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Apples & pears, and all things shamanic

Apples & pears, and all things shamanic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So another busy time since last writing.  Unusually, we have had three shamanic groups in one after another.  Manda Scott re-joined us in early October for one of her advanced courses (http://mandascott.co.uk/).  Manda is also a prolific author and writes under the name M.C.Scott for her historical novels.  Do take a look at her website to find out more.  She’s particularly well-known for her series on Boudica.

Her group was followed by Jonathan Horwitz’s Peace and Power retreat which was with us until last Sunday.  A much-loved Poulstone regular, Jonathan is resident in Southern Sweden but comes to Poulstone annually in the autumn, usually with a course for advanced students.  (http://www.shamanism.dk/).  (One of Jonathan’s students, Faith Nolton, created the beautiful picture above.  See her website for more images and downloadable pictures, http://www.soulgardens.co.uk/).

A few days off and Jan Adamson and Desiree Emery will be joining us with their shamanic group until Sunday.  We greatly enjoy having all four teachers and their groups here. Respect and gratitude seem to shine out of these groups and we feel that the land and nature around Poulstone benefits from the work that the groups do here.  It’s wonderful seeing trees and plants and creatures receiving a deeper kind of attention than the every day.

In the garden we’ve been busy harvesting our apples and pears, and enjoyed the final pear-picking yesterday in blazing sunshine.  We even had lunch outside!  Then we took a van-load of pears and apples up to Ragman’s Lane Farm for juicing (http://www.ragmans.co.uk).  We shall look forward to collecting our bottles of juice next week and sitting and labelling bottles for the shop.  We’ve also been picking the last of the plums from the trees on the drive for freezing.  At the other end of the journey, Gail has been planting our garlic for next year which is always a nice job at this time of year.  There’s still plenty of produce in the garden – the courgette plants are still going for it, the carrots are tender and tasty and we have oodles of greens coming through.

Today has been torrential rain which is rather perfect weather for getting the house ready and doing the book-keeping!

Time to get back to work!

Much love, Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Newton has nothing on us!

Newton has nothing on us!

Apples are dropping off the trees as we speak!  Gemma, Gail and Mel collected and prepared the first batch for the freezer a couple of days ago.  Whilst most of the apples aren’t quite ready yet for picking, it feels great not to waste the windfalls.  The pears that have fallen however are too tiny really to be worth using so they will go to the compost and delight the wasps. Large drunken parties of wasps can already be seen in their pear dens!

We said goodbye to James Reeves and his Bliss Divine Yoga group (http://www.blissdivineyoga.co.uk/) on Sunday afternoon.  It was their first visit to Poulstone and we greatly enjoyed having them here.  They will be revisiting us next summer and James’ groups are open to the general public so do have a look at his site or our courses page if you’re interested.  It was nice to have some guests from the Hereford and Welsh borders area with us, even though James is based in Oxford.

We’ve now had a few days to do some gardening and gear ourselves up for the rest of the month (we are now back-to-back till 3rd October!).  Gail has been getting up to date with a few jobs in the veg patch – digging up spuds and having a general tidy.  After all the lovely warm, dry weather we’ve been having, Mel diligently watered all the flower beds in the parched garden last night – before a night of rain!  Should have checked the forecast!

The Reiki Community Gathering are with us from this afternoon.  Also a new group to us, we are looking forward to welcoming them.

That’s about it for now.  More soon!

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Work Retreat 2013!

Work Retreat 2013!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wonderful work retreat again this year and despite some showers, the weather was very kind to us.  The volunteers have completely weeded the garden, re-laid the wood chip path in the veg plot, re-gravelled the fairy circle and the seating area outside the group room windows, turned the compost, cleared cherry stones and leaves from the stone garden, weeded and tidied the kitchen yard and courtyard, replanted the hanging baskets, picked, de-stoned and frozen the plums, picked the blackcurrants for freezing, dug out various large invasive plants, removed the ivy that was choking the holly hedge, duvet covers mended, drawer liners made and much much more!

It was lovely working, eating and living together for the week – lots of fun and laughter and time to relax around Poulstone.  We had story telling one evening and singing, and Ian Jarvis gave us a talk on the invaluable work going on in Bhopal, India where he has been working (http://www.spineworks.eu/en/3-months-in-bhopal.html for anyone interested in learning more).

Thank you everyone for such a great week and all your hard work.  Here are some of you in action!

 

 

 

 

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Visit: http://flickr.com/gp/53580005@N08/8ESEGa/ for more pictures!

Much love, Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Book launch

Book launch

As promised, we now have the full details of Barbara Turner-Vesselago’s book launch.

The launch will be on Saturday 2nd February 2013 from 6.30pm – 8.30pm at Bristol Music Club, 76 St Paul’s Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1LP.

Barbara will be talking about Freefall Writing; what it is, how it came to be, and why both beginning and experienced writers find it a reliable way to get the thinking mind to step aside, so that writing becomes a truly vulnerable and open-hearted engagement with the moment.

You are invited to join Barbara in the delightful ambience of the Bristol Music Club for wine, refreshments and perhaps a little creativity!  Barbara will also be signing copies of her new book, for sale at £12.99.

RSVP to iva.carrdus@valapublishers.coop by 25th January.

“Here is a book that charts new territory, inviting the writer to fall with confidence into the ether of the creative self in order to write with skill and authenticity”

Louise Green, Editor of Lapidus Journal 

Freefall Writing Competition – get scribbling!

Freefall Writing Competition – get scribbling!

 

We spoke a few posts ago about Barbara Turner-Vesselago’s new book, “The Art of Freefall: Writing without a Parachute”.  To mark the launch of the book, her publishers have a writing competition which anyone can take part in.

So if you’re a budding writer, visit their website at www.valapublishers.coop/freefall-writing-competition.  First prize is a coaching session with Barbara by phone or Skype, a signed copy of her new book when it is published in February and your entry published on-line.

So, if you find yourself looking for a diversion from over-eating and James Bond films over Christmas, get scribbling!!!  Closing date is 12 noon Monday 14th January 2013.

We’ll post the flyer for the book launch in Bristol as soon as we have it.

Good luck!

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

End of year retreat

End of year retreat

We’ve just hosted a three week silent retreat at Poulstone from mid-November onwards, with meditation teacher Burgs (see www.theartofmeditation.org).  Some of Burgs’ more experienced students came for a seven day silent Vipassana retreat followed by 9 days of continued silent practice with some teacher input.  The final week was a foundation retreat for beginners upwards.  And we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to sit in on the retreat too.

It’s obviously not all bliss looking at the (mainly unwholesome) contents of one’s mind over a prolonged period (!) but everyone felt they benefited hugely from the retreat.

Particularly over the Vipassana period, there’s been a lovely still atmosphere in the house, very conducive to practice and rest.  We’ve also been treated to some extraordinary sunrises (see above and below)…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also have had gales and flooding too.  The Wye burst its banks at the end of November, transforming the landscape.  Unlike some areas of the country, we were very lucky that the floods were only a minor inconvenience here.  In fact, it was rather wonderful not to have to go anywhere or worry about people getting here/being able to leave!  The winds, unfortunately, had their way with the half-constructed greenhouse which we had to take down completely in a high wind!  We’ll try again in the Spring….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This wasn’t the only thing to test our equanimity after the retreat – the rabbits and squirrels had discovered a rich source of food while we were on retreat – our newly planted Spring bulbs!  We think the flood waters may have driven a lot of the wildlife from the fields into the Poulstone gardens.  Ah well, we were rather disappointed to say the least but we hope some will survive to brighten the Spring months.  The wildlife is part of what makes living and working here so wonderful, so we have to accept these occasional conflicts of interest….!

Anyway, we are back now into the end of year activities – finishing up the admin, washing valances and undercovers, putting the garden to bed for the winter (Gail has been doing lots of raking and cutting back over the last couple of weeks).  It’s nice to be working quietly at our own pace and it feels very peaceful here as we enter the darkest part of the year…..

Anyway, we hope you’re enjoying your approach to the festivities x

More soon,

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

 

Books, books, books!

Books, books, books!

Many of the teachers who come to Poulstone Court Retreat Centre are published authors in their various fields.

Barbara Turner-Vesselago who has been running her successful Freefall writing workshops annually here for over a decade has her new book coming out early next year.  She will be holding a launch for the book, “Writing without a Parachute: The Art of Freefall”, on 2nd February 2013 in Bristol (more details coming soon).

Barbara teaches all over the world and has a wealth of experience and insight to share.  For anyone interested in the writing process, with or without a view to being published, this book is an absolute must.  It gives you all the guidance you need to follow the Freefall Writing™ process and may even inspire you to come on one of Barbara’s workshops.  For more information about Barbara’s work, visit her website: www.freefallwriting.com.  Details of her Spring workshop at Poulstone can be found on the Courses page of the Poulstone Court website.

To pre-order a copy of her book, visit: www.valapublishers.coop/writingwithoutaparachute 

Burgs brings seven-day silent meditation retreats here for beginners and advanced students throughout the year and has taught widely in Europe and Asia.  He has also recently published two highly detailed books on meditation.  The first, “The Flavour of Liberation” which is published in two volumes, covers everything from your first sit through to developing insight and concentration practices at a more advanced level.  The book is so clearly written and conceived that it’s very easy for the novice meditator to follow and, for those with more experience, provides a huge amount of clarity about how to practise.  The second book which comprises the third volume is for more experienced meditators and covers advanced practices including Vipassana.

The books are made up of Burgs’ discourses over the course of several years of retreats, many here at Poulstone, and as such are very enjoyable to read as well as providing probably the only meditation manual you’ll ever need!

For Burgs’ full programme of retreats at Poulstone, visit the Courses page of the Poulstone Court website.You can find out more also at Burgs’ website:  www.theartofmeditation.org and order the books there on-line.

The website also has video and audio discourses and is a wealth of information on meditation and Buddhism.

We definitely recommend a visit!

Mel & Steve xx

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Work Retreat 2012

Work Retreat 2012

Well, we’ve just had a wonderful week with the work retreaters!  What a band of lovely human beings!  There’s been so much laughter and fun through the week and we also got loads of work done in the garden and some overdue tidying up of paintwork in the house.  A delivery of manure has been mixed with leaf mould, soil has been replaced in the old greenhouse ready for the new one to go up, the whole garden has pretty much been weeded, garden compost has been put on the cut- flower bed and the first bed of the long border by the tennis lawn has been stripped out ready for planting.  In the house, much of the gloss work has had its chips and dents touched up with paint where luggage and vacuum cleaners have taken their toll!

We’ve also picked the remaining loganberries and blackcurrants, potted on the brassicas and cleared masses of garden waste from the compost area to a skip.  We managed to maximise the skip by dancing on the debris in it at regular intervals to compact it – either individually or in groups(!) – and this became quite a source of entertainment as the week went on!  Just like a green trampoline!

What always feels so magical about these weeks is how they unfold organically.  There’s the work in the morning which is a great way to spend time together, but then there’s also the connections made over cups of tea, taking walks together, giving and receiving sessions and generally hanging out at Poulstone.  We had a film evening one night, a few of us sat around the fire another evening and we had a field trip out to the local arts cinema at the end of the week.  Then on the last night we had a real treat; Austin Keenan, the partner of Hilary who cooks for us, came and told us folk and fairy tales by candlelight.  It was spell-binding and we managed not to embarrass ourselves by falling asleep en masse after a week of fresh air and physical activity!

The Friends’ Day on the Saturday was also really lovely.  Four people dropped in for lunch and then we were joined by a few others later in the afternoon for tea and cake.  People drank tea  on the front step in the time-honoured tradition, caught up with old friends, went for walks or enjoyed the gardens and had a look at what had been going on during the week.  It felt perfect in a very low-key kind of way and people said they enjoyed the opportunity to just be at Poulstone and hang out here for a while.  Thank you so much to those of you who came – it was kind of you to travel so far for a chat and a piece of chocolate cake!  A few people stayed on for supper and the story-telling.  A great day!

On Sunday we worked until tea-break and then went for a relaxing walk together along the river at Brockhampton before heading back to a delicious Sunday lunch cooked by Hilary, followed by a passion fruit cheesecake!  Thank you to everyone who came and made it such a great week.  If you’d like to see the full Rogues’ Gallery, follow this link to a slideshow on Flickr:

http://flickr.com/gp/53580005@N08/E7yY4A/

Lots of love

Mel & Steve x

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre