Famous Roosts

Tower Ravens

Ravens and crows only live in nests when they are young and when they are brooding. During the rest of the year, they sleep in favourite roosting places. In the mountains and forests surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona, specific families have specific roosting areas. Prior to the Great Fire of London in 1666 Ravens lived all over London but after the fire there were so many Ravens feasting on the carnage that the citizens petitioned the King to have them removed. A soothsayer told Charles 1 that when the last Raven left the Tower the British Crown would fall. To this day captive ravens roost in the Tower.

Meet Jill Sullivan

fish

Visiting the Triton's Realm
by Jill Sullivan

Jill Sullivan is a visual artist who works in various media including textiles, paint, print, book arts and who has also, since joining the Soul Food Café at the beginning of 2008, started to experiment with the written form.

She is inspired by nature in all her glorious guises and the 'inner' worlds she has inhabited and inhabits, with maybe those of other wanderers she may meet along the way.

Like a magpie bright things attract her so her use of colour can be bold, an expression of energy, life-force and joy!

For the past few years she has been working predominantly in group projects but is now concentrating on much more personal work.

She loves to work in what she terms free-form which consists of random drawing, doodling, writing - letting the subconscious take over as in free-associative, stream-of-consciousness writing, sometimes with a definite theme in mind, sometimes not, the better to make those inner connections with self, spirit and the natural world.

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Meandering Muse
"let the beauty of what you love, be what you do" Rumi
Wyrd Spirit
This is where I will chart my travels with L'Enchanteur into the realms of Lemuria and beyond. All of the pieces relating to those journeys and the feelings that are evoked will be recorded here. Please enjoy.
The Waiting Game
It is a matter of waiting to see how this blog will evolve and take shape.

Dicken's Legacy

Dickens

It has been argued that Charles Dickens is responsible for the revival of the Christmas spirit during the nineteenth century. Charles Dickens has probably had more influence on the way the Christian world celebrates Christmas today than any other person. Dickens is well known for his Christmas philosophy, which manifests itself through his novel, A Christmas Carol. This novel, undoubtedly one of Dickens' greatest pieces of work, show us in detail, the author's Christmas philosophy of affection and hope towards mankind. Although Dickens achieved much success from this novel, it can be argued that he segregates a large part of the population that does not share his philosophies of Christmas.

Dickens seemed obsessive about the holiday, and more than once he depicted lavish Christmas feasts rife with “old fashioned” traditions which were little more than literary creations. Nevertheless, people followed right along, enchanted with the atmosphere he created and wishing to capture it for themselves. People accepted fiction as if it were true and thus allowed life to imitate art.

It seems, if Christmas at Riversleigh is any indication, that Sibyl Riversleigh has been infected by the spirit of Charles Dickens.

 

The Rookery - Day Eight

Memories…. well I have been within the Soul Food community for under a year, yet length of time belies the steps taken since embarking on my first journey guided by Le Enchanteur.   At the beginning I was somewhat lost with a deep sense of personal disconnection.  How that situation has changed!  As I journeyed through the portal arriving at Rainbow Beach and on, via the Market, Docks and Pageant to Mudjimba little was I consciously aware of what was actually taking place.  I thought I was telling a story…of course I was, but the story is very much a part of me.  I have woken up, clichéd perhaps but nevertheless true.  I am much surer of the creative path I want to tread.   I have been reminded of that which I forgot and as this journey to Mudjimba started with a dream it is fitting that a new journey will take me, perhaps in the guise of another, into the dreamingtime.
Jill Sullivan

A Touch of Dickens and Christmas Past

Three years ago I was lucky enough to move here.

Cover Almshouse brochure 

After the passing of the 1832 Reform Bill, a number of City gentlemen decided that a fitting celebration of the passing of this bill would be the establishment of Almshouses:  “ to afford a permanent asylum to aged and decayed freemen and householders of London, and their wives or widows, of good character and repute, …”

Yes well, you no longer have to be decaying in order to live here but you do have to fulfil certain criteria of age and income.

The funds were raised and between 1834 and 1836 when the basic estate was built, being added to subsequently by two other Almshouse Trusts consisting of 8 bungalows and 6 houses, one of which I am fortunate enough to live in.

The three sets of almshouses are grouped about an open quadrangle facing Ferndale Road, it is an idyllic oasis sited in the centre of bustling inner city London.

The buildings are all listed, Grade A I think and therefore cannot be changed in any way; also the quadrangle and surrounding land cannot be built upon as it too is listed as a conservation area. We share our homes with, at the last count, 7 or 8 foxes who den behind our houses and can be seen as well as heard most nights on the grass out front, and, because of the fifty odd trees that also thrive on the grounds this is home to a vast array of bird life, including crows, jays, woodpeckers, robins, wrens and many more. Even a pair of pheasants were spotted last summer, although I suspect they were just passing through!

My house collaged - left 

In line with the history of these buildings and the folk that they were originally intended for one of the Almshouse traditions is still kept alive by the Trustees of today. That tradition is one of presenting each and every tenant here with a Christmas Hamper. I am sure the contents have changed over the years and certainly their mode of transport has…they no longer come in horse-drawn carriages á la Dickensian era, but in a diesel powered coach, however the intent is still the same. I really wasn’t keen on the idea when I first moved in, having had no prior knowledge that this happened each December and feeling that I was not keen on the tugging of forelock and being grateful to my “betters”….fairly typical defensive working class attitude methinks ha! Of course, it is not about that, it is more a timely reminder of the nature of giving and receiving, and an opportunity to meet those who, on a wholly voluntary basis, oversee the welfare of the Almshouses and its residents. The City of London Corporation manage the properties and residents (necessary at times believe me), but the Trustees are where the buck stops. Quite a hefty responsibility to take on voluntarily and with that in mind I shall definitely make sure I am available to meet them when they come a’ calling this year, mince pies and the glass that cheers to hand.

Expressing Gratitude - An Activity

"Some days I wake up and give thanks for where I live"
Jill Sullivan

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This December, keep a gratitude journal. Consider many ways to present this. Like Jill you might take photographs. Alternatively you might keep a visual journal or diary.

Take the time to meditate up on giving and receiving. Engage in proactive ways to give and watch the transformation that takes place in your life and the lives of others.