Spirit of Place

Do places have spirit?

English: Chalice Well Gardens

English: Chalice Well Gardens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m guessing most people would say they do.  Why else would people travel vast distances to holy, ancient or just plain incredible places?  Why else would sitting in the Chalice Well Gardens be so much more powerful than sitting in the cafe at Morrisons?

Right.  Places have spirit.

So does LIME Cottage have spirit?

I believe it does.  I felt it the first time I entered the empty, abandoned, run-down place last January.  It felt gentle, calm, resigned but welcoming.  I’m not talking here about ghosts or presences, but about the very structure of the cottage.

In the early days I spoke to it – the way others speak to cats or dogs.  I wandered around touching the walls, sharing my plans and dreams for it.  We were hopeful then, LIME Cottage and I.  Naive, certainly, and crazily optimistic, but committed to rescuing it from years of decay and turning it back into a home.

Then the others came – pen-pushers first: bureaucrats with endless forms to fill in, permissions to be sought, conditions to be met.  Hot on their heels came the workmen – builders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters… an endless stream of ‘two sugars, love, if you’d be so kind’ and ‘that’ll be okay if we just squirt a bit of foam in there’ and ‘won’t be able to make it until Thursday at the earliest, sweetheart, but we’ll get it sorted’.

Their energy took over.  Decisions were made and corners were cut and I tried – really I did – to keep up with the comings and goings, the contractors and sub-contractors and the changes they were making.

For three long months these people took over.  Occasionally I mustered the strength to query decisions or ask for clarification, but the fraternity closed ranks and sniggered, assuring me they knew what they were doing, and that another cuppa’d go down a treat.

My spirit was all but broken.

What about the spirit of the place?

It bided its time but the trust between us was wearing thin.  When the workmen had left at the end of the day I felt lonely and alienated – cast adrift in a building site that bore no relation to the cottage of my dreams.

Things finally came to a head when the shower-room light stopped working.  It sounds so trivial, but it was the proverbial straw that broke the back of this camel.  It came after mistakes by plumbers, the central heating breaking down, unfinished work by builders, the return of the loft rats and several other small but distressing events.  I’d come back from my holiday ready for anything and within 48 hours I was broken.

Pushing aside the white flag of surrender, I asked for advice from three of the wisest sources I know – Higher Will and two fellow WordPress bloggers whom I’m now proud to call friends.  All of them responded.  The messages were as kind and as uncompromising as I’d hoped.  I was helped to see the reasons behind the problems; the reasons I’d invited such difficulties into my life; the way to treat each problem as if I were playing a game of chess, and then – right out of the blue – shown by one of them that the cottage was not happy.

Like any other geriatric, a sudden deluge of changes imposed without permission made it grumpy and stubborn.  It no longer trusted that I was working in its best interests.  It did not like the workmen.  The glossy new shower room with its sleek white and chrome finish was definitely a step too far.  I was urged to speak to the building, explain, comfort and compromise.

So I did.

2014-10-25 22.53.00Gently I explained the big picture, pointed out my own needs and agreed to do something about the shower room.  My penance (actually a very pleasurable one) involved spending two days trawling around antique shops, charity shops and everything between to find delicate, beautiful items that would soften the room and give it the ch2014-10-25 22.52.25arm and beauty it needed.

As if by magic, the light began to work again, the cottage felt loved and loving again and I set to work to solve the rest of the problems.

The workmen are just about finished now,  the cottage has been returned to the warm terracotta it was once painted, with the ugly cow-pat brown covered over and I have an afternoon free to finish clay-painting that shower room.

LIME Cottage has a spirit built up over centuries of partnership with here-today-and-gone-tomorrow humans.  No wonder it’s cautious and lacking in trust.  It’s still standing, though – and so am I…  thanks to wise friends and a determination to see this project through.




Another Life

2014-10-15 18.00.04Many years ago, now, I had a Past Life Regression – capitalised because I paid someone to Regress me, which made it official.

It was the first time I’d done such a thing.  Untrue to say I didn’t know what to expect; I had many wild and wonderful expectations.  What I got felt real, but something of a let-down.

I was a young woman, walking along a dirt track through a settlement of some kind.  There was a strong smell of wood smoke.
“Look down,” I was instructed. “What are you wearing on your feet?  What colour is your skin?  What sort of clothes are you wearing?”

My skin was dirty, dusty and pale.  My clothes maybe plaid – very faded and grubby.  Celtic?  Were there shoes?  Maybe sandals, or was that my mind trying to logic out what would go with the setting?

2014-10-12 11.17.24At the end of the track was the sea.  It was grey and smooth.  The fear inside me dissipated slightly as I looked at the clear horizon.  They had gone (whoever ‘they’ were) and I was relieved that no sign of them remained.

“Is there anyone with you?” came the softly spoken prompt.

For the first time I noticed the child – a girl aged about 8.  She was holding my hand and standing beside me, also staring out to sea.  Her hair, like mine, was matted and windswept, her face pinched and expressionless.

“What year is it?”

How would I know?  Dates were irrelevant.  It was a distant time, but the question annoyed me, the left brain kicked in and I was back in the present, going through the motions to keep the practitioner happy.
“Can you move to the moment of your death in that lifetime?”

Nope.  Lost it.  Ah well.

“What do you think that lifetime had to teach you?”  He wasn’t done yet.

There was no ‘ah ha’ revelation, no answer to the purpose of my present life, just a glimpse of a woman weighed down with sadness, fear and responsibility, all imposed on her by whoever had sailed out of her life across that bleak sea.

They’ve returned fleetingly to my thoughts many times, that woman and child, but never as strongly as they did on my recent  stay in a house beside the wild Atlantic coast of Western Ireland.

2014-10-12 11.19.45“I feel you’ve come here for a reason,” my host told me many times during the stay and the holiday was certainly one of those synchronous, strange, illogical events that usually mean Life is moving me into position for the next instalment of The Game.

Shortly before I’d left for County Mayo, I’d had a strange telepathic communication from Higher Will.  We’d been discussing the fear and aloneness I was feeling at that time, as I struggled with rats, builders and the like.  Suddenly he sent me these words:


It made no sense, but triggered some far off memory.

“It’s a past life thing, isn’t it? It’s just at the tip of my memory. Words you’ve said to me before in another lifetime.”


He gave me our names in that life – short, single-syllabled and oddly similar to our present names.  He told me that loving myself and conquering my present fears would have an effect in that other life.  He promised to help me discover more detail.

Then – nothing.  No narrative dreams, no breakthroughs during meditation, but the holiday to pack for and busy myself.  The strange conversation was forgotten.

She usually comes back to me, that distant woman, when I stand on a beach and she did so, several times, when I wandered through the beautiful landscape, healing and calming down as my recent problems faded away; learning slowly to trust my own resources and renew my love and care for myself.  I found and pocketed a pebble with markings that looked like a rune stone.

On my return, we had this conversation:


Yes.   A beautiful place it was too.   And a strange synchronous journey that seemed to have a reason. Can you tell me what that was?


You mean I have a past life there?


Is it the one you were speaking of before?


Ok, so I’ll try to pick up impressions from you, if I can. Are you going to place the thoughts in my head?


I’m getting the idea that this was the life I regressed to years ago. I was standing on a sea shore, with a small girl holding my hand and we were looking out to sea. Someone had departed the shores in a boat and we were watching – and I think glad they were gone. There was a village with mud and wood smoke behind us. I think we’d suffered a loss. How am I doing?


2014-10-13 18.51.18He told me he had been the child – my young cousin. ‘Bad men’ had raided our village and killed the rest of our people.  I got a distinct taste in my throat.

I think we’d been eating shellfish.


Was the rune stone ours?


I found a reference to the rune on a site about old Norse culture…

Name: Uruz, “aurochs.”  Meaning: strength of will.


I’ve returned from Ireland stronger and ready to face the problems ahead.  In some strange interdimensional way, I sense that the other me – somewhen – is feeling strong enough to face her future, too.

Catching up and Patching up

Gradually, day by day, life is returning to an acceptable state of affairs.  As I’ve found so many times in my LIME Cottage adventure, once I put myself in a positive mindset and expect everything to go well, it begins to do just that.

The huge engineer who came to fix my broadband on Monday was absurdly grateful for the coffee.  I was the first person that day, he told me, who had given him a friendly welcome.  He’s the ‘last resort man’, he explained – the one they send out when all others have failed.  Therefore he is often greeted by angry, disgruntled customers.  One woman that morning had sworn and screamed at him so much he’d withdrawn to his van for a while, to consider whether to go ahead with the job.

“Then I thought, well what do I know?” he said.  “She might have lost her mum last week or something.  There’s probably a reason she’s behaving that way and it’s her problem, not mine.  So I went in and did the job – got it working perfectly – and then she was leaping about, saying ‘You fixed it!  You fixed it! What did you do?’  And I’ll probably get into trouble for this but before I answered I told her she owed me an apology.  And I got one.  I still feel pretty shaky about it, though.”

I felt honoured to have met this thoughtful and sensitive man.  He sorted out my internet connection and promised to give me a call in a couple of weeks to check that everything is going well.

The old sink has gone.  A kind friend helped me load it into her car and take it to the local tip.

English: Wooden flooring Français : Parquet en...

Yesterday more delightful men arrived to put down my new flooring.  I’d been looking forward to that for several reasons: partly because I’d be rid of the ugly stained and ripped brown vinyl that had covered the kitchen, hall and bathroom; partly because until it was fitted my new sink can’t go in, but mostly because the workmen would be removing everything in my kitchen – including the fridge and washing machine.  That meant no more hiding places for rodents!  Even the darkest corners were revealed to be gloriously rat-free  – and the new floor looks lovely.

Other wonderful things have happened in my life, too.

I’ve been invited to stay for a few days in a house on the west coast of Ireland at the end of the week.  A friend of a friend is opening her doors to both of us – despite only having met me once, very briefly – and offering peace, tranquillity and views of the Atlantic and distant mountains.  It sounds the perfect antidote to the chaos and craziness here and the lady’s kindness touches me deeply.

I had a beautiful letter from little Tuesday – my ballet dancing ex-pupil.  She’s settling into her London dance school, struggling to be accepted by the other students, all of whom are from a very different background, worrying about her dad, whose tumour has grown larger, and unsure whether there will be enough money to pay for a second term at the school.  (Please click here if you’d like to read her story and maybe even help her family out.)  I hope she won’t mind if I quote briefly from her letter:

“I sound really angry but the ballet makes me feel like I’m in a beautiful  fairy land and I love it. The school is amazing but the girls are very prissy and it shocked me as I thought everyone would be nice but nothing in this 16 universes will put me off ballet.  I can feel it.  It helps me be happy in life.”

So rather a mixed up post this week, as I finally get the chance to write from my own computer, but linked perhaps by the way in which all of us interconnect and affect each others’ lives in ways we sometimes barely realise.  Each of us is on a journey to find what makes us ‘happy in life’, and to help others feel the same.

Normal service will resume when I return from County Mayo, refreshed and ready for the final push.


Discordant Conditions

Things at LIME Cottage could, perhaps, be at their lowest point.

The internet cable, inadvertently knocked aside by the roofers, has left me without broadband for three weeks.  The long awaited engineer arrived today.  He’s booked a second visit from another engineer for next week.  (‘I only do indoor fixes, love.  This one’s outdoor.’ ‘But I TOLD them it was the cable!’  ‘Yeah but you know how it is.  They will only take that sort of information from a qualified engineer.’)

Then there are the rats.  I thought we had an agreement; they could have the roof space if I could have to house.  Never expect to make agreements with rats.  Meeting one in my bedroom at 1am was not fun.  There are now trays of puce coloured poison everywhere.  Enough is enough.

The new shiny shower room is all installed.  Looks great.  Can’t use any of it of course.  The plumber can’t drill the hole for the pipework because the wall is blocked by the scaffolding, which would have been removed last Monday, except that the builders had left all their gear on the scaffolding…  It should all be sorted out next week.

I have two kitchen sinks: the old one in pieces in the garden (need to manifest some kind soul to remove that) while the gorgeous butler sink and hand-crafted solid wood unit almost fill my living room.  It can’t go in the kitchen until the flooring’s been done.  That’s supposed to be happening next week.

Before anyone tells me how brave and resilient I’m being, let me confess to several sleepless nights, outbursts of fury and tears of frustration.  Eleven weeks of living in a rat-infested building site is taking its toll.  However synchronicity has not deserted me.  Today I opened a magazine.  The editorial spoke of the unrest and chaos in the world and included this timely quote from Wellesley Tudor Pole:

Until these discordant conditions have been cleared away it is impossible for a more spiritual order of living to become possible.

So at a fractal level, my petty inconveniences mirror those of the wider world.  I’ll cling to my vision of LIME Cottage as a place where miracles are expected, and if all the discordant conditions are cleared away next week, it will be truly miraculous.