Tag Archives: retreat

From my nest on the cliff

7.06 am 25th December 2020, looking out from my static caravan window.

Click on any image to see it full screen.

As some of you will know, every other year I escape Christmas and find a hideaway where I can be on a blissful tinsel-free retreat.

This year, I could not go too far from home, but luckily a friend owns a caravan at Sandsfoot Castle, overlooking Portland Harbour, just 10 miles from where I live and she was kind enough to let me have it to myself.

I have not been away from my house overnight for about a year, so it felt very exciting to pack a suitcase and stuff the car full of craft supplies and head off to the sea.

8.00am  30 December

watching the sun come up each morning was the biggest thrill.

Each day a constantly evolving Rothko painting would gently, gradually, change with the light across the sea and sky

Lots of people seem to find it too odd to comprehend that I enjoy going away on my own to be in some far flung place in isolation – but I LOVE it. My very own silent retreat, away from village life and all the practical ‘to do’ lists of home and garden.

I often get asked “but what do you do?”

Most of what I do fits around Tide Timetables, the weather forecast and the time the sun rises and sets  – and that is a wonderfully calm and simple way to live for a couple or more weeks every other year.

In 2008 I went to California for six weeks,

In 2016 I stayed in a treehouse on the Pembrokeshire Coast from the 15th December to 15th January.

paddle boarders

This year, I was able to walk from my nest, along the Rodwell Trail, that follows the old railway line, from Weymouth to Portland. From there I could tramp up along the top of Chesil Beach

This photo was taken at 1pm on Christmas Day. Whilst so many were tucking into a turkey, I was walking for about a mile along the top of a nearly isolated beach in crisp clear air and glorious sunshine – it felt SO good!

I say nearly isolated as there was one family having a windy picnic lunch looking out to sea and in the carpark, looking out over the harbour, where it was a bit more sheltered, there was a couple in red and white Father Christmas hats sitting at a picnic table covered in decorations and having a lobster and champagne lunch. Fabulous! The camaraderie of doing things differently.

There are plenty of old rusty bits and pieces to enjoy along that stretch

I would love to know the story behind this abandoned boat

The Pheonix

But oh the shed!

Look at those doors – all that texture, the colours! the corrugated rust!

ART!

So, dear readers, I am sure YOU don’t need to ask me, “but what do you DO?!”

 

 

Gate

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footpath flows along

hard to tear myself away

from this special place

~

This is my entry for our ‘One-a-Week’ Photo Challenge: GATE

and

Ronovan’s Weekly Haiku Challenge: FLOW and TEAR

and

Cee’s Which Way Challenge

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The 10 minute walk down the valley from the treehouse that I was staying in, leads to the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, which you can see making its way towards Solva, going right past that Iron Age Hill Fort. The gate is to keep the grazing ponies in, this side of the gate.

 

More tales from the Treehouse:

To get to the public footpath from the Treehouse one needs to wiggle down through Elizabeth’s garden. The footpath runs from the National Trust car park near the road, straight down to the sea.walk to the sea1

The treehouse can be seen from the path. More agile walkers have obviously chosen a quicker route by sliding down the bank.

Walk to sea 3

Soon one enters the ancient unmanaged little piece of woodland

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with the music of the stream beside you turning the walk into a dance

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until you get to the ‘bridge’, which is tempting to cross, to follow in the fairies’ footsteps.

Hear the sound of the stream in this post……

Creatures pop out to say hello

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and there are artful lichen arrangements on nearly every branch.

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After passing the serenity of the old Millpond

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you pass through a gate

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and catch your first sight of the sea

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Each time I walked that path, I stopped here and just noticed the change of atmosphere from an enclosed cosy woodland walk to this …….. the promise of that feeling of opening up, of expansion, that the next few steps will bring …… the moment of transition, I find there is power in that moment.

And then …. ooof!

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Breathe deep, what a view.

The GATE in the very first photo lies just to the left, around the curve of the hill.

People used to live in this valley, you can still see the ruins of an old mill, and then further back in time, our ancestors, maybe even my ancestors, lived on the hill fort – what a place to live.

I had the valley more or less to myself for a whole month! what a feeling! I woke each morning with a smile on my face, not quite able to believe I had given myself this wonderful treat.

~

Next week’s Photo Prompt is

HAPPY

~

I’m really looking forward to your ‘GATE’ photos, please leave a link in the comments.

 

Treehouse Retreat

On 15th December 2016 I set off, car bulging with craft materials, for 31 days of blissful solitude in a treehouse near the Pembrokeshire sea.

solitude

Click here for the AirBnB link to the Treehouse, where you can see photos and my review.

I was returning to the ‘Land of My Fathers’ – Wales. My Mum was born in Pembrokeshire and she took us there for a week or two every August. When I was old enough, I used to go on my own, to stay with my beloved Grandfather and wonderfully homely step-Grandmother, whom I called Dabbity. They were both teachers and my brother and I used to go and stay with them as teenagers when we were studying for school exams. Although a five-and-a-half hour car journey away from where I live now, the Solva area feels like home. As soon as I cross the Severn Bridge, I get a huge buzz of excitement and sense of belonging.

Every other year I don’t ‘do’ Christmas and this was my year off – sometimes I batten down the hatches at home, but mostly I go off on an adventure, to a place where Christmas doesn’t exist – not always easy to find!

I set off early, so that I would arrive in daylight.

My first impressions of the treehouse were that is was much bigger than I had expected and very warm and cosy. It had radiators in every room and views of trees and fields from every window.

I got there in time to trek backwards and forwards from the car several times unpacking a huge amount of drawing material, sewing and crochet. As the light was fading I walked across the field from the decking and caught my first glimpse of the sea. (this photo was not taken on the first night, but here’s the view that greeted me)dsc_0001

Deep breath!

~

My journal entry:

I stood and drank in the sights and sounds. I can see for miles up there. I could hear the sea. There was a star twinkling in the darkening pink and blue sky – Venus possibly, and a raven circled slowly towards me and over my head calling a mellow, two note ‘hello’. The lights on a vessel far out to sea twinkled on the horizon.

I was filled with a supreme sense of connection, peace and joy.

I felt at home and welcomed by the land.

The month stretches ahead and I know it will whizz by, but for now I am luxuriating in a great sense of space and time. It is hard to find the words to describe how wonderfully uplifting and nurturing it feels. It feels like heaven!

~

Day One

Setting up a jigsaw – a sensual experience.

I have brought with me a 2000 piece jigsaw (bought in a charity shop). Whilst sorting the pieces (one of my favourite bits) I was enjoying lifting up double handfuls of pieces and letting them fall through my fingers – the sound and sensation – delicious!

Then a walk as the drizzle was clearing along the path to the cliff, to be greeted once more by the friendly raven and nearer the sea I was met by an agitated chough.

Looping back I followed the lower path, through mossy, swampy woodland where fairies and elves are sure to hang out. Next comes the millpond which spills out into a narrow stream in full spate, wriggling its way to the sea.

Back for more jigsaw sorting at the kitchen table, pushed up against the west-facing window, looking out on the field, watching a magpie investigating mole hills and finding tasty morsels.

I am loving the silence.

It is fairly peaceful where I live, but there is very often the sound of neighbours, hammering or mowing. Here there is the wind, the sea and the birds.

My soul feels like it is quenching it’s thirst and enjoying great gulps of solitude in nature, drinking deep and filling its depleted reservoirs. I’m slightly fearful it will be too much of a wrench to return – but thankfully I don’t have to think about that for a long time yet.

 

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Look at the view from my bedroom window …..

mother ash

…. cradled in the arms of an ash tree and looking down through her branches to the woodland stream below.

The decking is bordered by trees – it feels like one is sitting right in the hedge, like a wren.

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The view from the door, perched in an old apple tree, looks back at the house….

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….. every morning, from the sitting-room window, I watched the sun rise  over a farm across the valley

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Aaaaaah!

It is such a joy to be remembering those feelings of deep relaxation and to be sharing them with you ……….

To be continued

 

 

Yarn Along: Attic24 Cal

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Joining in with Ginny’s Yarn Along and Attic24’s Moorland CAL.

I’m using slightly different colours to Lucy’s Moorland palette, as I really could not allow myself to buy more yarn, so am using colours from my stash. I think the result will be more hedgerow than Moorland, but I’m happy with the substitutions so far.

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More details of the colours will follow in another post. They are all from the Stylecraft Special DK Acrylic yarn which I get from Wool Warehouse, but Deramores are also a very good mail order firm. You can find the fabulous Attic24 packs at Wool Warehouse.

When I was in Pembrokeshire (Wales) recently, I found the book, a wonderfully evocative tale of island life with lots of delightful black and white photos.

I’m itching to tell you all about my 31 days retreat to a gorgeous treehouse near Solva.dsc_0183  There is so much to tell you and hundreds of photos to sort through!

It was such a blissful time of beach walks, new friends, family history, sand circles and wild food foraging. It will take a while for me to put it together into some coherent posts but in the meantime pay a virtual visit to the treehouse via its listing on Air BnB which is how I found it – my review is there for you to read as well.

 

 

Fairy Bridge

16 for 2016 November

Here are the targets I set myself for 2016, inspired by Cathy at Nanacathy

16 WALKS (of more than an hour)

15 done, 1 to go

Walk 14. Bere Regis

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Walk15. Lewesdon Hill

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15 HANDMADE GREETINGS CARDS

12 done, 3 to go

14 NEW ITEMS IN MY ETSY SHOP

9 done, 5 to go

Added a hot pink flick wig

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13 SWIMS

11 done, 2 to go.

12 GARDEN POSTS

6 done, 6 to go.

The garden has had to take more of a back seat than I would have liked.

11 HAND MADE TOTE BAGS

Zero

I’m really surprised about not having made even one bag! I knew 11 was ambitious but…….

10 TYPES OF HANDMADE BEADS

7 done, 3 to go

Several attempts this month at some You Tube demos, but nothing that produced usable beads.

9 PIECES OF TEXTILE ART (started)

6 started, 3 to go

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My goal is to create a textile book for each of my grandchildren and one for me. I have been using some African prints to create covers and pages for my 3 grandsons. I am loving this textile project as anything goes and I can try out all sorts of ideas. Lots of components have been made and I’m excited to see where this will take me in 2017.

8 MORNINGS of SORTING and STORING

6 done, 2 to go.

Trying to sort out all my different craft projects into some sort of order is an impossible job. As fast as I sort one area another becomes chaotic – I give in!

7 PAINTINGS (or other pieces of art)

5 done, 2 to go

Collected from the Thames foreshore, the pieces are fixed with Sugru – it works I’m so delighted!dsc_0014-1

6 BUS RIDES using my Bus Pass

2 done, 4 to go

I’m so disappointed I didn’t get to do these rides, I had such plans.

5 NEW TYPES OF EXERCISE TRIED

4 done, 1 to go

No new ones this month. So far I have tried Pilates, Belly Dancing, a Dance Class, a Zumba-like class. I enjoyed Belly Dancing the most.

4 NEW PATTERNS for my ETSY SHOP

1 done 3 to go

At last! I have put a pattern on Etsy (and Ravelry and Craftsy)

3 MASSAGES

1 done, 2 to go

2 WAYS TO HELP REFUGEES

My darling daughter, as a birthday present to me made a donation to one of the charities I support – I was SO thrilled with that present.  It so perfectly hit the spot! ❤

I also collected items of clothing and blankets to be sent to Syria, loaded up my car, one dark and stormy morning,dsc_0013and took them to a lovely woman an hour away who sorts, boxes, weighs and labels items ready for them to be loaded on containers for Syria.

It is not as much as I would like to do but it is something.

1 NOVEL READ

DONE!

Hurray! ‘Enchanted August’ by Brenda Bowen got me there.

0 BEADS BOUGHT

Zero

~

In September the year seemed to stretch ahead, now suddenly it’s December and I know I will miss many of my targets – however it has remained a great motivator and a way of checking in with what I really do want to do.

I feel truly blessed to have 3 children (with partners), 8 grandchildren, 2 siblings, 5 nieces and nephews, and an 88 year old Mum and this takes up more time than I account for in my expectations of myself and what I want to achieve in my own personal arena. My family take precedence and other things fit round them, I wouldn’t have it any other way. However there is a need to keep this in good balance. As I get older, and so does everyone else, the tableau of priorities changes on a daily basis, flexibility is the key – life happens.

I’m thinking carefully about 17 for 2017!

To recharge my batteries I will be taking a month’s retreat soon and so will not be reviewing 16 for 16 at the end of December. Blog posts will be at a minimum until late January as I go into hibernation in the quiet of the year.