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The good living and community magazine for Exeter, Plymouth and across South Devon DEC 19/JAN 20 ISSUE 64

produce ❋ energy ❋ land ❋ homes ❋ community ❋ wellbeing ❋ arts

Pleas e tak e one


Whimsical WEDDINGs Planning an eco-friendly celebration of love

a season of change Have yourselves a very green Christmas

mindful in nature

winter get togethers

It’s time for healing and wellbeing

Our big guide to local celebrations

Packed full of inspiration and information for your local community - powered by the people!

Visit us online at


The Nautilus Rooms in Totnes specialises in talking and creative arts therapies. We have a team of highly trained and experienced coaches, counsellors, family therapists, psychotherapists, psychologists, relationship therapists, sand play and creative arts therapists. These mental health professionals work across a range of different theoretical models and with all ages. All are professionally qualified and insured. Wonderfully supported by massage therapists and mindfulness practitioners. We are in a secluded location just off Fore Street and attract clients from across the South West. Check out The Nautilus Rooms website for more information. or email

Sandplay and Creative Therapies The Nautilus Rooms are home to the West Country’s leading provider of Integrative Sandplay and Therapeutic Art trainings. Our courses are awarded by The Association of Integrative Sandplay Therapists. Check out our website for more information: or contact Ruth Baker at

Sandplay Therapists Courses

Foundation in Integrative Sandplay Therapy (2 day course): 4th and 5th April 2020 24th and 25th October 2020 Diploma in Integrative Sandplay Therapy (4 3-day weekends): 7th - 9th February 2020 20th - 2nd March 2020 1st - 3rd May 2020 26th - 28th June 2020 Advanced Diploma in Integrative Sandplay Therapy (5 3-day weekends): 17th-19th January 2020 28th February -1st March 2020 17th - 19th April 2020 29th - 31st May 2020 Foundation in Therapeutic Art (2 day course): Enquire for a Spring 2020 date 26th-27th September 2020

Mindfulness Courses Sand and Mindfulness

individual day and ongoing group – please enquire

Mindfulness in Nature please enquire

Continuing Professional Development Courses: Introduction to the Archetypes in the Sand 2-day course If you are interested in a course however the dates don't work for you - do get in touch with Ruth to discuss further.

For more information email:


The Nautilus Rooms • 35a Fore Street • Totnes • TQ9 5HN • Call Ruth on 07736 334454 or Peter on 07826 414404

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Broughttoyou by...


A low carbon vision EDITOR Scott Williams




For mind, body, and soul



South Westerlies



Seasonal merriment

ORGANIC GARDENING14 Seasonal top tips



The world day of repair COUNSELLOR WRITER Leigh Smith

EAT WELL AT CHRISTMAS 18 Avoid food fatigue

Sharpham wedding page 24

NOURISHING FOOD 19 Stop the ‘healthy’ hype

LIVING:MADE SIMPLE 20 The cost of cheap clothes


Eco-friendly ideas

to the December/January issue of Reconnect and firstly may we wish you all a joyous and peaceful Christmas/Solstice/New Year. It’s that time again when I remind you that when you’re doing your festive shopping visit local, independent stores and stalls (it’s a crucial time for our local economy). If you can’t think of ‘stuff’ to buy someone, then why not buy an experience? There are some wonderful nurturing health ideas to be found in our wellbeing pages and classifieds. As we enter a new decade, it’s becoming more and more apparent that it’s time for change, and that’s the overarching theme of this issue. We also have love in the air with the return of our pages for those planning a sustainable wedding, with a few more local ideas for you. Our Feb/Mar issue is our 2020 festival and events preview. To be a part of it, get in touch before Christmas to beat the rush. Season’s greetings to you all. Scott x



A GREEN CHRISTMAS 24 Our festive guide



Our holistic health guide

n of


Shop local - page 19




Holding a grudge


Reconnect’s small ads FOOD WRITER Jane Hutton





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FEB/MAR issue out the end of January - the next deadline is Jan 3 PUBLISHED BY Reconnect Magazine, 18 Millin Way, Dawlish Warren EX7 0EP PRINTED BY William Pollard & Co Ltd, Exeter WEBSITE Visit our website at Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook. com/reconnectmagazine ECO ETHOS Reconnect is written, designed, printed and distributed locally, using materials from

sustainable sources. It is printed using vegetablebased inks and the paper used has been carbon balanced with an area of land preserved in perpetuity with the World Land Trust (WLT) - an international conservation charity that protects the world’s most biologically significant and threatened habitats acre by acre. To learn more about them see and All by-products of the production and printing processes are recycled. Please recycle this magazine by passing it on to someone else after you’ve read it COPYRIGHT © Reconnect Magazine. All rights reserved. No

part of Reconnect can be reproduced in any form without permission of the publisher. But do ask – if you’re genuinely spreading the word, we’ll try to help. The publishers, editor and authors accept no responsibility in respect of any products, goods or services advertised or referred to in this issue, or any errors, omissions, mis-statements or mistakes in any advertisements or references.

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news&views First acts

SOUTH Devon’s Chagstock Festival have announced the first acts for 2020; they are Otway & Barrett, Town Of Cats, The Lagan, Cut Capers, Salvation Jayne, and Xander and the Peace Pirates. Which reminds us, our next issue is our annual festival special.

Illuminated gardens

COLETON Aglow returns with the illuminated gardens of Coleton Fishacre. The National Trust illuminated house and gardens have a 1920’s Christmas-themed event with plenty of interactive activities for the kids. Illuminated until December 31. Booking is essential.

Staverton amended IN our Oct/Nov issue about the climate emergency, in the article by Jacqi Hodgson we published a list of cities/towns/ parishes that have declared a climate emergency, but unfortunately we missed the parish of Staverton in South Hams. They declared a climate emergency in April 2019.

Another brick in the wall-aby…


AIGNTON Zoo will host the UK’s biggest Brick Safari in 2020. The Great Big Brick Safari will bring over 80 giant wild animal models to Devon next summer. Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “We want your old plastic building bricks. Not to make the Great Big Brick Safari models – these are created by professional Bricklive artists and contain a million bricks. We want them so that guests inspired by the safari models can make their own when they visit us. “It’s a great chance to get rid of unwanted bricks. Search your cupboards and your lofts, have an winter clear-out! We’ll take all sorts, shapes, sizes, colours and brands. Recycle your unwanted bricks and donate them to a good cause. We will clean them, make them available to play with next summer, then pass them on to good homes afterwards, so they won’t be wasted.” There will be a brick donation point at Paignton Zoo, while local radio stations including The Breeze and Radio Exe will be running promotions to collect bricks. The great big brick amnesty will last until February 2020. Pippa Craddock, Director of Marketing & Development at Paignton Zoo, commented: “We’re so excited to be hosting the UK’s biggest Brick Safari. Our guests will have an action-packed full day out - it’s going to be a fun summer!”

Wedding show

TORQUAY’s Princess Theatre will be hosting Prim and Proper Events’ first ever Wedding Show on January 18.

Rewild arts

KINGSBRIDGE’s Harbour House Centre for Arts and Yoga exhibits Rewild from December 10-15, featuring Kevin Lawley’s chairs that he’s rescued from the streets and rejuvenated with creative carving and painting. Alongside them are a collection of paintings in homage to the beauty of the animal kingdom by Donna Lawley Hopton. Donna joined the Devon Badger Group, which had formed to protect the species and to bring its plight to the attention of the public. In learning about biodiversity and environmental politics, she felt driven to speak out through her art. Her work is apparently unresolved to reflect this critical moment in our environmental history.


Exmouth discusses their climate solutions


N A cold, wet Exmouth evening in November, over 90 people representing 50 different local groups met to discuss all the great things currently happening in Exmouth, their vision for what a low carbon Exmouth might look like, and to identify immediate rapid steps can be taken towards it. Hosted by Transition Exmouth, this was the first of a series of events brought about by the declaration of a Climate Emergency by local, regional and national governments. People present ranged from Extinction Rebellion activists to parliamentary candidates, local businesses to Facebook groups, allotment holders to churches. Working groups covered a range of issues: food, built environment, community, energy, transport, biodiversity and reducing waste. The most popular long term vision was an Exmouth Eco Hub or an environmental / arts discovery centre where workshops can be held, information shared and practical community action taken. This suggestion

came up on every table! A few of the hundreds of ideas for the future ranged from switching to a renewable energy supplier, volunteering for an eco group, using the Refill shops in Exmouth, cycling more, joining a car share scheme and of course planting a tree. Transition Exmouth’s Next Step was to respond to Devon County Council’s call for proposals on how to achieve a Carbon Zero Devon. “All the suggestions made during the meeting were included in our submissions, it was an almighty task collating them all in time for the first round deadline on Sunday, but our fantastic team achieved it” said Carol Jay, Transition secretary. Transition Exmouth are encouraging everyone to respond individually to the consultation, which goes on until early 2020 at www.devonclimateemergency. Anyone who would like to use the Transition Exmouth submissions as a basis for their own can email

Frosty fun for kids

STILTSKIN Theatre are offering another magical festive delight for all the family at Plymouth’s Devonport Park. The Curious Tale Of Jack Frost takes children on a sparking adventure to discover the artist behind those early morning frost patterns. Running two shows daily from December 7-24 see


FEELING a bit flat post festive celebrations when it’s mid January has a traditional remedy. An evening of ceremony and merriment at a Wassail. The county is blessed with many orchards that participate in these popular annual events based around the traditional cider apple blessing with noisy flaming processions to orchards, pieces of toast in trees, shooting of shotguns, shouting wassail to ward off evil spirits, drinking cider, and singing traditional songs, all to bring forth a bountiful apple harvest. Wassails usually take place on the weekends around Old Twelvey Night (January 17) expect Sandford, Stoke Gabriel, Whimple, and Dartington to once again hold events in 2020.

Skills for young people A NEW housing project in Paignton, set up by Young Devon and Torbay Council, is giving young people the practical skills and experience to be able to live successfully independently within the community. It will support six young people at any one time with their own room and onsite staff to provide daily advice and guidance on life skills, including healthy eating, cooking, budgeting and cleaning. There is also an onsite training centre which helps young people gain the skills to secure long term employment. Follow Young Devon on social media, access their website at www. or contact them on 01752 691511.

Amazing fundraising

DAME Hannahs supporter Rosy Holland visited the charity recently to present an extremely generous cheque to the staff and young people. During the year she has raised an amazing £4214.38 for Dame Hannahs by organising a number of fundraising events to celebrate her 70th birthday earlier in the year.

Plymouth gets co-operative with film screenings


LYMOUTH Arts Cinema is working with Plymouth City Council to present a series of films over the next 12 months to raise awareness of the great work that cooperatives do. Plymouth City Council wants to double the size of the co-operative economy in the city by 2025. There are 23 co-operative enterprises based in Plymouth with a combined turnover of £18.6 million and membership of over 9,500 people. The newly announced action plan will look at the most promising areas for Plymouth to develop its cooperative economy. As businesses owned and run by their members, co-operatives offer a solution to the growing sense

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of powerlessness people feel over business and the economy, giving them control of the businesses they are closest to - whether they shop at them, work at them or supply them. Customers are influencing the businesses they use. Local residents are saving vital services. On December 19 the cinema will be screening It’s A Wonderful Life. A feel good festive lesson in the humanity of community. More screenings are to be announced in the new year. Full price £4. Concession £2. See

Susan Derges’ Tidepool

Seeking tanners

SOMERSET based Organic Sheepskins, the only registered organic sheepskin tannery in England, are wanting to find people to set up natural organic tanneries as they can’t keep up with the demand. The tannery uses a product which may otherwise be wasted and tan without the heavy metals and toxic chemicals usually involved. Find out more at www.

Transition talking

TRANSITION Town Totnes has teamed up with the Dartington Hall Trust and Schumacher College to host a series of talks and workshops about change and making it happen. There will be workshops and talks every month between now and spring 2020, taking place in different venues across Totnes. Find out more at

Wellbeing funding

ANYONE interested in applying for the Totnes Wellbeing Fund must do so by December 20, see for details. WE just received news from Totnes based author Lucie Dudley about her new book The Caduceus, an insightful modern-day fairytale of magic and the world of spirits, current world issues and how we can solve the crisis we are in - more on this next issue.

NEWS&views PLEASE contact us if you have a story to share with Reconnect readers. Email

Inspired by seaweed

sea garden

EXETER’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery (RAMM) is showing the firstever UK exhibition of contemporary artwork inspired by seaweed. Combining film, sound, textile and print, the exhibition explores complex and interweaving issues of feminism and environmentalism. Sea Garden (running until Jan 26) takes as its starting point RAMM’s own collection of historic seaweeds, many of them collected by women during the nineteenth century from beaches in Devon. Often overlooked, these women contributed to our understanding of marine science by sharing their seaweed specimens with scientists who then used them for their own research. The exhibition includes a specially-commissioned work by SW artist Bryony Gillard and pressed seaweed by Totnes-based artist, Jo Crook. It also features work by internationally-acclaimed artists including Turner Prize-nominee Lucy Skaer, Mikhail Karikis, Dorothy Cross (one of Ireland’s leading international artists), Sarah Rose and Devon-based photographer Susan Derges.

Plastic free Christmas crafts at Devon Guild FESTIVE shoppers can learn how to go more plastic-free this Christmas at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen in Bovey Tracey. ‘Christmas Celebration Day’ will take place on Saturday December 7 from 10am through to 8pm, including free Plastic-Free Workshops where attendees will be able to make Santa decorations from wood, felt and wool under the guidance of a local artist. There will also be a plastic-free Christmas wrapping service, mulled wine and food tasting, handmade gifts, craft exhibitions, seasonal cards and decorations all coinciding with the Christmas Lights Switch On in Bovey Tracey. Artist Astrid Keller will be leading the Plastic-Free Decorations Workshops at 10:30am and 11:45am. The 45 minute workshops are free and open to anyone aged 6 and above, children must be accompanied by an adult. Booking is recommended in advance on 01626 832223. Visitors to the riverside-based centre will also have the opportunity to meet Guild Members Richard Shimell and Arwyn Jones, both of whom will be hosting pop up studios.

Late shopping

LATE night shopping is on Thursdays in both Exeter and Plymouth. Totnes late night shopping at the Night Market runs from 3.30pm-9.30pm on December 3, 10 & 17. Exeter hosts their Christmas Market at Cathedral Green, and Plymouth Christmas Market is in Armada Way. Both run nightly until December 19. Plymouth’s Royal William Yard has three Good Food and Craft Markets on December 1, 8, and 15. Sidmouth Shopping Evening and Christmas Fayre happens on December 6 from 5-8pm. The Shops at Dartington Christmas Fair takes place on December 14-15. Shaldon’s Clipper Christmas Artisan Market is on December 4. Bovey Tracey and Kingsbridge both celebrate Christmas (separately) on December 7 and Harbertonford’s Craft and Art Fair is the following day.

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news&views Sustainable surfacing

CORNISH sustainable resin driveway company, Oltco, now have a base in Plymouth. Since January, the company have used the equivalent of over 21 million plastic straws in driveways, paths and patios. Their Recycle Bound is the world’s first recycled driveway solution which helps to combat the global issue of plastic waste. Made utilising waste plastic (straws, plastic drink bottles and plastic food packaging) from a plastic recycling point, Oltco now offer their innovative resin driveway solution across Plymouth and the surrounding villages including Yelverton, Gunnislake, Lifton, Princetown and Ivybridge. Find out more at

Call for art entries

ART groups are invited to prepare works inspired by RAMM and its collections for the 8th annual Local Art Show from May 23-June 17. The show gives art groups and societies from Exeter and the surrounding area the chance to display members’ work in an exhibition at RAMM. Partnered by Exeter Living, the 2020 show will be in Gallery 22 from May 23 to June 17. Entries must be submitted by 5pm on February 14. For further entry details, visit

Launch celebration THE new Torbay Social Enterprise Network is launching on December 4 at Paignton’s Palace Theatre from 6pm-8pm.


New practitioner space opens in Plymouth


ELCOME to the contemporary new space for mind, body and soul practitioners that has opened its doors in Plymouth. Temple Wellness, located in an elegant building in a peaceful, central area of the city, aims to be a bridge between the more traditional clinic space and a spa. It will offer relaxation and restorative treatments, alongside personal wellbeing and balance. Dawn Melville, who founded the new centre alongside Nicola Parker, said: “We will offer clients a rich and varied ecosystem of therapies whilst giving collective support to our growing family of practitioners who will benefit from centralised marketing and publicity and the opportunity to be part of a programme of events. They will also be able to participate in clinical group monthly supervision and receive lots more collective benefits besides.” Nicola said: “We have set out to create a wellness space where clients find themselves naturally relaxed and resident practitioners feel supported and engaged. Our ethos is of support and good service – for the people working behind our doors as well as for the people coming through them.” Temple Wellness has capacity for up to eight resident practitioners. The first three to join the team are: l Reconnect’s very own Jane Hutton – The Functional Foodie: a holistic functional nutritionist, helping people reach and maintain vibrant all-round health,

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making nutritious, delicious food a daily habit. l Nicola Parker – Psychotherapist, counsellor and clinical hypnotherapist, specialising in anxiety and depression, young people, individuals and couples. l Steve Lacy – of Fortitude Sports Therapy: a fully qualified BSc level 6 sports therapist and injury rehabilitator and a member of the Sports Therapy Organisation, specialising in musculoskeletal injury rehabilitation. Temple Wellness has affordable, furnished, spacious and welcoming rooms on flexible rental terms. Practitioners who want to hire rooms on an ad hoc basis can do so, subject to availability. The centre also offers availability at weekends, workshop space, internet access, secure premises and free on-street parking. l For more information, email: info@ or call Dawn on 07876 365210 and visit TempleWellnessPlymouth

NEWS&views Singing for charity

Thoughtful words from the heart


INGERS raise their voices for charity when Helen Yeomans’ acclaimed Glorious Chorus choir add icing to the cake with concerts in Chagford, Kingskerswell and, of-course, St Johns in Totnes, which has come to be an annual fixture for many music lovers in the area at Christmas time. If you haven’t seen this choir you are in for a treat. With singers from all over the county, Glorious Chorus’s reputation has earned them spots at some of the best festivals including Glastonbury, Port Eliot, and Voices Now. All profits from the Totnes concert will go to Shelter and Totnes Hub charities. Expect an eclectic mix of festive music, from sweet original pieces by Helen to arrangements of classic favourites and carols. Soloists are sure to add the dazzle.

Helen is also organising the annual Dartington Charity Carol Sing, also in support of local homeless charities, on December 22 from 6.30pm. This has become a muchloved event in Dartington village as Helen’s little ‘pop-up choir’ sings it’s way around the village. Look out for details around the village and on social media nearer the time. Find out more at www.gloriouschorus.

Huxhams Homemade bears fruit

Exeter Safesleep to home the homeless

PEOPLE sleeping rough over the winter nights in Exeter can once again find shelter indoors thanks to a night shelter. The 26-bed shelter (we first brought news of the plan back in issue 56) is run by local charity Julian House. The Junction, the former Spice Island restaurant in Magdalen Street, is home to Safesleep. Building on the success of last year, Safesleep offers accommodation and support to vulnerable homeless men and women 7 days a week providing 90 nights of hostel accommodation during the coldest months of winter and protecting rough sleepers from the risk of death on the streets. The service aims to prevent loss of life, reduce rough sleeping to as near zero as possible and support people back into settled accommodation, preventing a return to the streets. The service provides a bed in a safe place, where people sleeping rough can access food, clothing, laundry and wash facilities, together with activities, support and practical assistance from on-site staff to prevent a return to the street and achieve long-term positives outcomes.


ONDERFUL (large) packages have been arriving over the last few weeks at Huxhams Cross Farm. Rachel Phillips explains: “Our new apprentices can be found in our kitchen stirring vats of bubbling liquid, the clink of bottles and jars can be heard from our wheat fields, the smell of sweet goodies and pickly delights can be smelt all the way to the chicken sheds and our chickens are delighted to be feasting on the remains of pressed apples and the hulled calyx of strawberries - amidst all of this hullabaloo ‘Huxhams Homemade’ has come into fruition. “ The Apricot Centre at Huxhams Cross Farm has been lucky enough to be awarded funding from the European Funding Organisation Power to Change’s Trade UP Programme and Leader funding, which has meant that they can finally get the preserving, juicing and fermenting side of their business on the farm up and running! Rachel added: “We are now able to process the glut of fruit and vegetables that we have on the farm. Handmade in small batches, using traditional rural methods, we use only the best organic ingredients and 30% less sugar in our recipes. Our

JOHN Tissandier is a Totnes based author who asked us to mention his book, which came out this year. The book is Two To One - Poems & Short Stories and John said: “The collection of one hundred poems and fifty short stories point to the same hidden essence in each and every thing.” The book is available from local bookshops including Arcturus and Castle Books in Totnes. Alongside the common poetic themes of nature, love, life and death, there are some more unusual topics: enlightenment, the financial crisis, the heartache of a physicist, the withdrawal symptoms of a nerd, a piece of dust, and the Daleks! The stories, too, explore the multifarious wonders of this world and of possible worlds: the search for a genuine guru, the consequences of acquiring an alien artefact, a rewriting of the story of Adam and Eve, the pitfalls of cryogenics, an encounter with a snake fifty miles long, the town where everyone is a therapist, and the Amazonian warehouse of all possibilities...

sugar is Raw Cane Organic sugar meaning that it is not processed and so the full flavour of the produce comes through.” This year leftover berries have been made into jams, tomatoes have been made into chutneys and we are told their apple juice is amazing! Huxhams are currently offering a range of jams, cordials including meadow sweet and elderflower, pasteurized apple and pear juice, piccalilli, chutneys, relishes and fermented goodies. l If you would like to purchase from the full range of products visit them at Totnes Market on a Friday, order online at or visit them on the farm.

Discover rural life in the Victorian era


LISON Huntingford is an only child of two only children and so has always felt a distinct lack of family. This inspired her to research her family history and led her to write her debut novel, The Glass Bulldog, based on the true story of one of her ancestors. Alison grew up in Devon and was delighted to find an ancestor who came from Exeter. Alison said: “His story touched and inspired me. The more I looked into it, the more compelled I felt to write it up. The ‘glass bulldog’ is a real object passed down through the generations from the family in this novel. In fact it is still in the possession of my own family, now.”

The novel takes place over 50 years from 1832 to 1885, spanning most of the Victorian era. The action starts in rural Devon, just after a recent cholera outbreak, but moves to various locations in London and Surrey during the hero’s life. Find a copy of the drama in your library or local bookshop.

Evolution, Exeter’s Holistic and Ethnic Shop has now moved to 96 Fore St (same side at the top of the hill opposite St Olave’s Church) Come and see our incredible and Extended range of products including Books, Crystals, Cards, Candles, Clothes etc. Tel: 01392 410759 Mobile: 07773282861 Email: Website: Facebook: Editorial: 01392 346342


news&views Local crafts ASHBURTON Makers Market Christmas Craft Fair returns to offer more stress free Christmas shopping at St Andrews Church Hall. The annual sale of unusual and high quality locally handmade arts and crafts, alongside a cafe selling nourishing lunches, tea and coffee and delicious cakes, takes place on December 7 from 10am until 4.30pm.

Festive fayre

Local family’s small press success HEDGESPOKEN Press is a local enterprise started in 2015 by Tom Hirons and Rima Staines. As well as Tom and Rima’s own writing, the press has published works by celebrated home-grown and international talent. It’s most well-known works are Tom’s subculture poetry sensation, Sometimes A Wild God, illustrated by Rima, and prints of Rima’s uncanny artwork with its worldwide following. The core of Tom and Rima’s work lies in their passion for old stories told by starlight and fire. In these, they believe, lie a magic and a beauty more vital than ever. Working from a small office and studio in Totnes, the works they create are available online, in local bookshops (Paperworks in Totnes and GNASH in Ashburton) and around the world. Sometimes A Wild God has been called ‘a wake-up call for troubled times’ and it has been translated into at least ten languages. Other publications include Nettle-Eater, in which a Dartmoor ascetic eats only nettles, learns to fly and encounters the moor’s old Gods; the latest work is a postcard book of Rima’s art. Tom said: “In a variety of artforms, Hedgespoken Press brings storytelling and art that is rooted in an ancient enchantment, beguiling and sometimes unsettling. Its work speaks to the unfathomable depths of us, the place where magic is found and made.” Find out more at or @hedgespokenpress on Facebook and Instagram, and @thehedgepress on Twitter.

Giving a great performance while lying down WE’RE all familiar with the term ‘resting actor’ - a polite euphemism for a member of the theatrical profession who is currently unemployed or ‘between jobs’. But for regular Reconnect advertiser Jeff Sleeman, the term has taken on a whole new meaning. Jeff has recently been working with Health and Care Videos, a Newton Abbot based company which produces a range of training films for use in the healthcare industry. For one of their latest projects - a video for medical professionals showing the correct way of setting up an intravenous drip - Jeff was required to play the role of a hospital patient which involved him being filmed lying on a bed while a nurse demonstrated the correct

procedure for the camera. Said Jeff: “I seem to have a knack of getting acting roles that require lying down. Previously I have participated in medical training sessions in which I have to show various stages of a patient in a coma, played the part of dead body in a pond for a feature film and an unconscious drunk on the TV series Casualty. Plus I perform regular murder mystery events, often ending up as the victim. So by comparison with some of my previous roles, this was actually quite an active performance!” l For information on Health and Care Videos visit their website www.healthandcarevideos. com and for more on Jeff’s work see www.

AFTER a successful inaugural event last year, Newton Abbot Racecourse host their Christmas Fayre again on Saturday December 7 from 10am until 4pm and it’s free entry.

Wellbeing funding

ANYONE interested in applying for the Totnes Wellbeing Fund must do so by December 20, see wellbeing-in-totnes/wellbeing-fund for details

Farmers market

CREDITON Christmas Farmers Market at The Square will be held on December 21 from 10am-1pm.

Jeff with Ali Porter, Director of Operations for Health and Care Videos 10% DISCOUNT for readers enter code: reconnect2019 at checkout

"Choosing to live life in a cyclical way is an empowering adventure that leads you to your own true North."


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NEWS&views The Reconnect herb walk

south westerlies...

TORBAY herbalist Dawn Ireland of Green Wyse explains a little about medicinal uses of common seeds or herbs, taking us on a virtual Reconnect herb walk.

THIS issue Scott gives you an insight into how he spends his spare time. He’s come to realise that his leisuretime pursuit is one not out of place in these pages.....


Enjoying the moment


HE early morning air is crisp about me, and I feel immersed in nature. I feel the breeze about me, my senses soak into the surroundings and my environment. I watch the trees moving behind those around me, and am immersed in the moment. I straighten, relax, and turn to face a target 100 yards away. I take in a deep breath, letting it out slowly I quieten my mind. I raise my bow towards the target, fingers gently resting on the string and focus my eyes on the far away circle of yellow. Another deep breath as I pull back the string, I feel my body making the draw, the bow in my arms becoming an extension of my physical body. My fingers reach the familiar anchor point under my chin while I never waiver from looking at the target. A moment of stillness where everything feels right ... and then I release. The arrow speeds towards my intent, I hear a satisfying thud as it reaches its goal. For those readers who didn’t know I’m an archer, I shoot a traditional English Longbow with wooden arrows, and together with Karen, my wife, I compete at events across the country throughout each summer. This year I ranked within the top 10 in the UK. My scores rate me as a Master Bowman. It is a discipline which I have mastered for its many benefits. Since humankind has been able to paint the walls of ancient caves, archery has been a part of us. Traditionally, the bow was part of our survival; it brought us food, and enabled us to defend our homes. But the bow is more than just a weapon. It is a part of our history, and a part of what it means to be human. The ancient ways of creating bows, and over 50,000 years of development, are now being forgotten because we no longer count on our skills with the bow for our survival. We archers know, just as our ancestors did, that the process of mastering the bow is more than just getting good with a weapon. One must be able to focus, clear the mind, and concentrate on the simple movements involved. We think of it as a form of meditation. Ancient cultures knew this, one of the best examples that still survives is in Japan where archers practice an ancient form of archery. The traditional martial art ritual of Kyudo uses the philosophy of Zen to quiet the mind and balance the spirit. Kyudo “the way of the bow” is, I believe, the ultimate expression of this ancient mindfulness. It mixes religious and military traditions with Eastern philosophy into a deeply meditative, ritualistic practice, closer to an art than a sport. What matters is the perfect shot, not where the arrow ends up. For me I love what’s called traditional archery, using a stick with a piece of wood and a string.

No sights, no stabilizers, and only wooden arrows. What I’m doing is instinctive, it’s devoid of analytical thought, and pure in intent. Like any martial art, I have perfected my basic form to the point where I don’t actually have to think about what I’m doing. All I do is still my mind, let the actions flow and focus my intent. That’s actually much harder than it sounds... and that’s why I’ve been hooked on it for a decade now. I can get lost for hours trying to not think about anything I need to do in order to hit the target. There’s a simple goal, to hit the target, but also to quiet the mind, to focus and centre yourself through a skill as old as humankind itself. Through archery I have brought breath control and mindfulness into my daily life, uncovering those ancient practices that bring together mind, body and spirit. But archery doesn’t just require me to be at the range. I practice ‘shooting arrows’ mentally, working through the steps of my shooting process and concentrating on my breathing. When I have a bow in my hand I try to be aware of every sensation of my body. The feeling of my muscles and bones, the pressure on my feet, my balance and my stance, the strain from the bow, and the movement of both hands. I let these feelings flood my mind, and can feel when something is different from the sensations that my body has memorised. I can mentally visualise and run through that feeling, reinforcing the movements I need to focus on even when I’m not shooting. These days I have to be wary that I don’t unintentionally train a habit that can restrict the control I have, and I have coaches (because I shoot for the county team) that iron those issues out. I still find myself sometimes focusing too much on the results, particularly when in the indoor season. I have to be kind to myself, focus only on the present, rather than on past or future arrows. Archery isn’t all about living in a sense-focused ‘being’ mode. We do have to switch to an analytical ‘doing’ mode for scoring, and because it’s a sport there are competitive and technical sides. Switching instantly from one mode to another is what makes the sport so interesting for us participants. Sometimes the wrong mode kicks in at the wrong moment; this causes tension internally and ultimately leads to a miss. This state of flux is the hardest to master, switching in and out of that meditative state 2025 times in a competition. Many of the psychological benefits of an archery session: clarity of mind, relaxation and so on are identical to the benefits of mindfulness. I have come to realise they are the same thing.


EW plants are around and ready to harvest at this time of year, and those that are may be best harvested in warmer weather. However, if you find yourself out of stock of your favourite remedies, it is possible to pick some things almost all year round. Pine needles – Pinus species One of these is pine needles. High in vitamin C, the needles of the Pine can be made into a refreshing tea. One word of caution, please don’t try doing this with your Christmas tree, it may not actually be a pine, and it may be sprayed with chemicals to stop needle drop. The pine is extremely antiseptic as you might imagine from the smell. Often used commercially as an ingredient in cough medicines, it does have a particular benefit in respiratory complaints. The volatile oils produce a gentle expectorant effect, loosening mucus, and it has a mild bronchodilatory effect. The essential oil, or just the pine needles, can be used with hot water to make a steam inhalation for sinus congestion and dry coughs. The sap or resin makes a useful topical antiseptic, antifungal skin treatment, useful dissolved in hot water as a scalp rinse, or applied to the skin diluted in any vegetable oil. The commercial product made from French maritime pine bark is extracted and made into capsules for the extremely high antioxidant benefits.


Pine needles

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary is a circulatory stimulant, giving your blood flow a good boost, and has a particular affinity for the brain. Studies show that if you smell rosemary whilst studying, either the essential oil, or crush a sprig to release the oils, then smell it again when taking a test, it will help you to remember what you need to. Regularly drinking rosemary tea shows improvement in memory function generally. Like with many of the Mediterranean herbs, the volatile oils are antiseptic, antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-bacterial. It promotes digestive function, and has an uplifting effect on mood. Used in topical preparations it has some benefit in relieving pain, particularly as a salve massaged into the joints. When suffering from colds and coughs, both of these plants can be used as a vapour rub substitute by using one or two drops of essential oil mixed in any cream or balm. As always, use caution when using something new you haven’t tried before. Do a patch test, or just take a small few sips of a tea, to ensure you are not allergic. Be careful not to self diagnose, and see a professional if you are unsure. l Find out more about herbalism and Dawn at www.torbay-herbalist.

Editorial: 01392 346342


NEWS&views New practice offers great discounts Jellyfish Festival of Puppetry and Storytelling


E have some exciting news about our functional foodie Jane Hutton’s latest discounts for those in Plymouth. After a busy year working with clients, training health professionals, teaching courses, and contributing on projects helping children in food poverty to learn cooking and nutrition skills, as well as writing for Reconnect, Jane is looking forward to helping more people understand how easy and delicious it is to be truly nourished with a little know-how! She is a resident professional at Temple Wellness, a new holistic practice in Plymouth that is aiming to become a centre of excellence for lifestyle transformation, healthy weight management, mental health, and women’s wellbeing via programmes, collaborations and courses. If you fancy making a change for life, not just for January, check out the amazing introductory discounts

Jane is offering on consultations and the range of Reset coached programmes she’ll be offering at the practice. Offers run until December 31. Email Jane on or visit Temple Wellness on Facebook at TempleWellnessPlymouth/ to find out more.

JELLYFISH Community Arts Hub in Buckfastleigh will be transformed into a cosy and inviting story-grotto to host seven heart-warming performances from December until February. Saturday December 14 at 5pm Sundara and Leo Sofer present: Claire’s Magical Hair Once there was a girl whose hair could not be cut. Her mother tried scissors, which only broke! Her father tried an axe. Same thing! But why? Why is she the only girl with magical hair? It takes a wise old woman and many adventures before she discovers what her hair is really for. Running time 40m. Ages 4+ Saturday December 21 at 7pm and 9pm Angel Heart Theatre present: Jack and the Devi’s Purse In this darkly humorous and devilishly thought-provoking show the value of money and the nature of individual responsibility is played out with verve and comic bravado, proving true the old saying, ‘The Devil dances in empty pockets’. Running time 60m. Ages 10+ Saturday January 4 at 5pm Clive PiG presents: Adventures in Storyland Clive PiG – aka Mister Storyfella – is a globetrotting storyteller, songster and potato juggler. Have you heard the one about the cockroach who married a mouse? Guffaw and raise an eyebrow to some of the most humorous and curious tales he has collected on recent travels around the world. Running time 50m. Ages 4+ Saturday January 11 at 5pm Sara Hurley presents: The Magic Moor Dartmoor stories are hiding in plain sight amongst its granite tors, river valleys, black bogs and fern filled hill sides. Tales of giants and piskies, witches and dragons have been rumoured around these parts for centuries. Come and listen to some spellbinding stories from the land beneath our feet. Running time 55m. Ages 6+

Robin Hood Saturday January 18 at 5pm and 7pm Clockwork Moth present: Hansel & Gretel Lose yourself in the woods and follow the scent of sugar in this classic tale by The Brother’s Grimm, told through storytelling, shadow-puppetry and live music. Look “behind the scenes” after the show! Running time 45m. Ages 4+ Saturday January 25 at 5pm Katy Cawkwell presents: Odysseus and Penelope Katy Cawkwell tells the story of Greek mythology’s most famous couple.  Come and hear how cunning Odysseus outwitted first the Trojans and then the monstrous Cyclops, while resourceful Penelope fended off a hoard of greedy Suitors. Running time 50 minutes. Ages 7+ Saturday February 1 at 5pm and 7pm Angel Heart and Rattlebox Theatre present: The Tales of Robin Hood Join England’s Greatest Outlaw as he and his Merry Friends take on the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham! Be swept along in the adventure as dynamic puppetry and colourful acting bring these much-loved tales to life. With comedy, derring-do and even interactive archery, Robin Hood is a quiver full of fun for young and old. Running time 60m. Ages 4+ l Visit to book online.

Recalling life on the hippie trail


AROLINE Born, who is based in South Milton, has written a fascinating book. Based on a tiny diary she kept, it tells the story of her 9-month journey on the hippie trail in 1973. Fresh from school, with her best friend Izzy, she embarked on a very different way of life from her sheltered upbringing. With minimum possessions and an open heart, she joined the vast fluid movement of young people traversing the trail from Europe to the exotic east - a counter-culture that was spiritually inquisitive and generous. Caroline’s strange encounters, touching friendships, and personal transformation were all recorded in a tiny red diary, as were her meals and meetings, her sleeping places and her feelings. Now older and wiser and with the world a very different place, her younger and older selves meet in this book, as she welcomes her intrepid teenager self with respect and admiration.  


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Throughout this free-spirited memoir are many beautiful drawings and graphic mementos. l Caroline is not selling on Amazon for ethical reasons. The Harbour Bookshop in Kingsbridge and Arcturus in Totnes stock it. Or direct from Caroline by emailing her at: Reviews can be found on


DECember 2019/January 2020


How to get YOUR events into Going Out... WELCOME to Reconnect’s out of this world GoingOut pages... We connect all the hot stuff from across the region, categorised for easy access. We have an EVEN MORE comprehensive online version at - also available via our busy website at To get YOUR event listed online (and when possible, have it listed here in the mag too), simply register at ReconnectHub and enter the info free of charge. To advertise here or online, email or call 01392 346342.

A LIGHTDARK SEA GARDEN Until Jan 27, RAMM, Exeter. SEA GARDEN Until Jan 26, RAMM, Exeter. JANE CHRISTIAN EXHIBITION Until Jan 06, Teignmouth Pavilions, Teignmouth. CONNECTION: THE ART OF THREE Dec 3-8, Harbour House, Kingsbridge. REWILD Dec 10-15, Harbour House, Kingsbridge. MAXINE ADAMS EXHIBITION Jan 7-Feb 7, Teignmouth Pavilions, Teignmouth.



Until Dec 23, Pentillie Castle, Saltash. A CHRISTMAS CAROL IN CONCERT Dec 1, Teignmouth Pavilions, Teignmouth. CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Dec 1, Morwellham Quay, Tavistock. SANTA’S ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER Dec 1, Palace Theatre, Paignton. CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAIR Dec 7, Ashburton Makers Market, Ashburton. CHRISTMAS MARKET Dec 7, Old School Community Centre, South Brent. HARBERTONFORD’S CHRISTMAS CRAFT AND ART FAIR Dec 8, Harbertonford, Totnes. THE CURIOUS TALE OF JACK FROST Dec 7-24, The Soapbox Children’s Theatre, Plymouth.

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Dec 7-8, Morwellham Quay, Tavistock. NEWTON ABBOT ORCHESTRA CHRISTMAS CONCERT Dec 8, Teignmouth Pavilions, Teignmouth. CHRISTMAS. TIME. Dec 8, Palace Theatre, Paignton. SING A SONG O’SCROOGE Dec 11-14, Palace Theatre, Paignton. FESTIVE DINNER IN THE CASTLE Dec 12-19, Pentillie Castle, Saltash. CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Dec 14-24, Morwellham Quay, Tavistock. SLEEPING BEAUTY Dec 15, Palace Theatre, Paignton. ALADDIN Dec 19-Jan 4 Exeter Little Theatre Company, Exeter. TEIGNMOUTH PLAYERS: JACK AND THE BEANSTALK Dec 28-Jan 4, Teignmouth Pavilions, Teignmouth.

EXWICK COMMUNITY SINGERS Every Monday during term time, Exwick Parish Hall, Exeter. HAYDN: CREATION - PLYMOUTH PHILHARMONIC CHOIR Dec 1, Plymouth Guildhall, Plymouth. FESTIVE CONCERT - TORBAY POLICE & COMMUNITY CHOIR Dec 4, Babbacombe Con Club, Torquay. MUSIC FOR ADVENT - WEST DEVON CHORALE Dec 7, R C Cathedral, Plymouth. HANDEL’S JUDAS MACCABAEUS SOUTH DEVON CHOIR Dec 7, Church of St Mary, Torquay. THE ARMED MAN/ GLORIA - EXETER CHORAL Dec 7, Southernhay United Reformed Church, Exeter. STILLE NACHT - BRENT SINGERS December 7, St.Petroc’s Church, South Brent.

BUBBLICIOUS Dec 31, The Soapbox Children’s Theatre, Plymouth.




SING EXETER Every Tuesday, St Sidwell’s Community Centre, Exeter. SING PLYMOUTH Every Thursday, Pomphlett Methodist Centre, Plymouth.



CHRISTMAS AND ALL THAT JAZZ - EXETER FESTIVAL CHORUS Dec 11, St Davids Church, Exeter. CEREMONY OF CAROLS - BRITANNIA CHORAL SOCIETY Dec 14, St Saviour’s Church, Dartmouth. THE HEAVENS ARE TELLING - SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS CHOIR Dec 14, Harewood House, Plympton. EXWICK COMMUNITY SINGERS CHRISTMAS CONCERT Dec 16, St Andrew’s Church, Exwick. WORDS 4 VOICES Dec 18, Kingskerswell Parish Church, Newton Abbot. THE HEAVENS ARE TELLING - SIR JOSHUA REYNOLDS CHOIR Dec 18, Crownhill Methodist Church, Plymouth.


COMEDY PAM AYRES – UP IN THE ATTIC Dec 1, Palace Theatre, Paignton. EXETER COMEDY CLUB Dec 6-13, Exeter Corn Exchange, Exeter. MARK THOMAS Dec 11, Phoenix, Exeter. TEIGNMOUTH COMEDY CLUB Dec 13, Teignmouth Pavilions, Teignmouth.

DEVONLY VOICES WINTER CONCERT Dec 21, St Johns Church, Totnes.

LOU SANDERS Jan 23, Phoenix, Exeter.




EVENTS Until Jan 1, Babbacombe Theatre, Torquay. LIGHT UP A LIFE Until Dec 15, Hospiscare, Exeter.

DIVERTIMENTO STRING QUARTET Dec 10, Sharpham Trust, Totnes.

TALK BY MIKE RICHARDS Dec 4, Exeter Forum, Exeter.

MUSIC IN THE CASTLE - WEST BAROK Dec 13, Powderham Castle, Kenton.

LOLLIPOPS AND MOPTOPS Dec 6, Teignmouth Pavilions, Teignmouth.

5 CHEFS DINNER Dec 6, Lewtrenchard Manor, Lewdown. WREATH MAKING WORKSHOP Dec 7, Palace Theatre, Paignton. WREATH MAKING WORKSHOP Dec 7, Phoenix, Exeter. WESTCOUNTRY EQUINE FAIR Dec 7-8, Westpoint, Exeter. WREATH MAKING WORKSHOP Dec 9, Phoenix, Exeter. A SEASONAL ANTHOLOGY OF WORDS AND MUSIC Dec 11, Exeter Forum, Exeter. BRIAN FREELAND Dec 12, Palace Theatre, Paignton. THE GREAT GALE OF BRIXHAM 1866 Dec 13-14, Brixham Theatre, Brixham. WREATH AND WILLOW ANGELMAKING Dec 14, Sharpham Trust, Totnes. WREATH MAKING WORKSHOP Dec 14, Palace Theatre, Paignton. FESTIVE WREATH MAKING WORKSHOP Dec 15, organic ARTS, Exeter. TAVISTOCK CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL Dec 15, Pannier Market, Tavistock. FAULTY TOWERS THE DINING EXPERIENCE Dec 13, Northcott Theatre, Exeter TWIXT CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR CÉILIDH Dec 27, Village Hall, South Brent

Turn over the page for more GoingOut listings

Editorial: 01392 346342



DR HELEN WILSON Jan 9, Palace Theatre, Paignton. THE GREAT GALE OF BRIXHAM 1866 Jan 18, The Watermark, Ivybridge. EXETER VEGAN MARKET Jan 18, Corn Exchange, Exeter. CIRCUS OF HORRORS Jan 22, Exeter Corn Exchange, Exeter. BURNS NIGHT Jan 23, Hospiscare, Exeter. SUSIE DENT Jan 23, Exeter Corn Exchange, Exeter. EXETER U3A GROUPS FAIR Jan 23, Mint Methodist Church, Exeter. AUDITIONS SHAKESPEARE’S MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM Jan 26, South Devon Players, Brixham.

MUSIC GIGS BLACK TONGUE Dec 1, The Junction, Plymouth. STEVE WATERMAN, TERRY QUINNEY & THE NEIL BURNS TRIO Dec 1, Royal British Legion Club, Plymouth. BEABADOOBEE Dec 1, The Cavern, Exeter. MARTIN STEPHENSON AND THE DAINTEES Dec 1, Phoenix, Exeter. SCOUTING FOR GIRLS Dec 2, The Lemon Grove, Exeter.

SAM FENDER Dec 2, Plymouth Pavilions. BEABADOOBEE Dec 2, The Junction, Plymouth.

3 DAFT MONKEYS Dec 7, Community Hall, Buckland in the Moor. SUBHUMANS Dec 7, The Cavern, Exeter.

LADY BIRD Dec 4, The Cavern, Exeter.

DUB PISTOLS Dec 7, Phoenix, Exeter.

ISQ Dec 4, Fougou Jazz, Brixham.

SHOW OF HANDS Dec 6-7, Pavilion, Exmouth.

G4 Dec 4, Exeter Cathedral, Exeter. PETE CANTER Dec 4, Bridge Jazz Club, Exeter. DIZRAELI Dec 5, Barrel House, Totnes. TURIN BRAKES ACOUSTIC Dec 5, Phoenix, Exeter. NEIL SANDS Dec 5, The Watermark, Ivybridge. SABINE BARINGGOULD Dec 5, Devon Rural Archive, Modbury. ST AGNES FOUNTAIN Dec 5, The Watermark, Ivybridge. LAND OF THE GIANTS Dec 5, Bierkeller, Exeter. FRAN & FLORA Dec 5, Arts Centre, Ashburton. ANDY C Dec 6, The Lemon Grove, Exeter.

BASTILLE Dec 7, The Foundry, Torquay. GLORIOUS CHORUS Dec 7, Parish Church, Kingskerswell. ADAM ANT Dec 7, Princess Theatre, Torquay. HARRY & CHRIS Dec 8, Phoenix, Exeter. TANGO SONORO Dec 8 Jeanie Moore MVO, Plymouth. LARKINS Dec 8, The Junction, Plymouth. STEELEYE SPAN Dec 9, Exeter Corn Exchange, Exeter. HAUNT THE WOODS Dec 10, The B-Bar, Plymouth. MERRILL OSMOND Dec 10, Exeter Golf & Country Club, Exeter. THE MIDNIGHT BEAST Dec 11, The Lemon Grove, Exeter. THE DOORS ALIVE Dec 12, The Cavern, Exeter.

BLANCK MASS Dec 6, Underground, Plymouth.

KNIGHT & SPIERS Dec 13, Parish Church, Kingskerswell.

LADY NADE Dec 6, The B-Bar, Plymouth.

LAND OF THE GIANTS Dec 13, Barrel House, Totnes.

BEANS ON TOAST Dec 6, The Junction, Plymouth.

THE KINGSMEN Dec 14, The Watermark, Ivybridge.

Get YOUR event out there with Reconnect’s Going Out pages TO ADVERTISE your event on our diary website, Reconnecthub, simply visit and register - then you can enter your own events whenever you want. AND many of them will appear in the next (February/March) issue of Reconnect magazine. AND they will be viewed through other HUBCAST websites (across the SW). AND it’s all FREE! (There are some online advertisements available too and it’s first come, first served - so call Scott now on 01392 346342)


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GOING OUT IAN BRUCE Dec 14, Village Hall, South Brent.

THE WONDER STUFF Dec 19, The Lemon Grove, Exeter.


PRETTY VICIOUS Dec 14, The Cavern, Exeter

THE SWEET Dec 19, Phoenix, Exeter.


CLARE TEAL AND HER DUO Dec 14, The Plough Arts Centre, Great Torrington.

JOOLS HOLLAND Dec 19, The Great Hall, Exeter.


NEON WALTZ Dec 14, Phoenix, Exeter. KNIGHT & SPIERS Dec 15, Calstock Arts. MIKE WESTBROOK Dec 15, Fougou Jazz, Torquay. TWO COUNTIES JAZZ BAND Dec 15, Royal British Legion Club, Plymouth. REG MEUROSS Dec 17, Dartington Hall, Dartington. MAD DOG MCREA Dec 18, The Watermark, Ivybridge. BAD MANNERS Dec 18, Phoenix, Exeter. RED PENDULUM JAZZ Dec 18, Pete Canter, Exeter. BEVERLEY BEIRNE Dec 18, Fougou Jazz, Brixham.

CHASE & STATUS (DJ SET) Dec 21, The Foundry, Torquay. SLADE Dec 21, The Lemon Grove, Exeter. KAGEMUSHA TAIKO Jan 4, Phoenix, Exeter. ROXY MAGIC Jan 4, Pavilion, Exmouth. TOM BINNS Jan 10, Barnfield Theatre, Exeter. AITCH Jan 17, The Lemon Grove, Exeter. LOS PACAMINOS Jan 17, Pavilion, Exmouth. THE BELLRAYS Jan 18, Phoenix, Exeter. DART VALLEY STOMPERS Jan 19, Royal British Legion Club, Plymouth.

Jan 24, Parish Church, Kingskerswell. Jan 25, Calstock Arts.

Jan 26, Pavilion, Exmouth. JOE BROWN Jan 26, Princess Theatre, Torquay. GENN Jan 29, The Cavern, Exeter. GET CAPE. WEAR CAPE. FLY. Jan 30, Parish Church, Kingskerswell. THINK FLOYD Jan 31, Pavilion, Exmouth.

VILLAGES IN ACTION LIVING SPIT – SWAN LAKE Dec 17, Scoriton Village Hall. Dec 18, Lustleigh Village Hall. Dec 19, Sticklepath Village Hall. CARMEN & MIMI – SMILE Jan 18, Milton Combe Village Hall.

Devon Guild of Craftsmen

Beautiful contemporary crafts. Ideal festive gifts.

What’s on at The Guild this festive season... Our highly anticipated exhibition of handpicked crafts. Held in the Jubilee Gallery until Sunday 5 January 2020.

winter @devonguild

Our seasonal collection of crafts from Devon Guild Members. Held in the Riverside Gallery until Sunday 19 January 2020. Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey, TQ13 9AF Tel: 01626 832223 Open Daily 10am - 5.30pm. Free admission

Editorial: 01392 346342



GROWER has noticed that in the region there are more people than ever growing their own. Here are more helpful seasonal top tips.

Tidying the garden in Autumn


ELL we have reached selection at both our nursery at Yealmpton or on our market the end of another year, stall at Totnes market from late and what a year it’s February till mid September (at been! Here at Growers Organics the front next to the olive stall). we have never been so busy before in terms of plant sales. On the subject of fruit, we had a In think a lot more people have fantastic strawberry crop earlier this year, and now it’s time tidy made a decision to grow their up the bed. For those of you own crops this year, and good on wanting to increase your stock, them, fresher, healthier produce now is a brilliant and less food time to remove miles. Let’s hope and pot up some this trend is here of the larger to stay. more healthier Seed catalogues strawberry will now be runners (the available and smaller plants there are more that grow from and more the parent plant). organic seed Place them in a companies cold greenhouse coming on to the or cold frame market. Winter and plant out in Pot up strawberry runners is a great time their final position to chose and plan nearer to spring. Then next season’s vegetable beds. All take the shears to the rest of the from the comfort of your armchair. bed and give them a damn good Don’t get too carried away (it’s haircut, they will love you for it by easy to do!) Maybe get together coming back stronger and more with a like-minded gardening vigorous next year. friend and place your orders If you have a new asparagus bed, together. Share packets of seeds the ferns should have now turned and also some companies offer yellow and it’s time to cut them free delivery on larger orders. down to almost ground level and When your seeds arrive store spread a mulch of compost or leaf them in an air tight container, an mould over them, especially if empty sweet or biscuit tin left over they are still only in their first few from Christmas is perfect. Place years. This will protect them from it in a dry dark cool space and any hard frosts. your seeds will stay fresh. Never A Greenhouse’s glass can always keep them in the greenhouse as do with a wash. It’s amazing they will become damp in the how dirty it can get in a year. So winter and too hot in the summer rather than wait till the moment months.  you want to get in there and use Winter is also a great time to it to sow your seeds, why not give purchase and plant fruit bushes it a bit of a scrub down now on a such as gooseberry, raspberry nice bright sunny day. It will look and currants. Don’t forget they great and you can tick another need plenty of space. Always job off your list! imagine the plant’s final size and l Growers Organics is now shut space to get around it to pick all for the winter season, see you that lovely fruit when planting and all in February when we reopen you can’t go wrong. If you miss the nursery at Yealmpton (next to this planting opportunity don’t Ben’s Farm Shop in Yealmpton) worry you can always buy potted and also return to the market in fruit bushes right throughout the Totnes. year. We carry a fairly good

Coppicing of trees and shrubs for health THE benefits of us all planting trees to help the environment are well known. But as Anne Stobart of Holt Wood Herbs, explains we should also be considering the medicinal properties of trees and shrubs.

Snowball tree flowers


ANY trees and shrubs can be grown for the health properties of their leaves, flowers, fruits or bark. For example, a selfhelp tea for the symptoms of colds and sore throats is based on the flowers of the Elder (Sambucus nigra). Or elderberries can be used in a tasty syrup for colds and coughs. Introduced ornamental trees are also grown for health purposes. For example, the leaves of the beautiful maidenhair or Ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) are widely sold in remedies for circulatory complaints. Ginkgo leaves

So how do you fit these healing plants into a small space? Trees such as the Elder and Ginkgo can be readily managed to by pruning or coppicing. Coppicing is traditionally used with trees, like hazel and ash, by cutting back stems to the ground in the winter. This method is ideal for producing fresh growth of bark or leaf to harvest for medicinal use, or for flowers and fruit in subsequent years. Coppicing has many advantages apart from keeping trees or shrubs within reasonable size, as it promotes

their longevity, and it encourages diversity by allowing light through to lower-growing plants. Bark is a less well known product to be harvested from trees for medicinal use. Cramp bark comes from the Guelder rose or snowball tree (Viburnum opulus). The bark is dried and powdered, and preparations in capsules or tincture form make an effective antispasmodic remedy. Not surprising then that cramp bark is a useful remedy prescribed by herbal practitioners for period pains. This is a small tree or large shrub that does well in moist conditions, and we are growing it at Holt Wood in North Devon. We use coppicing to produce stems for bark that can be dried and powdered for use in capsules or tincture form. The Holt Wood Herbs project is all about cultivating and harvesting medicinal trees and shrubs in a sustainable way. Our woodland has been transformed from a redundant conifer plantation into a thriving medicinal forest garden. You can learn about medicinal trees and shrubs on our course ‘Designing the Medicinal Forest Garden’ on Thursday May 14 2020. l Get further details at www.

Joa’s A-Z of Organic Gardening

K is for Keeping on top of things. What I mean by this is vegetable growing is such a constant thing during the growing season. If possible try and attend to the veg patch daily and if not daily then at least every week. L is for Leafmould. A fantastic free soil improver which is brilliant for adding to very heavy soils. I avoid collecting leaves from the roadside because of the pollution but woodlands and country parks are ideal (but do seek permission from the land owner). Once collected it can either be stored in a homemade chicken wire frame or you can fill black plastic bags, tie up and make holes in the bag with a garden fork. These will now need to be stored for at least 12 months before using. But well worth the wait! Reconnect’s Organic Gardening column is written by Joa Grower of Growers Organics. Meet her at Totnes market on Fridays and Saturdays. Visit, or call 01752 881180.


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Harvesting crampbark

news & views

Studio 45 is an open-plan learning environment for potters and ceramicists where members and students have access to wheels, kilns and equipment, as well as technical know-how from our experienced teachers.

The world’s largest garden wildlife survey


NCE again the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is just around the corner, coming to a garden near you on January 25–27. Now in its 41st year, Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s largest wildlife survey. Last year 472,758 UK people donated one hour of their weekend to record the birds that landed in their gardens or local parks. The top five Big Garden Birdwatch species recorded were: starling, blue tit, blackbird, woodpigeon and still in the number one spot - the house sparrow. The beauty of Big Garden Birdwatch is that it’s so simple to get involved. It’s an activity that people Here are a few top tips that you can do now in your gardens to give our feathered friends a comfortable winter home: Energy Boost During the colder months birds need a lot of energy just to maintain their body temperature, so it’s important to feed them foods that are high in fat, such as black sunflower seeds, peanuts or fat-based food bars. If these fatty foods come in a mesh sacking, remove them from the netting and place them in a feeder or directly onto a bird table - birds can get trapped and injured on the mesh. Keep their Whistles Wet Provide daily, fresh water either in a birdbath, pond or an old container like an ice cream tub - birds need water to drink and bathe. During the winter your garden water becomes even more vital as natural sources can freeze. Regularly check your bird baths during the colder weather, in case a sudden frost freezes the surface, making it inaccessible for birds. If your garden water has frozen, carefully pour hot water over the surface to melt it. Cosy Shelter Winter is the perfect time to install a nestbox in your garden. It will allow your garden birds to investigate the box before nesting season begins in the spring. You may even find that some birds use the box as a winter roost, valuable shelter from blustery weather.

• • • • • •

Weekly 10 week courses - Beginners to Advanced Membership Program Apprenticeship Scheme Specialist Workshops & Master Classes Glaze Technology Sustainable practice and research team

For more information on membership, workshops and courses visit

of any age can enjoy – great fun for families and to start introducing young children to the natural world in their own back gardens. With 40 years worth of data, Big Garden Birdwatch allows the RSPB to monitor trends and helps us understand how birds are doing by creating a ‘snapshot’ of bird numbers across the UK. Since Birdwatch began blue tit numbers have risen by 20 per cent and the woodpigeon population has increased by a whopping 800 per cent. or contact us at

l To take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch and count the wildlife that’s counting on you: visit:

Call Doug for more information 07976589927

Join this journey


Volunteer opportunities for all abilities Help construct a straw bale and timber frame barn

at The Hillyfield Woodland farm on Dartmoor Ongoing to Spring / Summer 2020.

or visit

Empowering families across Devon & Cornwall since 1999

07759 890639

1 Cedar Units, Webber’s Way, Dartington, TQ9 6JY

Above Robin Erithacus rubecula photo by Ben Andrew. Below Blackbird Turdus merula photo by Chris Gomersall (both

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land matters


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Get outside and feel better at Foxhole Community Garden Come along to learn and share gardening skills as we continue to transform this former pasture into a productive paradise. Our Thursday Garden Volunteer day starts at 9:30am with a hot drink, catch-up and 10am start. Finish at 1pm. All abilities welcome - there are also many opportunities for a more gentle morning gardening and the garden is wheel chair accessible. The morning may consist of gentle gardening and clearing, planting out, discussing and planting new areas, mowing, tending flowers, herbs and plants, sowing seeds and planting.

Seedy Sunday Seed Swap 23rd February 11-1pm. For the fourth year we’ll be running a fun informal seed swap with plenty of seeds available from the Heritage Seed library and our own garden either for swapping or for a donation. Local seed producers Vital Seeds will be along to give a talk on seed production and saving too!

Introduction to Health Gardening Date: Every Tuesday starting 14th January 2020 10am-1pm Cost: £150. . Join an accredited gardening course run with Bicton College to gain an Occupational Studies Entry Level Award. On this practical weekly course you’ll learn how to garden and grow vegetables, flowers and herbs holistically, for your own health and that of the environment. For all ages and abilities. There is funding available for those in receipt of benefits or a low income. Early booking is advised. There are only 15 places available. Venue: Foxhole Community Garden, Old School Farm, Dartington Estate, Totnes, South Devon TQ9 6EB For further details on the courses visit or Zoe Jong 07505 805111


Get into holistic and therapeutic horticulture with two courses at Foxhole


T CAN be really hard to get outside when the days are short, dark and cold but there is always a warm welcome at Foxhole Community Garden. There are lots of opportunities to learn, meet people and spend time in a beautiful abundant community garden. Being outside in this season gives us a real chance to appreciate nature at work and to experience the magical changes that are happening all around us. Gardener Zoe Jong, said: “We garden organically using no-dig methods that build biodiversity, working with the environment. You can join our weekly “Feel better” volunteer day on Thursdays from 10am to 1pm where we tend the garden. We’ll be harvesting herbs, vegetables and flowers and building soil health as we mulch, weed and feed the soil with microbe and fungi preparations. Over the winter months we have a cosy shed to warm up in, hot drinks and biscuits on supply!” In the New Year starting in January Zoe and her team will also be running another 11 week course of their lovely Introduction to Healthy Gardening, which is an accredited gardening course for all ages and abilities (Occupational Studies Entry Level Award). The course, which is run with Bicton College, is aimed at helping gardeners and aspiring gardeners to garden holistically using a range of organic, permaculture and natural agriculture techniques. Zoe said: “Working in the garden under the guidance of an experienced garden tutor you’ll learn how to garden for your own health and that of the environment, grow organic vegetables, flowers and plants, and create wildlife sanctuaries and gardens that work with nature rather than against.”

The course runs from every Tuesday morning and the cost is £150. There is funding available for those in receipt of benefits or a low income. “And our popular parent and toddler group Fox Tots continues through the winter months. Carers and children aged 0-5 can get cosy around the fire and have fun as we explore being outdoors together. Enjoy seasonal garden & forest school activities such as sowing seeds, natural crafts, bug hunts, storytelling, cooking on the campfire, free play at the mud kitchen, wildlife pond, willow dome, orchard, flower and veg beds. Drinks and snacks for all. Sign up is per term.” Sign up to their garden newsletter or follow them on social media to keep informed about their upcoming seed swap on Sunday February 23, plant sales and other events. Zoe added: “Over the coming year we will continue our partnership with therapeutic horticulture training organization Thrive who will be running a series of courses on working with specific client groups in a garden setting.” l For further details visit www. or contact Zoe Jong on 07505 805111 or

Totnes takes part in the Big Fix 2020


N February 15, from 10am to 1pm, Totnes will take part in the Big Fix 2020, a global event that aims to become the world’s biggest day of repair. Inviting people to bring their broken items to the Mansion on Fore Street, the local Repair event will bring reuse and repair to the attention of the wider public, and also increase the popularity and number of repair cafes worldwide, which is currently over 1,500. Run in partnership with the Share Shed – A Library of Things, Network of Wellbeing, The Restore, Recycle Devon and Transition Town Totnes, the event will have Skilful volunteer menders offering electrical and electronic repairs, bike maintenance, fabric repair, garden tool maintenance and possible a few other things. Melissa Milne, who will be showing people how to care for their garden tools, says: “It’s so important that we make the most of what we have available to us. Mending, renovating, adapting, re-purposing are simple ways we can avoid unnecessary waste whilst gaining skills and the great sense of satisfaction that comes with making something usable again”. The Totnes Repair Cafe event will happen at the Mansion building, on Fore Street. This is a free event. Donations welcome. For further information, contact It’s worth noting The Restore, based in the Dartington Shops, run regular Repair Cafes on the last Saturday morning of every month, from 10am to 1pm, free of charge.

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news & views New regional choirs for Devon GEORGIAN Choir musical director Anthony Johnston has founded a new Georgian Choir in Ashburton and has another planned for Exeter in the new year. Anthony explains more of the heritage and traditions of this inspiring Eastern European country.

Singing the ancient folk songs & sacred chants of the Republic of Georgia All music will be taught by ear. No auditions, but an ability to pitch desirable. Performances, “Supra” (ritual feasts) & journey to Georgia autumn 2020. Exeter choir starts - Tues 14th Jan - 7.30-9.30pm Ashburton choir welcoming new members Wed 15th Jan - 6.30-8.30pm


EORGIA is a country that lies on the old Silk Road, with Turkey and the Black Sea to the East, the snowcapped Caucasus mountains to the North and Azerbaijan to the East. It is a Christian Orthodox country and one that has been invaded and occupied over the centuries: by the Persian and Ottoman empires and more recently the Soviets. So it is quite remarkable that such a strong cultural identity exists at all, something that arguably has been made possible by an equally remarkable singing tradition, one that pre-dates Christian times.

Borjghali Georgian Choir

Contact: Anthony Johnston - 07950052100 - are so easily forgotten can be remembered and praised with song. The result is a deepening of friendship and our faith in the basic goodness of people and of those things that make life worth living regardless of whatever the world is going through. Those interested in joining the choir can try it out first, the first session carries no obligation

THE HERON IN ISFAHAN The recollections of a girl on the hippie trail By Caroline Born

Available from Arcturus Totnes, the Harbour bookshop Kingsbridge, or email Caroline at:

It was these songs that awoke in me a desire to explore this country and its singing tradition further. It was these songs with their echoes of times long past, when songs had the power to heal and to bless or to even change the weather, that led to me to starting a choir in Bristol 14 years ago dedicated to Georgian polyphony. Many adventures later, the choir is thriving, but we now live in Devon and I have started a new Georgian choir in Ashburton with plans for a new choir in Exeter in January 2020. In addition to the songs, I am also inspired to share a tradition that is embedded within Georgia’s cultural DNA, it is the Georgian ritual Feast or “Supra”. At the Supra, the guest is seen as a ‘gift from God’. The Supra table is always brimming with delicious food and is overseen by the “Tamada” or toastmaster, whose job it is to ensure all things are toasted and honoured. It is within this context that our choir often sings. It is a place where words can be spoken that wouldn’t ordinarily get spoken. Aspects of life that

or commitment. Folk songs are traditionally taught by ear in Georgia and almost all of the songs in our repertoire have been passed down from mouth to mouth, going way back in time. We like to carry on that custom by not learning from printed music - the up side being that you don’t need to read music. We try to replicate the ‘Georgian sound’ as best as possible and we will invite you to explore the range and tone of your voice, and to go beyond what you might have thought was possible vocally. l For more information contact Anthony on 07950052100, or visit

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LOCAL PRODUCE Grocycle continues to mushroom


OUTH Devon’s gourmet mushroom project, founded by Adam Sayner and Eric Jong, pioneered growing gourmet Oyster mushrooms on coffee waste in 2009, and moved from Exeter to their base on the Dartington estate in 2018. Readers are probably most familiar with their grow-at-home kits that bring fresh mushrooms into our kitchens. They make thousands of the GroCycle Mushroom Kits, which are bought as gifts (a perfect Christmas present) and enjoyed by people growing their own mushrooms at home. Grocycle have been growing and selling fresh mushrooms in the local area, and the team have also started growing a new crop: microgreens. Microgreens

are vegetables or herbs that are harvested just after they’ve sprouted and produced their first set of true leaves. Adam said: “Microgreens have a number of benefits depending on what type you’re eating, including some big claims like reducing your cancer risk, lowering cholesterol, and more.” In the last year Grocycle helped the V&A museum in London to build and run a mushroom farm as part of a big exhibition on the future of food. See the fascinating video at which explains more about the exhibition. Grocycle continue to train and support hundreds of small scale mushroom farmers in more than 50+ countries around the world, and have launched a YouTube channel ( l Their Gourmet Mushroom Grow Kits & Online Course can be bought from their website https://

How to eat well at Christmas DITCH the need for new year diets, and festive food fatigue with Jane Hutton’s foodie tips to ensure that you’re eating healthily over the festive period: l Whether it’s an office or social festive meal out, make some savvy choices for maximum enjoyment without the health or hangover price to pay later. Choose protein-based starters and mains, and enjoy the right dessert. Charcuterie, or tomato and mozzarella salad are great choices, as are things like fish cakes, all served in one portion. Avoid bread, dips, and mezze where lots of high fat and starchy foods can be consumed in a grazing sitting. l Choose a main that is accompanied with a salad or vegetables, like steak or fish. Avoid chips, roast potatoes, and mash. Veg, veg and more veg! l A dessert like a crème brulee is a satisfying and still indulgent choice. l At parties with buffets, choose from protein choices like satay sticks, vegetable crudités and dips, and charcuterie, avoiding too many crisps, peanuts, bread, and pastry. One or two won’t hurt, but stick to the proteins and veg for satisfaction without feeling


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that you’ve been Scrooged! l Alcohol is probably the single biggest calorie booster, so have a spritzer, stick to spirits, and have a non-alcoholic drink like lime and soda in between each alcoholic drink. Remember that diet versions don’t actually help you take in less calories – sweeteners are shown to increase sugar cravings and lead to weight gain, not weight loss. That diet drink may well mean you eat more! Go for normal versions and stick to soda water where possible.

Naturally nourishing OUR resident foodie, JANE HUTTON, recommends in 2020 we stop believing those ‘fake’ healthy foods are actually good for us.

Stop believing the healthy hype


‘Elfy’ Christmas foods at Greenlife


REENLIFE in Totnes offer a huge range of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and organic versions of traditional Christmas foods alongside many luxury foods, and a great selection of fair trade, organic, dairy free and sugar free chocolate and Christmas novelty chocolate. They also sell Christmas gift lines, including various natural body care gift packs, scented candles, reed diffusers and aromatherapy oils. If you are looking for gift ideas for an environmentally conscious loved one, Greenlife stock a wide selection of eco gifts such as reusable water bottles, stainless steel food containers, bamboo coffee cups and many other products made from sustainable materials such as bamboo, rice husk and coconut. You can also buy your locally grown Organic Christmas veg in store from their Greengrocery department.. l Greenlife, which is located at the top of Totnes on the market square, is open from 9am – 6.00pm Monday to Friday and 9.00am – 5.30pm on Saturday. They will also be open until 9pm every Tuesday throughout December as part of Totnes Christmas Festival Nights, during which time they will be sampling Christmas goodies in store.

A wealth of locally made treasures IN THE fifteen years since Artworks opened in South Brent a lot has changed in the way we live and work, consume and shop. People have always appreciated the handmade, beautifully crafted objects, but in recent times the throw-away culture has been in the ascendant. Now, with a move away from mass-produced objects and with an awareness that our purchases have an impact on the world we live in, we are seeing a shift – to buying less, but of better quality, and locally made. We are also seeing a revival in making, with crafts in the spotlight again, which is brilliant news for Artworks’ Penny Wainwright and potter Jane Wellens. Artworks sells only locally made work from the South West. They offer jewellery and pots, textiles, willow baskets, turned and carved wood, knitwear, artists’ prints and paintings, mostly created within a few miles of South Brent and some from further away, from Gloucester at one extreme down to Penzance at the other.

Jenny said: “With the revival of ‘repair, reuse and recycle’, mending is another thing we are pleased to see. By buying from local makers there is a good chance that, if anything needs repairing, the maker can do it, and with care many things will last a lifetime. We also have a wide selection of books, cards and stationary.” Penny added: “So, do come to South Brent and pay us a visit – there is a free car park, several places for coffee and food, and beautiful walks beside the river - if the rain should happen to stop. We are on the bus route between Torbay and Plymouth, and also from Exeter to Plymouth, and with Dartmoor on our doorstep we are definitely a place to put on the map.” Artworks is open Tuesday to Saturday 10 – 5, and Wednesdays 10 – 1. During December they will probably be open on Mondays and Wednesday afternoons too, but if you are coming far do check. Call 01364 649424, or email shop@

AKERY. It’s time to talk about it. The very word suggests an element of danger as a consequence of failing to spot it. Many of us are like mice in a maze, dashing up all sorts of dead ends in our attempts to find ways to balance our time and resources with our health needs, preferably quick, easy, and sometimes cheap, ones. As Christmas and 2020 loom, and the inevitable new year, new you frenzy, perhaps it’s time to reflect on where we have been seduced by fakery, got into unhealthy habits, then use this new year clean slate to find a better way. One of the things I’m always banging on about is establishing a solid nutrient foundation with our daily eating. Beyond the obvious template of meals and snacks on a weekly or monthly basis, this means factoring in elements like preparation, organisation, routines, store cupboard staples, go to recipe collections, and fall back freezer saviours. Eating properly takes time and work, but not when it becomes a habit, a way of living, a lifestyle. If you think about it, the amount of time wasted researching pills, potions, and red herring quick fixes that we wouldn’t need at all if we sorted out our digestion and nourished ourselves properly could easily allow us to do everything

we need to for practical nourishment many times over. Sometimes it’s clear that we have developed some really unhelpful habits that are blocking us from achieving what it is we want health-wise. In the course of my work with clients, one of the most insidious habits I see is the tendency to believe what they are told Homemade without question almond milk by companies that exist for their own benefit, who have no hesitation in manipulating words, packaging, colours, and just about everything they can to persuade us to buy. Does that sound harsh? When I point out the amount of processed foods a client is eating, I get the same initial reaction every time. A raised eyebrow or two, a surprised expression, and an assertion that surely when people put ‘healthy’ products on the market, they are actually healthy products. Not always, no. I could write a long list of foods marketed as healthy that aren’t, but for now, if you do one thing in 2020, cut out the fake milks. Avoid soya and almond, drink hemp if you must buy a carton, and try making your own milk with my recipe this issue. All food, no fakery, and delicious! Wishing you a happy, and authentically healthy 2020!

Almond Milk SOAK the almonds overnight or up to 2 days. Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with about an inch of water. They will plump as they absorb water. Let stand, uncovered, overnight or up to 2 days. The longer the almonds soak, the creamier the almond milk. Drain the almonds from their soaking water and rinse them thoroughly under cool running water. At this point, the almonds should feel a little soft if you press them. Whizz up the almonds in a blender and cover with 500 mls of water. Pulse a few times, then blend continuously for couple of minutes,

scraping down the sides occasionally. The almonds should be finely ground and the water should be white and opaque. Line a colander with muslin, and place over a bowl. Pour the almond mixture into the colander. Press all the almond milk from the almond pulp after the liquid has drained through. Gather the edges of the muslin and twist to squeeze out all remaining milk. Taste the almond milk, and if you like it sweeter, stir in a little unrefined sugar until dissolved. Store the almond milk in sealed containers in the fridge for up to two days.

Naturally Nourishing is written by nutritionist and “confirmed foodie” Jane Hutton. Visit her new website, www., and sign up for programmes, recipes and advice.

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Living: made simple... This issue MARTIN FOSTER suggests we should consider what cheap clothes are costing the planet and its peoples…

Dressing up the truth


HERE’S been lots of talk lately about ‘fast fashion’. The term was first coined to describe fashion designs that moved quickly from catwalk to high street, but more recently it’s been used to define clothing that has made a far less glamorous transition – from shopping to landfill. Increasingly, clothes are bought, worn (often only once, sometimes not at all) and dumped. According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), in 2016 UK households sent 300,000 tonnes of clothing to landfill. The fashion industry itself must take some of the blame - clearly, all this buying, chucking away and buying again is as good for business as it is bad for the planet. Back in 2000 fashion companies produced on average two collections a year, this increased to five by 2011 – and some (Zara as an example) offer 24 collections per annum. This, the January 2019 EU ‘Environmental impact of the textile and clothing industry report’ says, has led to clothes being regarded as “nearly disposable” goods. Apart from the obvious wanton wasteful madness of dumping 300,000 tonnes of clothing into a hole in the ground, the fashion industry works hard for the title of ‘second most polluting industry on the planet’ (after oil). For a start, one washload of polyester clothes can release 700,000 microplastic fibres into the environment; it’s estimated that half a million tonnes of these microfibres end up in the sea each year. Microfibres from synthetics are a major contributor to microplastic pollution and a 2019 Bangor University survey of UK rivers, reservoirs and lakes found micro-plastic pollution in every location it tested, from UK lakes and rivers to US groundwater and along the Yangtze river. Then there’s emissions – and the fashion industry is hugely productive here too. The 2015 ‘Pulse of Fashion’ report said the fashion industry was responsible for 1,715 million tonnes of CO2 emissions (set to rise by 63% by 2030). And according to the UN, it consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industries combined. And just to add the final element, creating the perfect polluting shitstorm, the clothing production process is enormously thirsty. According to a 2017 report from Wrap, the production of a kilo of cotton (enough to make just one pair of jeans and a shirt) takes 10-20,000 litres of water. And India and Pakistan, both major suppliers of cotton to the UK, suffer from acute water scarcity. So, having established or confirmed there’s a problem, what of solutions? Cheap clothes are cheap because they are made from cheap materials and are made cheaply - a perfect example of ‘you get what you pay for’. They are cheap but look cheap and do exactly what you’d expect cheap clothes to do: they start falling apart after a few washes because no-one expects them to be worn more than a few times. Is that really what we want? And the difference between really cheap clothes and the often equally poor quality ‘up-market’ alternatives? The


size of their marketing budgets. The big companies spend millions establishing a cool brand so we all think it’s cool to be seen wearing their cool logos. In effect, doing much of their marketing for them. Is that really what we want? The manufacturers could change what they’re doing and how they do it – but why should they? Yes, they SHOULD behave more responsibly, and governments COULD make them do just that. But until we get a massive shift in political thinking (I’m writing this during the run-up to the general election, so it IS possible…), it’s surely far more likely that they’ll keep doing what they’re doing while it continues to make them big money. And in whose hands does that put the power? Ours, my friends. We, the consumers, could simply stop consuming. We could stay away from those cheap clothing outlets (H&M, Peacocks, Primark and virtually every supermarket). We could stop buying from their online equivalents too (where you can’t even tell the quality of what you’re buying – or even be sure they’ll actually send you the same product as in the pictures). Extinction Rebellion are urging us to do just that. “We are facing ecological collapse due to the effects of climate change,” they say. “And the fashion industry plays a big role in this… we urge people to boycott fashion for a whole year, in order to disrupt business-as-usual and send a message to government, industry and public alike that enough is enough.” This has been my thinking for some years now. I buy almost all my clothes and footwear from charity shops, jumble sales and carboot sales. Those of you who know me, or who recognise me and have seen me around, will know I don’t attach much importance to looking smart. In fact, as in other parts of my life, I tend to lean towards a form of inverted snobbery, deliberately dressing down in order to show my rejection of the so-called fashion industry; a sort of living statement about how I feel things should be prioritised in society – and just how low down that list of priorities I would place the way we dress. I feel much the same way about cars, which we’ll look at another time. But back to XR: “There is an abundance of clothing and textiles already in circulation which we can creatively repair, re-use, alter, upcycle, recycle and much more, minimising our use of new resources. We encourage rebels to share through swapping or renting, or buying and selling second-hand. “For those who have to purchase items made from new resources, we ask them to carefully consider the most ethically and environmentally sound options – or to make their own. Whatever level of commitment, we urge participants to push efforts further, to ask questions and to challenge the status quo. The time to re-imagine a radical new relationship with clothing, how it is made, owned and used is here, now.” I’ve always believed that NOT buying stuff needs to be made as sexy, exciting and comforting as buying stuff is for many people, perhaps saving the world does that.



New exhibition openings


E all like to don our coats and boots and get out in the elements at this time of year and explore our favourite places. The visit is always made more interesting when there’s something new to discover. Devon Sculpture Park (DSP) near Exeter have opened a number of new exhibitions indoors and in the open-air, making it even more a place to visit year-round, come rain or shine. A new exhibition, ‘Flux’ by Exeter ceramic sculptor Chris Speyer, has now opened, with a trio of large-scale environmental sculptures that examine the fragile, fluid state we find ourselves in. His pieces look like they just came up from the red Devon soil, elegant and harmonious, in the rewilded sculpture park. They act as a timely reminder to be careful what we take out of this planet. It’s worth looking at their social media for news of new events, as they always offer something extra for visitors. Hilary Boxer played Bach on the cello during the opening of Flux. Co-founder Kara Letts said: “At our inner wilded Capability Brown gardens Matt Dingle, a Dartmoor

sculptor, is showing ‘Bridges to Nature’. His galvanised steel sculptures and structures help to connect us with nature and are lyrical plays on the immediate surroundings. Some are literally bridges, including a 30ft galvanised steel tray that carries water plants in the summer and a shimmering flow of water through the winter and spring.” As we mentioned last issue, their Robert Adam Gallery has also recently opened. Kara added: “We have a wonderful mix of artists - Teresa Wells, Bev Knowlden and James Portsmouth among others - showing indoors and on the terraces outside overlooking the sea. Visitors can even enjoy lunch or tea in our beautiful new gallery while listening to music. There will be some improvisational jazz and guitar on the weekends.” DSP has two indoor galleries alongside an inspiring collection of contemporary open-air exhibitions, as well as 100 acres of rewilded landscape, including nationally important historic trees, and is home to thousands of birds and wildlife. l For details on the artists, music and directions go to www.

The mindful ability to pay full attention

STUDIO 45 Director Richenda Macgregor reflects on the art of paying attention. Together with business partner Mel Chambers they head up a very busy pottery and teaching environment in the heart of the Dartington estate. O make with your hands slows you down. It is a type of mindfulness or perhaps mindlessness. There is beauty and power when you become so skilled at what you do that thought is no longer part of the process. The hands and clay move as one, freeing the mind from its list of things to do and allowing for the possibility of dreaming. The spirit soars. That is the elixir that keeps most potters returning to the task at hand, even though at times it feels like an uphill struggle. Learning to make pots on the wheel is difficult and takes time, but often from the first moment somebody sits at the wheel (or table) it can feel like returning home. Whether throwing, sculpting or hand building, clay is an exacting master and demands your attention. No multi tasking here! And in a world that has mastered the art of distraction, the ability to pay full attention is a rare skill. Working with clay presents an opportunity for us to ground, reboot, calm down, centre. To be distracted means to produce second-rate work at best. So everything is set aside and for a couple of hours at least, you give the material your full attention, you commit to this one singular act. It is not surprising that pottery has been named the new yoga: both rooted in ancient history, our ancestors really did know what they were talking about. By the way, if you would like to see our pottery and the work that is produced by our members, we are open for a Christmas fayre on the December 14-15. To find out more information on how to find us please visit


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news & views A Brexitopian view of Devon


HE weather has made a sudden change, and it’s now time for the Icelandic concept Gluggavedur - appreciating outdoor weather from inside. For many Devonians Gluggavedur is rather relished with our feet up and a book. This year we settled down with a copy of To See The Light Return, the latest book from local author Sophie Gallymore Bird, and delved into her dark ‘Brexitopian’ take. Whilst the wintery showers set in, the continuing saga of Brexit has been in the background of our lives for over three years now, the climate has been an issue for longer still and this book takes on both. Set a few decades in a future where Devon has become a breakaway county in the disUnited Kingdom; a devolved county that’s often struggling in darkness thanks to energy shortages, as the fossil economy ends. In Torbay, what’s left of the UKIP party have taken their county back. In the USA, Trump’s grandson’s premiership has destroyed much of the country’s agriculture and environment. An amusing, cautionary pageturning jaunt around our region, Sophie paints a vivid picture of this Brexitopian shire beset with a lack of a coherent policy after plunging

into devolution. Shocking details of the descent into resource wars and displaced people are uncovered anecdotally by schoolteacher Mrs Prendaghast. The book centres around the main character, Will, a member of the ragtag resistance movement fighting against the small town politics mindset of a leader (Mayor Spight) and his Devonian militia, determined to hold onto power through black market dealings with the USA. Sophie’s writing is at times darkly humorous in a way reminiscent of the mind of Iain Banks; her creative solution to fuel shortages in the county is memorable, wonderfully dark, and introduces our other protagonist Primrose. Ultimately this is a tale of redemption, with a lot of fat rendering, and eventually a positive message of a more sustainable transitioned future around energy and food selfsufficiency, with a well-paced journey through the coming darkness to that eventual hope. Whether a Remainer or a Brexiteer the book unites us in the realisation that the biggest issue is all of our futures. Made all the more readable by the familiar local landscape, a highly enjoyable read, perfect for ‘window-weather’ until the light returns.

ble,” “highly enjoyas, Scott William gazine Reconnect ma

Price: £8 Available at Arcturus & Totnes Community bookshops, online and direct from author:

Divertimento String Quartet


Christmas time at Sharpham


USIC and craft feature at The Sharpham Trust on the River Dart in December. The charity’s Sharpham Sounds events continue with a concert by the Divertimento String Quartet in that amazing oval stairwell at the centre of Sharpham House, the

Grade-1 listed Georgian Palladian villa set in a landscape designed by Capability Brown. The concert happens on Tuesday December 10, from 7.30pm and tickets are £14 from www. or over the phone on 01803 732542. Professional basket-weaver and artist Vivienne Turner hosts a Christmas wreath and willow angel-making workshop on Saturday December 14 in the South Wing at Sharpham House. Tools and some greenery are provided for this seasonal session, which runs from 10am to 2pm. Places are for people aged 16 years and above and cost £25 each. l For more information call 01803 732542 or email

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wedding special

WELCOME... To the wedding section Back for a second year! Our sustainable wedding special generated enough response to make this an annual feature. This time of year is often when happy couples start planning their big celebration. An eco-friendly ethos and natured inspired hand fasting, civil ceremony, or church affair with a small environmental footprint often means costs can be kept down, and the event feels more natural. When planning a wedding there are so many things you can do to reduce the impact on the environment, and the best weddings often have an element of DIY! Getting others involved adds a real personal touch and makes it a fun creative process for everyone. Whether that hands-on approach involves making wedding decor from recycled items, sourcing fossil free transport, finding that organic dress made from sustainable fabrics, baking the cake, growing your own flowers, or sourcing local sustainable food and drink suppliers, you’ll be benefitting the environment and creating a completely unique event.

The wedding venue with a host of sustain


OCKINGTON Court is a natureinspired wedding venue nestled in 420 acres of award-winning parkland, making a beautiful and memorable backdrop for your wedding and your photographs. They have three naturally stunning licensed wedding venues for couples to choose from. Situated on the first floor of the Grade II listed Manor House, the Cary Room is a beautiful and bright ceremony room with large windows overlooking the tree covered parkland. The Cary Room can seat up to 55 guests and is neutrally decorated, complimenting its natural surroundings and ready for you to add your personal touches. The Hayloft is a private two-storey venue, perfect for intimate ceremonies and post wedding functions, hosting up to 25 of your nearest and dearest all under one roof! Situated to the side of the Manor House and with the

woodland just a few steps away, The Hayloft offers heaps of rustic charm and views out to luscious greenery. Available for half day or exclusive daytime hire. Coming soon for 2020 – introducing The Cob Barn, a charming building with original cob walls, a high beamed ceiling and huge wooden sliding doors for your entrance, creating a stunning venue for your wedding. Set within a natural environment, the Cob Barn can be exclusively yours and is perfect for those seeking a unique, DIY venue. Francesca Sleep, their dedicated wedding Coordinator said: “I will work closely with you in the lead up and on the big day itself, and with being inspired by our natural surroundings, we welcome weddings with an ecofriendly ethos.” They also collaborate with local wedding suppliers such as venue decorators with decorations/props to hire that are reusable or handmade, and caterers who provide locally sourced food and drink. There is plenty of accommodation within walking distance to reduce travel and where local travel is needed there’s even a horse-drawn carriage available to hire. “Our craft makers who have studios on site all contribute towards making every wedding truly unique and unforgettable. Sustainability is at the forefront of our makers’ minds and by choosing a local independent business to create handmade items, it will give your wedding that extra personal and eco touch.”

Handmade ethical wedding and engagement jewellery from Devon


OR those looking for carefully handmade ethical wedding and engagement jewellery, Ashburton based Yumé Jewellery offer The Parlour range. Each piece is created using traditional tools and techniques, and the materials are ethically sourced using 100% recycled metals and Fairtrade gemstones and diamonds. The boutique studio shop is home to Yumé Martin and her signature style draws on organic form, texture and intricate design that makes her jewellery so distinctive and unique. The Parlour is housed in a cosy and collaborative space and offers six carefully curated ready-to-wear collections inspired by wildlife, animals and rustic Japanese design, each representing love, strength and togetherness. One of the stars of the range is the Hedgerow collection, sourcing inspiration locally from Devon hedgerows that are rich with wild English shrubs, ferns and pretty flowers. Yumé said: “Designs reference pretty buttercups and primrose posies, intertwining stems of the ivy plant, and the vibrant petals of wild violet. The modern yet approachable appeal of The Parlour is that it features designs that can be layered together, making it the perfect style for both engagement


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and weddings rings, while stackable designs such as the Trinket rings can also be added throughout your life, personalised with your child or loved one’s birthstones, or other designs meaningful to you.” If the client wishes to have a one-off piece, Yumé specialises in bespoke jewellery commissions, creating rings that aim tell the personal stories of each client. If you have ever thought about creating your own truly special wedding ring, then Yumé offers a bespoke one-day workshop package for couples looking to add their personal touch to their wedding bands in a dedicated area for wedding couples who wish to be hands-on in the crafting of their wedding bands. Follow Yumé Jewellery on social media for special announcements and further information. l Yumé Jewellery, 26a North Street, Ashburton, TQ13 7QD. Telephone: +44 (0) 1364 388435 or email: hello@ Website: www. Instagram: www.

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OurGlass create stunning handmade glass favours and presents using traditional glass blowing techniques and recycled glass to create their bespoke pieces, which can be engraved with special messages. DaisyCakes specialise in breathtaking wedding cakes, baked fresh to order, using local and organic ingredients, all served on a rustic log base. Isabella Day is an Artist Goldsmith, registered as a fair-trade fair-mined Goldsmith. Any new gold she uses has a sustainable and ethical traceability. She offers ‘make your own wedding rings’ experiences where you can bring inherited family gold to use for your wedding rings. MooBoo Home use reclaimed materials to create personalised gifts and are inspired by the timber and ceramics they find. This re-uses and recycles tonnes of wood otherwise destined for landfill. Freeload Accessories love using natural materials and have designed an eco wedding accessories range, which is also vegan and handcrafted in the UK. The Alter Room provides bridal

alterations and alternative bridal wear. Using recycled, organic and sustainable fabrics, they create bespoke weddings dresses by hand. Flower La Vita are inspired by nature, which is reflected in their approach to flower arranging, even using wild flowers from their Walled Garden. They also recycle flowers to make natural confetti. Francesca said: “Alongside weddings, we’re also the perfect place for your hen party celebrations! You can get creative with your friends and family, making unique and personalised keepsakes or items to use for your wedding day, such as floral headcrowns, handmade favours, table decorations or placenames. You and your group can enjoy a wonderful crafty workshop provided by one of our professional onsite craft makers who offer expert tuition, all materials and the equipment needed.” l For more information about weddings at Cockington Court and to book a viewing visit www. or call 01803 607230.

Catering with imagination and flair


IMA & Hannah established The Kitchen Table in 2011. After 4 years building the business together as a community focused, seasonal and ethical catering company, Hannah left to train to be a nurse and Sima moved to the Industrial Estate a year later. The small local catering company, now based on the Totnes Industrial Estate, has over the years established a great reputation for serving delicious food made from Devon produce at local community and popup events as well as private catering events; weddings, funerals, family gatherings, dinner parties and loads more. Sima said: “We cater weddings, birthdays, funerals, business lunches, community events, family gatherings and holiday let dinner parties. In addition to the private catering, public events & festivals we do, we also serve lunch from

our unit on Burke Road Monday to Friday from noon til 2pm throughout March to December, where we serve vegetarian, vegan and gluten free healthy and sumptuous lunches. “We love catering weddings - to be part of someone’s special day, to provide delicious, seasonal food, creatively cooked with love by our staff team then to serve to friends and families at wondrous venues in South Devon. The creativity with which each of our clients approach their day is always delightful and it’s a joy to be a part of that.” l Contact sima@thekitchentable. for a free quote and conversation about your day on 07583400998 or email sima@ To find out more about her bespoke catering service see www.thekitchentable. or follow them on Facebook & Instagram thekitchentab

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Photos by Emma Stoner Weddings

Sustainable wedding photography

Sharpham’s wedding stairs


OUPLES getting married at Sharpham House have a wedding that their guests will never forget with a fairytale ceremony on their famous feature: a spectacular, oval staircase, rising three floors to a glorious domed ceiling. The Sharpham Trust welcomes couples to use Sharpham House and its wonderful gardens exclusively for their weddings on a few limited occasions each year. Katie Tokus, Marketing & Communications Officer said: “You have the choice of five historic rooms within this Grade 1-listed Georgian Palladian villa in which to hold your ceremony and/or reception. Each of the five ceremony rooms is licensed to seat up to 60 guests.” The octagonal Entrance Lobby and the famed elliptical staircase with the domed ceiling can be combined to seat 120 guests. “Before & after the ceremony, you and guests can stay in this elegant (but comfortable) Georgian mansion on the banks of the River Dart, near Totnes.

“Your reception and drinks can be taken in the Capability Brownlandscaped setting of lawns and gardens with breathtaking views of the River Dart making a fabulous and memorable backdrop for your wedding and your photographs. “You may choose to hire a marquee or a tipi to put on our lawns.” Couples seeking to tie the knot can select from Sharpham’s list of trusted catering partners, offering the very best in locally-sourced food and drink. Katie added: “We’re the home of Sharpham Wine and Cheese, and these make ideal additions to your reception. Also, the incredible and little-known romantic hideaway The Bathing House is part of the Sharpham Estate and makes a perfect honeymoon destination.” l Interested couples should contact Denise Scribbins on housemanager@sharphamtrust. org or 01803 732842 to book a viewing of Sharpham House. Visit weddings to find out more about their wedding packages and the Bathing House.

WHEN planning your eco friendly wedding, it’s not just about reducing the impact of your big day on the environment, or your venue’s green credentials and your suppliers ethics, but it’s also worth considering who you have capturing those unforgettable moments. Someone like wedding and portrait photographer Phil Pell has the right credentials.


HIS may be my first time featuring in it, but it’s not my first time leafing through Reconnect magazine. Just like you, wellbeing for both me and the world around us impacts my life every day, not least in my sustainable practices as a wedding and portrait photographer. That’s why I mindfully make it my mission to work as sustainably as possible and minimise my use of dwindling resources. l My home-based HQ is powered by 100% renewable energy l I drive a hybrid car to photography locations to reduce CO2 emissions l We’ll chat via video or email where possible, keeping it digital to reduce demand on paper l I’ll only replace photography gear when absolutely necessary - there’s as little as possible waste here Playing a part in the union of two people who are deeply in love is incredible. No matter how many weddings I shoot, it will always be an honour and excitement to immortalise your day.

Each time that I frame a scene and click the shutter, I capture documentary style photography. If you want your wedding photos to document your day with authentic moments and memories, rather than awkwardly posed shots, then this is the style for you. You’ll also get to meet with me to tell me exactly what you’re looking for from your wedding photos. I also invite couples to take part in a prewedding shoot to put you at ease. After the big day, I will professionally edit your photos in my signature style. I’ll then deliver them to you in a USB presentation box. In addition to covering the South West (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset), I am available to work across the UK and Europe. To put it simply, if you’re planning an adventure, just give me a time and date and I’d love to be there. I hope you pick up some inspiring tips from this great sustainable wedding feature and if I can help you in anyway please get in touch. or call 07730 511090.

May all your Christmases be green


ERE we are at the close of another year and rapidly approaching Christmas: A celebration which has for years now been in danger of becoming just a shopping frenzy and one that can generate a lot of waste – unwanted pressies, uneaten food, wrapping and decorations. We are here to help, with tips and ideas to ensure you enjoy a more sustainable, enjoyable and meaningful festive season. Most of us celebrate the festive season to some degree, whether we see it as a religious, pagan or greatexcuse-to-party festival and for all of us it’s a time of celebration and giving and fun. Don’t feel miserable about it all, just make things a little greener… The joy of giving The truth is that no matter how many decorations and presents you intend to make, your life is going to include some Christmas shopping over the next few weeks. Our motto is: “There’s good shopping and there’s bad shopping - and the very best of all is LOCAL shopping.” Money spent in local, independent stores and markets stays in the local economy for everyone’s benefit. And money spent on local products and services helps to encourage and support small, independent businesses and craft makers. We all like to give and receive gifts that are made with care and that will give lasting pleasure. Making your own gifts is of course wonderfully rewarding, but if you do not have


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the time or the skill, then why not consider local handmade gifts. Please don’t spend your cash online or in big high street chains, instead check out what’s on offer in shops and markets in nearby towns or villages across the area, perhaps where you don’t normally shop. They may be a little more expensive than mileage-heavy imported goods, but they have so much more integrity. And because they’re made carefully with ‘real’ materials, the recipient will still have them in years to come. Go for something smaller and simpler if price is an issue – and ask for a leaflet or card to include when you wrap it so the recipient knows what they’re getting. Books and music can be given the local spin too. It’s great to support independent record and book stores, but look out too for local authors (we’ve featured some in this issue), local publishers, local bands and performers. And don’t only think new. Shopping in flea markets and antique and vintage clothing shops is great fun and guarantees unusual gift finds – and it’s recycling. Everyone enjoys food and drink so they make perfect gifts and independent foodie stores and farmers’ markets offer all manner of local indulgent treasures. From cheese and wine to pickles and chocolate, it’s all made using local ingredients. If you can’t think of a ‘thing’ to buy someone, then we recommend buying someone an experience? Most of

wedding special Eco-friendly ‘wild-style’ flowers


N the steeply sloping sides of a small valley overlooking the sea at Branscombe in East Devon, Jenny Lonnberg and her family have established a market garden growing cut flowers, edible flowers and salads. Jenny said: “Our small fields, set amongst woodland and thick overgrown hedges, are rich in wildlife, and the family, nature lovers all, are conscious of the need to maintain this heritage. We are dedicated to an agro-ecological approach, growing naturally, free from pesticides and chemical fertilisers.” Their belief that their methods are reflected in the exceptional quality of their produce has been confirmed by the enthusiastic responses of their many customers to their wedding flowers, bouquets and special ‘wild-style’ floral arrangements. Picked fresh and sold at the farm or delivered locally, the effects (carbon footprint) on the environment are kept to a minimum. “People really appreciate the natural freshness of locally grown flowers and produce for their weddings even more these days, as

the practitioners and therapists in Reconnect will happily provide some kind of gift voucher if asked. Galleries, theatres and other venues will also be happy to sell vouchers. The tree If you’ve got something you used last year, stay with it, even if it’s artificial – the greenest option is definitely not to buy anything. You could rent one from places like Hillah Farm in Ashburton. Otherwise, research and carbon calculations show a replantable tree is best. Even a tree without roots is a good option because it will have absorbed as much carbon dioxide while growing as it will emit when burnt or left to decompose. Artificial trees on the other hand are made (using lots of energy) from petrochemicals and other toxic materials, and then shipped half way around the world. Go for LED lights which use up to 95% less energy than traditional bulbs. Turn off tree and outdoor lights at bedtime to save energy. Decorations If you’ve got a box of decorations that come out every year, the greenest option is to stick with them. You can find secondhand ones at charity shops, recycling centres and boot sales. Make your own tree and room decorations using cinnamon sticks, bows, gingerbread, holly, seasonal berries, ivy and evergreen branches, or a festive wreath or mobile with holly, mistletoe, fir tree sprigs and pine cones. When you have finished with them, you can drop them in the compost. Wrapping Reduce the waste you and your family create, by making more sustainable

we think about the need to reduce our contribution to the causes of climate change”, said Jenny. “It’s been hard work but this has been a good year for us. We’ve been really pleased to be able to contribute so well to making peoples’ weddings special and were thrilled when our Natural Branscombe mixed salad bags were awarded Supreme Champion product at the Taste of the West awards 2019.” Inspired by their success, the family is now investing in new facilities so that they can offer their service to more happy couples in 2020. “We are constructing a new barn that will provide improved processing, packing and arranging facilities”, explains Jenny. I’m particularly excited to see our earth sheltered walk-in cool store coming to use next season. These new facilities will help us bring our special flowers and produce to more people to enjoy in 2020.” l Contact Jenny on 01297 680352 email info@ or visit choices this festive season. Tips such as purchasing second hand presents, making homemade gifts and recycled decorations, need to be complemented with switching to recyclable paper for wrapping, or even better reusing something such as newspaper or fabric. Use minimal tape or even string so it’s easier to reuse your wrappings. Use waste paper – old maps, calendars, posters, etc but do avoid glossy foils and metallic wrapping paper because they are difficult to recycle. There are alternatives made from the bark of the mulberry tree and hemp, but they won’t be cheap. Help others Finally spare a thought for those less fortunate, please consider donating to your local food banks and help someone else enjoy a Christmas meal. If you pass one of Devon’s many homeless this Christmas, spare them your time, wish them a merry Christmas and please do spare them some change. Maybe even spoil them with a small gift, and watch their face light up. Also, think of those who dread this time of year, and struggle to deal with feelings of isolation and future uncertainty. The festive period provides us with an ideal opportunity to talk to, visit or engage with the people around us. Face-to-face communication has been shown to improve our mental and physical wellbeing. If you are apart from your family then volunteering for a charity or local community organisation can provide that same human contact, as well as help provide essential support and encouragement for others in need.

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Book a series of ads this size and it will cost you just £41.85 a month - including free editorial. Regular advertiser Jason Burns can vouch for the success of advertising. He said, “I’m pleased to say that I have had a very good booking for my services, because of advertising with you, so I’m happy to commit to the full year.” You too could find customers through an advert in these pages, call Scott on 01392 346342.

FESTIVALS ISSUE! THE NEXT (FEB/MAR) ISSUE OF RECONNECT IS A FESTIVALS GUIDE SPECIAL! Our annual guide to the best festivals across the South West is back - and it’ll be bigger and better than ever! Email to be in it!

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rewild child South Devon Steiner School Waldorf Education for the 21st Century

‘For a Purposeful Journey Into Life’

Swart, smirched smiths smattered in smoke


HE children at South Devon Steiner School have been extremely fortunate during the first part of the Autumn Term. Exactly 8 years since his last visit, Bernard Graves came to teach the class and Mark van Vliet how to set up a pit forge in the garden. Once the hearth, bellows and anvil had been put in place, the children began forging a sword from an iron blank. Rotating around the different work stations, everyone learned to blow various types of bellows, keep the fire fed and under control, fan a friend, heat the sword to a bright orange glow, call for bellowers to stop and for strikers to be ready, hold the sword steady

Steiner Waldorf education from 3—18 years

Website: Email: Tel: 01803-897377

Evolving human situations


Class 4: “Swart, smirched smiths smattered with smoke…” on the anvil or strike the hammer that slowly shaped the molten blade inch by inch. Another hearth was used to forge the cross guard of the sword. Bernard inspired the children not only in the forge. He proved himself a worthy word smith in the classroom. Each day began with the beautifully crafted legend of the very first taming of iron. The finished sword was put to proud use in the yearly Michaelmas Play. For the pupils it was their last time performing in this joined production of the 4 youngest class of the Middle School. Having forged a very fine sword for all to see, it seemed a very apt culmination of their efforts. Witnessing the pupils’ enthusiasm and team- work throughout the week was a treat. Their bookwork shows a glimpse of their engagement. l Find out more about South Devon Steiner School at Dartington, Totnes online at www.southdevonsteinerschool. org or call 01803 897377.

Rewild the child - winter fun tips INEZ Aponte from natural playscape builders Earth Wrights has some great ideas for playing outdoors.

SUNSHINE is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.”- John Ruskin  Despite my preference for warmth and sunshine, I agree with Ruskin: every season has its charms and it feels good to get out whatever the conditions. So, here are some fun ideas to entice kids (and adults) outside.  Winter hike: Don’t ever tell your kids they are going on a walk. You are always going to a café with a very long detour. Make it interesting by creating a photographic challenge: everyone has to shoot close ups of unusual textures and have others guess what it is, or set a theme, like an emotion, colour or shape and at the end of the walk, see how differently each person has interpreted it. And don’t worry about getting home before nightfall. Kids love to stay out after dark, so bring your torches for a spooky night walk.  Snow: Next time it snows, enjoy not being able to get to work or school. Organise a neighbourhood snow ball fight or find some food colouring, mix it with water in a spray bottle and create some snow graffiti! Ice: When it’s freezing, make ice

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art. Find some natural materials with interesting textures, like small sticks and leaves and small pinecones. Arrange them in a bowl and cover with twice boiled water (this helps get the bubbles out), place a piece of string across them and leave them out overnight. Wake up to your very own ice decorations! (And yes, if you have a freezer you can cheat. But make sure you run around outside to make up for it.) Rain: It’s all about puddles and streams. Make paper boats and sail them on the puddles or send them down the streets or lanes. Or if you want some wild fun, challenge your kids to a puddle fight. They will love getting you soaked, especially your teens. Just before you are drenched down to your underwear go inside to get warm and dry, and eat all the cakes and chocolate you can find. You will have deserved it! l Have fun this winter and if you want to share any pics of your outdoor shenanigans to inspire others, please send them to inez@earthwrights to include on the Earth Wrights blog.

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THE natural health and personal development PAGES Inside wellbeing...

Finding Active Hope

Emotional health New year welcomes change Give the gift of mindfulness Support for mothers and carers

28 31 33 35

The peace and beauty of nature is good for the body and soul of patients and practitioners alike

New practice brings positive change IT’S ALL change for Ali and Mo Morrish who formerly managed the Exeter Natural Health Centre.


The gift of change


New nature-based courses Understanding our anxiety A busy year ahead

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The classified adverts


And there’s lots more to read inside

HE pair left at the end of September - although the centre itself is still going - but they are still very much a part of the Exeter landscape, as Ali explained: “We’ve worked in the city for 30 years so we don’t want to lose our links with Exeter and we still want to be accessible to people from here. But, we are now based from our home at Pigeon Cottage on Dartmoor and enjoying a new way of practising that is a bit less busy and gives us more soulful time for a deeper exploration of our work. Less commuting is not only good for the environment but also for our sanity!” Mo and Ali’s new centre is located in Ilsington, close to Bovey Tracey and Newton Abbot. It has a cosy consulting room that overlooks the garden. Ali said: “We are already getting lots of positive feedback from patients who appreciate having free and easy parking in the village nearby and not having to drive into an increasingly busy city centre. People also love the fact that we are only a short walk or drive away (about five minutes) from open moorland and Haytor. Some of our clients now combine a visit for homoeopathy with a walk on the moor, maybe followed by some lunch.” Ali said: “We are now much easier to reach for people travelling from

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Plymouth, the South Hams and local towns and villages. Even clients who come from the Exeter area or north of the city are finding it almost as quick to extend their journey along the M5 and A38 to get to us rather than to drive into the congested city centre.” As well as benefiting clients, Mo and Ali believe the change has had a positive impact on them as practitioners. “We’ve enjoyed having a busy practice in Exeter for 30 years and being available for our clients, but we wanted a bit more space to be creative with our work, to challenge ourselves professionally and to develop what we do even further as we mature with our practice. This move means we have more energy to do these things, which we believe will make the care we give to others even better. After all, we can’t expect to help others if we do not properly heed our own advice and reach for the nourishment and the peace of a more soulful life. It sets a good example as physicians to be healing ourselves.” To make an appointment or for information and advice please call Ali and Mo on 01364 661397 or email enquiries@

Kate Philbin

The home of natural wellbeing WELLBEING is the home of natural health and personal development in South Devon - the perfect place to find your perfect therapy, retreat or workshop. And if you work in natural health, it’s the perfect place to get your message out there. A 1/8-page advertisement, like those below, can be yours for just £41.85 a month. A 1/4-page is only £66.60 a month. And you can tell the story behind what you offer in our free editorial - with help from our Wellbeing editor, Kate Philbin. Our designers will even put the artwork together for you at very affordable prices. The Wellbeing deadline for the next (February/March) issue is January 3 so get in touch today and let’s get the ball rolling. Call Scott on 01392 346342 or email editor@ reconnectonline.




Please telephone to arrange your appointment at our beautiful clinic in the he♥rt of Totnes


Please bring this voucher with you to your appointment. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or voucher.

Ola Chiropractic Centre, 5a Fore Street,Totnes, Devon TQ9 5DA

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Juliette Medder

EMOTIONAL HEALTH Welcome back to our exploration into all things emotional. In this edition our Emotional Health columnist Leigh Smith explores how holding a grudge can damage our emotional and physical wellbeing, and offers some simple steps to help us ‘Let it go’.

A good healthy grudge!


OLDING a grudge against someone who has wronged you in the past is perfectly normal behaviour. Actually, I would go as far as to say that if we are feeling wronged, then we probably have quite an intact sense of pride, and self worth. Resenting someone for treating us unfairly tells us that we value ourselves enough to register that we have been wrongfully treated, and that we deserve better. To harbour ill feeling or resentment toward somebody for being ill treated helps us to define our own sense of right and wrong; it solidifies our innate sense of justice, fairness and equality. There is some real value in a good healthy grudge! When we have been hurt by someone, we can carry the emotional scar of that hurt with us for a very long time, sometimes for the rest of our lives. Dwelling on the past, on people or situations which have caused us pain, can cause some very strong emotions to take root and settle into our emotional wellbeing. Feelings of resentment, bitterness, hostility and even vengeance can become an all consuming preoccupation, and bleed into our more healthy relationships, robbing us of the chance to enjoy the good in our lives. Negativity is an energy thief Spiralling in a state of negativity without any positive outcomes can eventually cause a depletion in our emotional wellbeing. This perpetual ruminating steals vital energy away from our positive mental health, and can have an effect on our physical health too. Many studies have been carried out to measure the effect of negative thinking and have shown that prolonged feelings of bitterness can impact our ability to heal, and can heighten our stress responses. After time our bodies show signs of physical damage, and ill health; headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure. When we have elevated stress responses in our nervous system (caused by feeling angry or bitter) it can cause our blood pressure to rise, and effects the vagus nerve, creating a loop of distress. Holding onto anger and bitterness activates our fight or flight response causing our sympathetic nervous system to spike levels of cortisol, a stress-related hormone. Holding a grudge can create some pretty nasty side effects; along with the effects on our emotional and physical health it can also impact on our relationships with others and with ourselves. We may feel that we are not worthy, or have no right to be treated fairly, or struggle to trust people to help or care for us. ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’

For some of us, I believe that we can reach a place in our hearts of forgiveness and move on. This is a wonderful and enriching place to be. For some forgiveness is not attainable or appropriate, but I do not see forgiveness as the only solution to letting go of a grudge. For years I held a deep rooted grudge against somebody who caused me a lot of harm, and I felt stuck because I knew I would never truly forgive this person for the pain they had caused. It was only relatively recently that I realised I could be free of the negative impact on my wellbeing of my seething resentment, without ever having to forgive this person. It was like finding a fishing hook stuck in my heart, and carefully unhooking it, giving it back and tending my wounds. I no longer felt caught up in the wasted energy of hating this person, and was free to gently and compassionately sooth my wounds and start to heal. So how do we move on from the steadfast grip of a grudge? Firstly, we have a choice and we have to want to let it go. This sounds ridiculous, but sometimes when we really explore the grudge we realise that our feelings of righteousness or victimhood actually serve us on some level and we don’t really want to let go of our elevated position after all. If this is the case for you it might be worth weighing up the cost of this moral superiority against the impact on your wellbeing. Secondly, we need to re-adjust our focus, notice who we have put centre of our focus, who have we put centre stage and how much time we spend thinking about this person, making them the focus of our attention and giving them much more power than they deserve. It is time to turn the focus of attention on to a worthier cause – YOU. Thirdly, notice how much energy holding onto hate, hurt and resentment towards somebody costs us, and redirect the energy onto someone who deserves it. Give yourself some loving attention, put effort into self love, and instead of thinking negative thoughts about somebody else, think positive affirming and compassionate thoughts about you. “When we hold onto grudges and resentment, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.” Angela Buttimer, a psychotherapist in Georgia. We all have the right to be free from the harm done to us, to choose to move forward away from pain and to live in peace with ourselves.

Leigh Smith is director of studies, course designer and tutor at Heartwood Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Training. Visit or call 01803 865464.


How Love Works, Why Love Hurts


HY does love hurt? It’s a question people have been asking for centuries. Philip Jones, Emotionally Focused Couples’ Therapist, believes he has some important insights to share and is hosting a workshop to help us understand How Love Works. He said: “As babies, we are born with a fundamental human need to love and be loved in return. As adults, we still have this need but most of us find it so hard to fulfil, because we don’t understand How Love Works. We enter into new relationships with the best intentions, so why is it that often our hopes turn to disappointment? The truth is that it’s not easy to maintain a loving relationship over the long term. If having a fulfilling long-term relationship was easy, we would all be having one, wouldn’t we? Is it inevitable that our relationships start off so well and then gradually deteriorate? Or that the same things we used to love about our partner will begin to annoy us? Do some couples just have all the luck and others don’t? Or is there some thing going on which we don’t fully understand? “This workshop will explain the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of our human love connections. How love works and why love hurts.” The steps that take us from the Good to the Bad and then to the Ugly are predictable, Philip

explains. Emotionally Focused Couples’ Therapy is based on the premise that if a couple can understand this progression, then they can learn how to reverse its momentum, find their way back to the Good and learn how to thrive there together. It doesn’t have to be a question of luck any more. Emotionally Focused Couples’ Therapy is founded in empirical scientific research. And, according to Philip, these principles apply to all relationships, regardless of sexual orientation or racial origin. He said: “Most of us have this fundamental human need to love and be loved in return, and when we fulfil it, we can flourish and thrive together.” l For more information contact Philip on 07568 356695 or visit

Counselling that respects your pace


E ARE all our own experts and yet it can be hard to connect with our own inner wisdom when life feels difficult, challenging or confusing. Natasha Bainbridge runs The Now Therapy Centre with Brian King. Natasha is often faced with clients who feel stuck or overwhelmed and who feel unable to connect with their own inner knowing. She sees her role as helping people find their own clarity and strength, in order that they can move forward in their process of change. She says: “I understand that it can feel awkward or strange to open up to someone new, and the counselling we offer respects your individual pace, while encouraging selfawareness and self-empowerment.” Natasha works from therapy rooms in Tavistock, Okehampton and Plymouth. She sees clients experiencing a wide range of issues including stress, anxiety, depression, sexuality issues, bereavement,

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separation, trauma and relationship issues. Brian works from rooms in Okehampton, and specialises in relationship and family counselling. Natasha also offers healing, which she describes as a non-invasive transfer of natural energy to clients, channelled via the healer through the hands. The Now Therapy Centre adhere to the National Counselling Society and British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy codes of ethics. Natasha offers a free initial 30-minute phone session for anyone who would like to have a chat before deciding whether to book: “It is important for people to feel comfortable working with us so I also encourage people to contact me if they have any questions, either by emailing me at natasha@ or phoning 07590 527990.” l For more information visit: www.

WELLBEING Healthiness through homecoming


XTINCTION Rebellion practices could be used as a “template of wellbeing” for anyone, according to Carmella B’Hahn, TRE (tension and trauma release) practitioner. Carmella has been inspired by certain activities in the movement and has been considering how this could be spread into the community as a whole. She said: “Extinction Rebellion has members’ wellbeing built into its structure. It’s an essential ingredient of the regenerative culture that XR aspires to create. For example, after each big action away from home, it organises ‘homecoming’ gatherings for welcoming, feasting, integration and self-reflection. After attending three such events, which left me glowing, I wondered: How would our personal and community health improve if after the actions of each day we created short ‘homecomings’ for ourselves, with a longer one once a week?” “Homecoming is not just for Christmas,” continued Carmella, “stress - physical and emotional often takes us away from our bodies causing a sense of disconnection and dissatisfaction. For good health, it’s important to regularly release tensions and harmful imprints that have built up simply by living, as well as repeatedly calling ourselves back home to the body.” There are many ways to come home to ourselves and Carmella suggests finding the way that works for you and blocking out ‘Homecoming’ times in your diary. She teaches TRE, the tremoring bodywork “as a self-tool to fully inhabit the body again by releasing blockages that talking alone cannot reach.”

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email: more info: David Berceli, TRE’s creator, explains further what TRE does: “The tremor mechanism accesses differentiated (body) parts and disharmonious experiences and reorganises them into an integrated whole so that the body can function again in an integrated manner. Self-induced therapeutic tremors restore the harmony of the organism and return the body back into a fluid, flexible and integrated system.” TRE takes about four sessions to learn but if you have trauma in your background, you will need guidance for longer. Carmella also offers grief support, inner life mentoring and heartful communication coaching. She is the author of three books. l For further info visit : www., email carmella@ or call 01803 867005. There is a special deal for all 1.5 hour trial sessions.

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‘ridiculously helpful’

Struggling with porn addiction SEX and pornography addiction is no laughing matter, writes Santella Siani of Horizon Counselling who works with people and their partners who are affected.


HEN I tell people what I do, they want me to share my ‘funny stories’. What I actually talk about is devastation, despair, remorse and confusion, as men continue their destructive behaviours knowing that, if found out, they could jeopardise everything that is dear to them. But most of all I find shame. Shame that they feel compelled to live a life opposed to their values. When I meet their partners, they are heartbroken, lost, confused and angry, their self-esteem is in tatters. They are often traumatised by a discovery that might have spanned most of their relationship. The men and women I meet are not laughing. No-one knows of their dark secret(s) but in many cases this is only the beginning. They have often suffered physical and/or emotional abuse. They share with me their heartwrenching stories of neglect and the shame that they carry with them as a result. Rather than reaching for the bottle, they reach for pornography, chat rooms or

prostitutes to anaesthetise feelings that are unbearable. The partners aren’t laughing either. They have their own journey of recovery to get through. They feel too ashamed to tell anyone, and unable to explain that they have decided to stay in the relationship, as so many women do. But not all sex or pornography addicts have suffered trauma. In today’s world of high-speed internet most young boys and an increasing number of girls have watched extreme porn. Opportunity, availability and affordability are creating addiction. My youngest client is 18. He has been watching hardcore porn since he was 9 years old. He is no longer able to get or sustain an erection. The point I’m making is our children are at risk. If you are a parent, I urge you to recheck your computer blocking packages, educate children on the dangers of the internet and give them good sex education within the confines of a loving relationship. As I sit and write this, I realise that I don’t have any funny stories to tell. l Contact Santella on 07966 241214

Andy Thompson, Clin. Hom, Dip. B.F.D. ‘Helping you to heal yourself’

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WELLBEING Kate does… Facial Massage

YOUR wellbeing editor Kate tries out a treatment or event or activity each issue to give you a bit more of an insight into what it’s like to take part. This issue Kate tries Facial Massage with Carrie Allcott at Totnes Natural Health Centre.




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FROWN a lot. I don’t mean to, it’s just become a habit. I frown when I’m reading, I frown when I’m writing and I frown when I’m concentrating. My forehead bears the signs of this unfortunate habit. I would never have a treatment like Botox but, every now and again, I find myself wishing I could smooth out the lines on my forehead. So the idea of facial massage with Carrie Alcott was appealing. One of the things I loved about it is that she spent time expertly smoothing and manipulating my forehead. I could feel the muscles almost sighing with relief as they let go of their habitual frowny expression and relaxed into something far softer. And it wasn’t just the forehead that she massaged but my entire face, as well as my neck, shoulders and head. Could I see the difference after the session? Yes I could. Of course, I’m unlikely to stop frowning so the wrinkles will undoubtedly return but in the same way that a full body massage has multiple health and wellbeing benefits, facial massage is both deeply relaxing and beneficial. It is a very different thing to the facials offered in beauty salons. Carrie explained that facial massage has its roots in Ayurveda, which sees massage

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SUSAN HOLLINS Cou ns ellin g

Bereavement Counselling and Shamanic Healing 07918 671476 30

as being essential to health and wellbeing. Facial massage is good for the circulation, reaching deeper than just the skin to the muscles below. These muscles can hold a lot of tension and helping them to relax can encourage the face to unlearn certain habitual expressions. Massage can also help to smooth out tissues which can become “clumpy and lumpy” due to stress, diet and pollution. Massaging the face helps it to look younger and fresher by untangling collagen and elastin fibres and increasing the supply of blood to the face. Carrie’s massage also incorporates lymphatic drainage in the neck and eyes, which helps to detoxify the face and neck, and shoulder massage to encourage deep relaxation. Like body massage, it can also be beneficial for your mind and emotions. Carrie is warm and caring. The facial massage was deeply relaxing and my skin looked fresher and had a healthy glow afterwards. I imagine this would be wonderful at any time of year but particularly during the colder months when skin can appear rather grey and lifeless. l Carrie practices at Totnes Natural Health Centre. For more information call her on 07595 323090 or email: Carrie.allcott@ Gift vouchers are available.

A new book for practitioners


OACH and Psychotherapist Julia Vaughan Smith has written a new book called Coaching and Trauma, which highlights the role coaches must play and how it differs to that of psychotherapists in supporting clients with trauma. Written for practitioners, the book raises trauma awareness, addresses the ‘what if?’ questions many coaches have and provides a clear framework for implementation. Reconnect Readers can get a 20% discount - use the voucher code SMITH20 in the online checkout of the book at

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WELLBEING The new year welcomes change


HANGE is one of the pervading themes of this issue, as is so often the case when we transition from one year to the next. For Jane Barclay of JB Counselling, currently in Exeter, one of the things undergoing a transformation right now is her relationship with Skype, which she uses to offer counselling and psychotherapy to clients at a distance. It is part of a wider process of change that is seeing her relocate from Exeter to France in the new year. Jane explained: “Up to now, I’ve offered sessions via Skype to clients who are prevented from travelling to Exeter by illness or adverse weather conditions. I’ve also used it to provide continuity to clients who move away. But now it’s me who is changing location and it will become my primary method of working, one of the many areas of change.” Jane says that reaching the decision to relocate and putting this choice into action has “prodded and provoked sleeping giants”. She describes going into the Freeze state of survival mode: “closing down my heart, abandoning myself, experiencing isolation, inertia, lost, misery, despair” and living in “addictive, busy-busy, pseudoaliveness.” Like many of the clients she works with, Jane experienced a seemingly “magical” moment of revelation. For her it was when she visited the desert in Arizona: “Being there reminded me the planet and all the elements were friends too, and joined to each other. After that, the thaw has happened fast. The ice shards I erected around my heart have been melting and are all but gone. I’ve cried, and smiled, and laughed more in the last months than in my entire life. My belly has

softened, my ‘always painful feet’ are more pliable, more touchable. My brain is no longer firing alarm signals at every breath, no need to live in readiness for disaster.” Initially Jane was resistant to the idea of moving to France, which was suggested by her husband. In the intervening time, she has recognised that digging in was necessary to allow for processing grief stacked up over decades, initially released by her father’s death four years ago. “Only then could his dream become my dream, too. Now I can risk the word ‘us’. Being ready includes recovering emotions from my deepfreeze as I prepare to go. Saying goodbye to my granddaughter freesup tears from my own three year-old self. I cry now, and rage, and smile again, knowing that now I’m here to hold young-me, as I am held myself by bigger ‘arms’ than me.” l For more information on counselling and psychotherapy with Jane contact: jane. or 07812983803 see www.

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Meditation through deep rest


T is not necessary to lie down to meditate but when Caroline Lang, yoga and meditation teacher, asks people to find a position in which they can truly rest and let go, they most often choose lying down supported by bolsters and cushions. Caroline believes there is something very positive that happens when we lie down. She said: “For me and many others there is a particular atmosphere that comes with lying down that “grows” meditation. It may be the place where our body is most relaxed, where it is harder for the controlling mind to dominate, where there is less of ‘me paying attention’ and working hard to hold the mind still.” She points out that because most of us have so much accumulated tiredness we may well fall asleep when we lie down to meditate. “Opening to this as a possibility is probably more beneficial than trying to avoid it,” she says. “The states between waking and sleeping are very fertile and probably much closer to genuine meditation.” Caroline explains that meditation is not about becoming a better person but a process of uncovering our natural wisdom, tenderness, clear seeing and dignity so that we can step into the heart of life. l For more about information about yoga, meditation, classes and retreats visit:

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Photo by Veronica Gomez Ibarra

What does success really mean? REGULAR contributor and mindful man Caspar Walsh has been reviewing what it is to be a success, and make your mark.


started this column a few years back to tie in with the publishing of my latest book and my wild nature retreats. It’s been an interesting few years. I’ve spent much of my life and career working on one or more projects at a time while always keeping my eye on the next big thing I could get my teeth into. And all the while thinking that at some point I’ll properly make my mark, get recognised and become a success. It’s taken a long old time to define a personal understanding of success rather than how others see it. Since 2000 I’ve been developing and building the charity, Write to Freedom (W2F). We work with myth and wild nature to support healing and growth for those impacted by trauma and addiction. It has always been rich and rewarding work both personally and professionally. The community has grown steadily and beautifully over the last twenty years. We’ve been continually blessed with amazing staff, participants and funders since the beginning. But there’s always been this sense that this was a cool thing to do while I waited for the fabled big break. In 1995 I left a fledgling career in the film industry (a dream I’d had since I was a kid). I decided to leave it to follow my path deeper into recovery from my own addictions and trauma. I didn’t feel I’d survive the harder edges of the industry. My heart broke giving up the dream. Over the years I did some of my own work in film, radio and publishing but this was

BrightSky: a project with heart and a bold vision more as a side-line than a main focus. This summer we completed the latest short film for W2F. In the process I met something in me that I’d been missing for a long time. My journey on the road to healing has equipped me well to work with people in a more creative, open hearted, collaborative way. The film won an award and a place in a film festival. This launched a new arm of our work: Creative Pathways to Healing and Meaning. As one year closes and another opens up, I realise that the fantasy of a huge lump of cash or wider recognition for my work has been, what they call in the film business, a McGuffin. What my soul had been looking for had been right in front of me the whole time. Write to Freedom is it. My personal and professional healing journey has been waiting for the right conditions to tap my creative roots deeper into what I was born to do. So, the books and retreats have led me full circle, back to the doorway I set out from in my early twenties; back home to my skin, my tribe, my work, back to what I have to give to maybe make the world a better place. Time to harvest that. l For Write to Freedom’s latest short film, We Seek the Teeth:


NEW project with a big heart and a bold vision is set to make its public debut next Spring. BrightSky is a new online platform and community for holistic practitioners, ethical entrepreneurs and community-builders. It was founded in Totnes in 2018 and has already attracted founding members from across the UK. Ben Clark from BrightSky Totnes said: “BrightSky’s mission is to reach out further than ever before with the incredible heart-based work that holistic practitioners are collectively offering. We’re aiming to help facilitate more of the inner and outer transformation that these difficult times urgently call for. The project grew from a desire to help practitioners feel less isolated. Membership aims to give them more time for their calling whilst helping them to grow a thriving business within a supportive and collaborative community.” BrightSky was co-founded by 100+ Founding Partners and Ambassadors, all actively working towards positive change for people and the planet. Over 50% of profits raised from member subscriptions will be re-invested in community projects. The project is also committed to re-wilding through tree planting, and is supporting the legacy of the late ecocide law champion Polly Higgins by

Bristol BrightSky Meetup, 2019 inviting all BrightSky members to become Earth Protectors. BrightSky is currently inviting practitioners to become Founding Members, which includes lifetime professional membership and free access to a library of eCourses, as well as venue and business support directories for practitioners. There will be regular online meetings over the coming weeks for anyone who would like to find out more: events/611373369397619/ The Totnes Hub has already held two fireside meet-ups near Dartington. The next will be held in the Nest at The Glade, North Woods, Dartington on Sunday 1 December from 2-5pm. Anyone who is interested in finding out more is invited to go along. l For more information visit: www.

Introducing Sea School’s Body Poem


ODY Poem is the latest addition to The Sea School of Embodiment’s exciting programme of therapeutic training courses offered at their beautiful centre in Dawlish, online, or at various locations in Devon. Katie Sarra, who is running the new course, describes Body Poem as “a revolutionary therapeutic tool designed to illuminate unknown and unspoken parts of the self via spontaneously emerging poetry.” She said: “Body Poem bypasses the censorship of the brain’s upper cortical structures and allows access to what we know is true but haven’t yet revealed to ourselves. This transformational process discovers the tattoos etched into our neural networks and integrates these implicit unscripted memories into our explicit new life scripts. “The practice of Body Poem involves eliciting sensations and communications from the body using a unique synthesis of the dream form of Playback Theatre, body focusing and clean language.” The Body Poem training course is

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the result of more than 30 years of practice and combines two different formats – a five-week live online course and a threeday immersive retreat at The Sea School. Katie believes this offers the optimum combination for people to learn and integrate the training material. She said: “The Body Poem online training means you can learn at your own pace, while the retreat offers the intimacy and immersion of embodied collective learning. Combining these two types of learning supports deeper integration of the material.” Who is the course aimed at? Katie believes many different types of people could benefit including practitioners who want to add a powerful new modality to their practice and support clients to uncover the wisdom of their own bodies. It is also open to individuals who want to learn how to connect more fully with themselves. Katie said: “Body Poem is a powerful way to co-create transformational shifts in a way that is truly client centred. Working

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in this way integrates exiled parts of the self and helps to elicit previously obscured meaning. It is a way to support embodiment with or without physical touch. Body Poem supports people to listen to themselves and interpret what their body needs.” The five week online course take place at 7pm on Wednesdays from January 22-February 12. The 3 day Body Poem in-person retreat will be held in the UK on April 24-26, venue in Devon to be confirmed, and at other dates and locations, to be confirmed. The Sea School of Embodiment is kindly offering discounts at for readers of Reconnect Magazine. Use code TurtleReconect5 for £200 off on the five week training course and TurtleReconect3 for £100 off the 3 day in-person training. l For more information and to make a booking see

Mindful in nature at Sharpham.


Give the gift of mindfulness


F YOU’RE stuck for ideas for Christmas, you couldn’t do much better than to give someone the gift of mindfulness. Sharpham has a one-day Mindfulness through Art course coming up in January and a longer project connecting mental health recovery with being in nature. Mindfulness through Art aims to help participants develop mindful awareness and their own expression through making drawings, poems and sounds. This creative course uses simple exercises and materials to help participants let go of any preconceptions about being artistic. The idea is to see how mindfulness - the art of concentration, of being quiet, composed and paying attention - is also the art of being open, creative and responsive.

John Danvers It has been created for those with no previous experience or expertise in the arts, and for artists and writers who want to develop mindful aspects of their practice. The course is led by John Danvers, an artist, writer and poet whose work is rooted in contemplative enquiry - drawing on over 50 years of Zen Buddhist practice. John is currently the Buddhist chaplain at

Exeter University, and is the founder of Exeter Meditation Circle. Mindfulness through Art takes place on Saturday January 25. Other one-day events take place regularly at Sharpham, including the Introduction to Mindfulness course, which offers an easy entry into the world of meditation and mindful awareness to mitigate stress and enhance wellbeing. The next Introduction to Mindfulness course takes place on Saturday January 18. All courses run from 10am to 4pm in the South Wing Hall at Sharpham House. There’s also a fresh chance to apply for a ground-breaking project connecting mental health recovery with nature. People who have suffered poor mental health, anxiety and/or depression – but who want to get well – are invited to apply to be Mindful-in-Nature. The benefits of nature on mental health are well-documented and the Mindful-in-Nature project has been co-designed by Devon Recovery Learning Community, with input from people with lived experience of mental health challenges. This unique National Lottery Community Fund-supported project offers one-day and nine-week courses held on the Sharpham Estate. Participants learn to use mindful practices to combat mental health issues. The courses are for people aged 18 or over, living in the South Hams. A free minibus service running from Torbay to Totnes and Sharpham is provided. The next one-day introduction to Mindful-in-Nature takes place on Tuesday December 17. The next 9-week course begins on Tuesday January 28. l For more information visit: www.

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WELLBEING Breathe, Dance and Be


Take a deep BREATH...

Learn how to use your breath to overcome stress and re-energise your body. Improve your health and help clear emotional blockages. Workshops and 1:1 sessions available. Intro workshops in Hayle, Cornwall Sat 18 January 2020 and Dawlish, Devon Sat 1 February 2020 10.30am to 1pm £25pp

Transformational Breathing

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REATHING, dancing and being; simple yet profound. Embodying who you are and all you can become; bringing loving acceptance to what is, and fierce commitment to your dreams. This the invitation and the opportunity. Interested? Then read on… Our breath has the potential to connect us with the intelligence of our bodies to heal, restore and balance. On December 21, the morning of the solstice, you are invited to come and experience the power of conscious connected breathing. This workshop will be held in a beautiful woodland setting in the Nest at the Glade, near Schumacher College, Dartington. We will be supported by live medicinemusic with Eliza Kenyon of The Awakening Song. This event is by advance booking only as there is limited space, so book early to guarantee your place. The next date after this is January 25, also by advance booking only. Then to kick-start the New Year, Ben and Eliza are holding a one-day retreat at Eden Rise on January 11 called ‘2020 Visioning’. This is an opportunity to bring clarity and power to your intentions for the year ahead. This visioning process will be supported by the transformational modalities

of movement, breathwork and medicine song. As well as group breathes, Ben offers 1:1 Rebirthing Breathwork sessions and is running a special promotion for the New Year, so be in contact if you’re interested and want to find out more. Ben also holds Movement Medicine journeys at various locations across the South West which will begin again in the New Year. l For more information about any of these offerings and bookings please visit: www. We would like to apologise to Ben for incorrectly printing his article last issue.

A time to grieve


HIS time of year can be particularly challenging for people who are grieving. Dark, wet days and cold weather can evoke feelings of loss and grief even if the death of our loved person occurred a long time ago. Added to this, we mark the loss of the fallen in war during November and then we enter a time of festivity at Christmas, both of which can be challenging. Susan Hollins, who is a bereavement counsellor and shamanic healer, said: “Amid the bright lights of these festivities, those who grieve learn to apply their brave face so that few, if any, will discern their broken heart and loss of purpose.” She points out that grieving isn’t limited by time. However, it does not need to become the permanent state of our emotional life. Susan said: “The death of someone dear to us forces a cataclysmic change and life will not be the same again but this doesn’t mean that it can’t be good, rich, purposeful... “Grieving can become a permanent state of life when our beloved has died and we may hang onto these feelings as a means of keeping a link with them. Our entire life then risks becoming accommodated around our loss. Sometimes we become so stuck in our grief that it

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submerges our emotional life and dominates our everyday. If this is your experience, then, perhaps like a boat embedded in river mud when the tide is too far out, some rescue in the form of bereavement counselling could be of immense value to you. “Bereavement counselling helps us to work through our feelings of grief, however tumultuous they may be. It enables us to reflect on our memories without drowning in the waters of sorrow. It can help us find new ways to relate to the person we love so our life regains its own purpose and isn’t spent looking backwards.” l For more information email: or phone: 07918 671476 or visit www.

Kate Reed , Leela Fisk, and Harmony Isgolde


Support for mothers and carers

I was moved to tears” writes one participant in the Movement for Life group in Dartington. “The purity and magic in being able to move our bodies together with our children and friends to music…’’ The project, which is supported by Lottery Community Funding, is beginning its second term and welcoming new participants who would like to join its nurturing group. Leela Fisk, who runs Movement for Life, said: “We support mothers and female carers to nourish body and soul with movement every fortnight, on Tuesday mornings. We also bring whole families together to dance once a month on Sunday mornings. We dance in the gorgeous under-floor heated SPACE Studio 6 in Dartington.” Lottery funding means the group is able to offer lower fees and it can also provide bursaries for childcare and travel in cases of hardship. It is led by Leela, assisted by Harmony Isgolde and Kate Reed. This Autumn, the female carers group has been exploring coming home to the body in various ways, including simple floor-based

movements, nourishing breath and fluidity, and extending into supported freeform dance. The invitation is always present to enjoy the luxury of simply resting. Family Dance sessions offer a different kind of physical immersion for all ages. Leela explained: “We begin with 30-40 minutes of guided movement play - rolling crawling, physical contact and space-shaping between families - followed by diverse music and simple invitations to dance together. An important ingredient is that the parents engage in movement and play, for children to feel and follow.” Leela is a certified and experienced facilitator of local dance groups, including Friday Movement Lab ( Kate is a drama movement therapist and Harmony a fully embodied massage therapist and vitality coach. l For more information/bookings email: or call 01803 866805 All at Studio 6, Space, Dartington Hall: Fortnightly Tuesday mornings (women), 10-11.30am

Therapeutic Counselling & Psychotherapy Jane Barclay ahpp, ukcp reg. -----------------------Offers work via SKYPE: Disrupted attachment Endings Bereavement Boarding school trauma

A fresh start and good health


T IS very easy body that may feel a to overindulge wee bit tighter than during the winter usual as we cosy up months and festive on the sofa a bit more season. With colder than usual over the temperatures and festive break! darker nights, it’s “February’s session will natural is to crave the continue the theme of comfort and cosiness of detoxification, working hot food and warming on all of the system’s drinks. And why not? meridian pairs, as well After all, life is for living as stretching into all and enjoying! parts of your body.  But for many, This is an ultimate Natalie Austin January marks a cleanse, detox and new beginning, purification session.” particularly in terms of health and wellbeing.  It is a time when many According to Chinese Meridian of us make lifestyle changes or Theory, cleansing and stimulating alter our eating habits. In some (or calming) your energetic body cases, this may involve making a is essential for the harmonious renewed commitment to already balance of body and mind. existing healthy habits.  Natalie said: “Committing to a In recognition of the desire to regular yoga practice is a vital cleanse ourselves at the start of the way of enlivening chi/energy year, Natalie Austin has created a disorders (that are often the new series of Yin Deep workshops precursors of illness) as well as on January 25 and February 29. strengthening and smoothing your She said: “January’s Yin Deep body’s mobility and enhancing session will focus on a digestive mental clarity and health.” detox for the stomach, intestines l Call or text Natalie on 07516 and spleen meridians. This is 720246 or email natalie@ a really good way of clearing to book your excess from your system in a space or discuss the different yoga comfortable and nourishing way.  classes. Or go to www.loveyogatree. This workshop will also work deep into the hip area - an area of your for more information.

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WELLBEING Yoga with Natalie @ Chapel House Studios, Totnes Yin Deep - Winter Workshops 2020 Saturday 25 January 3-6pm Digestive Detox / Happy Hips Saturday 29 February 3-6pm Full Body Detox Booking essential 07516 720 246 | |

Tantric Flow


NPROCESSED emotions get laid down in the body where they continue to influence us on an unconscious level, says Catherine Hale, trauma practitioner and sexological body worker. She sees the effects of this unprocessed emotion playing out in the sexuality of her clients and works with them to help them resolve it. Catherine explained: “Depending how we live our lives, our bodies either remain free-flowing, open and connected or they become a store-house of life experiences we have not yet fully digested. “Unprocessed emotions may appear in dreams or behaviour we are not fully aware of, or it may show up as physical pain or disease in the body. “Often it shows up in the realm of sexuality. Maybe the person can’t orgasm, can’t maintain erection, or experiences pain during sex. Some have feelings of shame or unworthiness when aroused. This can lead to feeling limited.” She describes the pelvis as the home of our sexuality and says: “If we imagine our pelvis to be a container for our life force energy, then it makes sense that the more spacious it is the more life force it can contain. Tightness and constriction, created by holding onto emotions that no longer serve us, will inevitably reduce our life force capacity resulting in lower sexual desire, and problems with orgasm and erection. “Making space in the pelvis allows more life force to be cultivated and move through us. We need to start

by bringing our attention to the area and focusing on what is stored there. This may arise as emotions, body movements, sensations or sounds that want to come out and integrate into your system.” Catherine runs a Tantric Flow class, which is a powerful yet simple way to engage with the pelvis and consciously make space for what you want to feel, whether that’s pleasure, orgasm, relaxation or joy. “I teach you an effective practice, putting the body into a series of postures until we reach the final pose where the body can vibrate and shake off what is ready to leave you. Everyone is fully clothed and work on their own. However you will be alongside a group of other adventurers, who like you, are longing for pelvic freedom.” Catherine is holding this event in Bristol on January 25 and tickets are available from her website. As the early bird price runs until December 25 why not make it a Christmas gift for yourself or for someone you love? l For more information visit https:// or email Catherine at

The gift of change


NOTHER year is ending - a time to reflect and decide what we wish for the one ahead. Maybe we have patterns that no longer serve us, yet it can feels daunting to transform those places that feel stuck and painful, or that are simply habitual. Change in the year ahead is inescapable. Sometimes it’s desired and sometimes not. Katheryn Hope is a Resonance Repatterning practitioner - a healing practice that helps to uncover and clear limiting patterns and replace them with more helpful beliefs. She said: “Often, when we choose transformation it can feel as if we’re going backwards rather than forward. When change is all around us, it is more important than ever to come back to ourselves. As all the old stuff emerges for release, observe what is happening. Be kind to yourself, practice self-care and self-nourishment and use daily affirmations, even if you doubt them. Change is occurring deep within that your mind cannot fully comprehend. Your ego is struggling in the same way. What was once comfortable and secure now feels confining, as you are being called to something more.” Katheryn advises: “Don’t focus


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on your limitations, on reality as it is now or on your defeats and failures. Know that all experience leads to growth and allows you to be more than you were yesterday. Your consciousness is growing. Your sense of self is expanding. Trust the process. It is a gift of positive change. ” If you need a helping hand, Resonance Repatterning can help to clear old beliefs and replace them with ones that resonate with you as you move forward. Katheryn is extending her popular Autumn offer for Reconnect readers. You will receive an hour and half Resonance Repatterning session, in person or online, for £75 (normally £127) until the end of January 2020. l For more information contact Katheryn on 01395 568360 or email



PENDING time in nature has been shown to bring down blood pressure and reduce anxiety, increase happiness and calm the symptoms of ADHD. Studies have shown it can even improve pain control and boost the immune system.

HPD, DSFH, AfSFH (reg), NCH (reg)

Veronique Mertes I can help with...

New nature-based courses Now, Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship, based at Dartington Hall near Totnes, is introducing new nature-based courses and sessions designed for young people and adults. The sessions, which are facilitated by qualified Level 3 Forest Leader, Angie Whitehead, and supported by experienced outdoor practitioners, will run alongside Sirona’s existing equine-based therapeutic and educational activities. The beautiful copse and woodland areas of Sirona’s new Dartington home provide the ideal backdrop. Hannah Burgon said: “Evidence for the benefits of nature on mental and physical health is extensive. In fact, doctors are even starting to prescribe nature to patients under the social prescribing programme. It is claimed that if you spend 90 minutes of your day outside in a wooded area, there will be a decrease in activity in that part of your brain that is typically associated with depression. It can also improve sleep, cut stress and increase energy. Even just five minutes in green space is enough to lift your mood. Young people with additional challenges such as mental health problems may derive particular benefit from spending time in nature.” In a study into the psychological effects of ‘forest bathing’ - the Japanese practice of spending time

in woods - 498 healthy volunteers were surveyed, twice in a forest and twice in control environments. The subjects showed significantly reduced hostility and depression scores, coupled with increased liveliness, after exposure to trees. The researchers concluded that “forest environments can be viewed as therapeutic landscapes.” Among the activities on offer as part of Sirona’s new nature-based sessions are: woodland exploration; plant identification; foraging walks with ponies; building dens and other structures; bush craft activities and team games; fires and cooking; green wood working and scavenger hunts and adventure. In addition, Sirona is now offering environmental art therapy for individuals or small groups of young people and adults. For adults interested in learning more about this work, Sirona has a number of courses coming up in 2020. On Saturday March 21 it is hosting ‘Environmental Arts Therapy: an introductory workshop’ with dramatherapist and environmental arts therapist Susie Thompson, and on Saturday May 16, ‘Mindfulness, Nature and Horses’ with Mindfulness therapist Ollie Frame. l For more information call 01803 868779, or email info@ and visit www.

FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION Sessions available in Totnes & Dartmouth Contact: 07746 645217 - Email:


Shamanic Healer Training Accredited course Totnes, Devon Further details

07882 634522

A great cathedral in your eyes

Prioritising mums & female carers to nourish a sense of body and soul

HAT do you see when you look into your eyes? To Michael Brookman, who is a third generation herbalist and iridologist, viewing a person’s iris under magnification is akin to “entering a great cathedral, such is its vast, intricate and delicate design.” He explains: “An examination is conducted with respectfulness, sensitivity and keen focus – allowing the eye to subtly communicate, to reveal the state of the person body in concert with mind - and its degree of conscious connection with the inner life force.” Originally from Weston-super-Mare, Michael has been in practice since 1979 when he co-founded The Bristol Cancer Help Centre. Michael now practices Nature’s Sway near Buckfastleigh. He said: “To make possible this most personal of explorations, I photograph each eye and then screen these pictures onto a computer. When people are able to look into themselves in this way, it can profoundly alter their views and feelings about themselves. “Iridology can yield a greater understanding of oneself and promote a willingness to embark on whatever the process of change is revealed to be necessary – whether

10-11.30am at Studio 6, SPACE, Dartington Hall TQ9 6EL


A fortnightly group on Tuesday mornings starting January 28th

this is change in diet, change in the style of daily living or change in the way we relate to ourselves, to others and to our involvement with the world. These are all transformations that contribute to a more harmonious, peaceful and healthful life.” The photographs are retained for future consultations, whether in person or by telephone, so Michael can refer to them easily. He said: “The key is that iridology enables me to better connect with the person and to select the most appropriate and supportive herbs to use. This is very different to orthodox antibiotic and drug treatment which can only attempt to control ‘symptoms’. The process I’m involved with involves progressively resolving discords to achieve actual wholeness and healing.” l Contact Michael at michael@ or on 01364 644 684. For more detail see pages/iridology/

Contribution: £15-20 for the full 5 session committed series Contact or 01803 866805 Childcare and travel bursaries available to support those in need Led by Leela Fisk, assisted by Harmony Isgolde, both mothers & dancers

All ages - babies to grandparents welcome. No steps to learn. We begin with structured movement play then dance together to diverse music. Bring kids free £3-6 per adult SPACE Studio 6, Dartington Hall Trust TQ9 6EL Sundays 10.30-12 noon January 5th | February 2nd | March 1st | April 5th | May 3rd | June 7th Contact or 01803 866805 Led by Leela Fisk, assisted by Kate Reed - a Movement for Life project

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Claire and Rupert Callender of The Green Funeral Company


The Now Therapy Centre for Counselling and Healing

Natasha Bainbridge Counsellor Tavistock, Okehampton

Tel: 07590 527990 Email:

Death is a part of a life’s story

I Facial Massage

CARRIE ALLCOTT 07595323090

HAVE been standing over the bodies of the dead to tell the story of their lives for twenty years now. It is an incredible honour, and fraught with risk. More often than not, I never met these people, yet I take it upon myself to try and offer words of comfort and explanation as to what has happened, to try and excavate meaning from what are often times of bleak sadness. And meaning is often absent, certainly as an explanation of why a life has ended, particularly if the circumstances are tragic. Bad things happen to good people for no reason, and sometimes there is no link between the lives lived and the end met. The random nature of our physical world means the universe is often blindly indifferent to our individual circumstances, but still we search for answers, someone to blame, usually ourselves. In such circumstances, to say anything that isn’t crass or insincere is a struggle, unless you develop a binocular way of looking at a life, with the narrative arc of it overlaid against the death which ended it. As a community struggles with such events, there is a need to balance the focus between these two visions. A death is not the life that preceded it, but is a part of it, and both need to be welcome at a funeral. I have no religious authority behind me. What I say needs to be accepted by all who hear it as the truth, even if it is jagged with shards of sadness. It is often clear what is the right thing to say at a funeral, it is whether I or anyone else has the courage to say it. I know when what I have spoken is received as the truth by a gathering. There is a moment of tenseness, a sense of the collective attention being seized,

The Green Funeral Company’s Claire and Rupert Callender help the living to honour the dead. This issue Ru imparts that death is not the life that preceded it, but is a part of it, and both need to be welcome at a funeral. followed by a sense of reassurance that yes, this is the true nature of the person who has died, this is the truth of their story. But being around such unvarnished truths day after day can take its toll. Without the promises of religion our lives can feel empty of meaning and it is to trite to say that love is the answer to our existence, even though I half believe that to be true. What I can say for certain, is there are moments in our lives in which everything comes sharply into focus, in which things clearly matter more than in the rest of our daily existence. These shared moments of clarity can often be painful, but there is liberation in the sharpness of it. This is what gives my life meaning, those fleeting moments of shared reality, when I have spoken aloud what everyone is thinking, when we all feel as one, even if that feeling is painful. In that moment of shared truth, we are not alone. l Visit www. thegreenfuneralcompany. or email enquiry@ or call 07759 890 639.

Want to buy a Dartmoor retreat?

East Down, a Dartmoor retreat, is looking to find the person or people who can make use of the magical space for the well being of as many humans as possible. East Down Centre has been used as a retreat centre for 30+ years and hosted countless groups, each with their own individual take on well-being and spirituality. Owner Jomie Gee who has had the retreat since 2013 is hoping that you, or somebody you know, might be a part of the continuing story. She said:


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“Now more than ever there is a need for beautiful spaces where people can reconnect with nature and their own awesomeness. This is just such a place. We are moving on, to start a different community wellbeing venture, and East Down needs new stewardship. It has been an integral part of so many people’s journeys of well being and happiness and now it requires help to continue. Could that be you?” Please go to the web site at www. for more information.

WELLBEING Training in shamanic healing



HAMANIC healer training is coming to Totnes, with a new practitioner course at the Pulse Building, The Mansions, starting in January. Lorraine Chamberlain and Jim Brant of the Shamanic Healers Circle have been developing the course for more than two years. They recently achieved Lorraine Chamberlain and Jim Brant accreditation from Balens our connection to spirit and the world Insurance for all students successfully around us.” completing the programme. The second year gives the The new practitioners course offers shamanic healer practitioner status, “kind, inclusive and non-dogmatic covering soul retrieval, death and learning”. Lorraine said: “The dying, and trauma. It looks at emphasis is on safe and respectful relationship to each other, spirits what is involved in becoming a and all our relations. We work in professional Shamanic Practitioner, heart-aware ways and seek to be including case studies, anatomy non-discriminating and with an and physiology and demonstrating earth-honouring ethic.” professional healing standards. The course runs over two years Participants need to commit to and provides ample opportunity for the full year, which also involves participants to explore the principles extended healing practice. At the of Shamanic Healing and decide if end of the second year they are it works for them. recognised as a Shamanic Healer It covers more than 10 different Practitioner. Shamanic Healing practices, Lorraine added: “The course has including: building respectful been developed to build a bridge relationships with the Spirits and between Shamanic Healing and the spirit helpers, journeying, meditation and protection, as well as other UK’s current health care system. The elements common to all healing programme meets the standards and practices, such as building a criteria set by the Complementary successful practice. and Natural Healthcare Council, The first year comprises four which was set up by the government weekend modules. They can be to protect the public and provides taken in any order and paid for an independent UK register separately, allowing participants to of complementary healthcare fit training in around their existing practitioners. commitments. Jim said: “The four modules provide a good grounding in Shamanic Healing and a greater awareness of

Offering courses

Online coaching course “Joyful life” How to master 10 habits of Ayurveda in your day-to-day life. Integrating Ayurveda, Behavioral science and evolutionary group dynamics. Available now

Ayurvedic yoga massage training course level one. Starts March 2020 For workshops/yoga classes/free talks please call: Saghar on 07974470610 or email:

l For more information visit www. or email:

An indigenous approach to PTSD


T IS nearly 40 years since Jenny Cantillon began her international therapy business. Growing up within the shamanic culture of the First Nation – the collective name for the indigenous peoples of Canada, south of the Arctic Circle – Jenny was drawn to healing. She began her training in this region and incorporates many healing practices from her heritage into her current practice, including shamanic healing and crystal healing, shamanic counselling, animal healing, earth healing, horse whispering and crystal skull healing. Jenny has trained in these areas for over 30 years and is also an author and lecturer. She is currently working on a book for the military veterans who suffer from PTSD, alongside running a charity for veterans. Unlike other similar charities, her focus is on treating veterans using a holistic approach, based on the indigenous idea of “soul wounding”. Jenny said: “There is a fundamental difference between soul wounding and mental illness.

Essentially, if there is a wound in a person’s soul it will cause their entire system - both physical and non-physical – to be out of balance and harmony. By thinking of veterans with PTSD in this way, it alters the treatment approach.” She explained that the work she does with military veterans can often become a catalyst for them to help others who have experienced the trauma of war. She said: “Many people want to help other veterans who follow on behind them, or non-military personnel who have been in a war zone. Working with people in this way gives them a very special gift to offer the world.” Jenny doesn’t just work with people who are directly affected by PTSD but also their families. “In a way, they suffer their own sort of PTSD because if you know or live with a veteran with the condition it is heartbreaking to try and understand their behaviour. I know this from personal experience which is why I want to help.” l Contact Jenny on 07858428329, hinohjis@yahoo. com, or

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Stories for change

Theatre and stories for change

I Sexuality ~ Trauma ~ Pelvic Health Reclaim your power, creativity and pleasure

25th January ~ Tantric Flow workshop Bristol £65 before 25th December thereafter £75 Sessions in Totnes, London and online, bespoke retreats in Totnes

T IS the third year that the arts and well-being organization Stories for Change - which uses autobiographical theatre and personal storytelling to promote social change - has been running National Lottery funded projects in the community. Women recovering from illness and men moving out of addiction are among those who will benefit from the latest funded groups. There will also be a new group for young women (age 18-26), which aims to promote confidence and a healthy relationship with the body. Agata Krajewska, Phil Barber and Rooh Star are the brains behind Stories for Change. Agata said: “There is a powerful connection between solo autobiographical work and community building. This was revealed in our recent workshops when participants had a mutual recognition of the shared experience of both adversity and victory. This led to greater sense of solidarity and intimacy. Women rose towards empowerment, using the performance space to redefine their identities and claim a “new story”, to find their “new myth”. “In the course of our work, we have learned that each woman is a heroine in her own right; a survivor of adversity, able to bring herself forward with courage and dignity. Women speak of sharing

their stories in a safe space as a way to “put them down”, a source of learning, not a burden to carry. We found, too, that it is often in challenging situations, when they might have felt victimized, that women developed their most precious gifts and strengths. In this way, they have transformed the rough material of their experiences into gold.” Phil said: “Men come away from these workshops feeling more connected, and more inspired. That’s because we are all ‘story carriers’ and our personal stories have a way of opening our hearts and feeding us vital information. When we care for our stories, the heart gets educated with guidance and wisdom, and a new confidence emerges.” As a participant, Stories for Change invites you to: l Explore your life situation from a story/initiation perspective. l Be playful and creative with your challenges and enquiries. l Experience the alchemy of telling your story and being received. l Identify and bring forth the unique gifts developed from your experiences. For more information and to register contact Agata: 0779 500 2816 or Phil: 0775 9588 071, or visit www.

Understanding our anxiety


NXIETY is something that we all struggle with. For some people, anxiety affects them from time to time, while for others it is more persistent and ongoing. If we listen to that negative little voice in our head, it can make us feel stuck or worthless. But, how would it feel - and what would it look like - if we understood how to deal with anxiety, so that it no longer got in our way? Lou Henwood of The Singing Zookeeper believes that not only is this absolutely possible, but it can also be great fun. She said: “Anxiety is all in the mind, we make it all up! I am not saying that the problems people face are not real, we all have

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problems and it is part of life. But, it is the thoughts that we have around those issues that make life difficult. I teach people to get a better understanding of why we think the way that we do, to understand that it is normal, and I teach them to have fun and even laugh about the way we think. When we learn not to take life so seriously it becomes brighter, less noisy and kinder.” In January, Lou is running a number of ‘The Singing Zookeeper: Turn Anxiety on its Head’ workshops. Some of these are free of charge to those who qualify for bursary. She is also available for individual sessions. l Contact Lou on 07985704600 or email louisehenwood@gmail. com or

A busy year ahead for Nautilus Rooms Love is all S WE end this year and



begin a new one, popular favourites are joined by new therapies at The Nautilus Centre in Totnes.

One of the centre’s counsellors, Audrey Cooper, works with clients who experience the symptoms of trauma , stress and anxiety. She has been in practice for more than five years and recently undertook training in Dr. Stephen Porge’s Polyvagal Theory. She describes it as “very accessible to clients and both practical and effective”. Audrey said: “Stress, anxiety and depression are common in modern life. These issues can frequently be caused by autonomic nervous system reactions (fight or flight). I offer a holistic approach that explores the connection between a client’s thoughts, beliefs and feelings and their nervous system. We work together to map the client’s autonomic states and then develop practical skills to help support nervous systems regulation. In addition, I offer Person-Centred Therapy, CBT, Sand Tray Therapy and Mindfulness.” l For more information call 07849 392635 or email info@ and see www.

Lindsay McLeod has recently begun offering one-to-one Body Harmony sessions at The Nautilus Rooms. Describing herself as “something of a body whisperer”, Lindsay uses Body Harmony to interrupt anything that is causing trauma and stress responses in the body. She explained: “Neural pathways and muscle memories are re-wired letting people come to an easier relationship with health and wellbeing in themselves, their bodies and all aspects of their lives.” Lindsay’s work is entirely consent lead. l For more information or to book, call 07899 014619 or visit www.

Sandplay is one of the things that The Nautilus Rooms is renowned for and, along with therapeutic art, it is continuing to go from strength to strength. Ruth Baker, who runs sandplay training courses and sessions, said: “This is becoming known as a centre of excellence in creative arts training, with people travelling from far and wide to attend our courses. Some participants have even battled through snow at airports to get here!” The most recent course attracted the following feedback: “Thank you again for a fabulous weekend - I have been raving about it and you to everyone!”

NDINGS and beginnings, giving and receiving… while these are constant themes throughout our lives, they tend to come into sharper focus at this time of year. It can be tempting to think that gifts are given to us by other people, but what about the gifts you give to yourself? Bell Bartlett – a gifted psychic tarot reader with more than 40 years’ experience – has been considering what gifts she could give herself over the coming months. She said: “As a self employed person it’s easy to focus endlessly on work. Everyday joys can be pushed to the edge of my attention, so in 2020 I have decided to prioritise simple pleasures. Top of my list is time to do the things that would make life easier, like reorganising my office. Much more excitingly, I’ve decided to award myself several hours’ reading time at least once a week.” Bell observed that in her readings, the gifts we give ourselves often come at the bottom of most people’s priority lists. She said: “What ordinary joys would you love to include in your daily, weekly, monthly routine? Many of us tend to think of them but never quite get round to it. A friend who has a bath (I only have a shower) has often said to me ‘come round for a bath’ even if she is not there. I would love that, it would be a real luxury, but have I done it? Noooo! What does it take to allow ourselves to receive, not just

Bell Bartlett is a gifted psychic tarot reader with 40 years experience occasionally but all of the time?” Bell’s work is completely guided by Spirit. She explained: “My experience is that Spirit wants to give to us constantly, but we can block that by insisting that we do it all! So, I am encouraging us all to prioritise self-love, self-appreciation, self-acknowledgement and selfacceptance. The new year will undoubtedly bring challenges and opportunities, as we find ways to flow up, down and around the landscape of our lives. Let us remember to treat ourselves kindly, and to allow ourselves to receive in equal balance to our giving and know, as always, that love is all.” Bell’s readings - once described by a client as ‘ridiculously helpful’ - offer support, insight, information and reassurance. Contact Bell on 07796 900509 or visit www. If you’re looking for ideas for Christmas, beautiful gift vouchers for readings and workshops are available now.

“I want to thank you for the weekend. It has left me feeling calm and well resourced, both professionally and personally.” Ruth added: “There is an increasing awareness of the benefits of creative therapies and their ability to cut through issues which can sometimes be difficult to shift. Most of us are well trained in using our thinking mind to solve problems and to avoid difficult emotions. However, by using creative techniques we can access deeper parts of the psyche which support our healing and integration. The process engages our active imagination through the use of symbols and objects which are tangible and readily available to engage with. Emotions and moods are experienced in the sand and we can gain a better understanding of certain situations. Sometimes simply the act of moulding the sand is a soothing experience and supports the letting go of long-held emotions. “2020 promises to be another busy year at The Nautilus Rooms for sandplay training and for therapists wanting to incorporate this playful and highly effective therapeutic technique into their work.” l For more information visit:

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THE DIVINE FEMININE THERAPIST, facilitator and writer Sapphira de la Terre explores empowerment and awakening form a feminine perspective.



UPPOSING it were instead a miraculous journey of feeling more and more alive in your body, deeply connected with yourself and others, and being increasingly abundant, joyful, and peaceful? And supposing your pathway to this awake, alive, connected life were doing exactly what you’re doing right now? Well… that is exactly how it is. Spiritual awakening is not separate from life. All of life is a constant process of spiritual awakening. You can’t get away from it! All I used to do is insane amounts of meditation, and hang out in monasteries doing silent retreats. It was a profoundly positive experience for me, and I felt blissed out. But I was living in entirely in my head. All it needed for my blissed-out state to come crashing down was a short visit to my family. And I had thought I was so evolved. Not! Looking back, I now describe that period of my life as ‘lost in the transpersonal’. Sure, I was evolving, but only from the neck up. I was trapped in a spiritual bubble, cut off from myself and other people. This is not true awakening. And it is a pain in the neck for the people around you because they end up feeling pushed away and not spiritual enough - unless, of course, they’re playing the same game. Meditation and other traditional spiritual practices are immensely helpful, and for many reasons. They can, for example, give you valuable breathing space from your ‘stuff’. But unfortunately your ‘stuff’ is all still there, lurking below the level of consciousness. All it takes is a visit to your family… By ‘stuff’ I mean the emotional baggage that we all have the difficult things that have happened to us that we haven’t yet let go of. True awakening happens as we finally do so. Which potentially happens when we actively engage with the challenges of our daily lives: a complex relationship; issues


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at work; a particularly daring goal: even a stupid parking ticket can potentially be your ticket to awakening. But you do need to engage with whatever is happening - to open up, be human, messy and vulnerable. Which obviously sounds pretty scary. Unless you have effective tools to enable you to swiftly move through it all, and supportive people to hold you through the process. In which case it can actually be fun, enlivening and a massive relief. You don’t have to pretend any more. Or keep it together. You don’t have to try and be perfect all the time. This is true awakening dissolving whatever blocks you from being fully yourself. At the same time you invariably also feel more alive in your body, more joyful and peaceful, and more connected to yourself and to the world. And you simultaneously get to be healthier and more abundant. It’s a win-win-win-win-win-winwin! It’s also what gives meaning to our lives. As all of consciousness evolves, we get to understand more fully what spiritual awakening really is. It turns out, it’s just about becoming more ourselves - who we truly are. And it’s available to all of us right now - not just to a handful of Tibetan monks in a few more lifetimes. l Sapphira offers one 1-21 sessions, courses and workshops, as well as a personal retreats in her home in Totnes. You can either work with whatever issue is challenging you right now, or choose a theme eg honing your hearts desires, strengthening boundaries, power and radiance in menopause. See her website for a full list of potential themes as well as articles and videos. or 01803 862628.




FOR READERS... an at-a-glance guide to services and products - plus diary dates. FOR ADVERTISERS... an affordable way to get your message across. Boxes are £55 and £98 and the lineage ads cost just 90p a word, with a minimum of 20 words. THE DEADLINE... for the February/March issue is January 3. Call Scott on 01392 346342 or email

Shiatsu Realise your vision for 2020 with the 2020 Vision Coaching Programme. One-to-one coaching; group work; support on your journey to success. “A goal is a dream with a deadline”. 07974427419 www.exeterlifecoaching.


CREATIVE counsellor. Heartful, Supportive Counselling. Creative Exercises with Art, Sandplay etc. Adults, Couples and Young People. Ruth Jenni MBACP. 07974097787 - Dartington, Newton Abbot and on Skype

HOLISTIC counsellor specialising in trauma/abuse, and for those feelings/ emotions difficult to put into words working with art, sand and outside amongst nature. Annie, www. natureswaycounselling., 07760 439760.

‘FRIEND in Death’, supporting people living with life-limiting illness, and their families and friends. Awi Frances 07733198607 Member of EOL Doula UK



A DYNAMIC approach to healing. RACHEL PERRY - HCPC registered. Individual therapy,Groups, Workshops, Training, Creative Supervision. rachel. perry59@googlemail. com/www. uk/01803 473079 NEW group starting January. Totnes

Eco therapy

EXPERIENCED Integrative Counsellor individuals and couples. Trained in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) Totnes and Exeter. Ingrid Koehler MBACP 07932-734387 www.

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ECO-THERAPY on Dartmoor. Using a nature-based map of the psyche you will receive guidance for self-generated ceremony to claim Wholeness. Rebecca@

DAVID OXLEY MA: Fully qualified Accredited BACP counsellor and psychotherapist. Psychosynthesis and Core Process. Working with Relationship, Depth, Integrity and Soul. Central Exeter, Totnes and Plymouth. www. davidoxleycounselling., 07876051093


A VERY relaxing FOOT therapy. REFLEX points on feet for all body systems. Cleanse, balance, release inner energetic tension. £30 hour treatment (£5 discount first treatment), 07522344291, nicolasuzanne@hotmail. based Totnes Natural Health Centre.

safe space to share for therapists

KATE Coombs DipShi MRSS TRANSFORMATIONAL SHIATSU Offers support for your nervous system to relax, ease for your aches and pains and welcome for the deepest level of your being. Ashburton and Exeter www.katecoombs. 07928731246


BELINDA BLUEBELL the voice of the bees Do you need to hear confirmation about your future direction, have you been suffering from a long term pain? Online Shamanic Journey Sessions Shamanic Bodywork Sessions face to face. All guided by Bee Wisdom. www. thevoiceofthebees. com or call 07754 779 282.

YOU NEXT? YOU could advertise here for just 90p a word - a minimum of 20 words. And you can have a free picture too, while space allows. Call Scott on 01392 346342 for more details.

a fortnightly space to share and be held, heard and seen no advice, no leader, no charge just a donation for advertising 01803 862628 or for a chat or an email Alyer

sound healing

SOUNDS of Creation for Healing Through Sound and Colour with Dian Booth, Master Sound Healer, Virtuoso Violinist/Composer, Spiritual Teacher and Psychological Counsellor. One-to-One Sessions Call: 01803 916151 Email: dian@

£18 You can advertise in this classified section for as little as £18 (therapists also get a free picture, while space allows first come, first served). Call Scott now on 01392 346342 or email adverts@ reconnectonline.

WORKSHOPS & MEETINGS Exeter Greenpeace Meeting for members/supporters in the Phoenix Arts Centre Cafe at 6.30pm, 2nd Wednesday of each month. Adele’s Pilates Until Dec 19, Pure Pilates, Exeter. Festive Yoga and Mince Pies Dec 19, Simply Soulful Yoga, Kingsbridge. Yule Tide Stretch and Yoga Dec 28, Simply Soulful Yoga, Kingsbridge. Hedge-laying Jan 4, Devon Rural Skills Trust, Ivybridge. Woodland Management & Charcoal Making Jan 18, Devon Rural Skills Trust, Bovey Tracey.

Scaravelli Yoga And Deep Rest Meditation

With Caroline Lang at The Yoga House, Harberton, near Totnes Classes, one-to-one, days, retreats that are profoundly nourishing and transformative. 01803 865252

Editorial: 01392 346342


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Reconnect #64  

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