Was on another long odyssey through the West Country, visiting remaining members of my mother’s extraordinary family. Great Auntie Betty and Rosemary mean I’ve now met 5 of the 13 siblings – and my research into the Cooper Clan deepens. And darkens. But on the way back I stopped off in beautiful Sidmouth to have another peek at Boswell Farm.
I’m so relieved to have found somewhere that can compare to the beatitude of Holy Island. And the course in November has some big shoes to fill. The five days on Holy Island last month were the best I’ve ever experienced. That group of students were so amazing – so inspiring and inspired. The Island does most of the work – but I also felt that it was the best teaching I ever did. Somehow, I didn’t feel like my normal worrying self was getting in the way, instead I just let go into the billows of the moment, surfing my way from person to person, responding not reacting. What joy.
There was a mountain climbed, a pot poured, Karma played and a tower built. I felt i was walking on sea-breezes for 10 days. But the warm, earth energies of Devon have started to work their magic on me now.
Sidmouth, the Regency resort a couple of miles from the Farm, is all seaside breeziness. I walked down the long, dappled parkway called the Byes that fringes the River Sid as it flows through the Devon countryside to the sea. And the the seafront is magical. A long promenade with deckchairs and real Devon Ice cream. I paddled in the ocean and toyed with the idea of skinny-dipping in the lulling, crystal clear water. Despite summer running to an end it was a hot day.
In the end I dozed in my deckchair and fed a gull my ice cream cone. Then walked back along the river to the farm cottages.
Boswell is run by a wonderful Pilates teacher who has lovingly restored these 16th century barns and stables into a courtyard of cottages, sequestered in a fold of the Devon countryside. Wisteria curls up into the blue sky and pears ripen against the brickwork. I can’t think of a more restful spot. Where Holy Island is all gusty gulls and wind, Boswell Farm seems to fold in onitself. It’s perfect for mediation – and (since the next course is going to be in November) it’s snuggly warm. All the cottages are insulated and heated and well equipped.
But it’s the countryside that really makes it. To get to the Old Kennels where the mediation will take place you have to walk up away from the cottages, winding up a hill, through a field. That sense of elevating yourself is a nice physical analogue of what happens in meditation. I can so imagine heading up there on a crisp November morning with ice-blue skies and chalky white fields.
I’m busy organising a local organic supplier so the food is all from the area and nutritious and Linda is bringing a magical-handed masseuse who will be tending to my meditators if it all gets too much. I can’t wait. I’m almost relishing the evenings curling in and the leaves going rusty. Roll on November.