Friday, July 24, 2009

A Retreat

I spent last week, with thirteen friends, at Urchfont Manor in Wiltshire. We are all keenly interested in textiles and art, and we all craved an opportunity to devote to developing our friendships, learning from each other, and having time, away from other duties and distractions, to devote to our own creative journeys.

Urchfont proved a wonderful opportunity to do all these things, in wonderfully inspiring surroundings. The gardens are glorious, the grounds spacious, and there is room to be together and to be in one's own space, when that is wanted.

The food we were served was superb, quite apart from the luxury of being fully catered for throughout the day, with no worries about what to prepare, or clearing up the dishes. A week free of domesticity - what delight!

All too soon, it was time to return to our everyday lives, but with our creativity well-refreshed, new techniques to add to our armouries and the knowledge that friendship is one of the greatest gifts of all. Thank you, my friends, for the good times shared.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Youthful Spirit at Glastonbury

Anna Plays Glastonbury

Is this the Pyramid Stage we see before us?

Possibly, but relocated to the glorious Glastonbury Abbey for a day of celebrations on the occasion of the 1100th Anniversary of the Diocese of Bath and Wells. Youthful Spirit, the gospel choir my daughter (fourth from the right) belongs to, was requested to perform by the Bishop, Peter Price, and this photo was taken during their third set.

A wonderful time was had by all, performers (Adam's Apple, an excellent jazz trio who played very different arrangements of hymn tunes, and Lyrica, who paid homage to the Andrew's Sisters as well as Youthful Spirit) and audience (of a number of bishops, church dignitaries, friends and families of the performers, and local people. The weather was kind to us all, too.

This all took place within sight of the famous tor (despite this prominent waymark, we managed to get lost by taking a wrong turning at Wells, and made the journey via Shepton Mallett, which meant we passed through the village of Pilton which had, the previous weekend, hosted the more highly-profiled Glastonbury Festival, and saw the barriers still snaking across the hills).

The abbey must have been amazing before it was ruined. As it is, it is majestic, and the atmosphere is usually beautifully peaceful and conducive to contemplation.

These ancient stones must have witnessed a great deal over the centuries. The music that echoes off them on 4th July 2009 was truly a joyful celebration.

The light was beautiful, too. I'm so glad it stayed dry for the occasion.