Please click the link to read about our amazing journey to provide counselling and free breaks for cancer patients
What a year.
We are indeed living in very strange times.
Back in March when the U.K went into lockdown it was particularly difficult for us as we had just suffered a horrendous flood.
everywhere closed including builders supplies and we were left in a wet cottage with rats for guests and no way of getting any help to improve our living conditions.
My husband joked we were safe from the virus as no way would it survive in our street .
So as always we just got on with it.
My Mam used to say no good moaning about something you’ve no control over.
This was one of those times.
The weather was kind so we got on with things outside fixing fences painting the cancer retreat.
Most of residents in canalside had moved out. Until their houses were dried out and renovated.
Around six families stAyed mainly because we had no where else to go.
It was quite surreal, Eerie at times. The usual people passing everything had stopped.
But the sky’s grew bluer no chemetrails or clouds. I haven’t seen clear blue sky’s like that since I was a kid in the 70s.
No planes no pollution, then there were reports of sheep walking in Main Street in towns little things made me smile.
Dolphins in the canals in Venice.
Pubs were shut, kids play centres , cinemas.
People were allowed out for hour each day to walk exercise .
We began to see families walking together.
On social media photos were being posted of flowers , plants food.
I believe in every bad situation there is something positive.
Here were all these tiny things making a difference.
The market traders from Neath started delivering fresh fruit and veg.
Neighbours shopped for each other.
We reassured each other.
Spiritually I believed there was a mass awakening happening.
People realising that there is so much more to life than materialistic stuff.
People matter not things.
I missed my grandchildren terribly
Slowly things started to change I prayed that the world was changing into a better pace.
It seemed that way.
Now we are in September restrictions are tightening again.
I’m not surprised saddened but not surprised the u.k government predicted this back in March. It seems a little to planned .
Masks are now mandatory .
It’s all a mess
If as they originally said virus isn’t air born it’s a surface contaminant what is the point of a mask.
If they do work why didn’t they recommend back in March.
The sad part is all the good that came in the first wave seems to have been swallowed up now by hatefulness
The mask police ordinary people attacking others regarding masks.
Demanding to know if someone isn’t wearing one WHY.
Makes me ashamed to be human
Some people are exempt for many reasons.
None of which should be questioned or held accountable by Joe Blogs outside the Spar shop.
Rape victims , child abuse victims, people with extreme anxiety COPD asthma are exempt.
Should they have to wear a label a badge ….NO THEY SHOULDN’T please don’t be one of there jumped up mask police.
Mind your own buisness look after yourself and your own.
Who are any of us to judge anyone else..
Remember before all this started a lovely young woman Caroline Flack committed suicide because of the way she was treated in the media.
She was vulnerable but no one could see quite how much.
She took her own life because of the way she was treated by other who didn’t even know her,
After it happened the #BeKind campaign started, there were t shirts
#BeKind trended on Twitter , articles were wrote and people cried NEVER AGAIN.
Yet here we are…
these are indeed strange time.
But don’t let that have a negative effect on the way you treat people.
Think before you speak.
Sometimes it’s best if you can’t say something positive.
Don’t get caught up with the bitching of the masses .
Because one day when all this is over.
Future generations ask about what you did during the pandemic
Let your stories be kind ones.
Brians home fine.. sigh .
Came in loudly shouting for food.
And is now cwtched on the sofa with his girl Mavis.
I’m so very relieved.
I’ve told him he’s grounded! 🙈🐈
Click the you tube link 🙏
https://youtu.be/uF-D-bKeJ2MSunshine in canalside.
A wonder along the disused railway tracks looking for the ginger one ..#BrianRabbitFaceFollowed by Mavis and Lucifer.Everywhere I go I’m followed by animals!Canalside edition of homeward bound.
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
Of dragons and fae
Of dreams of love.
Thank you I whisper into the breeze.
Here is the beginning of my home made documentary about canalside it’s people and why we need to save it.
With huge thanks to Michael Sheen honorary tribe member for all he continues to do to support us.
These last few months have been history in the making.
What ever you believe regarding the origin of the corvid 19 pandemic it has affected us all.
Never before has something touched us globally.
I live in a small terrace of canalside cottages.
2020 had been challenging before the pandemic we had to deal with the trauma of being hit by floods that ruined our homes destroyed our possessions twice in fifteen months.
But we are an amazing community and we had helped each other through it.
With love support cleaning each other flooded homes endless cups of tea and smiles.
Over half the families had to move out whilst their homes were rebuilt.
We stayed grafting my hubby jack of all trades repairing our cottage and the cancer retreat we run.
Then a month later Covid arrives bringing more disruption in a very different way.
So now we are in lockdown my hubby’s garage closes.
The tiny street is quiet
The building work stops. No one can get building supplies social distancing affects our community in a completely different way.
The street seems surreal only eight houses out of thirty are occupied.
We open at Canalside page on Facebook and we keep in touch through the page if one of us is going shopping with post to ask does anyone else in the street need anything picking up? Is everyone ok does anyone need any help
we arrange local businesses to deliver fresh fruit and veg.
we look after elderly residents check they have enough food and they’re feeling ok. Mental health is more important now than ever.
Thursday evenings we stand outside clapping for the key workers waving to each other smiling we are Canalside we are community we are family the floods strengthened our community the pandemic even more.
The more challenges this street has the closer our community becomes.
It really is a magical place to live
Thankfully the weather is good.
Newspapers and every day on TV they tell us the death toll rises they tell us to wash our hands to only go out to buy essential shopping not to visit close family or friends and to stay stay six feet apart.
when I was 16 very long time ago I spent my time chained to the fence at greenham common protesting about cruise missiles fearing for the future of my children I was 16 at the time and pregnant.
I had hitched a lift from my home just outside of Wigan to greenham common I’ve been befriended by a group of Welsh women who would sit and chat about the fear the nuclear weapons.
Each of them had been taken there by the fear they felt for their families future we would join hands singing blocking the path of these huge lorries transporting these huge cruise missiles.
Women trying to make a difference to change the world
Women of all ages from so many different backgrounds but with one common belief life is indeed precious
it seems strange now that this pandemic has created the same wave the fear but this time it is a fear of something none of us can actually see.
That experience as a young teenage pregnant girl instilled something within me I always believed that people are inherently good. This gift this realisation was given to me by those women at greenham common.
And I’ve lived by that positive thought ever since I’m not saying that life is a bed of roses but I am saying that life is sometimes hard but it is always beautiful.
I always remember their unshakable belief in a better world when I need hope and reassurance.
That when something threatens the thing that we love the most our families our communities then so many of us stand up to protect those things.
We’ve pulled together and we try your best to make a positive difference.
So it’s been 8 weeks now since this pandemic and lockdown began “pandemic “it’s global and we’ve I’ll have to slow down we’ve all had more time on our hands we’ve had time to think what matters most to us to reflect we have witnessed so many things that have happened in this world and those things have often been positive.
And I thought of that circle of strong Welsh women.
Here in the UK we have the national health service it’s .
Don’t get me wrong I think it’s always been appreciated but it’s always been struggled under financed I work for the NHS and I’ve seen so many changes over the years we haven’t got enough staff we haven’t got enough beds, psychiatrists supplies, the list is endless I could go on but you get the picture.
When something goes wrong within the community or crime happens and it’s a mental health patient it’s mental health services that are blamed but often it’s a deeper problem that we really just can’t cope. Huge caseloads closure of wards .
Patients are sent home from hospital far too early in my opinion there are so many unsafe discharges but that’s because we haven’t got the beds and patients are accused of bed blocking this is all down to the government.
My daughter-in-law works in general nursing and it’s a very similar story there too waiting list for operations are years if you would like a counselling appointment if you are suicidal 12-months 18 months how can that be?
but that’s the way is a wonderful NHS has been slowly run into the ground the staff are on their knees but now in 2020 during this pandemic we have seen people out on the streets clapping for the NHS politicians who have deprived us of money who haven’t supported us a clapping for the NHS I wonder and I hope if after the pandemic they will realise just how amazing the staff and the service is.
it has broken my heart to see friends of mine going into work dealing with this virus with no PPE armed with only a an apron and an inadequate mask.
This is true care they don’t go into work for the money obviously they need their pay packets but the pittance they are paid is nothing compared to the service that they give willingly everyday.
And I think is a nation we have been reminded of this throughout these difficult times.
as I said earlier the weather has been amazing and that in itself has been a blessing I can’t imagine coping with lockdown if it been raining or terrible weather and we are all stuck inside.
What a difference no aeroplanes and no traffic has made. Everyone has commented look up how blue are the skies how quiet are the roads less pollution less chemtrails
We’ve had reports of wildlife roaming in city centres of dolphins swimming in the canals of of Venice clearer water in lakes less pollution breathed in surely all of this is positive.
Families are getting to know each other interacting more walking together.
How many people walked before the pandemic I know the footfall past our cottage on the canal has probably quadrupled.
Just these few things we can reflect on and maybe keep some of the changes we’ve had to make.
I don’t think we can ever get back to “normal” because in reality the way we were living wasn’t at all normal.
Isn’t it sad that it’s taken a pandemic for most of us to notice this?
So before this ends maybe we could take that time of reflection to go inside ourselves and to ask what are the changes we would like to keep.
Because this really is history in the making so when our grandchildren ask us about the pandemic of 2020 what will be the story we tell them? What will the world be like that they are living in and how will we have helped to create that.
This is our planet our world our country our community and it’s up to us to take personal responsibility so will you be that change you want to see?
Remember life is often hard but always beautiful
I had walked through the graveyard under a ink black sky.
Heading to my favourite cross roads to perform my ancestor ritual.
There is a beautiful avenue of ancient yew trees in this tiny 13c churchyard an ideal place to honour our ancestors.
The sky so clear I sat down beside the end of a ivy covered tombstone my son Matthew and I have been estranged for quite some time and today as most days he had been on my mind.
The atmosphere this night was heavy.
I sat looking at this old tombstone covered in ivy and moss. who are you I whispered.Opened my bag took out my candles and incense placed them beside the coffin shaped base.
Something told me this is where I needed to be.
I gave thanks to my ancestors who have walked before me.
Sat with my black mirror to scry then after ritual I sat watching the sun rise birds began to sing.
I was still sat on the grave stone I began to pull at the ivy. It had pushed its way into the stone but somehow it felt the right thing to do.
Who are you I asked again as slowly a name was revealed.
My samhain companion.
I chatted away until I had a full name..
Died.. I smiled..
Samhain.31 October 1888.
He had been hidden in in knot weed and brambles covered in ivy for years and years.
I remember you Matthew Goodridge.
I said out loud touching the top of the stone.
Further down were the names of Matthews two daughters.
Sarah Anne 14
And Tirzah 9.
In the blink of an eye he was gone.
I looked over towards the yews and the big wrought iron gates
But there is no one about.
A crow caws above me.
Your welcome Matthew I say.
As I pick up my bag..
The sun light picks our the names on the stone.
I’ll be back soon to finish tidying .
That was two years ago.
Since Matthew and I met.
I go there often to keep the ivy at bay I have found the missing end piece of the tomb dug it up repaired and fixed it back into its original place.
He is my peaceful place
An ancestor of this land I call home.
He won’t ever be forgotten whist I speak his name.
I will remember him.
Matthew Sarah and Tizah my samhain ancestors of this place that I love.
I’m not sure about the phrase “self isolation”
It conjours up thoughts of loneliness.
Especially for the elderly
If back in December someone close to us had suggested that a world wide pandemic would be with us in twelve months
Borders closed, normal people would turn into selfish beings panic buying food medicines and baby milk.
There would be an even bigger pandemic of mass fear inducing self isolation and social distancing
Would we have believed it could happen so quickly? As I write I feel I’m discribing a plot a of a Margret Atwood novel.
Yet here we are.
Everyday a new chapter unfolds. This week schools in Wales will close for the foreseeable.
People are working from.home if they can. Supermarket shelves are empty old people stand in the rain outside doctors surgeries waiting for their medication to be brought out by masked staff .
Social distancing forgotten as they huddle under umbrellas
I hear people saying the world has gone mad.
Everything has slowed down. Venice canals are now clear dolphins visit
There are no planes over head pumping chemitrails into the sky.
The usual bustle of shoppers riding by each other unoticing has calmed .
Although everyone is worried I’ve noticed more smiles.
Concern for family friends, strangers. The flip side of the panic buying.
Let’s try to focus on what we can do. Instead of what we can’t
Pick up your phone for a chat with family and friends.
Read the book you haven’t had time to pick up.
Discover the joy of podcasts and radio plays.
When weather allows it get out into the garden spring is coming .
If you don’t already try meditation.
The power of visualisation can take you anywhere. YouTube is a good place to start.
The world hadn’t stopped it’s just slowed down. Maybe she will take the time to breathe and to heal.
Maybe we can too.
When all this is over remember this is history in the making.
Our great grandchildren will learn about 2020 in school.
The year that everything stopped and changed..
Let the next line be ..
For the better..
OPEN LETTER TO PRIME. MINISTER, GOVERNMENT, ENVIRONMENT AGENCY, PRINCE CHARLES PRESIDENT OF THE CANAL AND RIVER TRUST. NEATH COUNCIL .
I also run a non profit cancer retreat (soon to gain charity status)
I provide completly free breaks, a soul midwife service, celebrant service, counseling and therapies for patients with life limiting illnesses and their loved ones
Lots of people said I wouldn’t be able to do this completly free, but they don’t know about the magic and support of canalside.
We have been doing it for over two years. Provide lots of beautiful people with a safe happy space to forget about hospital appointments and just to be themselves
To walk on our beautiful canal explore local areas supported by us and our neighbors.
October 2018 were devistated by storm Callum all our hard work and love Ravens retreat was ruined.
To the powers that be.
Prime minister, government, environment agency, Neath council. Prince Charles president of canals & rivers trust.
It’s a almost a week since storm Dennis devistated our little street Canalside.
We are a terrace of 29 old but beautiful cottage as the name suggests we are nestled by the side of the Tenant Canal.
You hear older people talk of how it used to be when people look after each other, you could ask neighbors for help, leave your door open. When there was real communities.
I always smile feel proud and blessed because canalside is exactly that they are describing us. Canalside.
I know everyone in our street.
We are a tribe.
We look out for each other, we remember birthdays, pick up shopping, give lifts when needed, fix cars, we don’t live in each others pockets but we have always got each others backs you get the picture.
But we hadn’t had flooding here since early 90s so we pulled together as a community baled water/ sewage dried out the cottages hacked of plaster dug up floors, pulled out fitted kitchen, white goods sofas furniture clothing toys nothing was salvageable due to the sewage imagine a film.of human waste covering everything you own.
Strangers came to help, we had no electricity for days but canalside residents stuck together unbreakable bonds were made, strangers were now friends .
It took us from October 2018 of storm Callum to June 2019 to recover
The sun shone we welcomed home those who had moved out whilst builders re built their homes.
Ducks, geese , the dog walkers passed our cottage again our community breathed a sigh of relief we were home, together.
Life went on.
We welcomed families for cancer breaks from at Helens , Liverpool, North Wales, Swansea .
A word they often used to describe canalside was magical.
I vividly remember our first group of ladies after the flood Viv and Jule. Were friends from my hometown of St Helens.
Viv had just finished radiotherapy. A mural friend had rang to ask if she could join them with her best friend who was having chemotherapy for a terminal diagnosis.
Everything was arranged and they traveled down together
You see that’s what Ravens Retreat (wish cottage project) is all about.
Fulfilling wishes and dreams giving people hope
We are so much more than a little cottage in a little street.
When Bex Viv, Shaz and Julie drove away at the end of a perfect week the sun shone their car radio blared they sang at top of their voices .
They arrived from Liverpool after a long drive I introduced myself to Bex she smiled but looked quite and lost, she was wearing a back brace and they had wondered if the drive over would be too long but she had been determined to come.
As the four of them looked around our retreat slowly Bex began to smile.
That week was truly wonderful.
They sat by our fire pit, sunbathed on the decking, drank wine laughed lots discussed hopes and fears.
Bex confessed wanting to climb mountain.
Leave it with anything is possible in Canalside.
It was a sunny day when we drove into Swansea to mumbles pier.
We had lunch then
I sat on the beach beside Bex there’s your mountain I smiled pointing at the light house on the hill.
Her face lit up..
I sat in the dun watching her slowly but surely climb up the hill to mumbles lighthouse..
She stood at the top wind in her hair waving over to me..
That will always be Bex’s mountain.
My heart smiled.
The girl who arrived looking quite and tired left glowing happy and smiling.
I’m privalaged to call her my friend
And to have been part of her journey sadly Bex died a few months later.
Why am I telling you this? It’s because although you ‘see’ the floods on T.V and a few of you may walk down the street you don’t get to know our stories.
You come then leave to sit in warm houses without the real fear of ‘What if’ hanging over you when you go to bed, or if your in work and it starts to rain.
Behind each door of each cottage is a story.
A family just like yours .
I want and need you to know how loved and important this small street is.
So a week later after our second flood in sixteen months we have done the same again.
We pulled together bailed sewage,
cared for our vunerable less able neighbors.
New strangers have arrived we have lost all our possessions again..
Because the preventative measures promised were not honoured.
This time I have no insurance.
Not because I chose not to because I couldn’t get cover after storm Callum
A £6000 oil central heating boiler a beautiful sofa bed bought for patients who are too weak to get upstairs.
All our white goods, carpets, crockery all contaminated again by sewage .
Preventative measures that we were promised didn’t happen.
Why am I writing to you a week later..
Because as I clean up the mess in my bedroom that has been trodden upstairs all week
I have found a pile of thank you cards from people who have stayed with us . A letter from my best friend Donna Drewson who died September 11 2018 telling me how proud she was of me and the Retreat.
She always believed in me
Everything we have done is in memory of her.
Finally my strength left me.
I sat on my bed and sobbed.
I want to believe that you neath council, environment agency the water board, local government prince Charles and the prime minister have took on board our dilemma.
That this time you will do something preventative to help us.
My greatest fear is a few months down the line the reporters news crews will leave.
Council will be spending money on speed bumps and once again we will be forgotten.
So prime minister, local government.
Put your wellies on.
Knock on our doors hear our voices our stories.
Talk to us.
We are worth saving
Do I want to move?
Of course not.
Where else could I find such a melting pot of amazing people
It may not be your idea of paradise but it’s ours .
Please help us preserve it.
Yours in hope
So I’ve been I’ll all day V &D due to the 3 ft of raw sewage that spewed it’s way into my cottage early hours Sunday morning.
Beginging of storm Dennis.
We knew what to expect we endured exactly same 18 months ago storm Callum
I’ve been reading alot in praise of what council and environment services have done for canalside (our forgotten street) in this flood ..
Here are a few facts
I live at no 20 no one was there in the street when the flood came at 2.30 / 3 am
No one came apart from the guys dropping off 4 sand bags and placing one useless row at top of the street.
I moved here 14 years ago and a team of council employees came to do a dummy run of what would happen in a red alert
They came fitted new flood gates front and back.
Then they promptly took them off and put them back on the lorry?
Asked if we could keep them we were told no that on red alert they would be brought out and fitted along with advice and help to elderly and vunerable to lift furniture ect
So storm Callum…
WHERE WERE THEY
Storm Dennis WHERE WERE THEY?
No one knows where these flood gates are?
No one knocks doors helps the vunerable warns us
We look.after our own
There was a meeting in the legion after Callum
Promises made about prevention highering walls, finding elusive flood gates,
More storm drains
And money from Europe for flood victims … False confidence given to vunerable people.
I have been scrubbing what can only be described as liquidised s@@t from all surfaces in my cottage the sewage was 3ft deep spewing up from toilets bath sink.
Help advice on contaminated water would have been helpful
Also we have vunerable tenants in the street in rented property.
Land. Lords now have to have a licence (rent smart Wales)
One young couple have had their tenency ended by their landlord no where to go…
The twins having to stay with a friend as their land lord has failed to help and find them.alternative accommodation.
It’s easy for people who aren’t experiencing this devistation for second time in 18 months to sit in their warm dry uncontaminated homes
With their opinions
They aren’t living it.
Not only is my home ruined my car is too.
For the amazing people who have knocked on our doors and walked the walk with help and support… I truly am grateful.
But council and services could have done so much more BEFORE and after the event FACT
So as most of you know any jobs improvements on our home “Crow cottage” has been on hold since the flood of 2018 as we have been getting our cancer retreat which is in same street back up and running.
We have lived in our little cottage for 12 years .
I fell in love with it the minute we turned out car onto the canal tow path I hadn’t even viewed the cottage on the inside and I knew we would live there.
Ducks geese canal mountain view from the window .
I loved it.
Now when we decided to look for a house to buy we couldn’t afford to live in the city
However just ten miles out in a small Welsh valley houses were quarter of the price.
That’s how I found our canal.
After never being able to settle in a house for more than a year I found my paradise.
Now I had a friend who was a builder .
Joolz he advised DONT buy a cottage .
The walls a 4 foot thick and they ALWAYS need money throwing at them..Good advice .
So I bought a cottage and twelve years down the line I can say.
He was absolutely right 🙈But it’s been an adventure.
We don’t have fabulous paid jobs Or credit cards
Thankfully we don’t have a liking for all things new.
I love second hand furniture.
In fact I love 1930 furniture and it’s in keeping with the cottage.
So I don’t mind car boot sales
Second hand shops , e bay
My living room cost under £500 to furnish probably furnish whole house for under £1.500
I guess I’m telling you this so you get the picture that I’m not a I want a new sofa kind of girl.
I buy when we need.So when we moved in I thought eventually we will get a new bathroom.
For now it’s fine.So few months ago
I find a beautiful bath tub on Facebook market place FOR FREE! so off we go to collect it.
It’s in the garden of a lovely ladies house who asks if I’m going to use it as a pond ?No I laugh I really like it and It’s going in out cottage ours has seen better days paint is chipping.
She’s thrilled it will be reused proceeds to give me a lovely set of telephone taps and a bath panel and off we go!
Two days later it’s a bit of a squeeze as it’s slightly bigger and has to come in through the window there’s lots of swearing and mentions of Vaseline and he’s going to buy me a bloody tape measure for Christmas as my long suffering husband fits this lovely deep bath.
I’m thrilled but I’m now on a mission to find a sink and toilet.
I don’t have to wait long
As a week later we are picking up some slate chippings to finish cancer retreat garden from builders merchants I spot a brand new toilet for £30.00 in the sale.
Jeff’s off looking at wood on his return I try to look casual as I push our trolly to the cashier.
“Er what’s that? ”
I ignore him
We aren’t buying a bloody toilet I proceed to tell him just how much we are saving it’s £60 off
He’s doing that look!
One raised eyebrow as I push the trolley into the car park and attempt to change subject.
So that was five weeks ago.
The toilet in its box is still standing in my bloody living room under the window with a view of the canal.
Apparently Jeff is too busy to fit it!
Now here is the Christmas link.
He’s sat eating breakfast this morning. 1st December
The Christmas tree and decorations convosation starts .
I don’t mind I say reluctantly.
Yes it will be nice for our grandchildren and I’m sure our cats Luna and Lucifer and tiny dog Mavis will have a wonderful time climbing up said tree 🙈
Now the tree goes in the living room window.Stands Infront of it were the new boxed toilet is currently living.
This is it .
It’s weekend he will have to fit it today or no Christmas tree!
I’m feeling smug as I say
Okay we can do it later after you’ve sorted toilet because you’ll have to fit it out of the way to put the tree up.
Cup of tea love before you start?
I wonder into the kitchen and click the kettle on
Well he says looking at the toilet.
I thought if we put a Xmas table cloth over it.
We could use it to put the tree on and I’ll fit it in the new year?
He’s really serious!
Can you guess what my answer was😈
The decorations and tree arent up yet.
Watch this space.
I’ve hidden the Christmas table cloth.
So today I went to a spoken word poetry event . One of my favourite venues chilled and friendly. Beautiful old church.
This is the story I told after I’d finished reading I was approached by a lovely lady who is possibly a relation of Matthew the man in the story.
As she spoke I was reminded of what I already know
Without doubt we are all connected. We are a circle within a circle with no beginning and never ending.
Read on tell me what you think?
I worship the old gods of this land the isle of Albion.
I follow the wheel of the year. Tonight the wheel turns it is Samhain eve in a 13c churchyard.
Its 3am and almost a full moon. There is a avenue of yew trees and it’s without one of the most magical places I know.
It’s my favourite place for ritual. The place I come to give thanks, to show gratitude. To talk with spirit.
To think to read. To just to be.
I wonder from my usual path many of the tombstones are overgrown covered in ivy surrounded by knot weed.
Standing back from all the others is an old stone old coffin shaped base it is covered in ivy.
I’m always drawn to it but no details are visible.
I stand in the moonlight. I ask ‘who are you?’
Touching the base of the cold stone.
I start to pick at the ivy..
it has pushed its way into the grey stone clinging green fingers into the details of intricate carved words.
I chant and hum quietly to myself it becomes quite mediative
As I pull at the vines they come away in narly sharp lengths sometimes tiny pieces that cling with remarkable strength.
We are a circle within a circle with no begining and never ending. I sing to my yet unknown companion
Time slips by slowly and the winter sun begins to rise birds begin to sing.
The carved words become visible.
I read out loud. Matthew Goodridge. Age 43
Mellincreethin a shiver runs through me as I read the next line .
Died 31 Oct 1888 Samhain..
Further down I read the names of Matthews daughters .Sarah Anne 14. Tirzah 9.
I catch a glimpse of someone watching me from the avenue of yew trees a tall man he nods smiles politely lifts his cap as he walks slowly through the avenue of sacred yews.
Matthew I whisper.
The sun shines as Celtic new year is born.
I sit there beside Matthew his two young daughters .
I will remember you Matthew.
My samhain ancestor of this place I love.
We are a circle within a circle. With no beginning and never ending.
All of us connected. The stuff of stars.
That was four years ago Matthew.
Your stone stands straight and tall cleared cleaned and cared for.
I remember you often.
This poem is for you.
Your tombstone stands among the rest;
neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
on centuries old welsh stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I would exist
You died centuries before I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you. stardust connected
in flesh, in blood, in bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
entirely not our own.
Dear Matthew goodridge , the place you filled
hundreds of years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
who would have loved you so.
I wonder of your life you lived of those l loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
and stand here to honour you.
I need help. There I said it!
I run a cottage retreat offer free breaks for cancer / end of life patients.
Im a soul midwife end of life companion and advocate for anyone who needs me.
No charge free.
Therapies visits support all free.
Im also a wedding and funeral celebrant this service is also free for patients
I also have to work full time to finance this bills have to be paid.
Car needs fuel.
Mortgage electricity oil ect.
What I need is someone to advise me and or help with funding or grants that I may be eligible for in the U.K.
My dream is to be able to devote all my time working as soul midwife but at the moment that’s not possible.
It’s so important that my services remain free.
I never want someone to think they can’t afford a soul midwife.
Donations are fine I’m good with that
There is a donate now button on my website.
But to enable me to let my paid job go I need some sort of funding
So do you or anyone you know have any experience of how to go about this?
I know there is the national lottery grants act but I’m hopeless at all this entails
We are a community interest company.
Completely non profit.
So I know we are eligible.
If you can help.in anyway or you’d like to fund raise for us.
I’d be eternally grateful.
Please share our website and this post.
Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction.
I am forever grateful for this small row of cottages and the bank of the tenant canal in South Wales where I live.
I settled here fourteen years ago.
We originally looked a bit further out from the city as houses were cheaper.
I’m so glad we did.
Don’t get me wrong readers of my blog will know we’ve had our fair share of problems massive flood thanks to storm Callum in Oct 2018
But in a way it made me fall in love with this magical place even more.
Family’s helped each other bonds and friendships were made and strengthened
It’s not a posh place to live.
Small two up two down cottages
But it’s paradise to me.
Our home is here.
Our cancer retreat and therapy cabin is here.
Our cats our dog geese swans and birds
Home is where the heart is.
My heart is right here.
For that I’m truly grateful.
I came across this old photograph.
that’s my Nan and grand father the year is 1966.
that’s me sitting on my grand father’s knee, my niece Angela is the baby in the shawl.
I don’t remember my grandfather.
he died when I was three.
my Nan was amazing a huge influence on who I am today.
Strong northern woman.
You can see from the photo they didn’t have much.
She always worked he like all the men in our family drank never a few always too much.
This was taken in their home a very old run down terraced house facing a park in a collery town in the north of England.
I remember the smell of damp. frayed seat covers on the old two seater sofa I’d pick at the sponge foam through the thread bare covers as I fell asleep listening to the sound of my Nans old Jones treadle sewing machine
it was a magical rythem of my life.
The playground across the road was known as Nanny goat park.
it stood in the shadow of glass factories.
I remember cold fingers gripping the handle of the roundabout as nanny’s old staffie dog Bruce barked until I’d get off.
Cold morning air white spiders webs in privit hedges
Ice on the inside of the bedroom windows. Cold breath in the air.
Chopping stick in the mornings to lite the fire.
The smell of fire lighters and inky fingers from screwing up yesterday’s news paper to insure a flame.
Grand dad died when I was three and nanny moved to a council house with a garden
no park across the road but also no smell of damp.
the windows had lead that reflected onto the bare plaster walls from the light of the street lamp.
while I’d snuggle under sheets blankets and coats to keep us warm
complaining that they made me itch
She would shush me and given a stone hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel.
sitting on the back doorstep waiting for the kettles whistle hot milky tea.
sterilised milk and a chipped China cup.
Perfect boiled eggs and thick buttered toast.
hearing her singing Vera Lynn White cliffs of Dover and shouting at my cousin’s to stop kicking the bloody football on the side of the house.
Jesus Mary and bloody Joseph she would shout followed by your make the bloody saints in heaven swear as my drunken dad would fall into the back door the smell of beer tobacco and vomit.
John players fags from the shop and jug of stout from the outdoor.
Rapping her door shouting through the letter box.
laughing when she would tell me to bugger off home.
Stop bloody mitherin me!
Corned beef hot pot.
massive egg custard tarts.
bacon ribs and pea soup.
Lying with my head on her lap the smell of Sunday roast on her pinny.
her orange lip stick from the Avon woman with the blue bag.
boxes of old black and white photographs telling stories of her life. rhubarb onions, and spuds from her garden
pop soxs and polka dots.
string shopping bags and the football pools. silver hair
Always protecting me I loved being around this tiny woman .
I think this is the only photo that I have of her.
That’s all I need.
the rest I carry with me Nan.
I’m lying here in bed thinking about my day.Incase this is the first of my posts you have read I’m a soul midwife / therapist I run Ravens Retreat.I provide care, support, nursing and therapies for cancer patientsI have a little cottage that I offer free breaks in for cancer patients and their families.Yes you heard right FREE.No catch.It’s my service to the community and my goddess.How do I fund it?I work full time for the NHS community mental health team.It’s the only way to pay the bills and run the cottage.Not ideal I know but until I find someone who can help me apply for grants and fund raise (we are registered as a non profit company)I’ve no choice.This means I work a 70+ hour week.And I juggle between the two.So today .I go to see a lady I’m working with in the HospiceShe has stage 5 cancer stomach, lymphatic, liver.Final stages she’s 56 I took her into the Hospice four weeks ago they thought she may not last the night.She’s still here a true warrior over the past 14 months we have become good friends.Today as I go into her room she is sleeping I sit quietly besides her. He skin and eyes are yellow she has lost so much weight I pick up a book we have been reading.She opens her eyes and smiles at me “Joolz”Why didn’t you wake me?You looked so peaceful I say and I’m not in any rush.Within a min she is sitting upright giving me instructionsI smile as I get her a cup of tea, make sure it’s ….Strong and hot I laugh..You know me well she says.I put her in her wheel chair and we go down to the sunshine lounge.We sit and chat whilst I do a reflexology treatment on her feet.Rose oil surrounds usCan you do my shoulders she asks..Of course I rub oil into her back a tattoo of an all seeing eye looks back at me she loves all things Egyptian.She takes great pride in making me laugh at the fact she had visited Egypt many times but has never seen a prymidI’ve had a good life she says.But this now is no life is it?My hands are on her shoulders she places her hands on mine .Thank you she says.Your welcome I whisper.I push her back around to her room telling her I will be calling in on her grand daughter on way home to take a mould of her finger print.It’s to make a silver memory necklace I will place her finger print with her granddaughters and put it on a silver chain.Can you put nan on back of my print she asksOf course I say.Keep your eye on her when I’m gone she says.I catch my breath.My grand daughter and hers are friends.I squeeze her hand I will .I fix her bed and help her in.Pull the covers up around her neck as she likes them and tuck her in.I’m so tired she smiles at me closing her eyes.I kiss her gently on her head. See you tomorrow.If you need me in the night ring I say as I’ve said every dayShe smiles thank youNight night MammyShe laughs.As I walk away pull her door shutWalk out into cold December air I’m beyond thankful for my small part in her journey.It’s a privilege to walk with her to the end of this path.Such an amazing beautiful soul.Working with end of life patients changes your way of thinkingI am truly grateful every day for all that I have my health my familySometimes when I have colleagues or friends who are complaining about trivial problems I can help but ask them to role play with me.Okay I say. I’m the doctorI’m sorry to tell you that you have a terminal illness and have six to twelve months to live.The reaction bis almost always the same.WHAT…remember this is only role play.But very real for some people.Now think do the small things matter?What would you do if you only had six months?Would you be more great full ?Would you heal old wounds ?Hold grudges.See more of those you care about.You get the picture.I know life can sometimes be hard.But remember it is always beautiful.Look for the joy.Gratitude is the key to happiness.
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Walking around the lake today with Mavis her last post op appointment at the vets.
Everything is fine.
Although she’s developed that dog planking thing they do when approaching the vets door and suddenly realizing where they are.
Accompanied with a hysterical bark far too loud for such a tiny dog.
To reassure her I she isn’t staying as we leave i fuss her then walk her across the lake to Jeff’s garage were I’ve left my car.
The lake has outdoor gym equipment surrounded by visiting Canadian geese basking in September sunshine
Middle aged men in office attire attempt to lift themselves pulling and pushing at lime green bars casually walking away after failed out of breath attempts.
I sit on a bench watching mams with kids chase balls dogs and toddlers on scooters dropping quavers and melting ice creams .
Get down, and be careful echos in the warm breeze.
As the mothers smile but silently count down the days to back to school.
Men sit fishing eyes closed multiple rods balenced on stands beside them. Plastic sandwich boxes and flasks of tea
Bright red Rowen berries sicamore seeds and blackberries whisper of autumn and the wheel of the year begining to turn.
I love this time of year.
So many shades of green
I feel so very blessed to live here in Wales
There is truly no where else so beautiful
I am grateful every day.
I write every day.
In my phone’s note pad.
My work diary on printer paper.
My head is like a theater stage sometimes as I’m driving I’ll have first few lines of a poem float onstage
I’ll pull over to note them down least I forget.
Storytelling and poetry is such an ancient way of learning. Passing on information.
The druids are a good example spoken word.
My other favorite thing is second hand I was going to say clothes but to be fair it’s every thing.
I have an old oak dining table I bartered for at a car boot sale it has four odd chairs.
It’s role has morphed into a desk a very untidy desk!
Paper note books, Books I’m reading there is always more than one.
There is something comforting to me anout old furniture, pre loved that have belonged to other families been a part of other stories now they are part of mine. I especially like it when things don’t match.
Cups and plates I have an old Welsh dresser with beautiful odd china plates and cups
I bought it for our cottage not thinking of how it would fit through the front door ! Everything here is second hand apart from the mattress.
Old cottage, old furniture. Im sure if I added up how much I’d spent it would be under £800 for the whole house.
We live in such a disposable society.
I think if I’ve got a bedroom chest of drawers that does the job why will I ever need to change it.
I love second hand shops, car boot sales charity shops.
All my clothes are pre loved
There is a Fab charity shop by my office
A little old lady runs it raising money for animal charities.
She has a few just a pound rails.
I never fail to find what I need in her shop.
It reminds me of a childrens program from the 70s called Mr Ben.
Mr Ben was an ordenary man he would go into a shop try on a costume then step through the mirror into another world to a new adventure.
That’s how I feel in Jeans shop.
I love it when girls in work comment on some thing Im wearing and I can say it was a £1.00 🤣
Anyway I’m off on a tangent I was asked to a rarther posh awards ceremony few weeks ago.
Our cancer retreat had been nominated.
Everyone going chatted about what they were going to wear.
How much they had paid where it was from.
Hair make up.
You get the picture.
I moaned to Jeff I’m not spending money on something I won’t wear again he laughed well you need something new go shopping he encouraged me.
I hate shopping.
I reluctantly got myself ready for a trip into Cardiff.
But thought I’d call into Jeans shop first.
Off went like Mr Ben looking for a new adventure
I tell her my dilemma as I look through rails of clothes.
I have to admit I was starting to panic.
What if we win an award?
What if I have to get up on stage?
I turn around to leave resigned to fact I have to go into town crowds of people and hassle of car parks
Thanks Jean I say turning to leave then
There behind me on a rail I’m sure I’ve already looked on is a dress.
Bell sleaves it’s stunning
How much is this Jean.
I say holding it against me its perfect.
£5.00 to you darling she says
Have a wonderful evening.
Thank you Jean you saved the day. She laughs
That night I dress put on my red and black boots Wow Jeff says that’s stunning.
No don’t be silly.
We step through that magic mirror and two hours later I stand on stage accepted the beautiful award with my beautiful daughter in law Sarah,
I talk about Ravens retreat the work that we do and my beautiful brave friend Donna. (Sarah’s Mam) this award and everything I do is dedicated to her.
Im surrounded by beautiful women in designer dresses who had spent the day in the salon.
I don’t feel out of place.
I’d spent the day on the mountain and a hour with Jean in her magical shop.
I stood on stage to have a photo Lou whispered joolz I love the red dress.
£5.00 I smiled from jeans shop I just couldn’t resist and i know Donna would approve.
I’ve never been a brilliant sleeper. 3am is my Muse time. Half baked poems take centre stage begging for an ending.
Meditation, automatic writing. Channels from spirit.
That’s ok I quite like the world when it’s beautifully still. Moon light walks and star gazing at Trecastle
It amazes me how many people are too busy to just look up.
Take note of just how tiny we are.
Yet how amazing.
Last night was inky black and clear thankfully cool.
Trecastle called my little car carried me over the mountain.
I sat listening to the babble of the river over the rocks.
Ancient language crickets seemed to punctuate with the occasional chirp.
The outline of the mountain the shape of mother Earth.
The shiloette of the stone circle, energy pallpuble
There is only one tree on that beautiful Roman road. We are old friends.
She nodded her welcome in the breeze.
She is old and her dress a little tattered no longer a maiden or a mother but a wise old crone.
She holds secrets she hears the cry’s of the lost and lonley she shelters them from life’s storm.
She is bent over almost pointing the way to the stone circle that stands around 600 yards away
Unseen from the road clevely hidden .
Go she tells me bathe in the moonlight walk the circle and speak your truth.
The stones will absorb your pain. The circle will remind you how to dance.
Feel the wind on your skin the dew on your bare feet
Know that you are loved here.
For this place holds magic.
This is your home.
I smile at her a silent thanks
Cross the river and walk barefoot to my circle .
The breeze is warm
As I give thanks for all that I am.
All that I have
As I dance the spiral dance of ancient ways
Does the weather or season affect your mood? It’s April springtime in Wales
Although it has rained a few times this weekend that’s okay the rain is what makes Wales such a lush green beautiful place.
I love this time of year everything is waking up tiny Hawthorne leaves dafodills in their yellow dresses, the ivy seems to boast a new brighter shade of green, the trees on the mountains no longer bare they are dressed in new clothes swaying in the breeze welcoming crows who caw and dart to and fro gathering twigs and straw to build this year’s nests warm and safe surrounded by new leaves and a warmer breeze.
Baby shrews scurry along the canal bank chased by my black cat Luna who also loves the rebirth of spring for different reasons. The nights are lighter.
I’ve spent the weekend clearing my cottage garden building a fire in the fire pit sitting reflecting watching the late sunset.
I feel my mood is starting to lift. It’s been a hard challenging year. The loss of my best friend Donna floored me and I miss her everyday I’ve chatted away to her as I always did tell her what’s happing and all about having to rebuild our Retreat and how its taken it’s toll.
But I’ve discovered some amazing people strangers who have become new friends.
My relationship with my husband Jeff we’ve never had an easy ride but he’s my rock and I his. We are , complete opposite but I can’t imagine me without him at times this year we’ve wondered if there was a light at the end of the tunnel as we would complete one job on the retreat something else would come up.
But yesterday we finished the floor tiling all the way through the cottage hard graft when your doing it after work and weekends singlehandedly whilst also building a shower room and fitting a kitchen
So last night I sat by the fire pit in my little piece of paradise and gave thanks to the universe.
For lessons learned and strength and patience I didn’t know we had.
For good friends chosen family and rebirth of this coming year.
I’m here holding out my hands and trusting. I’m ready for whatever it brings
With the quiet knowledge that this is a new chapter.
I’ll go back in times of reflection and reread the older chapters for without them I wouldn’t be here now.
Sat by the fire watching a black cat look up at the sky. Feeling warm and grateful for all that I am.
I’m about to take a huge leap of faith. Let go of my job with the NHS to become self employed.
I’ve had thirteen fabulous years working in community mental health and I can genuinely say I’ve loved it.
It’s a huge decision but I can’t do two jobs
The retreat is almost back on it’s feet after the flood my beautiful healing hive cabin is a few months away from being completed. So it really is decision time.
I know it’s the right choice but letting go of what’s old and familiar to do something new is exiting but a little bit scary and not having that guaranteed pay slip at end of the month is the scary bit!
But I’ve put it out there to the universe and when my manager asked about my case load capacity last week I told him I was planning to leave.
He was a little shocked reminding me he needs a months notice at least but as soon as I’d actually said it I felt better quite empowered.
So it’s out there!
I feel like the fool card in tarot standing on the edge of the mountain all his possessions in his back pack preparing to step out into the world as the sun rises his dog at his heels (in my case a couple of cats!)
So I’m holding out my hands trusting the universe visualising good and positive change.
Here’s to exiting times ♥️
It’s been a busy month in Wales. Lots of new challenges. Andy came over to see us at the Retreat to advise us on insulating the Healing Hive Cabin.
Who knew keeping a wooden building warm was so complicated 🙈 not me.
So supplies are on order electric is almost finished thanks to a generous donation we are back on track to open our doors again in May.
For the time being I am still working from Crow Cottage so if you would like a Healing appointment please give me a ring.
To think all of this was a dream I’ve had for so very long and now here I am surrounded by the most amazing family, friends, healers and Therapists.
It truly is cosmic ordering at it’s most wonderful.
Holding out your hands to the universe.
Visualise the positive change you wish to see.
Most importantly BELIEVE!
Im lying here this morning thinking about the little council estate kid with an alcoholic father who called me Gunner.
(Because I was always Gunner live in Wales, always Gunner live by water always day dreaming always BELIEVED in those dreams.)
So as I sit out side our tiny cottage by a beautiful canal surrounded by friend who are other dreamers, I remember him and thank him for his words they made me more determined
When I used to close my eyes tight shut at night I could see mountains water and trees.
Now every morning before I leave the cottage I give thanks and gratitude for all those things that I never take for granted each day I look at them with new eyes.
I thank spirit, Source
Life is truly beautiful ❤️
What a beautiful day on our canal.
This morning I’m sat here writing the hand fasting ceremony for two beautiful ladies I’m privileged to call friends.
I’m a wedding and funeral celebrant and both events are celebrations of our life.
Wedding wise I particularly love the old ways.
Hand fasting is where the modern day referral of tying the knot comes from
The cords used can represent many things from colours chosen and sometimes things used to make the cords with.
The ceremony is bespoke and Taylor made to fit the couple as well it should be because we are all so very different and yet at the same time connected.
This particular ceremony is so very special as the ladies it is for are very dear to my heart.
Sometimes in life we meet people who shine.
The love connecting them is palpable.
These are one of those couples
So today shall be spent weaving magic words to represent weaving for two beautiful souls.
And yet again I’m reminded that life is indeed beautiful.
I am truly blessed ♥️
So as most of you know I live in a little canalside cottage nothing posh just two up two down on a tow path in South Wales.
I also have another cottage on the terrace Ravens Retreat.
Where as a soul midwife I provide respite free Therapies and breaks for cancer patients or anyone with life limiting condition.
We are slowly rebuilding the retreat after we were hit by storm Callum in Sept 2018 most of the terrace was flooded by sewerage it was a challenging time to say the least.
My hubby Jeff has been beyond amazing he is a jack of all trades and has self leveled floors, tiled bathroom fitted a shower room.
He’s almost finished tiling kitchen and living room
Fitted a new kitchen aquired from Facebook marketplace.
We are doing all this on a shoe string
We have had a cabin built (our healing hive ) on the land behind the retreat and are also trying to get this up and running insulated electrics flooring fencing the list is endless
And as I’ve been off work for a year on half pay I have really been holding out my hands to the universe and trusting we can get things finished.
Offering free Therapies to cancer patients. Holding healing clinics Reiki, Omni, and Soul Connection healing workshops teaching reiki to community
I know this work Is so very important people need to be treated holistically.
This is my service to the community a way of me giving back. A thank you for leading me to this beautiful place.
This post is about just that giving back and paying forward.
I always believe that people are for the best part good
And what you put out there you get back.
That’s what storm Callum has taught me.
This tiny street in South Wales is a community
Very commune like.
We all pulled together. We baled water, carried furniture, cleaned each other’s houses supporting each other in any way possible.
I cooked for the street my son made flood gates my hubby helped anyone and everyone. Reporters came and went we we’re on T.V for the weekend then people forgot.
Or did they.
Friends and neighbors are now closer
People come and gift me time in return for Therapies or healing or perhaps lunch.
Fab electrician had helped wire the cabin, my friend Han from work helped dig out old trees and clear garden. My son, daughter and daughter in love helped clean and grout tiles
Zoe and Ross helped clear up after cabin was erected
My grand daughter Tamika pushed wheel barrows full of garden rubbish.
Out neighbor Paul plastered the bathroom ceiling.
The twins next door brought food when Jeff was working.
My friend Sharon very kindly lent us a digger! How awesome I’ve been truly overwhelmed with kindness I’m truly blessed.
Last week I had a phone call from a lovely guy Chris who wanted to know more about what we we’re doing having heard about us from a mutual.friend
He visited and from minute I opened the door I knew we were destined to be friends.
Today he came over and painted fences helped Jeff out then had Sunday lunch with me and my family.
I guess what I’m telling you is there is a positive in every situation no matter how bad things are
Our little retreat was a lovely little cottage before the flood but we had made do and mended with what we had.
The flood pulled our little street together into a fabulous commune it pushed us to do work that we couldn’t really afford but somehow we’ve done it.
We now have that all important healing space I so desperately needed. A shower room that will make things much easier for wheel chair users or guests with dogs!
Most of all I have met some of the most amazing people who gave us the gift of time and true genuine friendship .
That to me is priceless.
So when life gets hard remember hold out your hands and trust the universe.
It may be hard but it is always beautiful.
So if your passing through neath valley south Wales
Come take a walk down Canalside drop in say hi.
A liminal magical place
My family ❤️
I can turn my hand to most things practical, D.I.Y jobs if you show me how to do something I’ll have a go. Tecnical stuff not so.
Like computers like most folk I can find my way around the internet (saying that thinking about the enormity of the web makes my head hurt! It’s like some endless digital universe)
I blog lots use word ect but that’s it.
Oh and shop!
Years ago I ran my own business when my children were small advertising was in local paper, and leaflets which my kids were bribed to put through doors on the estate. If you were posh you had business cards ..
Needless to say I didn’t have cards.
Scraps of paper and a bird. How things have changed.
Anyway my point is all of these simple things were enough so my “business marketing”
Was simple done for me by me.
Time Hop thirty years..
Like the film back to the Future.
Local papers are on line..
The only leaflets I seem to get are pizza delivery and political crap which goes straight in the log burner basket with the kindling.
We run Ravens retreat
Canalside cottage we do Therapies healing , workshops.
The point is I now can’t rely on leaflets and local rag mags.
Looking for something
Ask 20th century oricle GOOGLE. (I’m sure Google is actually god)
If you write things the right way he puts you to the top of his list!
If your not in there no one finds you.
Where do I start with this.
My dear friend Julie Rosser runs The Healing Room in Llangan just outside of bridgend (if you are local to this area look her up! )
She’s amazing healer, reflexology, Reiki teacher.
After chatting to her she tells me of a local guy who designs web sites and does digital marketing. (What witchcraft is this?)
I’ve glazed over as I have no clue about how any of this works.
Let me tell you now it costs a substantial amount more than getting 500 leaflets printed for the estate.
But the clue is in the ww of www. World wide..
So I hand over the last of my savings for this bespoke web site. Then three months running costs after launch.
Then I wait.
This week I get a call from Stewart to go up to check site and finalize design
So off I go over to tolbot green
Meet up with a lovely guy who speaks another language of all things web..
I don’t know what I expected but a ordinary office in a smart business centre. Desk and laptop was where he was at.
We had originally decided on 22 pages (in my head 22 leaflets 🙈)
But apparently I now have 51
This man is a modern day wizard.
Who knew you can do so much online. (Not me)
Buy vouchers, book appointments, which then sync to your Google calendar.
Buy items in a shop Blog ( I like this bit)
Trying to explain to me how Google “crawls over key words to get your services to the top of searches couldn’t have been an easy task but I think I get the idea.
The graphics are amazing to be fair the whole thing is.
There is even a events page. (Banners see I was listening!) and a link to Julie’s healing room and the Malindi centre in West Wales.
The best bit I don’t have to bribe the kids to post them through prefab doors on the estate!
As Peter Kay would say it will be out there on the estate through that tinternet!
So if you need a web site.
Look up Stewart Jones. His website is at
and you can email him email@example.com or call him on 07494 192019
Surprisingly normal looking guy in a normal looking office but I’m sure I felt so energy shift as I left the office I caught a glimpse of a tall hat and a wand 😉
Stewart the wizard of all things digital.
Our shiny new web site will be launched at end of April just before we finish refurb on Retreat.
New beginnings exiting times
Look us up.
Think how many trees we saved.
I have a cat with an identity problem.
He thinks he’s a dog.
Now I have never owned a cat before him ( Lucifer)
I was working in community mental health I went out one sunny day in May to visit a new patient.
An elderly lady who lived in a first floor flat.
Just her an her cat
We sat and chatted for a few minutes when in comes the cat.
It’s huge and as it sat down it looked like a massive triangular door stop.
Wow I say is the cat pregnant.?
She looks at me like pissed in her teacup!
“No she’s fucking not !” She hisses
“She’s doesn’t go out of the flat!”
Okay okay! 🙈
I make my excuses and leave
“see you tomorrow
I call as I shut the front door
Me and my big mouth.
I vow never to comment again on the fat triangular cat!
The day after I return.
Her mood had to improved she opens the door and I follow her upstairs she’s muttering under her breath and the smell of cat pee is so pugnent I kick myself for presuming the triangle cat has ever been out side.
She stands at the top of the stairs cigarette hanging from her mouth pointing at the bedroom door.
Your fault she says
You cursed me.
I peep around the door there on the floor by a pile of rubbish bags is the much slimmer triangle doorstop cat licking three beautiful kittens
A voice behind me says
I’m drowning them.
Oh no I say I’ll have one and I’ll find homes for the others
She’s still scowling.
I’ll pay for cat food until they can leave their mammy.
And then we can take her to be neutered.
Still she scowls
Let’s go sit down and chat.
We talk about support and help she needs and I feel her soften slightly.
I call to the shop and pick up cat food and litter and a few packets of buiscits
Take photos of the kittens and ring the pdsa to make appointment.
Over the next few weeks we got to know each other better her guard came down as I took her out shopping and to the pub for a surprise birthday lunch.
Eventually the kittens we’re ready to leave Lucifer, Lola and Ragnar
All had forever homes and the triangle cat was neautered!
Just in case she left the flat again!
I took Lucifer home to my canalside cottage.
My first cat ever
My elderly dog saffie adored him he would try to suckle her and she would lick him soon they were best friends.
When saffie and I walked down the canal
Lucifer started to follow
Where saffie went so did our cat…
If a dog barked at saffie this crazy cat would warn it off with a hiss and arched back! They were inseparable.
Last year we lost our saffie she was 14 it broke my heart.
Lucifer pined for her
Every night 7pm stood at the door by saffies lead.
So of course we still go for a canal walk .
I’m sure she about walking with us too.
Me and my beautiful accidental cat 🐈
For those who don’t know me. I run Ravens Retreat a Canalside cottage in South Wales.
We provide breaks for anyone with a end of life or Cancer diagnosis.
Also free Therapies for cancer patients.
Counseling, C.B.T. hypnotherapy, Reiki Healing, Omni Healing,
Swedish massage, hot stone massage,
Reflexology and much more.
We teach reiki meditation and past life regression.
We have a list of wonderful Therapists who will visit our clients if they can’t get to us.
We also run death cafes tea cake and chat.
Poetry and writing workshops.
We gave just had a beautiful cabin built at the back of the retreat that will when finished be our dedicated healing space
But need to raise funds to make it into a warm comfortable cozy space where you can forget about the world outside.
As we are non profit c i.c company we rely on grants and donations to pay our Therapists and fund improvments to our service
So we now have a just giving page
Please share information about us to anyone who might benefit.
Here is our just giving link
Thanks and blessings.
I’ve had a few weeks of not leaving the canal unless I really have to.
Calling over to see my Mam in law but other than that I’ve been home in the cottage.
Folk may call for healing or massage but most of the time has been spent writing lots, reading and potching getting things done in the Retreat, grouting tiles cleaning up tile dust, clearing building rubbish from the garden, clearing more bloody tile dust. Where does it hide?
You clean it leave the room come back and there is more.
Tile dust causes bad language I’ll never be rid of it.
Jeff comes home and we do more few friends call at the weekend to help us but other than that I’ve seen very few folk.
No human beings
It’s been heaven!
I wonder how some folk don’t like being alone.
I love it, maybe a little too much.
Social media has made it easier. I can check anyone I care about is okay.
Mobile phones well if anyone really needs me they can ring.
Well they could if I turned on the ringer, I’ll ring back when I’ve finished potching.
I’ve been captured by this magical place it’s like a little island commune like,
Thirty cottages an eclectic bunch we are,
There for each other but not mithered or bothered.
Ducks and geese lots of hooded crows
I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Surrounded by water, view of the mountain.
Log burner, hubby and cats.
Today another beautiful day spent with Stephanie Jones at the malindi centre in West Wales.
I met Stephanie when I did my Omni energy healing a system of healing from India founded by Dr Sameer Kale I have thought how best to describe it’s differences to Reiki which I have worked with and taught since 1992.
I’d have to say they are both a form of energy healing Reiki from Japan
Omni from India.
The similarities end there.
If you have been a recipient of Reiki please think about experiencing Omni and see for yourself completely different.
A very solid grounding healing all encompassing I’m really enjoying using on myself and as a distance healing.
Looking forward to using it on others.
So whilst doing my Omni I read and asked about Omni Kryia (energy healing massage therapy)
It seemed to draw me although I was a little curious how massage would work clothed?
As kria can be used either way.
So I booked and went back today to learn more!
In a nutshell I’m hooked.
This is amazing having experienced a massage myself by Stephanie my Omni Teacher/Master I have nothing to compare this to. It left me feeling totally relaxed, energized and refreshed.
Then my turn to give a kria massage I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to do this whilst the client is wearing clothing covered with a light cotton blanket.
The heat and energy from the healing was palpable.
I know this is going to be a valuable tool in my holistic tool box. Particularly with pallative patients kria is something that is easy to do even in a hospital bed.
If you are a holistic therapist and you feel drawn to energy healing I’d encourage you to check out the link below
I’m thankful I was drawn to this loving path of Omni. I’m sure my journey with Stephanie Sameer and malindi centre is just beginning.
My new website will be launching this month please check us out any profits go to providing breaks for cancer patients at Ravens Retreat. Wales.
The healing room run by my dear friend Julie Rosser in the vale of Glamorgan also provides Reiki classes and a range of therapies there is also a beautiful yurt available to hire for workshops.
Training for Omni can be found here
So for those of you who don’t know our area I know that’s most of you. We live in a small village in South Wales called Aberdulais.
Our street is on bank of the Tenant Canal a row of terrace cottages which were built for tin plate workers in 1800 stone built two up two down.
Behind the cottages is a disused collery train track, then wait for it the neath canal.
The river Neath then runs across the top of our street. Then higher up the river is a junction where two Rivers meet.
Bridges, arches and aquaducts add to the landscape of this liminal place that we call home.
I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
It’s a special place canalside walks ducks, geese and most importantly an amazing community. We are a true melting pot eclectic in every way.
Call me an eternal optimist but I really do believe that most people are inherently good. Canalside has proven that again this week our community pulled together and got on with it.
I cooked for everyone, my hubby Jeff my son Mike and the men dug trenches to drain water we baled with buckets as the water ran into the back doors of the cottages and out of the front.
My next door but one neighbor had only moved here in April his house was one of the worsed hit. .
Vicki and Dai are a young couple who both work hard for what they have they have two small childen their house was ruined Vicki’s beloved piano laying on their sofa in an effort to save it as water and sewage ran through their home.
We have our house and also own the Retreat no 28. It’s a community interest company. Everything I do benefits the community providing restbite breaks for cancer patients therapies & workshops we run on a shoe string the water ran it the Retreat too
So here we are no one complaining just encouraging each other helping and supporting where the council, environment agency and welsh water let us all down.
Now I’m not political at all. .but three years ago envoroment agency and council did a dummy run in the street with flood gates showing us what would happen if there was ever a flood threat.
Gates were fitted sand bags brought I for one felt reassured there won’t not be a repeat of 1995 disaster.
Yesterday there was.
The rain started Friday early hours. storm Callum was approaching Wales.
Whilst at our son’s wedding reception in Swansea we received a call to say come home the street is being evacuated. The river had risen so much it was flowing over the top of the aquaduct and the canal was fit to burst.
We rushed home expecting agencies who were issuing the warning to bring us promised flood gates and sand bags..
They didn’t arrive 7am sat morning when most houses were already baling water a small council flat back arrived issued us all with two sand bags each..
Yes two which they placed at the front doors the door where the water was escaping. The water was entering the back.
The council Professed to know nothing about gates.
A few hours later water rose through the drains toilets sinks spewed sewage mixed with rain water .
Fire brigade arrived and scratched their heads where could they pump it too?
They left. Local councilor came to the British legion at top of street dressed in Wellingtons. Had she come to bale water.
Afraid not she too left.
The only one that stayed was the rain.
From 8am until late last night we worked as a community together I’m so proud to live here.
T.v crews came people stood on the bridge to watch.
Eventually the rain stopped people’s flooring furniture possessions now litter the canal path houses are ruined
Most of us have no flood insurance why. We can’t afford it.
So is anyone to blame ?
Well this afternoon Welsh waters clean up team arrived (who knew they had one)
We told them what had happened.
Can’t have been the drains they said
But it came through the toilet sinks baths manhole covers.
Not our fault they said.
We live on a flood plane shouldn’t we have bigger drains?
Or storm drains I asked.
No idea came the reply.
So as grateful as I am for my wonderful friends here where we live we are getting there the clean up is in full swing.
Things could have been much easier.
So environment agency where are our gates? And where you joking with your two sand bags? Wonder if we had a M P living here would we have had more.
One of my amazing friends Becky drove over from Lougher to bring us floodsax amazing gel filled bags that works much better than sand. Much easier to deliver but cost more .
So I guess no one want to take ANY responsibility for the way we a small street families with small children, babies and elderly where ignored offered evacuation but precious little else.
Don’t tell us it wasnt the drains houses now small of human excrement.
Families need new carpets new furniture dehumidifiers, the list goes on.
But we will get there we have no choice this is our home. This is our family and we will fix it.
Canalside Aberdulais is the place I love to be.
No where near as posh as Brecon
Or Mumbles by the sea.
Our road has a million pot holes
Passing walkers have been know to flea.
When chased by a gaggle of canalside geese
Walking slowly past is the key.
Gargoyles on the cottage wall.
Rosemary by the door
Kitchen you couldn’t swing a cat.
But I couldn’t ask for more.
It’s my little piece of heaven
No where else I’d rather be
Neighbors who are salt of the earth
Who can fix anything with a cup of Welsh tea.
There’s no place I’d rather be
Wood burning stove and hubby I love
It’s the simple things that make a home you see ♥️