Friday, 4 June 2010

suburbanite joins Gaia Tribe

"We want to be part of a community, let's try this" we said a few months ago. But as the date got nearer we became a bit apprehensive. Would we be too self-conscious? Would our belief systems be compatible with the others'? What would the food be like? Would their calm karma enrage me? And how would Frank get on? See for info about the event we attended, on a river meadow by the Derwent near Malton, Yorkshire. (With some excellent home-made wood-fired showers, an amazing but simple contraption, mmmmmm.)

Arriving after noon on Friday we put up a borrowed tent at our fire circle, like it's the most natural thing in the world for a small family from central-heated double-glazed semi-detached southern-softy suburbia. Somewhat wary of the others, our fears were soon dispelled, as, without exception, our tribal neighbours proved friendly, welcoming, fun, and interesting; and not in the slightest bit preachy, judgemental or pushy.

So, how did it go? Answering my questions...... Speaking for myself, I'm always too self-conscious and need to loosen up. And no one made me feel uncomfortable, even though some of the communal activities were outside my comfort zone (by about two miles). Belief systems? What do I believe in anyway? My "round of the seasons and the weather" paganism-light sat well with the celebrations of earth, air, fire and water (the four elements, not the seventies band).

The food looked promising on the web-page, from the on site vegetarian "Peace-Cake Cafe", in a marquee. And it delivered in spades; a range of fresh soups and salads for lunch, and tasty choices for the evening meal. Plus there were home made cakes and breads, and a late evening Pudding Club, which we might have tried?

How was the karma? Before the event this worried me. Would everyone be too smiley? Would I feel like I didn't belong in their ecstatic world? Would I be seen as the uptight citizen from planet normal? But all I experienced was the company of some very relaxed people who were fun to be around.

Frank loved it all - the communal life and the camping, and the kind friendly people who made him feel very welcome. We loved experiencing the weather - hearing the pattering of rain on the tent, and the whooshing of wind through the trees one stormy night. We found Frank's diabetes management difficult, as the food balance and timing was a bit out of our control. Jules suffered a little with the cold and damp, but she brightened up in the day time.

There were lots of activities, but most of the time we sat around chatting or relaxing. The camp had many acoustic musicians (and percussionists), and it was a great pleasure to hear them playing alone or in informal groups. We attended some morning circles; I remember sitting in a large tent with a bunch of people who were not too snidey and cynical to be able to enjoy James Blunt's sentimental ballad "You're beautiful", being played as people turned up to the morning gathering. One evening we watched an amusing premier performance of Twelfth Night, by a scratch troop of mainly very young people, who pulled off an amazing Toby Belch/ Andrew Aguecheek/ Malvolio treble act.

The overall verdict on the Gaia Tribe event? Great fun, and highly recommended. Time to socialise, and time for peace and quiet as we sat around our woodsmoky fire. And hanging with a bunch of people who are not cynical about positivity and dreams for an even better future. We would love to go again, though I've probably heard enough "oms" to last me through to next year. Back home, and there's going to be some changes round here, but first it's time for some real coffee, with full caffeine content......


  1. Welcome back Swifty!

    Hope you enjoted your sojourn North and didn't get destroyed by midges. I missed your posting so much I kept up to speed by visiting your wife's blog.

    {actually, please pass on my thanks to her - on one visit I saw a photo of roasted tomato soup which looked so good I hunted down her recommended recipe and made it myself - absolutely delicious and certain to be repeated}

    This family expedition sounds quite fun too and I completely empathise with your worries about fitting in with a group like that - I'd feel exactly the same way. It must have been interesting - and relieving to find your fears all but unfounded. It's undoubtedly brave too to take on the challenge of managing Frank's testing and control in that environment and I'm glad too that this worked for you all without a trip to the nearest hospital. I'm sure it'll be a memory to treasure.

    cheers - and welcome back again.......


  2. Thanks Alistair for your good wishes. I waved at Dunbar station as I went through, just in case you were there. We have been chatting a lot about the Gaia trip; indeed I have lengthened the blog since you first commented. Glad you have visited Muffin Moon, food is rather lovely in this house. I should pickup on the Big Swifty blogging again, after time away, and the work demands of my other two blogs.

  3. Jean Akam: Just read some of your blogs Andrew found them interesting and often amusing. Sounds like your lifestyle is enviable:):)
    Andrew Budd: Yes we have a great life. Not sure anyone would like to swap the whole deal with us though!
    Jean Akam: Perhaps not especially the diabetic part. Are you still working Andrew or have you joined us retired lot? Good luck to you all anyway you sound like you have fun a lot of the time!:)



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