• sheilavanloo

About Me

Sheila Vanloo

Cornish Maid

Hello and welcome to my world, if you’re interested here’s some stuff about me:

A proud Cornish Maid, I love our history, our people and our glorious landscape. From wild, windswept moors to storm lashed cliffs, hot summer days with stunning sunsets which can change overnight to wrap us in thick Cornish mizzle. Whatever the elements throw at us, there is nowhere on earth more special or beautiful than Kernow.

According to my Birth Certificate I am the wrong side of 65, but my heart and head place me firmly at 25. Age is just a number and we can allow it to dictate who we are or we can kick ass and rock ‘til we drop – I’m a paid up member of the kick ass and rock society. Nobody has ever accused me of being a shy violet, I’m loud, talk too much and probably drink too much, but I did give up smoking over 30 years ago, so there is that.

I’ve enjoyed (sometimes endured) a variety of roles over the years; living in Cornwall, with our reliance on the Tourist industry, it would be difficult not to gain employment washing dishes, pulling pints, cleaning caravans and serving meals. I’ve done my share of those and they sit on the conventional side of my ‘been there, done that’ t-shirt, but there is another side, far removed from the norm that I just fell into along the way: I represented Cornish schools in a talent series on Granada television, I was a beauty queen, my sister and I sang (badly) in a band, I’ve donned a basque and delivered celebration poems, run my own business and sold English books in France. I was runner up in a competition to pitch a new telly programme idea, I project managed St. Austell’s Community Play and Festival of Fun, I’ve organised a swathe of events, hosted fashion shows and talent shows, managed a Mod band, volunteered at Heligan Gardens and the Eden Project, handed out fliers and stuck up posters, I’m a long time volunteer at the Kneehigh Asylum and a Trustee for Scary Little Girls feminist theatre company and I am part of a very small team who run St. Austell’s Torchlight Carnival. Finally, from 2006 to February 2020 I was Station Manager for a local community radio station, Radio St. Austell Bay. I stepped down this year when the long hours and the constant stress were causing health issues; it was a heartbreaking and difficult decision, but I looked on the bright side and planned to devote more time to my passion for live music and the Arts. In my head I would set up Vanloos Reviews with an online presence and my radio shows would become blogs – having presented Cornwall Sound Lounge and Curtain Up every week for 12 years, my diary was crammed with festivals, film and theatre invitations. Little did we know that our world was about to change as a silent killer would invade our shores and turn us upside down; as we moved deeper into complete lockdown cancellations began pouring in from theatres, dance companies and festivals with the Eden Sessions and all our local venues quietly closing their doors. Adjusting to a different way of life has been difficult for everyone and it took me weeks to come to terms with being at a complete standstill with literally nothing in my diary. I have spent long hours reading, watching the tellybox and being eternally grateful to local and national companies for theatre streamings, online storytelling, music performances and entertainment. Nobody can predict when our theatres and music venues will re open and I found myself hosting a website with no content, as we slowly came out of full lock down I had to shake off my new found laziness and fill my life again. What to fill it with was the big question and then we had a sliver of good news as we received the freedom to visit nearby areas for walks and meet up with a friend as long as we social distanced. A phone call to my pal Sandie and plans were made – we would embark on fabulous walks with her 11 month old puppy Button, allowing us to distance chat while giving me something to write about.

I confess that I’m not a walker, growing up in a different time and living in the countryside we walked everywhere – almost 3 miles each way to school, 2 miles to the nearest shops and over 2½ miles to church every Sunday . The school and shop walks were bad enough, but attending church was a walk too far for me and my regular Sunday morning tantrums soon persuaded Mum to leave me at home. Consequently, walking is not my idea of fun; getting trussed up in sensible walking boots and waterproofs is definitely not how I roll. I’m very much more comfortable in stilettos and posh frock at the theatre or pulling on my Doc Martens to dance the night away in a field.

This walking malarkey might not last long!

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