Cas Walker, educationalist & schools’ pioneer

Dorcas, or ‘Cas’ Walker, as she became known, was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1943. Her formative years were spent in Jamaica. She arrived in England in 1952 and settled in Manchester with other relatives before moving to Birmingham in 1958. She first career, was as a civil servant at the ‘Board of Trade’ now Department for Trade & Industry. Due to  a change of personal circumstances, Cas changed her professional direction. She joined Dunlop Research Limited in the late 1960s doing laboratory work on rubber polymers.  But the field of education was always an enduring area of interest for Cas. She gained experience working in supplementary schools and as a result decided to train to be a teacher in 1971 and eventually gained a B.Ed from Birmingham University. An avid student, Cas went on to gain further specialist qualifications in teaching reading and linguistics and a B.A (Govt).

Cas Walker

Cas Walker receiving her masters at Warwick University, with her father, Wilfred Walker

She taught in both Primary and Secondary schools in Handsworth, Nechells and Ladywood areas of Birmingham. Career progression led to the post of Senior Teacher, Head of Specialist Team, (African Caribbean Teaching Unit) advising on primary school management and ancestral diversity in education.

Cas progressed to Education Adviser for Birmingham Education Authority and was the first Africa Caribbean female to take up the post in 1987. Her wide-ranging role included development with key players in Education, e.g. Professor Aubery Osler at Leicester University.

Cas recalls the early years in school when pupils and teachers were surprised by her knowledge of English, history & geography. School plays were not without difficulties and racism, but the few years spent in Jamaica as a child, had given her a sense of self-worth and confidence and the ability to deal with the rigors of the inner city classroom!

There is so much more to tell you about Cas Walker’s contribution to education, how she came to write a book, her visits to the Gambia, her breath-taking community involvement, her opera singing. I will sign off now but will continue to share her story, her legacy. There are lots of things I want to document about Cas Walker’s life, not only because of her extraordinary achievements, her intellect and talent but also because she was my mother.


Suzy Rigg

Writing every word


The Interview: Hypnotherapy for Women

Hypnotherapy for Women is an intriguing name for a company, I’ve never tried hypnotherapy, so I decided to meet with Alexandra Rickard, founder of the company to find out more about this therapy and see if I was brave enough to try it myself! As soon as I met Alexandra on a rainy afternoon at her London-based treatment room, she put me immediately at ease.

Sitting in a comfortable cream leather reclining chair, with the rain drumming outside and a cosy warmth in the treatment room, I felt instantly relaxed. But before my treatment started, I needed to find out more about this often misunderstood complementary therapy:

Can you describe what hypnotherapy is? 

“Hypnotherapy is a powerful form of therapy which involves putting a person into a deep state of relaxation (the trance state) in order to affect positive changes in their life. When we are in this state we can gain access to our subconscious mind which is where all our behaviours, belief systems and habits are stored. Whether it’s helping you to sleep better, to feel less stressed or to overcome a phobia, all of these changes and more can occur during hypnosis at the subconscious level, resulting in quick, lasting and positive changes in your life. Using a computer analogy, imagine that your mind is a hard drive, during hypnosis we simply help update it with new and beneficial software, replacing the old and redundant programs that aren’t working so well that might be keeping you trapped in negative or harmful thought patterns.”

Hypnotherapy For Women Founder Alexandra

Hypnotherapy For Women Founder Alexandra Rickard


Are some people easier to ‘go under’ than others?

“The higher your intelligence and the stronger your self-control, the more easily you are hypnotised. That’s because entering a hypnotic trance is all about concentrating. However finding it hard to enter a hypnotic state doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. People naturally vary in how susceptible they are to hypnosis. Studies have shown that around 30% of people are relatively resistant to being hypnotised. Although, with effort, the state can usually be achieved eventually.”

What sort of conditions do you treat?

“I’ve been successful in helping with a multitude of issues, such as insomnia, anxiety/stress, overcoming phobias and bad habits, low confidence, procrastination and many more. I also have a passionate interest in helping women deal with the stresses of motherhood. Since becoming a mother myself, I recognised how effective hypnotherapy was in helping me to deal with the challenges I faced. As a result I created a range of targeted hypnotherapy sessions designed to address mother-related issues e.g. lack of sleep, stress, colicky baby and depression.”

How many sessions do clients usually need?

“On average 6 sessions, but anywhere between 3-12 as it all depends on the client’s goals. Some clients come to me with one issue, but then find other things they want addressed too.”

What sparked your interest in hypnotherapy?

“Whilst working in a demanding and stressful marketing role I learnt the valuable skills of hypnotherapy to help me deal with insomnia and other stress related issues. On discovering firsthand the benefits of hypnotherapy I changed career and now happily practise full time as a clinical hypnotherapist.”

What is the most unusual complaint you have resolved?

“Finger sucking.”

Sleeping mum and baby

Conversation with friends loves hypnotherapy

I was ready. All of my questions had been answered, I’d used the bathroom (well, I didn’t want to intrude on my trance with a loo break did I?!), I’d signed the consent form and a small monitor was now attached to my index finger to monitor moisture levels in my finger tips. If I was deeply relaxed, the normal sweat level from my finger would drop to a below the normal level. This would indicate that I was fully in a trance state.

“Wake up!, wake up!” I could hear Alex’s voice but didn’t want to leave that beautifully relaxed state. When I came to, feeling deeply rested and relaxed, Alex told me I was under for half an hour and had apparently entered a deep state of trance. I remember wanting to scratch my head at one point but somehow being able to ignore the feeling. In fact, for someone who can be quite a fidget, I can’t believe I stayed motionless for more than thirty minutes! It felt like my eyes had been closed for about five minutes.

Before I was hypnotized, we had discussed some of the issues I wanted to open my subconscious mind to. After the build up, the session was over all too soon. Alex gave me a CD copy of the session to provide a top up treatment when needed. I felt reassured by having the CD to listen, it was also a physical record of what was said to me in that highly suggestible state. A good thing to have.

Hypnotherapy is a hugely fascinating area to explore and as with all therapies that involve the brain and people who are feeling vulnerable, a degree of caution is required. Alex was keen to stress that she doesn’t make any medical diagnoses or advice clients to change any existing medication without first consulting their doctor. She takes a full and thorough health and well-being assessment before starting the treatment to ensure she’s 100% clear about what your needs are. Like any therapy, there is always a degree of cooperation and trust required to get the best out of it.

Based on my experience, I would certainly recommend it to hypnotherapy ‘novices’. I can also see why Alex has chosen to specialise her area of practice for women. Women experience a variety of chemical and hormonal changes throughout their lives which can leave them feeling off-balance and emotionally unstable.  Not to mention our sometimes misplaced thinking that we need to try to be all things to all people. The obvious example is pregnancy and childbirth and the potential for depression and anxiety that this life-changing event can have on the whole family.

I give it a thumbs up and I will definitely have hypnotherapy again  – and if you are stuck for an interesting or unique gift, I would say try it.

Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

Mobile: 07815 318455

Office: 020 3612 8321

If you are a small business owner and would like to be featured in ‘The Interview’ please email with the subject ‘The Interview’ leave a contact number and watch your business grow!

London’s Lego exhibition

We finally made it to London’s Lego exhibition; at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, E1. We were greeted warmly by staff and waited a short couple of minutes before the welcome video began, in which we met Lego artiste extraordinaire, Nathan Sawaya. In his opening address, he takes us on a journey through his Lego infused childhood, his study at New York University and subsequent stifling career as a corporate lawyer. He released his creative side through Lego and eventually allowed the Lego beast to escape  – the classic inner artist turmoil.

Conversation Between Friends likes Nathan Sawaya

Conversation Between Friends likes Nathan Sawaya

Like many others, we’re so happy he followed his passion and it’s clear from this personal, first exhibition, that it was not an easy transition from corporate being to a creative one.

Lego Exhibition

Conversation Between Friends visits the Lego Exhibition

The first part of the exhibition demonstrates his skill at transferring classic artworks from the Mona Lisa, to The Scream and Van Gogh to studies in shade, light and texture of brick. My favourite in this section was the brilliant rendition of Lego Vermeer’s ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ which from a distance looked so unlike Lego, it softened and warmed you, just like a painting.

Conversation Between Friends

Is it a painting, or is it Lego artwork?


Scream 2

This one was so good, it made us scream

This was a particularly clever piece of art as this background of the painting was ‘flat Lego’ like paint on canvas, but the ghostly figure was built in relief to stand apart from the rest of the piece in 3D, making full use of the medium of brick. We loved it!

Computer says no

Computer says no! The interplay between technology and humans

We took a ten year old – pictured – who’s a LEGO fanatic. There weren’t many young children there that day and I would probably say it’s not for all children. It’s still an ‘art’ exhibition in the traditional sense that the visuals are there to be looked at, but not touched. No museum interactivity here – there’s a small zone at the end of the exhibition where there are child-high trays of Lego to rummage around in, but as far as interactivity goes, that’s your lot. So think carefully about the age and attention span of your child as this is not at about £50.00 this is not cheap day out if you are family of two adults and two children (there are slight concessions depending on what day of the week you go).

Lego Boy

Guitar Boy inspires to make a guitar out of LEGO!


Street Art

Street Art, Brick Lane


Conversation Between Friends loves Street Art

Conversation Between Friends loves Street Art

As you can see from these two pieces of street art that I photographed, the art outside of the Lego exhibition was every bit as thrilling as that inside it.

Then there was indoor market, brimming with vintage clothes and sounds. Whatever your medium, you come away from ‘the Lane’ inspired to create.



© Suzy Rigg

Writing every word


Ice skating at Hampton Court Palace

The tradition of Christmas skating fills me with nostalgia. Especially outdoor skating. Picture Victorian fur stoles, courting couples and roasting chestnuts. Christmas skating outdoors in London, twirling on frosted ice with Christmas songs on the sound system and the taste of mulled wine on the lips is, in my book, one of life’s not-so-simple pleasures.

I was invited to an event to celebrate the opening of the ice rink at Hampton Court Palace, run by Cousin’s Entertainment and was treated to high quality professional ice-dancing, good food from The Pie Man and enthusiastic amateur skaters.

Robin Cousins at Conversation Between Friends

Robin Cousins at Conversation Between Friends

After being wowed by Vicky Ogden skating with fire – yes really! – and watching Matt Ivers (below) swirling his partner with skill and precision as her hair and face brushed dangerously close to the ice, enthusiastic non-stakers were invited onto the ice.
Vicky Ogden

Vicky Ogden’s routine was breath-taking, literally!

Matt Ivers at Conversation Between Friends

We learned about the tradition of skating around oranges, (because they show up on the ice, in case you wondered)creating the classic ‘figure of eight’. I hadn’t realised that skating is all about circles, and that you are always coming into the middle of or gracefully exiting a circle.


Hampton Court skaters at Conversation Between Friends

Suzy Rigg Conversation Between Friends

Suzy Rigg not falling over at Conversation Between Friends

You don’t need to be a brilliant skater to enjoy outdoor skating; a fur coat and a smile go a long way… take it from me!

Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

Talk about Kim Kardashian’s bottom?

One the ‘face’ of it, it’s a celebration of the well-rounded, healthy and youthful female form.


(Picture: Courtesy of Real Colored Girls Blog)

And there is the exploitation of the female form. Yes! you’re good to look at and clever too, but we’d rather just look at your arse. You don’t need to look far to find a silent army of producers, directors, publicists, designers, publishers who are quietly pocketing a tidy sum, as a result of publishing, merchandising or promoting these images. Sex sells. Always has, always will.

As someone who has been blessed with a large posterior, which I was always trying to slim down, because my body shape made me ‘stand out’ when the norm at the time was slim, barely there buttocks. Now it’s cool to have plenty of junk in the trunk.  Celebrities have been using their assets to elevate their talent to stratospheric levels. Nikki Minaj, Beyonce, J-Lo – have all shaken what their mama gave them to tremendously good effect. And I do believe it may help them sell more stuff.

Historical fastination

Conversation Between Friends  – Historical fascination with female bottom size

Geneticists and biologists will no doubt point to an enviable rear as a sign of extreme fertility and sexuality in women. And it’s true, however much I’ve complained, men really don’t seem to mind.

But what’s really happening here?


Saartjie Baartman, otherwise known as the Venus Hottentot, was regarded as a freak of nature by polite Georgian society, primarily because of her enlarged posterior. She came to London as a young woman and provided entertainment for those who wished to examine and gossip, attaining almost celebrity status because of her unusual shape. Her shape was unusual by English standards of the day, but this exaggerated feminine shape is actually rather common on parts of the African sub-continent. As a descendant of the Caribbean myself, it’s a well-known phenomenon that many women of colour, with a particular heritage, will share that small waist, large behind profile.

My conclusion is that how you regard Kim Kardashian’s bottom, or any other celebrities bottom for that matter depends firmly where you sit. Your view of a lush, feminine posterior will alter depending on whether you are: heterosexual male, homosexual male, single female, married female, white female, female of colour, slim female with no weight issues, large female with weight issues, a woman who has been harassed by men in the street for the size of her butt (yes, it does happen) a woman who has undergone cosmetic surgery to make her bottom larger, rounder or to achieve a personal, desired goal.

What is not in dispute is that overtly sexualised female anatomy continue to stimulate the strongest of human emotions:

Desire, lust, envy, jealousy and greed. As long as we are human and driven by basic impulses, there will always be well-endowed women  who show off their bodies, evoking energised comment and debate. Kim Kardashian as a free woman with her own fortune can choose to show off her body, it’s her right and part of her lucrative repertoire of selling herself.  It’s a reaction of biblical proportions.


Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

Remembrance Sunday

And the band played

And the band played, A Remembrance Day Service at Teddington Memorial

” There is a moment,

when you realise that each moment

is just a moment – which disappears forever

fleeting yet timeless if captured on film, in song

or in remembrance, that jumble of emotions we

call memory, the aches and tears relived

a pang of clarity that each moment is just

a moment in time, eternally present for an instant

for us to remember if we choose “


3rd Teddington Cubs, at ease


I hope you enjoyed my poem and you will enjoy these photos of the Remembrance Day Service held in my local town – after a deluge of rain the weather was bright, brisk and sunny – as the many children and elderly  held their thoughts and memories close.

As well as the Churches Together in Teddington, wreaths were laid by the Scout Association, The Sea Cadets, St. Johns Ambulance and the Jamaican Wreath. As a person of Jamaican origin it was good to see this in recognition of the contribution that many Jamaican soldiers made in WW1 and WW2.

The Kohima Prayer

When you go home, tell them of us and say,

For your tomorrow we gave our today

Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

Conversation about setting up your own business

Sponsored post

This film has a twist; watch it and see if you see it coming. I won’t spoil it for you but if you are that sticky stage of deciding whether you set up your own business, you’ll recognise it when it happens..

Watching Charlie at work is to see a dream in action. I’ve travelled into London on SWT and seen the big sign past Vauxhall for Pimlico Plumbers, I thought it was a catchy name and I had only heard good things about them, so it was great for me to find out more about the man behind the business.

Another entrepreneur who’s caught my eye recently is Sharmadean Reid, Founder of  WAHNAILS (

She was featured recently in a London newspaper and told a story not dissimilar to Charlie’s. Hailing from the West Midlands as part of a large Jamaican family, she  was surrounded by love and positivity all of which gave her to confidence to believe in herself. She was unfazed at the idea of setting up her o

Radiantlady loves WAH NAILS

Radiantlady loves WAH NAILS

wn business and even describes it in four easy steps which makes it sound easier than baking a cupcake!

What struck me most reading about Sharamdean was her passion in achieving the impossible, and then simply getting on with it.

“People bog themselves down in the process of growing, it rather than just doing it,”

If you think about that sentence there is a lot of wisdom in that. As an entrepreneur or business owner to need to be fleet of foot, as flexible as a ballet dancer to response to the changing pace of the business drum. Social media facilitates this type of speed beautifully as is probably why there are so many solopreneurs who use social media to great effect. It’s generally light and unencumbered.

Q: What did I learn from the stories of both of these talented, hardworking business people?

A: Flex your muscles, take that call, act on your intuition, believe in you!

Suzy Rigg

Writing every word


What is crabbing?

Radiantlady's Water boy

Radiantlady’s Water boy – the bucket has live crabs in

Do you know what crabbing is? The boy in the photo is a Cancerian; a ‘water’ sign, if you follow astrology, the sign of the crab. And this boy crab, was buy the sea catching real crabs in a net!

We spent the day near water, with a water boy.

If you haven’t been crabbing before and you have children, I would strongly recommend it as a relatively low cost summer or weather permitting, late autumn half term activity. You can buy all of the accessories at the shops on the sea front: the crabbing bucket, the bait, and the net. We were novices and the lady in the shop advised where to put the bait for the best crab bites! It was very exciting to cast the net into the swirling seas off the coast of East Sussex and wait for a particular type of ‘tug’ that meant a crab had taken the bait! The challenge was getting them to stay on the net and not drop off before you could plonk them in your crabbing bucket to admire.

There was a lovely community spirit and families either ate their packed lunches at the sea front or went to the café further down the beach for traditional fish, chips and peas.

The crabs are all thrown back into the sea of course and the whole thing starts again the next day.

Below is a picture of the same crabbing bucket on a blustering autumn evening, taken outside in the garden, getting filled with rainwater!

Bucket full of water

No more crabs, but a bucket full of water


Suzy Rigg

Writing every word



About Conversation Between Friends

Originally posted on Conversation Between Friends:

I’m Suzy: welcome to “Conversation Between Friends”  – I’ve set up this blog for two reasons:

1. Creative a safe space to discuss issues that are important to me and hopefully stimulate debate whilst doing so

2. Showcase to employers, potential colleagues, companies and fellow creatives my unique personal brand

I’m a communications copywriter,  PR and marketing professional and mother of two.  I’ve always loved to read, write and talk.

My career

I chose career where I could  learn, exchange ideas, debate, influence and create. With my early career spent in the publishing and advertising industries, I later migrated towards the broader communications mix. I have enjoyed advising blue-chip  companies, charities, government agencies and not-for-profits on internal and external communications issues, helping them find the stories to build their brands and gain customers’ understanding. With extensive campaign, strategy, planning and media relations experience, I genuinely love what I do.

Conversationalist & occasional TV presenter

If I’m…

View original 133 more words

Conversation between parents (Warning: contains Pokemon)

This post is for the mamas and  papas out there – yes you sleep deprived folk who get delirious at the thought of a ‘night-in': not for a passionate session of all night love-making, no! you’re excited by the prospect of five or maybe six hours of uninterrupted zeds. Poor you, I remember those days; wearing blacked out sunglasses to work, not because I wanted to look cool, but because I didn’t want people to think I’d been beaten up. It added to my sense of mystery and my desire not to ‘fess up to being a single mum. Anyway, if you’re in that sleep deprived fog, listen up: It doesn’t last. It’s an illusion, er you’ll get a long sleep when you’re dead. Ok, sorry I’m not helping, but this quirky, funny video might.

It’s hypnotic, brightly coloured and unintelligible – perfect for infants who still confuse night with day. And if they don’t like it, at least you’ve amused them for a few minutes. I just hope it doesn’t make you, or them cry!



I wonder who will be the first to tell me the name of the song that the verse reminds you of…?

You are feeling very, very sleepy… Good Luck!


© Suzy Rigg

Writing every word