Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter
I would like to start by welcoming and thanking all of our new international volunteer co-workers, who have travelled from all corners of the world in these difficult times to dedicate a year in the endeavors of supporting our community. I hope you will all be able to meet them in person in the not too distant future!
Our colleagues in the houses, workshops, and office continue to work tirelessly to ensure our community can thrive despite these difficult times; their commitment is deeply appreciated and experienced by all our residents.
The senior leadership team continues to meet fortnightly to carry the overview of the core functions of Care & Support, HR, Facilities and Finance. We are experiencing exceptional times and are very fortunate to have a team of exceptional managers looking after and developing these areas.
In This Newsletter...
Hello from Trustee Dr Liz Murphy
Our Wonderful Advent Market Comes to the Dunkeld Shop
Family & Friends Discount Card
Michaelmas Festival - Harvest Supper and Fighting Dragons
Ossian House goes on Holiday to Killin
Mhairi makes Bears Bat and Cats appear in the Pottery Workshop
Life in Lockdown for Kirsten, Day Participant
Tree Planting at Corbenic
Lindisfarne ... Bake Off Champs 2020
Friends in Need - Louise and Mhairi
Hello...from Trustee Dr Liz Murphy
As we enter Autumn there is still much to enjoy in and around Corbenic and we have enjoyed some glorious autumn sunshine with the trees changing colour. Here’s hoping that the weather remains kind enough to make outdoor meetings comfortable for a while longer as it looks like restrictions on indoor meetings are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Our Trustee meetings now take place by Zoom which allows us to proceed with essential business but we miss the joy and texture of face to face conversation, and the many small moments of interaction that might only be a passing “good morning” but which help build the links of community. We recognise how hard the ongoing restrictions are for many of us - residents, families, staff
and co-workers, and we are hugely impressed by the way so many in the Community are dealing with the pandemic and it’s associated restrictions.
For many, Autumn still signifies the start of the school year, even if our schooldays are long behind us and in Corbenic it is a time when we welcome new co-workers. This year more than ever we appreciate the generosity of spirit that motivates co-workers to come to Corbenic and I would like to use the newsletter to welcome all our new co-workers and to thank all the co-workers and staff for their outstanding contributions in the past months. You are valued and appreciated, and the care and compassion you have shown especially during the covid19 pandemic has been a reminder of what makes Corbenic special. Thank you.
Advent Market Comes to the Dunkeld Shop
This Year Our Wonderful Advent Market Comes to the Shop!
Saturdays 5th; 12th and 19th December
10am – 5pm
Corbenic Shop, Dunkeld
10% off Corbenic Crafts for Friends and Family
Beautiful Advent Wreaths Homemade preserves, Pottery, craft, hot waffles, mince pies and whole lot of festive cheer!
This year, because of covid19 restrictions, we are unable to welcome everyone to Corbenic for our annual advent market.
Instead we are inviting you to come to our Dunkeld shop for a mini advent market. We will have one-of-a-kind crafts, beautiful advent wreaths and pottery all made by the very talented residents and workshop leaders at our community, as well as all the other amazing products we stock, and make sure you don't leave without a mince pie or a waffle.
We look forward to welcoming you.
Vicky, Morgan and Zoe
Family and Friends Discount Card
Cut out and keep or simply show your friends and family newsletter to the staff in the shop on your mobile device to receive your special offer.
At the end of September the community celebrated the Festival of Michaelmas. Residents harvested the products for their meals and picked fruit for an apple crumble. This year we had our supper in individual houses as we are unable to all gather together.
We also recalled the biblical story of Archangel Michael fighting Satan (often portrayed as a dragon) casting evil out of heaven and onto
earth. Michaelmas encourages us to find the
strength and courage to face ‘dragons’ here on earth. This year, because of Covid19, this festival has increased resonance. All households received a box which everyone was encouraged to fill with words, sentences and drawings related to the Michaelmas themes. We will reflect on the ‘harvest in the boxes’ including through poetry with the aim of increasing peoples strength and courage to face the future.
In early October, nine members of Ossian house went on a short holiday to Killin. We stayed in The White House, a cottage shared by Corbenic and some of the other Camphill
communities in Scotland.
On the first day we went to look at a viaduct and waterfall. Euan especially enjoyed running across the gated bridge over the viaduct. Afterwards we got takeaway pizza from a hotel and brought them back to the house. Portion sizes ranged from Ghisi who ate one piece, to Mark who managed almost a whole pizza by himself.
On the second day we drove up to Fort William to visit Inverlochy castle. On the way there we saw a steam engine, that Ghisi was convinced led to Hogwarts.
Afterwards we got lunch at the McDonald's drive through and enjoyed the way back looking at the beautiful Scottish scenery and eating hamburgers.
On our final day we drove to Stirling to visit Blair Drummond Safari Park. We saw lots of animals such as rhinos, birds, monkeys and even dinosaurs! We finished off the trip with donuts from the cafe.
Bears, Bats and Cats appear in the Pottery Workshop
Mhairi hard at work...
Mhairi came to Corbenic as a Day Participant back in January 2017. A residential placement came up in Mullach House and Mhairi moved in in 2019. She is part of the pottery workshop, run by Jakub Verner. Mhairi loves to make drawings on the cups and teapots Jakub creates. When I spoke to her, she commented that her favourite animals to draw were bears.
...creating beautiful bears
She is also interested in bats, ant-eaters and wild cats. She was busy copying a wild cat from a book as one of her designs on a little milk jug when I arrived. Mhairi was happy to know she might feature in the Autumn newsletter, laughing when Jakub asked her “do you want to be famous?”
Life in Lockdown for Kirsten - Day Participants Staying at Home
Our daughter, Kirsten, is 39 years old and has been a member of a Camphill Community since she was 7 years old. Kirsten has thrived in the routines that are built into the Camphill ethos and we have seen her flourish over the past 32 years.
Then Lockdown happened!!
At the beginning of lockdown, we had five adults in the house including Kirsten’s sister, Claire and her baby Jamie; Grandad, 92 and forgetful; and five dogs.
Life was full on and time flew past. Kirsten took her responsibilities as Auntie K very seriously and spent hours singing songs, virtually non-stop, to Jamie. She loved the opportunity to go
out on walks with the pram. We also did a lot of activities including jewellery making, papier-mache and drawing. At the end of May Claire and baby Jamie returned home and David, her brother, took his dog back.
And this is when things started to go wrong. Our busy household was not quite so busy. Kirsten struggled to focus on activities and we were struggling with them too. What had been a novelty became mundane and our enthusiasm was replaced with despair at the thought of trying to hold her interest when we were all tired of the activities.
Kirsten’s mental health deteriorated and medical intervention was required. This helped and we all carried on as best we could. When Grandad, still forgetful, returned home at the end of July we were down to three adults and three dogs. Surely this would make life easier?
The thing we are still missing in our life is routine for Kirsten. Lockdown has shown just how dependent she is on routines. She has floundered without them and become obsessive about her soft toys. I think the day she asked her dad to apologise to Tigger as she felt he had been rude to him was probably our funniest but also most depressing moment since she had been at home. Soft toy obsession is ongoing and can start at 3am.
Kirsten’s only routine now is twice weekly Zoom calls with a local charity for quiz nights, crafting, dancercise and more. It makes me feel better knowing that others are struggling too but their input has been amazing.
We also facetime the craft workshop every Thursday so she can say hello to her friends. She misses them all very much and it can be very cheering for her to see everyone and say hello.
Despite these activities we are still struggling to make a structure to her days. Her obsessions have increased and as I write this, she has refused to get ready this morning. No bath, teeth brushing or hair washing. The need to deal with the soft toys now overrides personal care and meals.
Eventually, I know, everything will return to normal. I am sure we will make it through but some days we do start to doubt ourselves and I am sure we are not alone…
(Photo Kirsten, Lesley, Mack and Mickey Mouse)
Tree Planting continues during Lockdown ...
“Planting billions of trees across the world is by far the biggest and cheapest way to tackle the climate crises. Forest restoration isn’t just one of our climate change solutions; it is overwhelmingly the top one…more powerful that all the other solutions proposed.” Swiss University ETH Zürich research paper 2016
Environmental awareness, eco-friendliness, conscious and careful land management are all familiar terms among the Corbenic Community.In fact care for the land is written into our vision statement. So, while all media attention over recent months has been consumed with COVID and Brexit, we have continued to focus on care for the environment and on doing what we can to help tackle climate change – an issue that dwarfs COVID, Brexit and most other issues combined!
During lockdown we have planted more than 200 trees in Corbenic ranging from native hardwoods in the community to rare and ornamental conifers along the poetry path. Every resident and most co-workers and staff had the opportunity to plant a tree, and our hope is that everyone will plant another in the spring of 2021 when we hope to be able to do so without having to concern ourselves with social distancing!
With the first summer now behind them the trees planted this year are now heading into their first winter in good shape, ready to brave the storms, snow, cold and dark to re-emerge next year and do their bit to save the world.
Lindisfarne ... Bake Off Champs 2020!
Well Done Lindisfarne!
Stevie the Baker reported that it was a pretty tough decision to decide the ultimate winner!
Thank you to everyone for taking part. We hope you all enjoyed the challenge
The Winning Cake
First Place – Lindisfarne (left)
Second Place – Farragon (top right)
Third Place – Lochran (bottom right)
Friends in need...
Louise, a Corbenic resident for 22 years, and Mhairi a Corbenic resident for 1 year, reflect on sharing a room during lockdown
Louise and Mhairi got to know each other while Mhairi started working at Corbenic as a day attender and the two of them quickly became friends. When a space became available in Mullach, Mhairi moved in and their friendship developed.
Just before Lockdown, Louise’s room was flooded resulting in her needing emergency accommodation for a while. Mhairi was so kind to offer sharing a room with her friend Louise for the duration of repair works taking place. The works were then delayed due to lockdown, resulting in both sharing a room for several months. The works have now been completed and Louise is waiting for her
furniture before moving back into her old room.
Both Louise and Mhairi have experienced benefits and challenges from sharing their room. Some of the benefits for both were experiencing many good times together, light-hearted banter, joking around and having plenty of laughs and giggles. Mhairi also seems to be getting up more easily since sharing a room. Some of the challenges experienced were not having their own room to go back to and a place to seek peace and quiet being readily available. Louise if now reporting she looks forward to moving back into her own room and Mhairi is looking forward to having a room of her own again too.
Nevertheless, both report having had a great time and the experience sharing a room for a while has definitely brought both closer together and helped their friendship develop.
A bit of light-hearted banter and much laughter within the right company seems something very worthwhile, especially living under the restricted circumstances experienced by everyone during the pandemic.