In my last blog post I said I was listening, and somebody or something has definitely spoken, and been heard! This week – my birthday week – I’ve had two of the most glorious days of my life, visiting two special places, experiencing the natural world in all its Spring vibrancy, and meeting some friendly people.
The first of these days I wandered the extensive grounds of Dartington College and explored the Great Hall there, had fabulous food in the Green Table Cafe, then returned via the bluebell and wild garlic banks of the River Dart to Totnes where I am now living. The whole day was spent communing with blackbirds, spring flowers and oak trees.
And the second, today, even more spectacular in a variety of ways. I went to Sharpham House (part of the Sharpham Trust, an educational and conservation charity) in order to talk to people there about volunteering. The Sharpham estate occupies another corner of the River Dart, a couple of miles south of Totnes. Perhaps, at 550 acres, ‘corner’ is a misnomer. The photo below is the North Quay of the estate.
Although I have known about the work of Sharpham for some time – since my connection with and time living at the Findhorn community – I’d never visited, apart from online. I was inspired by the staff and volunteers I spoke to there; surprised by the extent of the work of the Trust beyond what I knew about mindfulness retreats and courses; and – to use a word reserved for special occasions from the Yorkshire half of my ‘dual nationality’ – gobsmacked by the wildlife, the gardens, and the wider landscape.
I could, and probably will (friends beware), go on and on about how the place – the physical place, and the organisation itself – took my imagination by the hand and led it to several exciting half-open doors, passageways, and woodland paths. For now though, suffice to say that I am going to be writing stories (true ones, of course) for their website; helping out with open events; and perhaps getting my hands dirty in the stunning fruit and vegetable walled garden.
Abundant nature, purposeful writing, lovely people, beautiful landscapes… what a birthday present indeed.