A Place to be Real Together

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by Robin Shaw
Tuesday 6th February 2018

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Tumbling and falling fast through a long, dark tunnel

I emerge, confused but exhilarated, into an explosion

Of glorious white light. Startled by its incandescence, I feel

a sense of wonder and awe. A persuasive force

Propels me forward; shadowy figures obscure the scene

but I am pulled irresistibly towards the source of its brilliance:

Peace and joy flood my entire mind and body.

As the scenes of my life unravel before me, I am filled

... Read More
by Mark James
Tuesday 9th January 2018

On January 4th we undertook some major scrub clearance on the SNCI. Big thanks go out to Nick Gray from the Dorset Wildlife Trust and his team of 21 who turned up to spend the day cutting and burning bramble, hawthorn, blackthorn, dogwood and gorse. Over the years, the scrub has encroached onto the species rich grassland areas smothering the grassland and its associated wildflowers. By clearing the area of scrub, we are hoping that over time the grasses and wildflowers will recolonise these areas and bring them back to their former glories. It will also be interesting to see what, if anything, has survived in the seed bank. Watch this space!!

The following images show the extent of the scrub bashing and the sheer amount of scrub removed on the day. Again, many thanks!

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by Mark James
Tuesday 9th January 2018

My name is Mark and welcome to my first Othona blog! My intention is to show how the grounds at Othona change throughout the seasons. A quick word about my role at Othona: I worked for 8 years at the Dorset wildlife trust as a botanical surveyor until last July, when I was made redundant and decided to do something completely different, hence here I am! I am now, among the general day to day running of the Community, in charge of maintaining the grounds.

My previous role was to survey Sites of Conservation Interest (SNCI), of which we have an area here at Othona. I would carry out botanical surveys and assess the habitat, and give landowners advice on the best way of managing the sites to retain their ecological interest. These sites vary from Ancient Woodland to meadows, chalk... Read More

by Robin Shaw
Saturday 30th December 2017

I have just finished re-reading Quiet by Susan Cain. I am so re-enthused about it that I thought I would mention it in our blog.

The subtitle of Quiet is The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking’. The author explores our cultural perception of ‘introvert’ qualities. She challenges the (largely) negative connotations associated with having introvert versus extrovert characteristics.

As her thoroughly referenced research reveals, studies show that a third to a half of the population are introverts. That’s a lot of people! However, as Ms Cain writes (quoting the psychologist Carl Jung),... Read More

by Ali Tebbs
Saturday 11th November 2017

Today is Armistice Day. I wanted to mark it despite our busy committee weekend and the fact that it prevents me from joining the Remembrance Day Parade in Bridport tomorrow. I used to be quite conflicted about the poppy day symbols. I asked some friends if they were going this year and they said – “no, we are for peace, we don’t agree with war”. I think once I would have felt the same, as if the parade was “for war” somehow but I have changed my mind.  I too am “for peace” and I suspect most people are when you get right down to it – especially the poor people on either side caught up in it through no fault of their own, whether soldiers or civilians. Being “for peace” does not negate the Act of Remembrance, which itself does not endorse war.

Neither Mart or I have family... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Wednesday 8th November 2017

Darkness! We get so much more as winter approaches. Love it? Dread it? Not too sure? My old friend Cathy Bird is a bit of a darkness junkie - in the best sense. She loves the spirituality of the dark. Three times she's visited Svalbard (yep, as in His Dark Materials) where the sun doesn't rise at all for more than 3 months a year. And she's written The Divine Heart of Darkness, just published. In January she leads a darkness retreat at Othona - be there or ... stay in the dark about the dark!

... Read More

by Robin Shaw
Monday 16th October 2017

The Onion Jack Festival is coming back to Bridport - this time in West Bay - on 20-22 October 2017! We are delighted that 8 humans and 2 horses of the Onion Jack team will be staying with us. (The horses in the meadows below us, hosted by Tamerisk Farm.) Come eat, drink, dance and sing with the Onion Johnnies of Britanny, France.

Here are printable/viewable PDFs of the event programme flyer - Front and Back... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Friday 30th June 2017

We are quietly excited. We have just activated our new online booking facility. When you visit an event page in the Programme, you will see a blue box on the right (or at the bottom - if you are using a phone or tablet). Next time you are booking an event, have a go! The first time you have to set up a log-in etc, but that's a one-off.

We didn't want an impersonal 'hotel-like' booking process. The idea is to give you the convenience of online booking while not losing the personal touch. So you apply online, we check availablility etc, and get back to you to confirm your booking. As the meerkats would say: Simples!  Thank you to all who put time, effort and inspiration into creating an... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Friday 23rd June 2017

Exactly a year on from the Brexit referendum one statement of principle deserves to be spelt out here. We in the Othona Community affirm Jesus’ teaching of love for our neighbour – and recognise especially our near neighbours on the continent of Europe.

I don’t mean to prescribe what policies or parties Othona people do or should support. It’s a matter of principle and motivation, on which I hope we can all unite. “Dear Continental Europeans: we’re still your friends!” To fear or smear people just because they come from ‘abroad’ is alien to our whole ethos.

Othona has always had a sense of European brotherhood/sisterhood close to its heart. Founded in 1946, we grew out of the experience of war and the determination to reconcile those who had been enemies (as did the EU).... Read More

by Robin Shaw
Sunday 4th June 2017

I have the pleasure of announcing that I've been given the honour of being Othona West Dorset's first 'Artist-in-Residence'!

Of course, we have had many, many 'unofficial' A-in-R over the years, whether they have been with us for a day or a week - or more. Lots of beautiful art of all forms is created here at Othona.

We thought it would be interesting to experiment with having an A-in-R at Othona West Dorset for this year leading up to the opening of our new Four Seasons Studio in May 2018. (Fingers crossed!) This will coincide with Dorset Art Weeks 2018 and will be the 4th DAW in which Othona has been a venue.

Our chapel and library are transformed into an exhibition space displaying work... Read More