Fire pit reflection

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.

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A new beautiful day.

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

The universe

Life is truly beautiful ❤️

There are no strangers just friends we haven’t yet met.

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 paradise.

My Tribe

My family ❤️

Accidental cat

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 🐈

Perfect solitude

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.

Canalside

Home.

Post flood (Storm Callum)

so this is where we are up to.

After our Canalside cottage was flooded by backed up drains thanks to storm Callum.

We are hoping to be back open offering cancer patients a much needed break away and free therapies

Floors have been leveled we are busy tiling the bathroom we make a pretty good team.

After the bathroom we have floor tiles to go down from front to back and it has to be finished by end of January!

Wish us luck! 😊

Canalside flood South Wales U.K 2018 storm Callum

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.

BUT…..

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.