Married at Stonehenge, my pagan mum who took me to the jungle aged seven
The ceremony was at 5am
Every year, on the 21st of June, thousands and thousands flock to the small town of Salisbury to attend the Summer Solstice at the sacred site of Stonehenge.
I’d heard about it hundreds of times but never did it cross my mind that one day my very own mum would get “handfasted” there. In other words, she got married, to a pagan, at the greatest prehistoric monument in the South West of England.
No, I didn’t know what it was either until my mum decided to get married in the middle of a field at 5am. A handfasting is when two people pledge to be together for a year and a day, and during the ceremony your druid, who you can book online, ties your hands together with a thick cord consisting of threads and charms chosen by the couple to symbolise their relationship.
She was raised to be a tax-paying, form-filling, law-loving citizen. Instead, Michaela Smith grew up to be anything but that. With a congenital contempt for authority and the system, she has just spent the best part of two years camping in fields to protest against fracking.
Besides this, she picks up as many pieces of litter as she can hold as she goes about her day, and has taken it upon herself to enlighten those who are not yet aware about all things “Green”.
When I was seven-years-old, she took me out of school for a year and we travelled through 19 countries instead. When I was 13, rather than taking me camping in France like everyone else, we spent six weeks road tripping along the coast of Italy, sleeping on beaches stopping in woods along the way to look at edible and medicinal plants.
Growing up, it was annoying to say the least. I wanted to be like everyone else and go on skiing holidays to the Alps and to Centre Parks with the whole family for an uncle’s birthday. Instead, I got to visit Nicaragua when I was 16, because mother Micheala hopes to start an eco-village there in a few years.
There was one village in particular she wanted to visit — El Ostional. What she didn’t know, was that the old American schoolbus carrying us, complete with holes in the floor, a rusty old engine and filled with women carrying plastic bags with live turkeys in them, would conspire against us.
A one hour journey into an eight hour slog. We got stuck in a river where the bridge had collapsed, and the driver decided to continue onwards regardless. Needless to say that when we arrived to the news of there not being any running water there, I wasn’t impressed.
It wasn’t all turkeys-in-bags and my friends being lectured on proper recycling though. Especially now, when she lives in Leicester, doing up an abandoned care home where she and four others, including her vegan husband, live. They plan on converting it into an eco-village, a place which would be completely self sufficient for energy, food and water and would sustain an anarchist community based on consencious leadership and skill sharing.
Just before the elections, they spent three weeks camping in Jubilee Square, in the centre of Leicester, raising awareness about issues not covered or expressed in mainstream media — such as the worldwide food crisis and the rise of corporate influence over democratic determination.
It’s not all about going on adventures and spending the best part of the Winter months camping at an anti-fracking site though. My mum and her old man believe in conspiracy theories too. She likes to live “off the grid” — and most of her friends have fake Facebook names, things like “Grey Wolf’ or ‘Mercury Rising’, as they believe Facebook is just one of the many tools the government uses to spy on us.
Of course, if you’ve watched Edward Snowden’s CitizenFour, you’ll know all about the NSA and what they were really doing last Summer.
For as long as I can remember, every time someone mentioned the weather being nice, an answer of “yeah.. shame about the chem-trails” has followed closey. Her boyfriend, Alan, believes wholeheartedly in aliens.
The ever espousing Alan said: “Basically, the universe is full of intelligent extra terrestrials. Some much more advanced than us, and all of them are actively involved in our progress as a planet and a people.
“The military and governments of the world have known about these aliens for a long time, and have been withholding information from us, as it would remove their ability to control the balance of power. They don’t want humanity to become self-determined.
“They want to keep controlling the leaders of institutions. They don’t want us to be enlightened and find alternative lifestyles, because it detracts from us relying on centralised utilities and governments.”
A few recent theories include things such as the government putting fluoride — a chemical used by dentists and in toothpaste to strengthen your teeth — in our drinking water in order to sedate us so we are no longer capable of resisting them.
It’s a strange existence, and comes with the obvious questions when everyone else’s parents go to the south of France for their holiday or in extreme cases Cyprus and my mum is frolicing round a giant stone artefact.
But as Alan says: “Simply, humanity is not the only show in town.”