Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Mother of all Camps

Last week we went to The Mother Magazine family camp, held on a beautiful piece of land in North Yorkshire. OK - the weather was rainy and windy, but it was the start of Autumn and the sun did come out in between. We had a fantastic time. I met so many great people, some I knew either personally or as online friends, but many new friends too. It was so good to be with people on the same plane and just to relax. Lots of cooking and community stuff to be done though - so any relaxation was not your sit back on a sun lounger with a best-seller and a Malibu type of thing - it was all go. What I mean, I suppose is just looking around and seeing - a group of boys running around the field with sticks - off on some daylong adventure, mothers breastfeeding their babes wherever they happened to be, barefoot toddlers running up to their Mums for a quick nurse then running off again, people actually being nice to children, eating together and just chatting. Here are a few snaps from the holiday. I didn't take many though - too busy doing things or connecting with wonderful people.

Dawn light.

The hub of the camp - Organisers' yurt - Kitchen yurt and Recreation yurt. The small shelter in the foreground was to protect our musicians from the fairly persistent rain on the previous night.

The fabulous roundhouse - scene of the magical ceremonies that we were privileged to attend. Little Rhiannon's naming ceremony - a very joyous occasion, and a Blessingway for Amelia and Vedina - a truly moving experience. Both these were led beautifully by Veronika - editor and publisher of The Mother. Gorgeous Samantha - mother and doula, led a birth stories session in this space, and the Men's Circle was held here (very mysterious and secret, but I will find out!)

Very authentic looking sculpture outside the roundhouse.

The view from out tent. Our neighbours were Anna, Joss and baby Leon. A really lovely family -it was a true pleasure to meet them.

Sitting in the sun was possible, while some of the older children helped to build the campfire ready for the evening.

Food was very important. With 150 people to feed for 4 days it was always going to be a priority. All organic, wholefood, vegan dishes. I have never had such delicious meals. I .miss them

My husband on kitchen duty - actually he only ran over to stir he pot when I came to take the photograph. He was on the salads that day - he did learn to make a pretty yummy vinaigrette though :)

Alex and Siobhan came over from Ireland and enriched the camp with their presence. Alex is a powerhouse of activity and ideas. He led sessions on baking sourdough bread in the clay oven, and built a hot tub with the help of some of the men and boys. You can read more on their lovely blog here

Siobhan was the kind of person who just seemed to make the place brighter by just being there. We were really glad to have met them and their gorgeous children. John learned a lot from Alex about sustainability, and just talking to him helped us to later clarify some of our ideas for the imminent 'retirement'.

I just loved the compost toilets. They were magnificent edifices and there is something so right about not using gallons of water to flush.

The washing up area - always hung with brightly coloured, flapping tea towels, like Buddhist prayer flags!

And John, taking a short break in the sun. I am so glad we went to this camp - it was definitely and enriching experience for us both.

Edit - Now the magazine is in danger of closing, due to falling subscriptions. Please click here to find out more about this precious resource.


Anonymous said...

Dear Jacqui, I have big tears in my eyes at your lovely post about camp and the lovely things you said about us...thank you. It was so lovely to meet you and John, and your lovely little boy. You all enriched the camp experience so much for us too. We'd love to see you if you guys ever get over this way. I look forward to catching up with the rest of your blog.

Much love, Siobhán

Lisa G said...

It does look like you had an amazing time and thanks for the link to 'Blog in the Bog', another one for my list!

Debs said...

Looks fantastic :)

Anna said...

Hi Jacqui, thank you for your lovely comment, it was so lovely to meet you, John and James too! Yours are the first pics I've seen from camp and they have made me long to be back there surrounded by so many lovely people. But what a shocker of a picture of our pitch, I'd no idea we had so much stuff around, sorry you ended up camping next to the messiest people at camp! love, Anna x

Jacqui said...

Haha Anna! - I didn't mean to show that - I thought it was so cool and laid back with Joss's guitar and the deck chair - like a still life. Just my photography is not as arty as I sometimes think :)

Claire said...

Looks fantastic, you were all in my thoughts for the whole weekend. Thank you for sharing it with us,

sue said...

Wow, camp looked wonderful, I really wish we could have been there, unfortunately my middle son suffers terribly with severe depression and we were needed at home. Beautiful photos :)
Such a shame TM may be coming to an end, I'l truley miss it.

Becks said...

Looks like a wonderful time was had by you all. What a beautiful experience.
Your post and the news about the magazine has given me just the push I needed to urge myself to subscribe.

sunnymama said...

It looks so much fun, I wish we had been there! My Mother Magazine subscription just ran out so thanks for your edit as it's reminded me to renew my subscription and, hearing this news, I shall do so quickly.