A Bit About Berni : Artist, Accommodation Hostess, Celebrant, Blogger, Loony…
“Real – Enthusiastic – Joyful – Poetic” .. B Brockman 2019
So this is me: Bernice Benton: celebrant, stained glass artist, B&B owner, Official Loony…
I believe that every person is extraordinary, that every chapter change in the novel of our lives is worth a celebration. Everybody is unique; and, as The Alternative Celebrant, I aim to help people celebrate, commemorate and remember in their own unique and ordinarily extraordinary way, by helping to create and then deliver services that truly reflect them, encouraging them to be true to themselves and those they are celebrating, forget about what is ‘expected’ and do it exactly how they want. I specialise in intimate, honest, heartfelt events: funerals, remembrances, elopements, vow renewals, joining ceremonies and other unique personal reasons to punctuate your story.
I own a small rural B&B, Cerdyn Villa in Llanwrtyd, Mid Wales; I am a stained-glass artist and teacher: and I am Lady Lily the Pink of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party. Sometimes these hats are worn separately, but somehow, they all work in synergy to create one unique and alternative package.
…some people would say I’m eccentric… you can judge for yourselves… .
I turned 50 in 2017. I don’t know how the hell that happened! When I look in the mirror I’m always surprised it’s not the 18 year old me looking back…. time just rages on. It was about then I decided I wanted to be an Independent Celebrant.
My life was very ordinary, until I realised it wasn’t. Until I realised no-one is ordinary, no-one’s life is ordinary and we can all and do all experience the extraordinary in our everyday lives. We simply don’t always notice.
My blog finds the extraordinary within the ordinary. It is a celebration of all things everyday that make each of us unique and ordinarily extraordinary human beings. …..
“Berni is the voice of Bogsnorkelling, my happy companion gardener, a mind full of artistic and looney ideas, and a friend who can be a warrior when needed but always kind and compassionate” – Jenny W Sept ’20
“Visited with a young family and we loved our stay here! Bernie is so welcoming and friendly, the kids loved feeding the chickens and the breakfast was plentiful and tasty! It’s really close to the train station in a beautiful location.” – Matthew – July 19 via booking.com
Way back in 2005 we upped sticks and moved our lives to the beautiful town (village) of Llanwrtyd Wells in Mid Wales.
No planning, just a sp
ontaneous move born out of desperation. We run a B&B from it (Cerdyn Villa, LD5 4RS, come and visit us 🙂 ). We could not be happier. I am an accommodation ‘hostess’ and I’m pretty good at it, I knew I would be. I always wanted to have a guesthouse. Hubby, was never so sure, but he is an excellent host, he loves to chat with the guests as much as I do.
We’re in Wales because Hubby and I quit our middle management office jobs after a two-day holiday to a place chosen by sticking a pin in a map. We visited Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid Wales and returned home to sell our house, hand in our notices and pull our 7yr old son out of school. We moved ourselves here lock stock and car transporter within 3 months of the initial visit. Without a care in the world, much of a plan or a backward glance.
I believe that every person is extraordinary, that every chapter change in the novel of our lives is worth a celebration Everybody is unique; and, as The Alternative Celebrant, I aim to help people celebrate, commemorate and remember in their own unique and ordinarily extraordinary way, by helping to create and then deliver services that truly reflect them, encouraging them to be true to themselves and those they are celebrating, forget about what is ‘expected’ and do it exactly how they want. I specialise in intimate, honest, heartfelt events: funerals, remembrances, elopements, vow renewals, joining ceremonies and other unique personal reasons to punctuate your story.
“Berni has a charismatic warmth, which makes people feel safe, important, worthwhile, interesting. Berni is welcoming, she oozes love, reassurance, compassion” .. J Oddie 2019
I don’t like to follow too many rules. I also think that many things are cause for celebration. I’m an atheist (born to Jewish parents – also atheists). As an Independent Celebrant, I can design services and celebrations for any occasion; be it weddings and funerals to divorce parties; coming out ceremonies, pet funerals, vow renews, naming ceremonies; commitment celebrations; memorials…anything. I’m always working hard to ensure others celebrate their own extraordinariness in a way that best reflects their personalities.
“I have the privilege of unique piece of glasswork made by Berni in my reflexology treatment room. So many clients comment on its beauty. This was a vision Berni had from a photo and one she developed with love.” – Katie P
So here’s a little bit about Berni, the artist…
I always felt I had “an artist in me” so started community art and stained glass classes and now that’s what I do. These days I also use our home as a studio for my art and glass business.
As well as the B&B and the arty stuff, I do gardening work, the odd bit of bar work and the odd bit of waitressing. I also do loads of other adhoc things that present themselves. For a while I ran a craft shop called In the Pink.
“We’ve 3 pieces of art from Berni and they all are bloody amazing.” – Kells – Nov ’18
I love people who ‘don’t fit into a box’ , eccentrics, rebels, free-thinkers. Anyone who’s a bit ‘alternative’….
…Which is probably why I joined the Monster Raving Loony Party as my alter ego, Lady Lily the Pink, soon after moving here and discovering my home is in the town where Screaming Lord Sutch played his last ever gig and also the place where the party has its Brecknockshire H/Q. I’ve even stood for parliament….
What can I say about Berni, the Loony?
I would say I’m a bit of an antagonist. I like to stand up and be counted when I feel people are wronged. I like to ‘advocate’ for those who feel they don’t have a voice. As such I often find myself in ‘hot water’ or in the local press for making a noise about local issues when, perhaps, the public servants would prefer everyone to keep quiet! Anyway, I’m sure my blogs will cover some of these antics…
I do, of course, happen to live in the most eccentric town in the UK; also the smallest. A happy coincidence (some would say ‘fated’). Llanwrtyd Wells invented Bog Snorkeling; Man v Horse Marathon; Mountain Bike Chariot Racing; to name but a few. It also created the World Alternative Games… gathering eccentric pastimes from around the world together bi-annually to the benefit of the community, the amusement of the world and the interest of the press. I take my hat of to the great characters and the wonderful personalities you will no doubt read about here
Berni & Ffloyd…
We are great fans in our household of classic cars; I own a 1968 Hillman Husky, now Lady Lils campaign wagon. Originally baby blue, but when I acquired it, it was Ford Navy, and unless I wanted to set up a pet funeral service and use it as a hearse, it really didn’t match my personality.
Over the years since he/she ( Ffloyd is sexually fluid) came to live with us, she has gone from navy to Barbie Pink, then had the black front seats sprayed pink to match. More recently , my classic car restoring step son, sprayed her this very mature and gorgeous magenta. I added a pink fur roof liner and the front seats were replaced recently with a pair from a Ka, (once they’d been sprayed pink)… it now sports , what the Hillman Imp Club might refer to as, ‘The Hungarian Brothel’ finish! By the way… a double airbed fits very nicely in the back, and the amazing Sarah Liscoe of Sails of Merit, made me a pink changing tent from an old pink gazebo I happened to have. It hangs off the back hatch, making camping with it a reasonable activity.
We also own a late 60’s Eldis caravan which I bought to be a studio in our garden, A 1972 Volvo, a Singer Chamois (called Clifford) and an Imp, sprayed bright yellow and with the roof cut off (Thunderbird 4).
…some people would say I’m eccentric… I think of myself as ordinarily extraordinary, just like you xx