘sabbatical’ and explore the biochemistry of cancer. This was a topic that had interested me for a while, but I had little time for the luxury of research. Now I had plenty.
I set up a routine of one week per month with Aunt in Ireland, one day per week seeing clients in my London clinic, and then, as it was the long summer holiday from the colleges, I decided to travel. I had not lived in England for the previous thirty years and had almost forgotten the interesting places to see. I bought a tiny Campervan that was so small it could turn on a sixpence. Only 10 feet long and 5 feet wide it still had room for a bed, a chair, a table, a sink, a two burner stove, a ‘fridge’ in the form of a cool box that ran when attached to the cigarette lighter slot on the dash panel, and, luxury of luxuries, a flush loo – in truth a glorified chamber pot under the bunk with a nifty division into two compartments. The Campervan was a white Daihatsu High Ace, so it seemed natural to call her ‘Daisy’. I joined the Caravan Club, a somewhat more sober club than the Caravan and Camping Club which seemed to cater for young families, and campers on motorbikes.
This was prior to the dependency on the internet. So it was a simple matter to load up with my reference books and take off. There were strict rules for Daisy Trails. We avoided all motorways and A roads and travelled solely on B roads or less. We took the smallest road at every turn, followed all the ‘brown signs’ to places of interest, and didn’t decide where to camp until at least 5:30 each evening. From then until late into the night, I worked at my tiny desk.
One thing I had to relearn was UK distances. At one point, soon after I arrived back in London, I had a meeting scheduled in Staines that finished at 12.00 pm. I could see Henley on my map and I had hoped to arrive in time for lunch, but there were several places on the map between me and it so I realised that I would not make it in time for lunch, but perhaps, with luck, I might get there by tea time. My surprise at arriving there less than half an hour later can only be imagined. In Australia, you could figure on an hour or two between townships. I had a lot of ‘downsizing’ to do.
Each day I woke early and worked until after the local rush hour, usually upping sticks at around 10.00 a.m. in the morning. I drove during the day but stopped as I pleased to drink in the scenery. After nearly thirty years of gum trees and tropical palms, I couldn’t get enough of the oaks and birch trees, of enchanting cottages and gardens, of small fields instead of large spreads of ‘the bush’. I worked a bit during the day but had a marvellous time exploring all the hidden delights that no one travelling on the fastest route from A to B would never see.
The lecture notes were prepared, the books were written, and I was free to explore the biochemistry of cancer. It was every bit as exciting as I had imagined. As I got used to the internet and realised what amazing new avenues of exploration it gave me, I became amazed at the depth and breadth of the researched and scientific information that was available. It soon became apparent that there was a serious divide, in fact, there were two. Firstly, the researchers researched and the practitioners practised. But it was clear that scientific research made little impact on the ‘standard medical practice’, that the doctors at the ‘coal face’ practised. And this was all within the medical profession. Secondly, there was the divide between patentable, profitable drugs and somewhat toxic pharmaceutical approaches, and the approaches that involved the non-patentable, non-toxic and minimally profitable plant remedies and related nutrients.
I explored the lot with the enthusiasm of a starving woman seeing the first morsel of food for a month. Inevitably my agent asked me to write a book on cancer, and so ‘Vital Signs for Cancer Prevention’ was written. This was to be followed, in time, by ‘Cancer Concerns’ and then ‘Detecting Cancer.’ And of course, over the course of the last two decades, my practice has grown. It is now almost entirely focused on supporting people with cancer in ways that help them through whatever other treatments they choose to go through.
In addition to the internet, we now have Skype and other technologies that enable me to support people from near and far, including some of my clients and contacts from Sydney days.