Abandoned places where nature takes over.

I absolutely love abandoned buildings.

they have fascinated me since I was a child.

There is something quite magical, the energy the story I just love it.

The stepping back in time.

Today was quite unexpected visit to this beautiful old manor house in neath valley not far from where I live.

I’ve been past there before looked around the small chapel on the outside looked longingly through the huge cast iron gates up the over grown driveway to the ruins of the old house.

Old pig shelters in once pristine gardens signs that someone has used its grounds as a small holding in recent years.

Ancient deciduous trees and an enormous monkey puzzle tree to the left of where the manor house doors would have been.

Birds sing and a small brook runs along the fence .

It reminds me of the book ..the secret garden .

Young foxes play in the long grass.

But today as I stand at the gate they swing open and we drive slowly up the over grown driveway.

I mentioned this place to my husband Jeff.

Oh yes he says that’s my friend’s place. He owns the lease.

Kindly he has given us the keys and now as we drive up it’s as beautiful close up as it was from behind the gates.

I stand for a moment at the front of the house.

The long driveway before me.

The energy here is palpable.

The noise of the road has disappeared.

I hear children playing.

There’s a sadness here it’s 15th maybe 16th century?

The stories these walls have held are many.

Once pristine gardens overgrown but still the flowers push through and rows of apple trees guide us into what would have been a grand hall.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch sight of a young boy maybe 8 or 9.

Dressed not unlike little lord fontlroy. I catch my breath .

As two young foxes seem to follow him inside the house.

I’m wishing I’d brought a spirit board .

It really is all I’d imagined it to be.

All in all a pretty perfect Sunday afternoon.

We take the keys back and his wife asks ..

Did you see the little boy.

She describes him exactly as I saw him

She tells me they lived there for years in.a caravan .

Often heard ballroom.music .

I tell her I’d like to go back with a spirit board .

Your welcome she says..

Watch this space

.

Feeling defeated

I really don’t know what ails me this week.

I really can’t shake of this feeling of overwhelming sadness.

I can’t share it either.

So here I am writing.

Writing soothes my soul.

I’m never down, well not like this anyway.

I’ve lost my inner warrior.

I’ve got friends who know of our fight with council and other agencies to get flood defences put in place .

But it’s almost September nothings been done .

If I’m honest I’m scared that’s a big word for me to use.

I’ve now managed to get insurance.

But I really don’t think I can go through a third flood.

We are only now recovering from.storm Dennis in Feb immediately after it happened we were placed into lockdown.

We have fought organised ourselves we have a resident committee.

Michael sheen has been beyond amazing helping our story to be told.

But sadly still nothing has changed.

At the next winter storm, high tide, there will be no one there for us just like the previous two floods.

It was terrifying watching the water and sewage poor in.

Rising pouring over the garden wall through letter box.

Until the whole of our home and our cancer retreat at 28 and the healing cabin were 3ft deep in sewage.

I can’t explain the feeling or the fear.

The electricity goes off.

It’s pitch dark.

The smell is horrendous.

Out bathroom is down stairs

We are trapped upstairs.

My tiny chihuahua Mavis shaking in my arms cats trapped out the back I can see them on railway banking

My car my husband’s work van are floating .

There is an earie silence the odd shout from.neigbours check each other are okay.

We have a box with candles in and battery packs for phones.

We ring fire brigade to come with dinghys

I ring Vicky next door but one to ask if she’s okay she doesn’t answer

She has two little boys .

Mick is 83.

He’s seen a world war he shouldn’t have to keep doing this.

My hubby is leaning out of the front bedroom window.

As soon as it starts to go down I’ll start bailing he says ..

He says it..

Like.

It’s a normal thing to say.

He’s almost 60.

I hear the fire men shout up to him.

I still wake up at night now hearing them telling us we have to evacuate.

I’m not going I never go.

It’s a danger to life they say.

Don’t you think we know.

Our lives .

The harsh and sad reality is someone next time or the time after will be badly hurt or killed.

Will they change their tune then?

How many more times can I watch my man rebuild our home and the Retreat.?

Bailing sewage for hours ..

The smell of muck and jaeys fluid and bleach.

When will this heavy feeling of dread in my chest stop

When will I stop waking at 3.30am terrified

That little cottage Ravens Retreat

That has provided free breaks and Holistic therapies for cancer patients and mental health.

Is so much more than anyone could imagine.

It was my promise to my best friend.

To Donna .

She believed in me always.

She loved it .

I promised her everything I do there was for her.

In her memory.

So she would always be remembered.

That others suffering with cancer would have the Retreat

Now it’s just not possible to safely have anyone stay there from sept until march.

I can’t fix it.

I feel like I’m letting people I’m supposed to be helping down.

I’m still putting it out there ..

Still trying to raise funds .

But I feel lost.

Praying it doesn’t happen again .

Please share our story ..

Keep us in your thoughts

Here is link to our fundraising page

https://www.gofundme.com/f/2432hui6eo?utm_medium=more&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_na+share-sheet&pc_code=null&rcid=52844622e7b443c584289e6b58cd19f6

Mountain top guided visualisation to step away from anxiety and stress

Here is the link to my latest podcast from the healing cabin.

We’ve certainly been living in surreal times.

Anxiety has become a real problem for many.

So relax and come and join me on a journey from the mountain top.to the lush green valleyAs we move on with our life manifesting positivity as we go

Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Mountain top visualisation. Anxiety release https://anchor.fm/joolz-raven-stewart6/episodes/Mountain-top-visualisation–Anxiety-release-ehmgia

Happiness is…

Nothing makes me happier than the lush green valleys of Wales.
Breathing in the cool fresh air.
Feeling that magical energy as I stand behind my favourite water fall.
Closing my eyes slightly staring through the rushing curtain of white irredecent sparkling water..
Whilst huge cold drips fall from the ceiling of the ancient cave rolling down my face like enormous earthy tasting tears.

This is holy water.
Swaying mountain fearns and spongey thick moss push up around slabs of fallen stone compeating for the brightest shade of green.
Swallows and swifts sing of its beauty.

Blue and red dragonflies hover majestically

Heaven couldnt not be more perfect than this place..
The roar of the river calls my name.
I stand alone and close my eyes pulling the energy of this place down above me.
Visualising it swirling and wrapping itself around me.
Irredecent sparkling beautiful refreashing energy.
I capture it from head to toe like a cloak of protection.

Feeling the pulsing of this place surging through my limbs.
My core my mind & body as it replenishs my spirit.
Im drawn to this magic
Listening to my body it pulls me here whenever i am low.
To recharge me fully
Restoring my strength

Ground me to this magical land
Reminding me of why I am here.
I leave thankful
Knowing I am blessed
Gratful every day for the magic of this land where I live.
A place of legends of the old ways
Cerridwen, Taliesin,
Of dragons and fae
Of dreams of love.
Wales.

Thank you I whisper into the breeze.

Childhood memories.

My grown up daughter just tagged me in a Facebook post of something I consider truly vile.

It is something that I hate so much the thought of it let alone mention causes me to physically heave..

I swear I’ve just been sick in my mouth..🤢

I’m a child of the 60s and 70s my mother’s cure all remedy not only tasted vile it smelled equally horrible

She would stand spoon in hand boiled sweet in the other.

Instructing me to open wide, stop being such a soft arse as I wreched and cried until eventually giving in..

Swallowing then often throwing up immediately afterwards.

Thinking back the whole thing was bloody pointless as I’m sure medicine is supposed to make you feel better.

Not cause a mini meltdown and vomiting..

The boiled sweet was never much comfort. Barley suger twists rammed into your mouth when your sobbing I’m sure are a bloody choking hazzard

I’m sure she has a supplier from out local beachams factory.

Because we honestly never ran out of it..

What was this devils brew.

Kaolyn and morphine.

Even writting it makes me shiver Ewwwww.

So whats your childhood memory of something that you hated..

Saving paradise

I wonder when Mr steve Phillips council big wig casually mentioned compulsory purchase order as a ‘possible option’ at our flood meeting yesterday plucking 80k a hypothetical possible offer out of his arse.

Did he think that would sway us as easily as he said it?

October 2018. Then Feb 2020 our beautiful canalside cottages were devistated by storm Callum then storm Dennis.

3ft of water and sewage filled our homes ruined everything we owned on ground floor.

Electricity cut off.

High winds,

Well you get the picture.

As a community, a tribe we cleaned supported each other and started again

Our house and our cancer retreat are both on the canal.

Both ruined twice.

My husband jeff almost 60 a hard man, a grafter picks up the pieces and puts them back together. Hes my rock.

Never for a min have we considered leaving the canal.

Through everything we have been through Inhaven’t cried once.

But sat there yesterday in the meeting hearing mr bloody Phillips casually mention compulsory purchace my heart broke.

I was all i could do to stop my tears.

We have spent weeks planning this meeting. Gathering evidence video pictures of the floods.

Lesley and paul putting together a power point presentation.

E mails to all relivent agencies.

Jon and lee all of us setting up a community intrest company to raise funds for the street maybe fix the road a community garden?

Everyday we message each other with progress

The agencies that have treated our community like a hot potato.

Blaming each other.

Making empty promises for preventative measures.

We tried shaming them ITV news filmed us a few weeks ago men, women, kids in the river moving rubble that natural resorces wales had promised to move but hadnt

Colin and mick in their 70s and 80s with wheel barrows.

There on camera for the world to see this is canalside this is our tribe help us.

They promised us they would clear the river bed around the aquaduct in the next few weeks.

Michael Sheen was there to support us. He has been beyond amazing using the platform he has to get our voices heard.

We tell the media he will be there and guaranteed we get air time.

I know that because of who he is.

But please lets not forget that although he is famous and he leads a busy life. We are still socially distancing.

He is also a new dad with a small baby.

But he is much more than that he genuinely cares, and without his support and presence I know that half of those agencies wouldnt have showed up yesterday.

Hes a honorary member of our tribe.

Not just us for so many other amazing causes he really is an amazing human being.

So yesterday getting all of those agencies together in one place we hoped that all the passing the buck would stop.

How hard could it be to get water board, neath council. Natural resorces wales, cadw, local councillors to listen to talk to each other then to come up with a plan.

Make your bloody models write your bloody reports but do it..

Do something do anything

But stop doing nothing

Help us.

I refuse to be negative I refuse to give up.

So i thought at the very least they will ‘see us’

Hear us.

I was quietly confident we all were

So to cut a long story short.

The aquaduct is a protected monument we knew this.

Fact one its original purpose is no longer possible its in ruins.

Fact two when there is a storm or heavy rain anything washed down the river gets stuck on this aquaduct so its new use is a huge river wide dam.

Causing river to rise in bad conditions like storm dennis two feet over the top of the aquaduct so that its now underwater

The River beaches the wall our street is flooded houses ruined cars ruined and as the fire brigade told us when they couldnt get the boats down the street its a danger to life.

I love ancient monuments castles standing stones ect..

But for the love of goddess if its an ruined aquaduct or someones life its a no brainer

As it is even in good weather its dangerous., kids will be kids and play in the river in summer. If a huge piece of stone falls it wont injur them it will kill.

Like wise another flood like Dennis and we could loose one of our tribe.

Why does money come before people before something as special as canalside?

Its the only place i have managed to put down roots.

To become part of the tapestry that makes or community.

It would cost less to pay us off than help us to build walls.

Remove a dangerous structure clear a river.

Mr phillips suggested we wouldnt be living in fear of another flood.

We wouldnt be living in fear now if you had set the wheels in motion in 2018 after storm Callum.

I came home yesterday sat out side feeding the geese the sun shone walkers passed by enjoying the canal.

I felt sureal going over what had been said at the meeting

My phone rings it a lady in england aware of my work at the retreat newly diagnosed with breast cancer. We chatted for a hour. I know thatvwhen I put down the phone that i had made a difference.

She reminded me of why im here why im doing what i do why the Retreat is so very important.

I thought of Mr Phillips and his family.

Had it entered his head to put himself in our position?

I doubt it.

Well a very long time ago a council house kid from a rough estate in the north of england with an alcoholic father dreamed of living in Wales . Dreamed of having a real family. Of being safe and loved.

I cant tell you how hard the journey was to get here.

Thats another story.

But every step has been worth it.

Its every bit as beautiful as i drempt it to be.

Family yes I have that too.

Its here in Canalside.

Its the beautiful people that need my Retreat.

So Mr steve Phillips from neath port tolbot council.

Natural resorces wales.

Cadw.

Welsh water.

Im going nowhere

Paradise is worth fighting for.

The gloves are off.