A Place to be Real Together


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 the time leading up to the opening of our new Four Seasons Studio. During this time Othona will again be a  venue for Dorset Art Weeks 2018.

Our chapel and library are transformed into an exhibition space displaying work by artists connected to Othona. (... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Sunday 28th May 2017

I'm almost embarrassed to admit just how long we've been been dreaming about replacing our old Art and Craft Building. Now at last the project is really starting to take off. I pinch myself and, yes, I am awake!

The Four Seasons Studio will be larger, more truly multi-purpose, with toilets and kitchen and full disability access. And we've just applied for planning approval.

You can see what it should look like on the Four Seasons Studio Project page here on our website. Of course these images could change if the planners insist, but here's what we're trying for.

By the way, it's just under a year now to the opening of ... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Monday 28th November 2016

Thoughts of an anxious parent...

It's been ages in the gestation, but we think it looks seriously good. (You’ve found the site too or you wouldn’t be reading this – doh.)
Massive thanks go to our own Robin Shaw – working tirelessly* on it for Othona - and the techies at Circle Interactive in Bristol, and Adrian Waddington for the original design.

  • Pages resize themselves for desktops, tablets and mobiles - hooray!
  • There's social media integration (okay, I must ask my nieces to explain that to me properly).
  • And we've got closer to an online booking... Read More
by Tony Jaques
Saturday 26th November 2016

Othona West Dorset's 2017 Brochure is at the printers right now and will be posted soon to those who have requested it! However, you can download our printed programme right now!

We would also like to take the opportunity to thank the people whose skills and time have gone into producing the brochure:

Tiernan Philpot - photographer responsible for the cover photo of 'our' baby swallows. (The swallows have built nests on our stoop for the past few years.) And thank you to Rachel who was the first to take photos of the... Read More

by Tony Jaques
Friday 25th November 2016

Andy Howlett’s been making quirky movies with other young people here for years. Usually lampooning folk like me – tongue in cheek (I like to think!).

Now he’s taking on another unloved institution (just joking): the old Birmingham Central Library that was demolished this year. Well, Andy’s one of the Brummies who rather loved it.
He’s trying to complete a feature length film in praise of its uncompromising ‘brutalist’ architecture and querying how/why we sweep away buildings of the recent past.
Andy's been called a comic genius and certainly has a style all his own. Would you think about helping him crowdfund the rest of... Read More

by Caroline Cameron
Wednesday 1st June 2016

If you had told me this time last year that I would have left my job, friends and home in order to go and live in a small community in the West of Dorset (a place I had never previously visited, never mind lived), I would not have believed you. And yet… nearly three years ago after my first ‘encounter’ with Othona via the ‘Diggers and Dreamers’ website, here I am!

As I write this, the rain is drumming down on my skylight window after a day of cold and wet, which led to the fire being lit in the living room and visitors unearthing the blankets and hot water bottles in the evening for warmth. After such a positive start to the summer (days of glorious sunshine and cream teas on the lawn), who would have thought that the end of June would usher in such inclement weather? Wellies... Read More