About Me

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here I am in a little cottage that evokes the energies of my ancestral lands - a cottage on the moors of Cornwall, or on the cliff tops of Ireland or Scotland. It has a hearth. I am a hedge witch {of sorts}. I wear upcycled clothes, patchouli oil and Redback boots. I am a gypsy; an eccentric and a mystic [I often live with a foot in two worlds]. I serve my guests, tea from an old silver teapot. I love Vervain, yarrow, chamomile & mint. Star watcher and Moon gazer. story cloth weaver. keeper of family dreams and wishes. good friend and creator of life. herbal tea drinker and potion maker.

Friday, November 30, 2012

walking The Tor

after a leisurely breakfast at Apple Tree, sitting in the conservatory overloooking the Abbey grounds, we set off to walk the famous Tor.

Taking a back path through the Abbey Farm which was, I think once part of the Abbey. it is free to visit and we hope to while we are here in Glastonbury.

"echinacea, dandelion, tansy, lungwort and other herbs grow in profusion along the pathways and I am amazed that the herbs can be gathered so abundantly and freely, not like at home, where I have to search for herbs that are so common here"

it was an early morning walk up to the top of the Tor. frosty and cold.. a strenuous walk for someone who has eaten alot of scones and Victorian sponge in the past weeks.. and not done alot of walking while eating said scones..

the scenery as I trudged to the top was brilliant, but I felt nothing.. not a connection, no emotion like I had at the Abbey. just a sense of 'I'm here'. Nothing like I feel when I sit at Echo Point or at my tree at Katoomba Falls.. but i have walked the Tor and now I can buy the tee shirt as the saying goes. The Tor for me is not as impressive as Uluru back home. But sacred none the less.

at the top we took the required photos, getting in the way of some professional photographers who asked us to move out of their shot. the damn hide! They were doing a photo shoot for some protesters who were protesting the sale of land to multinationals.. not sure why at the Tor because there is no way that would ever be sold off. well I hope not. I tried to tell them about the Kimberley back home, but they weren't so interested in that plight..

we headed off down the hill on another path.. past the Avalon orchard and through the gate and down an icy path.. I sat for awhile on a step.. and noticed more herbs and blackberries growing alongside where I was sitting

"the tangle of blackberries and nettles among the apple trees were more spiritual to me than walking the Tor. The frosty grass and crisp morning to me, feels like something that must have been a past life"

walking along the narrow road away from the Tor, I once again felt that emotion of being in a past time.. tears sprung to my eyes as I saw blackberry growing alongside the road, seeing myself gathering herbs in a basket as yet again that one foot, stepped into the past world that I once lived.

we continued on down the road for about a mile, through hedgerows, all the while joking about what we would do if one of the maniac drivers came flying around the bend.. there are no footpaths as such, so our plan was to dive into the prickly hedgerows.. we passed farmers gathering sheep with a hook..

and came upon water flowing from a pipe in the wall.. the Chalice Well water!

a wall where people had scrawled a message

and others had tied ribbons to the overhanging branches..

for hopes, dreams and wishes.. to send love and healing .. an ancient custom

we walked into town and had morning tea.. the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted.. at 100 monkeys and a chelsea bun homemade that morning. then we decided to part ways and do some shopping and wandering alone.. I went to the catholic church to light a candle.. for my own spirituality which is suffering while away and for a friend who is going through some health issues at the moment.. a candle in front of Our Lady of Glastonbury... the advent wreath was being created by some ladies and I was surprised to see that they were using some eucalypt leaves - the ones that are used back home for smudging in ceremonies of cleansing.. I went to speak to them about it and they said 'they must be especially for you' and let me smell them.. I miss the smell of eucalypts, something I never thought i would say..

I then went and bought myself a Glastonbury candle, a candle to take home, infused with herbs and oils. a special candle created for peace.. and the hope is that this candle will burn in every country across the world to create a grid of peace and love.. a beautiful thought.

walking in and out of all the shops here.. selling candles and crystals, clothes, books and jewellery.. I thought that one could become confused with all the books and implements that it seems one must have to be spiritual..
and the clothing.. oh the clothing! makes my heart race.. beautiful skirts and pixie type clothing.. all so very gorgeous, but so, so expensive

the time came to meet up with Joe for lunch..we went and had a pastie and a cup of tea in a local bakery. yum.
then we split ways again..some more shopping and then I went to the Abbey once more.. where I sat in front of where Arthur's tomb was and prayed.. then did a meditation sitting overlooking the Abbey.. where I believe that I once lived.

dinner at a local pub.. pizza and mulled wine.. i am getting quite a taste for this mulled wine! and then I was off to a Goddess chanting night at the Goddess Temple.. calling in the dark Goddess Cerridwen.. an interesting time and when asked if we have an equivalent to Cerridwen in Australia, I tried to explain yes, in our ancient land Herself.. a brooding energy in places, where I go to sit when I need to be with the dark times of my soul.. but, unless you have been to the home of my birth, you cannot begin to understand just how very ancient the land is.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Glastonbury - The Abbey.

leaving our Devon farm cottage, we drove through a myriad of lanes and narrow roads.. the country side is green, and wet.. and flooded. a patchwork quilt of fields and hedges.. we are on our way to Glastonbury. the last leg of the journey before we reach Cornwall...

we stop for our usual morning tea.. this time in the village of Ilminster. Another quaint English market town..

getting ready for Christmas.. each town at the moment is dressing up in Christmas finery.. with lights and trees and shops dressing their windows to entice Christmas shoppers in.. and if I lived here, I would be enticed in - alot!! it is taking all my strength not to keep buying things.

and then on our way to Glastonbury.. to tell the truth, I was a little apprehensive about Glastonbury.. I had heard so much about it, read so much about it, built it up in my mind that I thought it may disappoint me..

as we drove along, we had to detour because of the dreadful floods.. Somerset has been hit quite hard with the floods here.

and finally, I could see the Tor.. we were here!! And we drove and drove.. and it seemed that we were circling the Tor. [I must admit, that the Tor does not have the attraction for me that it has for others.. it is the Abbey and Chalice Well that draws me more...]

finally arriving at the B&B - Apple Tree Guest House, our home for the next 3 nights.. just behind the Abbey.. then for a walk into town, just around the corner.. up and down the hill and then some lunch before we visited Glastonbury Abbey.

there is much to tell about my visit to the Abbey.. it was a very emotional experience for me.. I cannot begin to share... so I will leave it with pictures..[I am once again overwhelmed with history and age]

you can see how big the Abbey was

Joseph's well

you can see that it is a most amazing place. something that I will never forget.

a very emotional time for me to walk these ruins of the Abbey... for many reasons.. it is a sacred, spiritual place for me and will take quite a bit of time to digest how i felt. And to embrace that as well. and to acknowledge & own all the emotions..

afterwards, we went and had a cup of tea.. it seems we do alot of that.. then back to our room for a time until dinner.. I am feeling very drained from my day today, but in a good way..

tomorrow we hope to walk to the top of the Tor..and I think I will go back to the Abbey to sit awhile..then a little bit of shopping.

a year later - 2013
be still  my heart. I will never, ever forget the emotions that I felt when I walked into the Abbey grounds. Tears welled up and I sobbed. Joe asked me if I was ok, but I just had to walk away and be alone. It was such an emotional time for me, I truly believe that I have a strong past life link to this place.
to sit at the site of Arthurs grave, to walk in the grounds, to be where Jesus may have walked. Divine grace is what I feel for all of that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

just as I was about to give up on Devon... I met Natalie

today, we decided to go where the whim took us and we set off to Hemyock.. didn't have clue what was there..

on arriving we saw a sign to the church cafe and rummage sale.. and that is where I met Natalie..

.. an elderly lady sitting alone at a table in the Hemyock church cafe. We got chatting and she asked me why on earth I had come to England at this time of year [that is usually the first question people ask me].. she told us about her life in Hemyock.. having lived there for 49 years, she told us about her children gathering in the hay and having hay rides on top of bales stacked 4 high and was shocked to say that she didn't realize how dangerous it was.. she admired a sugar bowl that Joe had bought for me at the rummage sale in the church hall.. pronouncing it 'french pottery'.. but then realized it was italian.. and said she would have bought that if we hadn't.. it is lovely..  and she asked us about Australia, the plants, the animals, she asked us about our Indigenous people..she listened intently when I described the Flannel Flower and waratah & mentioned that the colours sound beautiful.. she listened as I told her about the harshness of the land and the cockatoos and she said it sounded intriguing. She asked us about where we lived.. and told me that I must love my garden, she could tell by the way I spoke of it.. her eyes twinkled when she talked and she was truly interested in everything I said.. she asked me if I was writing all my memories of my grandfather down. She was beautiful, her white hair neatly pinned back and her face was just lovely.. I think, that Natalie was an angel sent to me today.. to show me that there is an England as I think there is.. in little pockets.. but she also showed me how proud I am of my own country, in the way that I could describe it in such a beautiful way..

then we went to Wellington to post some more parcels and to have lunch.

and we drove to Dunkswell Abbey, so that I could at least get to see it. We wanted to walk, but the paths have been washed away and there is so much water running down the fields and public footpaths that it makes it quite difficult to negotiate.

Dunkeswell Abbey was founded in 1201 by William, Lord Brewere, as a Cistercian monastery.

1201. this is old compared to buildings in Australia and I am still in awe of the ages of some of the buildings here, but most probably will never feel that emotion that I felt at the Lanercost Priory when I was first presented with such ancient sacred buildings. I have a 'thing' about old churches. I don't know why, I just do, it is part of me.Tthe quiet-ness about them as I wander around the yards, it brings peace and I would love to be able to spend an hour alone in each of them - just being.

Church of the Holy Trinity, stands where the Abbey once stood.

after a little time at the Abbey, we drove to Honiton to have a last cup of tea..

Tuesday farmers markets were on so Joe grabbed a sausage sandwich from a local farmer. We got chatting and asking him about his produce he said 'so you aren't from around these parts, then?'.. and a friendly banter went on us for quite some time. We bought a pork sausage roll and a Homity pie for dinner another local wished us a wonderful holiday as we walked off laughing.. 

so the locals are friendly, it seems it is just the 'city folk' who give the area a bad name,  driving like idiots in their barging sports 4x4's, putting everyones life at risk, including ours.

Tonight is our last night in Windover Farm Cottage. We have loved being here, coming home at night, lighting the fire and just being. Tomorrow we are off to Glastonbury for 3 nights and I cannot begin to tell how excited I am about this!!

"I love seeing dock growing wild, beside the roads"

"a little Christmas vignette in a little tearoom down a little laneway"

2013 - a year later
oh! I remember Natalie... and I remember the church yard, the cups of tea, the gorgeous villages in Devon. I was not disappointed at all in what I experienced in Devon. I loved Windover Farm. When I read my words above, I wish I could be whisked back to England. They certainly do Christmas in a wonderful way!!

tracing some footsteps..

an early start yesterday.. off to Plymouth.
 via Torquay (and Totnes), then to Plymouth and Tavistock..

but first, the expected morning cup of tea and as I am so sconed out, I had a tiny egg and bacon tart.. with a hot chocolate. .. then a drive through the rolling hills & wet roads to Torquay.. a much talked about sea-side village that was a big disappointment. I was expecting a sleepy sea-side village like Brunswick Heads but instead I found a seaside town more like The Entrance... a little walk accompanied by the seagulls and their haunting cry.. it is a beautiful sound, so different to the gulls squawking at home..

Torquay reminded me somehow of being in Vaucluse as a child at 'auntie Beryl's' place..  not sure why.

Maybe it was the grand homes overlooking the sea. 

Torquay had all the usual shops  selling overpriced goods but in summer, I can see that it would be a nice place for families to escape to - but not my cup of tea at all.

as we drove, I talked to Joe about how my perception of what England was going to be like, was totally wrong. I have really watched too much Doc Martin and Midsomer Murders!! Not sure why, but I thought the whole of England was going to be like Reeth in the Dales.. but as we have travelled south, it just becomes busier and the people here, are, sadly not friendly like those in the north. I am sure i have said that in previous posts. Of course, there are the occasional people that we meet who chat with us, but all in all, many of them wear a haughty air.. and of course, we all know that not many Australians are at all haughty!! I really hope that the people in Cornwall are not like that, because it will be a bitter disappointment.
 At the moment, I am at the point where I say bring on a Republic in Australia and I have been a Monarchist for ever! [I know I must sound that I am complaining, but this is how i feel and what I observe..]

"where has my head been? living in the past, of times gone by. This causes a disappointment sometimes, one of my own making".....

I am beginning to feel a sense of loss. Right now, I am really looking forward to Cornwall and hope, that I can shove my hands in my coat pockets and walk the Moors."....

then after Torquay, we drove towards Plymouth to find another Harley Davidson shop.

and took a quick detour to Totnes.. and I am so glad we did!!!
what a divine, delightful town..

so different to the one we had just left..

my kind of town!!

being in Totnes, took that jaded feeling away, as I walked the streets.. taking photo after photo. Alot of organic shops and a quiet little town.. in retrospect, I would stay here instead of in the country, as beautiful as our cottage is.. but that is what happens when you throw a dart at the map!!

we had lunch and then raced back to the car not remembering what time our stupid ticket ran out. I am so over this park and display thing.. it makes me anxious the whole time.. always needing to be aware of the time.. back on the road and to the Harley shop for a quick visit

then to Tavistock

where my great-grandfather was born.. another lovely town.. but we only had a short time there as it was getting late..we hope to return before we go home..

as we sat drinking tea, looking out the window, I imagined my great.great. grandmother, at the markets doing her weekly shopping. or did she have a housekeeper who did that for her? I will never know. I wonder why these kind of things are so important to me. I seem to go in and out of the past.. seeing glimpses of times gone by, then back with a jolt to the crowded modern day England. reminds me so much of that scene in The DaVinci Code.

and as we drove, the scenery changed and we were in the Moors..part of Dartmoor National Park. Once again, the moors spoke to me. This kind of landscape touches my heart much, much more than the green rolling hills do. Alot more. I love the open spaces, the heather. The feeling of remoteness. It's funny how certain places touch ones soul.

"I have always thought of England as my soul home.. but i know now, that it isn't. Not modern day England anyhow, this England seems alien to me.. I think that i am finally laying those ghosts of long ago memories to rest and will be able to embrace Australia at last. And I know after today, that i won't return."

"I wonder what my Pa or my great-grandparents would think of Devon today? I wonder what they would think of the land that they left, all those years ago.. spoilt by modern day living"

the drivers continue to cause us great consternation.. expletives from Joe are common.. and sometimes, as I said, i feel like shaking my fist at them, [I actually do].. they just don't see anyone else on the road..so many times, we have had to stop and pull over as they roar down the hillside, narrow roads, pushing us over and of course with the rain, the roads are so muddy we are always in fear of getting bogged....and it is not just car drivers but buses and trucks. They roar along these narrow roads as if they are driving a small car.Not the farmers on their tractors.. they are usually courteous, give a nod and slow down. Yesterday, we were parking our car in the main street, put our blinker on and got blasted by a  jerk driving yet another black 4x4 - because we held him up. what a fool.

today, we are having a quiet day, it has dawned rainy - again... we might drive to see the Abbey, because a walk is out.. the roads are flooded and the public footpaths treacherous.. I knew it was going to be cold, I knew it was going to rain. I just didn't think it would rain every single day.

 I just hope that I can get to walk the Moors and cliffs of Cornwall.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lyme Regis - a walk on the beach..

we woke this morning to a beautiful blue sky.. had breakfast and headed off early to Axminster for morning tea and then to Lyme Regis.

the landscape is beautiful here in Devon, like i have mentioned before, those green rolling hills that my childhood stories were made of.. many times I heard them mentioned by my Pa's sisters.

the rain has been torrential the past few days and parts of the southwest have severe weather warnings out.. roads were flooded and fields became lakes.

arriving in Axminster, we had  walk around the streets

before walking to River Cottage Deli & Cafe

I have been a great fan of Hughs but truthfully find the whole River Cottage business a little too commercial. That did not stop me from going in and having a cup of tea. I had drop scones - which are pikelets in Australian.. and they were not as good as the ones I make. but now I have been there and can cross it off my list

we spotted a few men setting up the village Christmas tree... on talking to them, I found out that this was actually the top out of a tree in his garden.. it was a Scottish fir he informed me.. much too big for his garden!

then on to Lyme Regis and as we drove into the seaside village and I spotted the distant ocean. The childhood ditty.. 'I can see the sea!' -  sprang to mind.

for some reason, while walking around this gorgeous seaside village, I had an ache in my heart. I don't know why. Something about it, made me a little sad.

then a walk around the quaint village of Lyme Regis..

this was my favourite shop..
and I couldn't buy a thing in there.. it was all for the garden and mostly made from twigs, driftwood or other natural things.. Australian quarantine being as it is..

the streets are as usual.. all winding up and downhill, back onto themselves and very narrow. and a seaside town with all the usual gift shops, vintage shops and gourmet food shops. shops selling icecreams and fish and chips. lovely to walk around. the rain came, and went and came back again.

then we came to the ocean. it took my breath away. beautiful and so different to ours at home. this was almost soulful.. without the heat and bright sun of Australia, it takes on such a melancholy air, especially with seagulls hovering over and crying their song..

then a walk on the beach..

with shoes on. this felt very odd to me, being use to going barefoot at home when I visit the beach. and walking on all those stones was a very odd sensation. not sure if you could jog along these beaches.

and trying to make sandcastles was even harder.. so I had to be content with just building rock piles.. I took a few stones as mementos..

and Joe found me a heart shaped stone...

the flotsam and jetsam was amazing.. if i lived here, i would be gathering alot to decorate my home. I love natural things that i gather myself... hence the collection of sticks and rocks that adorn my home in Katoomba..

the rain stayed away long enough for us to enjoy lunch beside the sea. No, not on the beach

but on the promenade accompanied by seagulls [which sound different to those at home], pigeons and people.. walking dogs, enjoying the sun.. we even saw one guy laying on the beach sun-baking fully clothed.

and Joe ate his fish and chips & I enjoyed a roast pork and apple roll..

while we watched these crazy people surf.. it was freezing.. blowing wind.. about 6 degrees.

then it started to rain. again. so we headed home after a cup of tea and another scone.. I am beginning to wonder how the heart health is here in England.. if everyone eats the clotted cream all the time, surely it is not good for the heart.. I ignore this thought, as I put lashings of the stuff on top of my scone.
and off back to our cottage.. and now.. it is raining again, still.. and the wind is howling... and people ask me why I came at this time of year... because I wanted a cold Christmas..