Community Update for January 2017

By Leo Passaportis

It would appear, from the outside at least, that January was a quiet month for the Vlierhof. After all we only had one weekend workshop early in the month – the Wild and Still Retreat with Lydia Müller and Kristien Sonnevijlle. Sadly the Wild Women Sisterhood event planned for the 3rd weekend of the month was cancelled due to a lack of participants. Perhaps the cold weather put them off.

In contrast to how things may have appeared from the outside they were actually rather busy within the community itself.

In contrast to how things may have appeared from the outside they were actually rather busy within the community itself. Frederick took some time out to visit family in Thailand and came back via Kathmandu in Nepal. By all accounts it was an interesting journey. 

Marja de Jong returned to give a New Year’s concert … joined by Paulo on guitar and Sara on vocals and percussion.

On the 13th of the month Marja de Jong returned to give a New Year’s concert, following on from the Christmas concert she gave as part of the Myrthe Trio on the 26th December. This time around she was joined by Paulo on guitar and Sara on vocals and percussion. They played a soulful compilation of 10 or 12 songs, both medieval and more recent in French, Dutch and English. My personal favourite was a Beethoven adaptation Zee in mijn hart and Feliz Aňo Nuevo, a joyful Latin song celebrating the New Year (Aňo Nuevo).

The event was well publicized in the local area. We advertised online and printed flyers were delivered to mailboxes in Keeken and pinned to community notice boards in Millingan. A last minute notice also went out with our monthly newsletter. Not surprisingly the dozen or so visitors who came round for the event were from the local area. People were asked to contribute by donation.

Resident artist Leon Kuivenhoven captured the event through a series of excellent digital sketches, displayed in the gallery above.

The merry trio were followed by an open stage half-hour in which other performers got a chance to present themselves to the audience. We had an excellent rendition of some traditional Latin music by a Cuban friend of Luc Sala’s. Luc has long been associated with the Vlierhof. Resident artist Leon Kuivenhoven captured the event through a series of excellent digital sketches, displayed in the gallery above.

Sadly, Paulo, who spent the better part of last year here, decided that it was time to move on and departed the community on the last Sunday of the month. We wish him well in his future endeavours. While here he painted an amazing circular wall mural in our lounge area and a number of abstract paintings and motifs are dotted around the premises, mostly in acrylic and on canvas. He also created crafts such as a pencil holder and fish cut-outs using plywood and palette planks. Indeed, some of these items are still for sale at the Vlierhof. See this blog for more information.

Paulo, who spent the better part of last year here, decided that it was time to move on and departed the community on the last Sunday of the month.

 Jop put much energy into the kitchen and sustained the community through his pragmatic and sometimes extravagant creations.

Only a week ago another member of the community departed: the charismatic Joppe, known to anyone and everyone who has ever visited the Vlierhof during the time he was here. Joppe, usually just called Jop, put much energy into the kitchen and sustained the community through his pragmatic and sometimes extravagant creations. Never one to let food go to waste he had a recipe for all occasions! He also made the Deel his playground and could often be found painting and rearranging the artwork and items therein or singing along to his favourite tunes at the top of his voice! Good luck for the future Joppe!

We’ve been promoting our seminar house as a Bed and Breakfast venue, especially during these colder winter months when events are few but the bills still need paying!

Here at the Vlierhof we have been promoting our seminar house as a Bed and Breakfast venue, especially during these colder winter months when events are few but the bills still need paying! Just trying to break even these last few months has proven something of a challenge. That said the seminar house has attracted two couples in the last 3 weeks or so as well as a bit of passing traffic. We have placed ourselves on several booking portals and Google Maps and, reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve also read about our current 50% discount special until the end of March through email or newsletter format.

We love to engage with people who have similar interests to ours  – or those who just want to learn more about us and what we stand for.

We love to engage with people who have similar interests to ours  – or those who just want to learn more about us and what we stand for. Our last two visitors, Sophie and Nicolas from Antwerp, were a real pleasure to host. They ate all meals with us and really took the time to engage and exchange views, anecdotes and life stories. We certainly enjoyed a few laughs together. The week before Rianca and Jasper stayed with their little girl and also brought some tender smiles. Jasper also contributed some great insights into the potential benefits of regular energy work, an internal process to counteract negative influences and past connections which can be draining. I can say that for me personally it was most enlightening.

Tabda has completed an ingenious weaving loom, made almost entirely from bits and pieces he has scavenged from the workshop and elsewhere on the property.

Another member who has been with us for several months now but has remained largely out of the limelight is Andre, more commonly known by his Osho name of Tabda, which means light. Tabda has been active in the kitchen from the time he arrived, catering for the community and outside guests as well. He has also garnered a reputation for his unusual creations: prior to the Phoenix retreat he created a large set of chimes out of aluminium tubes and old palettes. More recently he has completed an ingenious weaving loom, made almost entirely from bits and pieces he has scavenged from the workshop and elsewhere on the property.

Frederique continues to visit us as she has done for the last 14 years or so. She works on her labyrinth and also contributes elsewhere, most recently in the repair of the chicken coop willow-fence which she last wove with volunteers 4 years back. Both me and Waltraud helped her for a few hours here and there. Her efforts are appreciated. Now we just have to find out what the chickens think!

To round up this little overview I’ll leave you with a clip of some of our other residents, the Greylag geese, who fly over the Vlierhof every morning to and from their feeding and roosting grounds along the River Rhein. Decimated in the first and middle parts of the last century they have made a very healthy return to these parts where they overwinter before flying north to the sub-Arctic in the summer where they breed.

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