The Erasmus Diary

The Erasmus Foundation

Summer 2015 News

Although it is June, it feels like March! The weather is struggling to warm up but this hasn’t stopped the birds from multiplying and enjoying the gardens. All the new nest boxes that were put up in March in the garden and at the edge of the woodland we think have been used; also, the large jackdaw/owl nest box on the smaller oak tree in the garden, which was put up more than a year ago, is home for the first time to a family of jackdaws. The house martin/swallow double nest box under the eves of the house is also being used for the first time in a while – by a family of house sparrows!   Finally, on the bird front, Hedley saw a red kite in the horses’ paddock a few days ago which he was very happy about.

 

Because at this time of year we are invaded by rooks, who gobble up most of the bird seed that is put out on the tables every morning and also attack some of the hanging feeders, Julia has bought four seed feeders with guards round them to replace the open feeders and, added to the four nut feeders and three other smaller seed feeders, all with guards, this allows plenty of food for our smaller feathery friends to enjoy at their leisure.   In the winter these new feeders with guards can be altered to allow slightly larger birds to reach the seed, such as blackbirds. All in all, the bird song is pretty amazing throughout the day, and is especially lovely if you wake up early in the morning (really!), and in the mid evening.

 

The peace of the gardens, and the beauty, is constantly felt and mentioned by those who live and work here, and by those who visit. It is a little oasis, and always lovely to walk through and sit in if you have been away, especially if it is to a town or city where there is noise.

 

There has not been a lot of progress on the New Meeting Rooms front; Mike phoned the architect to find out how he was getting on and he said that the initial drawings had been sent to Mid Suffolk District Council to ask for their feedback and he was still waiting to hear from them. He was going to chase this up and so hopefully we will soon hear whether the Council approves in principle, and then more detailed drawings can be made.

 

One area we are looking to draw more people’s attention to is our Tutorials from Spirit that we are given about twice a month. It is suggested that we publicise these evenings more widely and call them Spiritual Development Classes. We have been told that there are people not far away who would be interested to attend these evenings, so we are going to produce a flyer and try and attract new interest.

 

The other idea is to run a weekend event, probably starting next year, and this would be publicised further afield, including London. It is early days as far as the detail of the weekend is concerned, but the idea would be to include meditation sessions, talks about healing and other topics, and generally a time to enjoy the gardens and to talk amongst those that are present. People who come for this weekend could stay locally in the village, or close by, or perhaps they might wish to stay near the coast or with friends. As the detail is fleshed out, we will keep you informed and hope that some of you might be able to join us at this time.

 

We held a ‘Day of Healing and Meditation’ in May and were pleased to see some new faces come along, mainly as a result of a Radio Suffolk interview that morning, very well executed by Priscilla and Patrick. We have another of these events in July and we hope, again, to attract new faces, as well see some old friends. Please do come along on the 19th July, from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm if you can.

 

In early May Hedley and Julia attended a conference run by Balens Insurance – they insure many people who work in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). David Balen is quite passionate about the work that is done by all the different groups and charities, and it was his idea to draw some people together to discuss how we can present CAM to the outside world and the media, and how we can better communicate with each other so that we are informed of what is going on. The day was very interesting, with two professional speakers as well as a chance for those attending to ask questions and give their input.

 

The result is going to be the setting up of a web site and on-line Forum so that there is a united voice for CAM; more research to be carried out into the effectiveness of CAM; better and more organised PR to help raise the profile of CAM (and to counter the often negative and vicious publicity against some therapies); and a look at the advocacy at both a UK and EU level. At the same time as informing and giving voice to CAM practitioners, the new web site will give more knowledge and information to the public, the media and other interested groups.

 

We are continuing to give input, when asked, to NHS England’s programme: ‘Realising the Value of Person-Centred Care’ and feel that one day The Erasmus Foundation will play its part in assisting the health professionals to cater for individual’s needs as regards to health and well being. At the moment we feel that if there were more psychologists or psychiatrists involved in procuring help for NHS England’s project, our offer of help would be more appreciated and understood. The health of the nation, and indeed the world, is certainly a concern and, we believe, reflects, the imbalance of our world at this time.

 

Back at home, we can report that we have a new addition to our pet family in the shape of a rescued black cat that we have named Simba. We are not able to show a photo at this time because Simba (we now think it is a girl, but to start with we thought it was a boy! – one day soon we will find out!) is rather nervous of too much noise and too many faces appearing in the room where she is staying at the moment. So Julia and Hedley attend her needs and Julia has managed to gain enough trust at this stage so that Simba comes out from under the bed and plays and also eats her food while Julia strokes her back and scratches her neck. The next stage will be to try and pick her up and get her used to being handled. Once this has been achieved we will open the bedroom door and take her round some of the house so that she becomes familiar with her new home, and we will show her the cat flap too, eventually.

 

Nano, Mega and Shrebruska have already shown a lot of interest in Simba from the other side of the door. Nano even went into the bedroom recently, with Hedley and Julia present, but didn’t stay long after Simba started hissing. A more recent visit by Nano, however, saw them almost touching noses!

 

We wish all our friends a good summer, and if any of you are able to visit at any time it would be good to see you.

Spring 2015 News

Although this is only March, the Erasmus Foundation has been quite busy so far this year.  First, we have been to Essex University to give a talk to their Awakening Society on four occasions following an invitation by their Chairman, Cobie.  This has proved an interesting and valuable experience for all those who went along from the Foundation – a team of four went on each occasion – and we hope that some minds were stimulated and fed by the talks and the discussion that followed and that covered subjects the students themselves requested.

 

We are hoping to be able to go back there in the Autumn or Spring of next year but Cobie is leaving the University this summer and so we will wait and see who the contacts are within the Awakening Society.  Cobie himself was very happy with the meetings and we hope that he will come and visit us one day; he is certainly a very thoughtful man and obviously searching for answers to many questions, as well as offering his own ideas and feelings too.  Everyone from here took to him and enjoyed the discussion.

 

We will now approach a number of other Universities and, with the back up of having already been invited to one University, hope to be invited to other places later in the year (as it is exam time in the summer it seems there are fewer opportunities for outside speakers).

 

The other news so far this year is that we have begun the process of building new meeting rooms, our next big project.  We approached Pro Help last year, they are part of Prince Charles’ organisation and also a part of Business in the Community.  They act as a broker between professional companies, who have agreed to be a part of Pro Help, and the recipients, usually charities, whereby the company agrees to help the charity, free of charge, on specific work.

 

We were very pleased when we heard recently that a firm of architects in Woodbridge had agreed to help us produce drawings for our new meeting rooms.  Hedley and Mike met the architect, Nick Loomes, and showed him round the existing set up and talked about what we are looking to have in its place.  It was a very useful meeting and we think that Nick is going to be a great help to us.  He knows a firm of Quantity Surveyors that he deals with and we may be able to get some free help from them also through Pro Help.  Once some initial plans have been agreed they will be shown to Mid Suffolk District Council for their initial feedback before submitting the plans on a formal basis.  We will also then be in a position to start fund raising; we have already been promised help with this work by our local Council and so it is a busy and exciting time ahead.

 

Other action that we are taking at this time is to approach care homes, hospices, hospitals and other health related places and groups to see if they are interested in either us going there to give healing and maybe meditation sessions, or they would like to visit us for the same reasons plus look round our Peace Gardens.  Many care homes organise days out and we believe we have an ideal set up for older people, or those who are unwell and who could benefit from a visit.  There is much talk of loneliness in the news, and this too could be helped by bringing people together here to maybe find some peace and friendship.

 

As the world shows us so many evil tragedies and troubling stories of abuse and neglect, it is important for people to come together to share their knowledge, skills or simply themselves so that problems can be tackled and resolved and a better understanding of ourselves and others is achieved.  It is good to know that Governments are sharing more information in an effort to tackle the extremist groups that are steadily growing.  But as our tutors say, there are many small green shoots appearing around the world and as they put down their roots then the tide will slowly turn towards a place where spiritual values are more in evidence.  We continue to study under our spiritual tutors on a Friday evening as well as listen to past tutorials in our spare time so that we may be ready to help in whatever way we can.  We will continue to print some of these tutorials in our newsletters and hope that you enjoy reading them.

 

We had our first Gardening Together Day at the beginning of March, and these will continue right through to the Autumn on the first Saturday of the month.  A few of our group came along to generally tidy up and sweep the footpaths and all around the clinic and up at the Bhudda.  Mick cut the grass on both paddocks and much of the garden to give us encouragement in the coming weeks to slowly tackle the beds and squares, as well as the various pots which need a good clean.

 

We are holding our first Day of Spiritual Healing in March – it will probably be over by the time this newsletter reaches you – and this will be held again in May, July and September.  We hope to meet some new people and encourage more people to come along for healing when they are in need of some.  Hedley holds two meditation sessions on these days and this can help people with their meditation or introduce meditation to those who have not tried it before.

 

In the summer, in the first week of August, we will again be holding a few days where primary school aged children can come here to learn something of spiritual value.  This year we are planning to do this through the telling of stories that have a spiritual and moral message and that have been given to us by Paddina.  We are calling this ‘The Story Telling Circle’.  We will give you more information about this in the summer issue.  Please also note that we now have our first book of Children’s Moral Stories; again, the stories were given to us by Paddina.  If you are interested to purchase a copy please get in touch via the phone, email or the web site.

 

We had a visit from a volunteer with Suffolk Wildlilfe, Etienne Schwartz, recently.  Hedley had got in touch and asked if someone could come round to see if we could introduce stag beetles or lizards into the gardens to increase the biodiversity we have here.   He said that as we had grass snakes this indicated that the biodiversity here was good.  He also said that the stag beetle is not found north of Ipswich!   He is going to send us a report, but one suggestion he made was to put up one or two bat boxes on the edge of the wood.  We have pipestrelle bats flying around in the evenings and the bat boxes would give them more options to perch. Etienne also suggested that we plant a hedge along one side of the new driveway leading up to the bridge to encourage more wildlife and offer another place for birds to build their nests.

 

Julia has just bought some more bird boxes, the woodcrete variety which are long lasting and offer an even temperature for the nesting birds.   She has also bought another peanut feeder which allows for birds such as woodpeckers (of which we have the green and red spotted variety) to perch more easily whilst deterring squirrels because their weight means the feeder shuts down the area where they would feed from the nuts.  Anyway, they have their own nut feeder on the large oak tree!

 

The dogs and cats are all well, and the ponies too.  The humans have been suffering with various colds, bugs and viruses and these have been taking some time to shift.  This seems to be the story countrywide with viruses mutating to quite a strength.  Hopefully the slightly warmer weather and blue skies that we have been seeing recently, along with the various bulbs showing their colour in the garden will encourage us to get well and feel good about the coming spring.

We hope to see some of you over the coming months in the gardens, the healing clinic or at our Friday evening meetings.   Until our summer issue, all of us here wish you well.

 

Winter 2014 News

After an exceptionally warm autumn we are now seeing plenty of rain, which our gardens will have appreciated as some shrubs and trees were looking a bit droopy.  The leaves on the trees in the wood are turning towards different shades of brown now, with the odd splash of yellow and gold.  It is a lovely time of year for colour, and the grass is looking very lush and green at the moment.  There is a lot of clearing and tidying still to do in the gardens, and a few repairs around the place; most of this will be done gradually over the coming weeks and months, weather permitting.

 

We recently had a visit from Paula Hunt who, with her husband, set up Suffolk Prickles Hedgehog Rescue.  She came to talk with Hedley and to look round the gardens to see if they were a suitable home for hedgehogs.  And we are pleased to say that we are going to take on some adult hedgehogs next Spring.  Apparently they really like hiding amongst brambles and leaves and so part of our wood is an ideal habitat for them.  It was a real pleasure to talk with Paula and learn about the wonderful work she does in her spare time.

 

Whilst on the subject of wildlife, for some reason the rooks have taken to coming back and perching on the feeders to get at the seed.  Usually they are only with us between March and July, but either their other food supplies are not so abundant, or there are too many rooks in the area for the food that is available, or they simply like what is here and the peaceful environment and ready food!

 

Hedley has been back working on the bridge near the front entrance and it won’t be long before he is ready for the coping stone on the top.  The electrician came to fix up the bollard lighting along the new driveway into the car park and this comes on at dusk and stays on until 10.00 pm each night.   We close our new gates every evening, for added security, and it looks very smart.

 

We continue to open our healing clinic every Saturday between 2.00 pm and 4.00 pm but so far we haven’t seen many people for healing.  It will obviously take time for this to build up and we are hoping that a few visits to practise managers in local GP surgeries will help, if they agree to put up one of our flyers advertising the clinic.

 

We keep in touch with Community Action Suffolk, using their fortnightly newsletter to promote anything we are doing.  Julia recently attended a one day conference which brought together people from the voluntary and community sector, councillors from the district and county, health commissioners, and the police.  The aim of the conference was to find solutions to key issues affecting the people of Suffolk, identify the contribution of the voluntary and community sector in connection with transforming the public sector, and to present recommendations.

 

Everyone was split into different workshop groups to tackle different subjects.  Julia sat on one of the tables discussing health and well being and felt that there were some positive ideas to come out of the discussion.  There is a lot of publicity and concern about health and how the NHS will cope in the future and, ironically, it is the shortage of government funds across the board and worsening health issues that are driving this endeavour to make more use of, and understand better, the voluntary and community sector.

 

We are in a good position at the Erasmus Foundation to help people with healing, now that we have our new clinic, but there is also the meditation classes and the Peace Gardens which offer a place for people to sit, think and browse and find some peace. So as well as health centres, we think that care homes and hospices could be interested in what we have here.  Information and transport are key to enabling many people to come here, but with the help of other community groups and government bodies we feel that we will be quite busy in the future.

 

We held our Day of Healing and Meditation in October and were fortunate with the weather.  The plan is to continue with these days next year, starting in late March through to September. The healing is our main focus, but we will hold Friday evening meetings for the tutorials or student talks, and on the first Saturday of the month, starting in March, we will have a Gardening Together Day.  Dates for 2015 will be issued shortly by email or post, and will also be on our web site which has just been given a fresh new look by Hedley, so please visit www.erasmus-foundation.org to see for yourself.

 

Our Peace and Light Day with the children went well and they enjoyed the story that was read to them, and which had been given to us by spirit – The Crystal Fountain.  They happily talked about what it meant to them, answering questions that Rosina put to them and then doing a couple of activities that related to what they had learnt.  At the end of the afternoon the children sat in a circle with a lit candle in a jar that was filled with water and some crystals and they had a short meditation.  We had a lovely email from one of the mothers saying how much she and her two sons had enjoyed the day.

 

The only other event we are taking part in this year is Giving Tuesday on December 2nd, a global event to encourage giving, whether it is funds, a person’s time, or publicising why a particular charity is supported or how it has helped someone.  Many of you on our mailing list will have received information about this and by the time you are reading this it may well be over, but we are hoping to get some good publicity and support, possibly even from the media if we can attract their interest.  Our healing clinic is going to open between 2.00 and 4.00 pm on the Tuesday so that people can turn up for healing without an appointment.  We will let you know how this day goes in the spring issue.

 

We hope you have enjoyed reading our newsletters throughout the year.  A renewal subscription letter is enclosed with this edition and we hope that you will continue your interest and subscribe once more.  It won’t be long now before the festive season is upon us and our thoughts and activities turn to ‘coming together’ occasions, whilst sending thought out to people we know, especially those who are in poor health, and those we don’t know around the world, who have difficulties and struggles and fears.

 

We wish all our friends a peaceful and happy time throughout the rest of 2014 and into our new year, and look forward to hearing from you, and seeing some of you, in 2015.

Autumn 2014 News

This is written the day after a very enjoyable and successful’ Day of Spiritual Healing’. We realise that these events will build slowly as people get to know about us and also relate their experience to friends and family; however, our healers were very pleased to give healing to about 25 people throughout the day, with other visitors coming to look round the Peace Gardens and enjoy the refreshments on offer in the Grimsdale meeting rooms.  Hedley held two half hour meditation sessions during the day which a number of people appreciated and we hope that some will return again for healing, meditation or one of our evening meetings.

 

Throughout the summer and on-going now we are making a greater effort to attend community networking opportunities so that more people will know about us. Some of these meetings are through Community Action Suffolk (CAS), of which we are a member, and other meetings are hosted by Suffolk County Council.  There has been a lot of discussion about health and well being in the county;  it is a priority, of course, throughout the country, with obesity and dementia two of the biggest concerns.  There is a realisation that the NHS cannot cope without the help of voluntary and community groups and so there is a Health and Well Being group within CAS that is finalising a strategy to bring professionals and the voluntary sector together and communicate in an efficient way.   The Erasmus Foundation is therefore very well placed to help through the offer of healing, free of charge.

 

From September our healing clinic is open every Saturday between 2.00 – 4.00 pm for people to turn up without an appointment.   This will take time to be known and to build up but as demand and awareness increases we will no doubt arrange other times when the clinic will be open for people to have healing without a prior appointment.  All our healers here in Suffolk are involved, and we are very pleased that Peter Kidd is going to come up once a month to take his turn on the Saturday rota.  Others are also helping on the clinic reception.

 

In August we held our Children’s Activity Days which went well despite fewer children attending this year. They made soap using herbs from the herb garden, and also lavender sachets, and their second day included a walk through the woods collecting bits of nature that attracted them and from this they then told a story.  The emphasis was on a peaceful, relaxing day, sensing nature in many different ways.  Some felt that the smaller number of children was more peaceful and relaxing and more attention could be given to the ones that were there.  However, we learnt a great deal in the marketing of these days for next year and Rosina has made some good contacts that we believe will help us bring children here who have special needs, alongside other children from the region’s primary schools.  The former would come along with a carer, parent or guardian.

 

Throughout the summer Mick has been very busy riding the sit on mowers keeping the grass down in the garden and the two paddocks. Pippa and Suzi have been tackling the grass and weeds that seem to sprout up quite readily along all the paths and paving areas and Tony has battled with the long grass and weeds around the new driveway, cutting it down with a strimmer.  Di has done an excellent job in weeding a number of beds around the garden and Hedley likewise, as well as trimming and cutting back what seems to be a more prolific growth this year.  Doreen has pruned the espalier apple trees, to keep them in shape, and kept on top of dead heading of the roses; she and Marie have also picked some of the plums and apples as they ripen.  Patrick finds time at weekends to help with a number of jobs, such as clearing the gutters which is not an easy job to tackle, and Julia makes sure all the pots are kept watered sufficiently.  Our healers have been called upon when we have a request for healing, and we know that this is going to increase.  They are all flexible and willing to help whenever they can.

 

It is brewing season, and Hedley has been making apple and crab apple cider, as well as setting up some plum brandy for our future enjoyment. Soon he will be tackling the black hamburg grapes and it is his endeavour this year to make a dry red wine, as opposed to the usual sweeter dessert wine (which is very good!).

 

The new brick compost area is complete and at a later time two other areas will be built as the current wooden ones are slowly collapsing. Hedley moved a large amount of the nutritious soil from the compost area on to the fruit and vegetable gardens for Denis so that the ground is well nourished for another year.  When Hedley was digging out the soil he came across some young grass snakes and we are only sorry that we didn’t take any photos.  He also found some eggs that had not hatched and so these and the young snakes were carefully placed in the new compost area amongst recent vegetable matter and grass cuttings.  The mother grass snake disappeared but we think and hope that she has joined her offspring in the warmth of the new heap.  The dogs certainly found the whole area very interesting for some days after this event.

 

During the summer Hedley returned to the herb garden, laying more paving bricks around the herb beds, which are now all completed. It is a lovely spot to work as well as to sit.  Quite a few of our group are becoming more interested in working with herbs as well as food, including wild food, to help with various ailments.  Suzi has produced a number of tinctures and concoctions already and Julia has bought a couple of books recently to give her encouragement to do the same.  She was reading that 100 years ago most people did not have the money to visit the doctor and so herbs and wild foods were often used to treat many health issues.  This will surely plays its part in future healthcare, even if it is just done within the home for friends and family, especially as there is a concern about antibiotic misuse and the side effects of some medication, not to mention the lack of nutritious value and health of so much of what is eaten today.

 

Talking of which, our Food & Health Day was an interesting day. We had a talk with Paddina in the morning focusing on food and health in the future and there was much discussion about this subject.  We had two new people attending and their contribution was very informative and enjoyable.  The rain came down after lunch for a short while and so we adapted our schedule for the day.  Once it had cleared we took a walk round the gardens and woodland looking at the wild food that is available, as well as the herbs.

 

On the 4th October we are holding another ‘Gardening Together Day’ so if any of you would like to join us please get in touch so that we know the numbers for catering lunch and tea.  It is a time when we hope to tidy up the garden a bit and repair some areas.  We also hope to put in place our beautifully made wooden notice board up at the front entrance, on the opposite side to the Erasmus Foundation sign.  This has been made by Tony and it really does look very sturdy and will show much of our literature and information about forthcoming events and meetings.  After this we are expecting some rugosa rose hedging plants that will be placed either side of the brick entrance pillars, extending up to the two lime trees on the roadside.  In front of all this we will be planting some pretty ground cover so that maintenance is kept to a minimum and the entrance will look smart all year round. I’m sure there will be a picture of this in our winter issue.

On October 19th we are holding another Spiritual Healing Day which we hope will bring more people along to meet us and have healing if they wish.  And then finally, on the 31st October, we are again holding a Peace & Light Day with children in mind, but adults are also welcome.  We will let you know how these events go in the next issue.

If you can join us for any of the above, or would like to visit at any other time for any reason, it would be great to see you. We wish you well over the coming months.

 

Summer 2014 News

I can happily report that our new purpose-built healing clinic is now officially open! We had a wonderful afternoon on the 17th May for this occasion when Dr Dan Poulter, our MP and a Minister in the Department of Health, came along to officially make the announcement and cut the ribbon.  He made a short speech where he mentioned that he himself believed in a holistic approach to health and wellbeing and that there was a lot that could be done alongside what the health service had to offer.  He said that it was about looking at the whole person, mind body and spirit.

 

He was very attentive and gracious in all his communications with everyone and he and his mother enjoyed looking round the clinic, meeting rooms and gardens, and commented on the peace. His father, too, was impressed with everything.  Dr Poulter has said that he is happy to help us in whatever way he can in the future and had already written to all the GPs in the area about us.

 

All in all it was a memorable afternoon, sitting in the sunshine in front of the clinic enjoying a glass of bubbly and a canapé, as well as a magnificent cake, all food being made by Martin Cleave. In fact Dan Poulter’s mum, Carol, took one of Martin’s business cards as she was so impressed, and so we hope that he will benefit from this interest.

 

The new entrance and driveway, finished just in time, looked amazing and astonished those who had not been here for a while. The Clinic itself also impressed those who went to look round or to have healing.

 

As a result of the opening we had quite a bit of publicity in the local newspapers, and following on from this we had a number of calls asking for healing.   This is a taster of what to expect, no doubt, and we feel the interest and the need will only increase in the coming months and years.

 

On Sunday 22nd June we are holding a Day of Spiritual Healing when healing will be available throughout the day and a couple of meditations will be held in the meeting room.  The gardens and refreshments will also be available, and so we hope that this will be a day when we meet many more people and from this they will come again and spread the word about us.  We will let you know how this goes, as well as our Food and Health Day in July.

 

In May all the healers got together to talk about healing and to go over anything that was needed to ensure correct procedure and application of the healing. The day was enjoyed by them all and in particular they enjoyed hearing words from Satitus who came to answer their questions.  They said it brought them together more in the spiritual sense, and that it was a very memorable day.  It was good to see Peter Kidd, Trish Tanner and Theo Peters, who made the journey from London and Sussex for this occasion.

 

The gardens are looking lovely and it is always peaceful and uplifting when you walk around. There is plenty to do all the time to maintain them and so if any of you would like to join us to help with this that would be great. Saturday is one day when a number of people gather to work in the garden and Julia provides lunch and tea for everyone.  We are hoping that in meeting more people through the healing that some might be interested to both come to meetings and help out in various ways, such as in the garden.

 

Looking ahead, apart from our Food and Health Day on the 20th July, we are holding Children’s Activity days again in August for primary school aged children.  This time we are also looking to include children who have special needs such as with sight and hearing. The aim of the mornings with the children is to involve them in nature through making soap one morning using herbs from the garden, and collecting things on a nature walk through the wood to tell a story on the other morning.  The time will be very relaxed, not trying to do too much with the children, so that they can absorb the peace and the energy that is here, as well as the nature and wildlife and learn how to appreciate all these things.

 

Now that the driveway and entrance are complete there is less pressure with the work that still needs to be done. Hedley continues to build the york stone bridge that takes people across into the new car park area.  One side is almost complete, except for the coping top stone.  At the moment Hedley is building a new compost area in brick, which is urgent because the present two areas have collapsed as they only had wooden surrounds.  There is also a need for new areas for the horse manure and these will be done using the concrete blocks that we already have in the yard and which will then be permanent for this purpose.  Work will also continue in the herb garden.  All 18 beds are now complete and so it is the paving around the beds that needs to be finished, and then the inner and outer walls; the former will be a wall of lavender with wooden uprights every so often to hold various climbing plants.

 

There is plenty of fruit and vegetables growing and being harvested and these are shared amongst our friends and used to cook the meals for volunteer helpers. A second poly tunnel will be in place one day, but this is now not expected until next Spring because Denis needed the space to plant leeks, which won’t be finished until that time.  The whole fruit and vegetable area is gradually becoming more secure and is really quite a size now.  Future plans include a Victorian greenhouse and a potting shed which, looking at the pictures that Hedley has found, looks more like a cottage!  We think it is going to be a bumper fruit year, judging from the fruit that is now appearing on the pear, apple and plum trees.  We are already enjoying plenty of strawberries, and the gooseberries will soon be ready.

 

There is plenty of wildlife in the garden. We have seen a number of water voles and some grass snakes soaking up the sun on the compost heap or on the rockery wall alongside the pond.  We have many different birds, including a family of red spotted woodpeckers; one youngster even flew into the conservatory by mistake the other day and Julia had to rescue it before the dogs noticed.  There are squirrels and many rooks and jackdaws who come to feed from the tables and hanging feeders each morning, making quite a racket in the process!  Once July is over the rooks will find food elsewhere and it will give more space to the many small birds that are here.  Hedley noticed a buzzard flying overhead the other day.  We have hundreds of rabbits, some young ones unfortunately get caught by Nano and Mega and brought into the house.  If we notice in time we catch the rabbits and take them back out to the paddock.

 

If you can come along any time to see us and to enjoy the gardens this summer, please do – you would be very welcome. Meanwhile, we hope you keep well in mind, body and spirit through the coming time.

 

Spring 2014 News

It is always quite a jump from one issue of our newsletter to the next as far as news is concerned because so much seems to be changing and it is particularly noticeable between our Winter and Spring issue.  In our last issue we were talking about the days getting shorter and the weather colder; now we are seeing the days lengthen and our weather, for now at least, is quite warm and sunny and almost feels like summer at times.

 

We have not had the terrible floods and bad weather of the rest of the country this winter. We had one or two days where the wind speed was very high and we lost a few small and medium sized trees, and the garden filled up with water in places, but otherwise we got off very lightly.  Our hearts were going out to the people and animals whose homes and land were flooded, and indeed in other parts of the world the weather is certainly looking more extreme with climate records regularly being reset.

 

These weather changes are something we have spoken of here for many years and we know they will continue, as will the changes in other areas such as finance, politics, food and water, disease and healthcare.  Spiritual values are needed and we believe that people are hungry for spiritual food to help them understand what is happening in our world.  To this end, we felt it was the right time to try and reach out to interested groups, both here in the UK and abroad, to share what we have learnt and to hear what other people think.  This is an on going activity throughout this year which we believe will get easier once we have been to visit one or two groups.

 

One of the positives here to do with the weather is that it has allowed us to get on with the new driveway without too much interruption.  Patrick is now working alongside Mike and his father, Mick, and he will also lay the block paving.  At the moment the drainage channels and paving round the back of the Clinic is being completed and very soon it will be ready for the blocks.  Hedley has been concentrating on the brickwork and has nearly completed the large rectangular bed which will be home to rhododendrons and will divide the Clinic Car Park from the rest of the parking area.  Once he has finished this he will complete the brick pillars either side of our new iron gates, and then start work on the york stone bridge that people will cross to get to the new parking area.

 

We can confirm that the date for the official opening of our Healing Clinic, when our MP, Dr Dan Poulter, a Minister in the Department for Health, will cut the ribbon, is Saturday 17th May from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm, with the actual opening ceremony at 3.00 pm.  So we are working hard to be ready for this day.  If any of you would like to come along you would be very welcome.

 

Our new cat, Nano, has settled in very well and is very good friends with Mega which is wonderful for Mega because our other cat, Brushka, has never been very friendly.  We hear them racing about together upstairs, just like children, and, as the pictures show, it is always fascinating to just sit and watch them.

 

Lily is still a handful when Derkrum is around but as she likes to be near Julia, and Derkrum likes to be near Hedley, they are kept apart when Hedley is working on the brickwork or somewhere else in the grounds, and some peace and quiet prevails!   Suzy, from the village, and a friend to some of the group here, who is often seen walking dogs for people and is studying Animal Husbandry at Otley College, is coming up once a week for half and hour to take Lily for a walk round the grounds.  This is so that when Hedley and Julia are away and someone is looking after the house and phone etc, there is a person that could come up and take Lily out.  Later on she may get to know Derkrum and perhaps give them a hose game!

 

Denis has been busy in the fruit and vegetable area, planting new seeds and mending one of the cages before new netting can be put across.  We are also going to get a second tunnel some time this year so that we have more space to grow things in a controlled environment.  We have plenty of stored fruit and vegetables from the winter as well as a good supply of food in the freezer and this is shared amongst our friends and used to cook meals for those who are here helping out.

 

Our two geese are very happy at the moment because every morning they are allowed out of the yard and they can go into the garden and herb garden.  They make straight for any water puddles, which are now drying up, and then are quite happy padding about the herb garden area.  This might change once the herbs start growing bigger because we have been told by Molly that geese take a fancy to nibbling certain herbs and plants!

 

As this issue of our newsletter reaches you we will be holding our first Gardening Together Day; this will be on Saturday 5th April.  We are hoping to have some new volunteers come along to help in the Peace Gardens, and we will offer them a vegetarian lunch and tea.  There is certainly plenty of clearing up, edging and weeding to be done and this has become more apparent since Mick, Di’s husband, mowed the paddock and garden a few days ago, the first mowing of the year.  It was lovely to smell the newly mown grass and with this warm sunshine of late it really does feel like summer!

 

Looking further ahead, and again it will probably be just when the Summer issue of the newsletter is being put together, we are holding our first Day of Spiritual Healing.  This is a day when people can come along to have healing or walk in the Peace Gardens, and there will be refreshments available.  It is a day to focus on the healing, but it is also an opportunity for people to come along and meet us, to have a look round and ask questions about what we do and what we believe.   If you know of anyone who might be interested then this is a good day to come along, but we are open here at any time by appointment for healing, and for the gardens.

 

We wish you well for the coming months, and hope to see some of you soon.

Winter 2013 News

 

As the days get shorter and the weather colder we begin to reflect back on the year that has past as well as think a little about the year to come.  We have decided to have a number of days next year specifically for healing, and they will be publicised as “Days of Healing”.  They will follow on from the official opening of our Healing Clinic which is set for May next year.  It is also the time for us to venture out to other groups who are interested to hear us speak about what we have been taught, and these we will try and do when we can throughout the year.

During the past few months since last writing we have been quite busy with a Retreat Day taken by Patrick on the subject of “Our Universe and all it contains”, quite a big subject which was well tackled, with a lot of interesting discussion.  We also held a Food & Health Day in October and this was also very interesting because there were a number of speakers throughout the day with a different angle on how we should feed ourselves and approach our food so that we keep as healthy as we can.  Food and health, we believe, are an important part of the future and so we plan to have one of these events each year.

Also in October, on the 31st, we held our first Peace & Light Day workshop for children which went very well.   Our Friday evening meetings will continue as they are currently, with a Tutorial from Paddina, or one of our other tutors, twice a month, and then 10 minute talks from students which are a good opportunity to share our knowledge and learn from each other, as well as good practice in public speaking.

The new driveway is making good progress but will not be complete until January because Christmas is getting in the way of the company that is laying the block pavers; they want to do the job with as little interruption as possible and as we will not be ready for this work until mid December it will now start in the new year.  Mike and his father are currently laying the granite kerb stones to make a good edge to the existing driveway and there will also be enough kerbs to make an edge to the new driveway as well.

Hedley is starting to build the brick pillars at the entrance which will support a new iron front gate and there is also more brickwork to be done at the back of the Clinic car park.  The new parking area at the back of the workshops is already in use, albeit you have to drive round the top of the Dutch barn to reach it.  Once the bridge across into the paddock is ready, visitors will reach the parking area this way and it will then be a short walk to the Healing Clinic or the Meeting Rooms.

Once the driveway itself is complete there is quite a bit of work with the landscaping of the front garden and surrounding area, and as we now have the month of May to aim for to be ready for the opening, there will be little slack in our efforts to make everything ready for the big day.  In our spring issue we will be able to confirm the exact date.

Other work that has been going on is that Tony is busy repairing the two stable blocks.  So far he has concentrated on the new stable doors to replace the ones that are now quite rotten.  At some point he, Poppa and Suzy will give the stables a coat of paint, but this may have to wait until the spring when the cold of winter is behind us.

Hedley has completed the building of a new wall and gates in front of the horses’ paddock.  It is looking very smart with one gate being the public footpath access into the paddock, and the other gate leading round the herb garden, work that is still on-going and not likely to make much progress now until next year after the landscaping of the front garden.

We have some new additions to our animal family to tell you about.  First, Denis found us some wonderful new chickens which have settled in very happily and have recently started laying small brown eggs.  The chickens are a different breed from before and vary in colour from grey to red.  At this time of year they will remain in their chicken house and will not venture out until we have repaired the outside run which needs solid sides so that rabbits and foxes are not a threat in the future.

The other new addition is a beautiful kitten who we have called Nano, a shortened version of his spirit name, which is Nansatchmo.  We found him on the last day of September with his head stuck in a rat poison box where he was trying to reach a dead mouse that he had obviously smelt inside.  Julia saw him and picked him up with box attached.  Hedley then had to phone Denis for the key to unlock the box and then had to carefully cut with secateurs through to the hole that was surrounding the kitten’s head.  Once free, Nano promptly bit Julia’s thumb, so strongly that he was actually hanging from it!  He released the thumb and promptly ran into one of the dog’s cages where he was left for the morning to get over his experience (the dogs were well out of the way outside in the garden).  Julia then spent the morning driving to Beccles Hospital for a tetanus injection and some antibiotics!

It was only a couple of weeks before we were able to open the bedroom door where we had placed Nano so that he could get used to us and realise that he was loved and well fed.  He is much more courageous than Mega was when we first took her in and didn’t take long to venture downstairs and explore the whole house.   He is a wonderful cat and Hedley is particularly happy because a few years ago we were told that the spirit of the cat that was with Hedley for 18 years, whose name was Maquesa, wanted to come back to be with him and we were told to look out for a tan coloured cat, with long hair, and here he is!

As you will see from the photo, we knew straight away that this was the cat that had been mentioned.  We were told he was about 8 weeks old.  It hasn’t taken him long to put on weight, in fact he is quite a foodie and we have to put plates on top of the food of the other two cats!  Slowly Brushka and Mega are getting used to Nano, and Mega and Nano sometimes play together round the house which is great to see.

One other event that has just happened here was the planting of two lime trees in the horses paddock as part of National Tree Week.  Hedley had managed to obtain a grant for the two trees from the Tree Council and with the help of some pupils from All Saints Primary School in Laxfield, the holes for the two trees were dug, the trees planted and – the following day – the wooden supports were put in place to protect the trees from the horses.  The idea was that these trees, as they mature, will give shade to any animals we may have in the future.  Hedley also went to the school to give a cartoon drawing workshop, explaining the benefits of planting a variety of new trees on a regular basis and how nature and wildlife will benefit from the lime trees that they helped to plant.

Our thoughts are turning to the time of year when we come together to share in each other’s company over some good food and wine, remembering our friends and other family members as well as our world and all those who share it with us, many of whom face great challenges and traumas at this time.  Our thoughts are with you all, and with our world, for more strength and peace on our journey.

Spring 2013 News

 

Spring 2013 News

 

Spring is in the air, judging by the sounds of the many birds in The Peace Gardens, and crocus and some of the daffodils are starting to appear.  This is in spite of the   wintry weather that is still upon us.  As I write they are talking of temperatures in the minus, and rain and snow in parts of the country.  Everyone we speak to says that they have never seen it so wet either in the fields and on the flooded roads, or in their own gardens.

Witch Hazel in the snow

Witch Hazel in the snow

Here at Moat a lake formed in quite a large area of the woods which had not been seen before; usually the wet area was on the edge of the wood in a dip of the meadow.  All the paths and most of the lawn are visibly very soggy, and where the dogs tend to run there is nothing but churned up mud.  Hopefully the sun, when it comes for longer periods, will assist the grass to find strength and renew again.  There are good points to mention though as well in that the snowdrops have never looked so good, and the aconites also are spreading very well in the woodland.  In the early part of the year these spots of colour are wonderful to see amidst the leaf strewn floor of the wood.

Herb Garden in Winter

Herb Garden in Winter

Hedley has been out when he can working in the garden, tidying up, chopping wood, cutting bricks and, on good weather days, laying more of the paving for the herb garden.  He is ‘champing at the bit’ to get out there more often and continue to build the brick herb beds, and can be seen keenly watching for the shoots to appear in some of the herb beds after their winter sleep.  We are also thinking about what herbs and wild foods will be available in the garden to use and talk about on our Food & Health Day on 14th April.

On Sunday 5th May we are getting together in the afternoon to bury Ingrid’s ashes beneath an olive tree in one of the herb beds that Hedley will soon be completing.  We can’t believe nearly a year has gone by since Ingrid returned Home and we’re sure it will be a good afternoon; Ingrid’s sister and brother and his wife are coming over from Germany for the weekend and so it will be good to show them the progress that has been made in the garden since they were last here.

News on our planning application for a second entrance and driveway is not so good in that our application was turned down because of the concerns of the Landscape Officer.   He felt too much hedging would be lost along the roadside, even though we said that we would plant new hedging.  We were advised, before the deadline for this application, that if we withdrew the application and lodged another one using the existing driveway entrance but cutting left across the front lawn into the paddock and car park, that this would be looked on more favourably (although Highways felt the new entrance was a better one).  It was felt by us all here that this would work well and, in fact, be easier as far as security and signage was concerned.  So, we wait again to see if this is passed, which will probably not be before end of May, early June such are the workings of the Council Planning Department!

Some good news, however, is that the Council has given us the certificate that allows us to open the doors of the Healing Clinic to the public.  This is wonderful and so we are now able to offer healing in a peaceful, purpose-built setting, and it is also very warm too and easy to regulate the temperature.

We used to say that when the Healing Clinic was open it would make things a lot easier when it came to our Open Gardens weekend, especially when the weather meant everything had to be offered indoors.  However, we have some news for everyone – and this will be sent out to everyone on our mailing list – to say that we are no longer holding an Open Day Fete each year in August, and we are no longer holding an Open Gardens weekend as such any more.

In their place we are going to have an ‘Open Weekend’ when the public can turn up and look round the Healing Clinic, and have healing if they wish of course, look round the meeting room and learn what goes on during our meetings and Retreat Days etc, and look round the Peace Gardens.  Cream teas will be offered as usual and will be charged for, but admission to the Erasmus Foundation during this weekend will be free.  Details of the opening times have still to be confirmed but the date of this weekend is 22nd and 23rd June.

We are also introducing a very exciting new event this summer, in August.  This has been put together by Rosina and then a few of us have come together with our tutors to finalise details, and this is a children’s activities workshop.  It will take place over four days, two days for 5-7 year olds, and two days for 8-10 year olds and they will learn about nature, wild life, drawing, printing, cooking, and there will be out door games. Parents will also be able to see what their children have been up to at the end of each two days.  Five team leaders will take the workshops and it is hoped that if this is successful we will run more of these workshops for children in school holidays, and more ‘leaders’ and helpers can take part as we develop our ideas.  Already, we are talking of an event around sensory activities for children with little or no sight or hearing.  Both ideas have been well received so far by some teachers in the region and if we get funding for the workshops – an application has been put in –  it will be helpful, but it has been agreed that the workshop this August will go ahead anyway and the experience will inform and help future applications.

Playing in the garden

Lily, our new German Shepherd, continues to make good progress and has already put on 2.5 kg in weight.  A lady from Suffolk Dog Training came round recently and offered some helpful tips for looking after Lily, and Julia has a new dog lead that will help to control Lily more easily.  Prior to this, Lily was taking Julia for a walk!  Most of the time, however, Lily and Derkrum run round the gardens together having a go at each other, but quite often just playing together, and this is great to see.  We have ordered Derkrum a new toy that he can hold in his mouth and run round with in the garden rather than pick up sticks and branches from the wood which he then drops in the meadow once the game is over.  These branches would then cause a lot of damage once the sit-on mower starts cutting the grass, so we want to change his idea of the game.

Mega

Mega

Mega and Brushka, our cats, are well and have their own domains in the upstairs part of the house, with access to the front door cat flap away from the dogs.  Julia does her meditation upstairs in the mornings now before breakfast and Mega will come and sit on her lap and no doubt soaks up the energies and the warmth as well as giving of her own peace and energy!

Brushka

Brushka

We are now looking forward to a busy time in the garden as there is much to do after the winter months.  If anyone would like to help in the garden at any time, please get in touch, this would be very welcome. On a Saturday, in particular, a group of our friends can often be seen in various parts of the grounds working away, putting their own essence into the peace that is already there.  As some of you will be aware, our minds are very much on

growing, storing and preserving food, as well as stocking up on food from the shops, so that we are prepared for what we believe will be a time of shortage.  Our Food & Health Day will also tackle this subject, as well as the subject of cleanliness and preparation of food.

As this is our first blog, more news on all the above and other events will be posted more frequently, so do please keep logging in!