Saturday, 11 April 2009

Quick March!

Photo: Flamenco dancers, Dali Restaurant, Vera Beach Club

Just like the flamenco dancer in this photo, March went past in a blur. Looking back I can't believe I crammed so much in!

The first week was busy, full of optician's appointments, getting the central heating boiler serviced and running errands for friends and neighbours. At the weekend I drove down to my brother Mike's place in Somerset, and then the two of us travelled down to Crawley together to visit old friends who were celebrating the official opening of the new fire pit in their garden!

I have known Viv since we were at school together, but we haven't seen much of each other lately so it was great to catch up with her and her lovely husband John. The fire pit - built by John - was a great success, enabling us to sit out late into the evening chatting, drinking wine, singing songs and toasting marshmallows even though it was still only the beginning of March. We were joined by a group of other friends including my sister Cathy and her husband Julian (who came from Kent - a much shorter journey than from Somerset and Wales!).

Photo: Mike & Viv at breakfast on Sunday morning

Mike and I stayed over and enjoyed the garden again the next morning, sitting out on Viv & John's sun-trap patio for a leisurely breakfast before heading back home.

The next week was marred by having to have Tigger put down unexpectedly on Monday.

More bad news followed when it turned out the venue I was hoping to use for the Dream Workshop I was organising with Anne Hill the following weekend had become unavailable. At such short notice I decided the only option was to hold it at my house instead - which then meant a frantic round of cleaning and tidying and moving furniture to make the place fit for visitors!

The day before the Workshop (14th March), I attended the planning meeting for the Spring Equinox ritual of the Carmarthen Moot. I had expected to be unable to attend the ritual itself as I would be away the following weekend, but it transpired that many members would also be busy that weekend, so it was postponed until Sunday 29th March.

Despite the late change of venue, the Dream Workshop with Anne was well attended and greatly enjoyed by everyone. Anne was wonderful and we all learned a great deal, both about working with dreams, and also about ourselves through insights gained by examining our dreams. There is now great enthusiasm for creating a local dream group! If you get a chance to attend one of Anne's workshops, I thoroughly recommend them - and also her new book, 'What To Do When Dreams Go Bad', a signed copy of which Anne was kind enough to gift me with.

It was a great weekend, but now I was feeling time pressured - I had a busy week ahead and I also had to prepare for travelling to Spain with my friend Suzanne on 21st March, plus the Pagan Federation Regional Conference in Cardiff was looming straight afterwards. I had booked a stall there and was hoping for the opportunity to sell lots of my crafts - and there were a million things to organise before then!

The week leading up to the holiday in Spain was so busy I didn't have time to pack until the Friday, when I was planning to drive up to Suzanne's place in Croydon as we had to catch an early flight out of Gatwick on Saturday morning. Unfortunately there was a power cut overnight meaning my alarm clock didn't go off on Friday morning and I overslept by a disastrous two hours! This made me late leaving and of course I then ran into horrendous traffic by the time I hit the M25. So I arrived pretty frazzled and much later than planned at Suzanne's! She and another friend, Annie (who lives near Suzanne) were waiting patiently for me and we spent a nice evening chatting and munching pizza before a relatively early night as we had to be up by 5am the next morning to get to the airport!

I feel a bit guilty that I have been to Spain twice in the last couple of months, especially as I think I should really be battening down the hatches and being frugal until the divorce is settled! But this trip was planned way back at the end of last summer (the Barcelona trip was a last minute affair, spurred by the feeling that I should see the Rubinoos when the chance offered itself!), and everyone has been assuring me that a break at this stage in the divorce is a Good Idea. Who am I to argue?

Suzanne and I travelled to Almeria and spent a wonderfully restful week at the very lovely Vera Beach Club resort. It was the perfect holiday for the two of us, both feeling stressed out by our respective current circumstances (Suzanne: job, me: divorce) - the resort was quiet, peaceful, beautiful and the local people were kind and friendly. I would thoroughly recommend the area to anyone wanting a relaxing break.

I have plenty more photos to inflict on you - particularly from the day we visited the Alhambra Palace - but I will post those separately!

The week left us beautifully relaxed, but unfortunately the travelling home undid a lot of the good work! We had to be up at just after 6am to get to Almeria airport in time to check in for our flight, then caught a connecting flight in Barcelona which landed at Heathrow. The next leg of the journey was catching a bus back to Suzanne's house so I could pick up my car. The bus was particularly slow due to all the Saturday afternoon traffic, and we didn't get back to Croydon until about 5.30pm. And then I had to drive back to Wales! Luckily there wasn't too much traffic but I was exhausted by the time I got home (at about 10.30pm) and felt in need of a holiday...

Cathy and Julian had been house-sitting for me and doing some decorating while I was gone so the good news was the house looking brilliant! The bad news was that the clocks went forward that night so I lost a much needed hour of sleep.

Cathy and Julian left the next day (I wished they could have stayed longer, but they needed to get home). Once they'd gone I gathered together stuff for the Carmarthen Moot Spring Equinox ritual and headed off in the car to start picking people up. Normally we hold rituals in the centre of Carmarthen, which is easy for people to get to. But our usual venue is now unavailable, so one of the members had kindly offered the use of his garden, which was lovely, but unfortunately not easy to get to by public transport. Somehow I managed to pack myself, four passengers and a whole load of ritual gear into my tiny car and we set off! The ritual went really well - although it was a little chilly - and a good time was had by all. Not having the time constraints imposed by our previous venue meant that we carried on chatting and eating much longer than normal. By the time we finally left and I had dropped everyone at their various destinations I didn't get home until 9.30pm!

It was quite dark by then, and the chickens and geese needed shutting away. Julian had mentioned that a mystery animal had been digging in the compost heap, pulling compost all over the path while I'd been away, so I was quite anxious to check the chickens were OK when I got back. They are in a supposedly predator-proof run with high wire fences and netting over the top of the run, as we have suffered chicken casualties in the past due to both foxes and buzzards. Going down to the run with a torch, I opened the door to do a quick head count and was relieved to see everyone present and correct. But when I turned to leave the run, the beam of the torch lit up a chicken-sized hole in the fence! I suddenly realised that my wily hens had been letting themselves out into the non-predator-safe vegetable patch every day while I'd been away, and they themselves were in fact the mystery compost-diggers! Luckily all had survived the experience and I patched up the hole before letting them out again the next morning - much to their disappointment.

The postscript to my March adventures was the Pagan Fed Conference on 4th April. The week leading up to it was a frantic rush to get everything ready to sell on the stall. I had another 5am start (groan) to get down to Barry Island early enough to set up before the doors opened at 9am (and after packing up at 6.30pm and dropping various people off en route I finally got back home at about 10pm!). It was a very good day of talks and ritual, I saw many friends there and... I sold almost nothing. I didn't, in fact, even cover my costs. Oh well, can't win them all. On the plus side, I now have lots and lots of stuff to put on Etsy - so don't forget to check out my store for lots of new goodies which will be appearing over the next few weeks!

So in summing up all the events and excitement of March I would say that I feel like I need another holiday now!!


willow said...

Wow, I feel quite exhausted just reading this post! Hope you have a relaxing holiday weekend.

Duncan said...

Love the Greenman Mask...of course!
Just pure pagan delight.
Thanks for showing it off.

Blessed Be!