So another weekend in the north passed quietly, mainly as rain stopped play for most of the time I was there. Not, of course, that it is any less beautiful. It simply meant that instead of tramping the moors, getting wind-battered and soaked, we stayed largely undercover and worked. Which means talking. With, perhaps, the occasional glass of wine.
The drive up on Thursday had been a drive through springtime, leaving the cold and wintry weather behind and following the sun. Sheltered banks of daffodils gilded the roadside and carpets of celandine opened their shiny yellow petals to embrace the day. England’s incredible palette glowed green… and I had to leave it for the motorway as time was getting on. Even so, I managed to lose myself temporarily in the hills, just for a short while… the loss being of no great account in face of such beauty and life.
Friday, of course, we had our monthly meeting, with lunch first at the Queen Anne in Great Hucklow, where spring is beginning to unfurl, with perfect timing for April. We called in at the Nightingale Centre where the event will be held in just a few weeks’ time, armed with tape measures and questions in preparation for the upcoming workshop. We have to get it right, of course… and once again we have people flying in from as far away as Europe and America to attend this unique event. We had to smile at the Green Man who hangs on the wall in the corridor there… a half-forgotten friend who winked back at us as if sharing the secret of next year’s adventure, which is already being planned.
The sun decided to oblige and graced the occasion with its presence as we walked up the hill that has become so much a part of our ritual working. We were seeking this year’s landscape, wondering what would unfold for us here. The land itself seems to welcome us and offer whatever we need for the hillside rituals. This year our needs are simple and there was no argument about where we would go when the moment arrived. A few sheep looked on from the field where the lamb had greeted our silent procession with its cries one morning as we brought the School into being. I had to wonder if it was the same one. It is, after all, a very special place.
I recalled the first workshops I myself had attended here, with every room filled with people. Would we want so many? The laughter seems to bubble away throughout our workshops, the intimacy allows old friends to meet and new friendships to be forged. No, I think we have it about right… although there are a couple of possible places still available, should anyone care to join us at the last minute…
We were talking about the workshop for most of the day. The rituals are written, props organised, our guest speaker ready… and now the final push begins to make sure we have everything right. We do it all ourselves as we operate on a not-for-profit basis, keeping expenses low so the workshop can be offered for no more than the cost of a weekend in a bed and breakfast, yet is fully catered and has all the ritual drama, the knowledge sessions and companionship thrown in… and it is set in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales. The vague memory of an old advertising campaign flickered through my mind; the word the company had used for their services was ‘priceless’. It seemed appropriate as I looked across the counterpane of beauty that spreads out around that little Derbyshire village.
For equiries bout the School or the workshop please email the Silent Eye at firstname.lastname@example.org