Bitterne Parker

Bitterne Parker: Elaine McLaughlin

Elaine-Apr 16 2016-167
Elaine says she's from an adventurous family and was born in Scotland, grew up in Cornwall and has lived in many different places in the world including Tasmania, New Zealand and Spain. She is a devoted mum to a son and daughter, a singer-songwriter, a trainee counsellor, deep thinker and very good friend. She's spent the last year performing her “thought provoking and mesmerising songs” in and around Southampton with cellist Judi Galbraith, and has recently launched her Debut EP ‘Six More Days’.

The Qs & the As

What's your link with Bitterne Park

I’ve lived here for seven years and have helped to run the Little Lullabies singing group at the Old Chemist and the Wellington Road Toddler group.

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

We were renting in the city and looking to buy a house. I drove along Manor Farm Road on a sunny day and thought it seemed lovely. I was surprised I hadn’t discovered this little bubble sooner. A walk along the river by Woodmill sealed the deal.

How could the area be better?

Less dog poo and litter. More businesses in the Triangle that draw people there. Such a shame to lose the florist and children’s toy and book shop.

Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park

It is an incredibly international community. The number of different languages spoken here is amazing

What’s good – or not so good – about the wider city?

I find it a bit dirty actually, and run down. The city centre feels a bit sad to me. It’s good to hear that the Bargate area is going to be renovated. Events like ‘Music in The City’ are great, we just need more people to come out and enjoy it.

What’s your passion in life?

People! We are fascinating creatures. I love to connect and try to understand someone’s perspective and open my mind to new ways of thinking

How do you put bread on your table?

Quite literally I use my husband’s hard earned cash and buy it from our local bakery or Sainsbury’s! I recommend Cotton’s Wellbeing bread or sunflower seed and cranberry from Sainsbury’s.

What has your career taught you?

My go to quote is: "The only person who has to live your life is you". So do something that lights you up and that’s in line with your natural skills and qualities.

What really gets your goat?

When people don’t listen, but just wait for their moment to speak. And intolerance and prejudice are exhausting to watch. We’re all in this together so let’s treat others as we wish to be treated.

How do you relax?

Listening to or playing music, talking with good friends (very important!), reading an inspiring book (I like Brené Brown) or watching a great film.

Which is your favourite pub?

When I go out it’s usually to perform. The Hop Inn has been a very welcoming place and I sing at the open mic event once a month there.

What are you drinking?

Any New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. You can’t go wrong.

What do you listen to?

Many, many things! Currently including Foy Vance, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Tina Dico, Sam Brookes, and I’m loving the new ‘Wristband’ by Paul Simon. I’ve also listened to my own EP over and over as I’ve been working on it for about six months!

Can you recommend a really good read?

'The Conscious Parent' by Dr Shefali Tsabary.

What’s a great day out?

Exbury Gardens, Hilliers or Mottisfont Abbey

What scares you?

Looking back on my life when I’m old and feeling like I haven’t made the most of it.

What would you most like to change - in the world and in yourself?

I can’t bear the way people hurt others. Child neglect and abuse breaks my heart but it silently goes on everywhere. The perpetrators need help as well as the victims. What was their experience growing up? In myself I would like to become more content and be more in the ‘here & now’.

What’s on your bucket list?

To spend a week in a Buddhist retreat to enjoy some ancient wisdom (probably in Sri Lanka somewhere – such a beautiful place), to have one of my songs widely known and loved, to attend Wimbledon (love a bit of tennis), to spend some time living abroad with my husband and children, to live in a house with a sea view, to one day feel like I’ve found a place to call my forever home (is that even possible?!).

Tell us a joke

Q: What did the ‘O’ say to the ‘8’?

A: ‘Nice belt!’

Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?

What do you value most in life?

Thanks so much for taking part!

Elaine's website is here.

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions.

Previously - Bitterne Parker launches debut EP in Southampton on Saturday

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

• Bitterne Parker T-Shirts are back - available from The Veg Shed!

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