Our Sempervivum Week at Pitcalzean House, Rosshire, April 11th -18th 2015
A new venture, we had only viewed the place online, we named our week “Breaking New Ground”, and we did in many respects while remaining true to our core value of forming a living, breathing fully functioning community within the week.
Pitcalzean House, (pronounced three different ways even by locals but most commonly the phonetic form was used) provided a comfortable, beautifully appointed and well maintained base for us. Giant wood burning stoves AND central heating kept us cosy and rooms varying from baronial to plain and simple, accommodated us very comfortably. Development work is on-going there and the adjoining barn, already a venue for local ceilidhs, would be available another time and provide us with a good communal gathering space, especially in poor weather.
As it was, we were blessed with weather allowing us to be outside most of each day and it was often gloriously sunny, enhancing our time there. The lovely gardens pulsated with birdlife and their songs were a constant soundtrack, while the views across the Bay of Nigg to snowy mountains beyond were truly magnificent, changing throughout the days with some spectacular sunsets.
Our days quickly evolved into familiar patterns as we created groups with Nature, Writing, Walking and Enquiry as the respective starting points for participants to develop as wished through the week, during small morning gatherings. These followed a half hour of communal and creative games, enlivening us for the day and yoga was on offer before breakfast each day. The 2 o’clock meeting invited comments and offerings, including walks, talks, music, visits, drawing, painting and crafts. One afternoon was devoted to offering games: croquet, volleyball, table tennis and sardines for the sun dodgers. Relaxing, cuppas and chatting were also popular!
All our activities were expertly and deliciously fuelled by David, our much loved friend from Lauriston Hall, who undertook the catering. He welcomed occasional help from the group and from lovely Evie, who travelled up from her shepherd’s hut home in Dorset to run Kids Club and also proved herself a dab hand in the culinary department, and a great soul to have among us.
We had a traditional, old style ceilidh on our last night, all sitting in the cosy library room taking turns, as compered by Peter and the young people, to perform contributions of poetry, song, music, and delightful entertainments. A heartwarming time, with a generous and appreciative audience.
This can only be a snapshot of our event and of course there are as many different angles and experiences as there are participants, but I hope it gives a glimpse of the infinite potential of Sempervivum, and the life enhancing experiences which evolve during our times together. I for one, am truly grateful for its existence and for the many and varied people who are its essence.