Saturday, 26 October 2013

A Graceful Death and Soul Midwife Exhibition in Bridport. Come. We know where you live. Next Weekend.

A family at a recent AGD exhibition.  
We, Lizzie, Eileen, Jackie and I open the exhibition on Friday 1 November, at 10am, and from that moment on, we will be going with the flow, hoping to see you all, and being excited about everything.

There is our dedicated website here -

This website tells you all what is happening, when, and with whom.  What it does not tell you is that my new Hungarian Lady Lodger is making us some fabulous brownies, in bulk, to use for our afternoon teas. She is going to provide you all with brownies that will make you realise how alive you really are. Recently she was spotted cooking in the kitchen and we all kept an eye on her, as the smells were wonderful.  Later on, she let us try a bit of the chocolate brownies that she had made, and we all vied to become her best friend after that.  So now, she has agreed to make a lorry load for AGD, and for you, from Friday onwards.  The website does not tell you that we are looking for fairy lights to hang outside in the bushes at the entrance, so that you will be welcomed into a magical exhibition which we all know, is not magical, but has much love and passion in it.   Nor that we are going to burn beautiful smelling candles, and that we will create the most lovely exhibition. We will be challenged.  We will talk about death and dying, there will be difficult moments, but you will be held lovingly and kindly throughout, and there will be just as many jolly, happy and satisfied moments, moments of insight, of understanding, of acceptance and of sadness and remembering. 

You have seen this photo before, it shows the entrance to the Chapel in which AGD will be set up.  I want to put lights out here, in the November darkness, to welcome you all in.
The exhibition space in the Unitarian Chapel in the Garden in Bridport.  Lizzie and I being thrilled in the Summer with it. Still thrilled in the Winter (thank goodness)

Here, just to remind you, despite you having already clicked on the AGD Bridport website link above and thoroughly memorised everything, is the agenda.  I am so happy to have such excellent Soul Midwives at this event too, and hope that you will come to take part in their workshops and talks. 

  • Friday 1 November   10am Exhibition Opens. Exhibition free, donations accepted.
  • 11am stalls open.  Cards, CDs, earrings, Graceful Gifts memorial items, books, gifts.
  • Teas, coffees, cakes and buns available up in the exhibition area.  Donations accepted.
  • 7pm - 10pm Friday, Open Event.  I will introduce AGD and speak a bit about working with the dying through art and what effect it has on them and me.  There will be readings of some wonderful poetry from the exhibition, and best of all - a piano concert by AGD Composer Lizzie Hornby.       
  • Saturday 2 November 10 am exhibition opens. Teas, coffees, cakes, goodies upstairs.  Stalls open too.
  • 10am - 11am Laughter Therapy Workshop with Mandy Preece. Mandy is a practicing Soul Midwife teacher and practitioner. Mandy is an experienced, gentle, much loved and in demand Soul Midwife.  £5.00 on the door.
  • 2pm  - 3pm What is Soul Midwifery by Felicity Warner.  Felicity is the founder of the Soul Midwife movement, and lives locally near Bridport.  I trained with Felicity a few years ago, and have not looked back since. Felicity is inspiring.  Felicity has worked tirelessly to help change the culture of how we let people die, and is a kind, sweet hearted and gentle soul who will not take no for an answer.  She is an author too.  £5.00 on the door
  • 3.30 - 4.30 Harp music played in the exhibition space by Jane Saunders, musician and Sound Therapist.  Jane is a wonderful funny kind and talented musician, and brought her ukulele to my house recently to play some reggae songs.  Of course it was barking, but fun.  Tea and cakes will be on sale and you can rest amongst the artworks with Jane playing her harp to soothe and charm you.
  • Sunday 3 November exhibition opens at 10am
  • 11am - 12pm  Service in the Unitarian Chapel, led by Unitarian Minister Lizzie Hornby, and a bit by me.  I am delighted to be able to take part with Lizzie, and hope I keep up with her.
  • Bring and share lunch for all, time to chat, to meet, chat, chill and to see the exhibition with a sandwich in your hand. The exhibition is held just behind the chapel itself, up the stairs.  
  • 2pm - 3pm Sound workshop and sound bath by Soul Midwife and Sound Therapist Sarah Weller, up in the exhibition space.  Everything provided, just turn up and be amazed.  Sarah is wowing everyone with her Sound Baths!  We love Sarah, she works a lot with AGD, and also takes her gongs and bowls to all places for all people all the time.  Sarah is also a Soul Midwife.
  • 4pm the exhibition closes.

Gentle much missed John Horne, part of the AGD exhibition.  It is his daughter and granddaughters that are looking at the painting at the beginning of this blog.

I travel down with Eileen on Thursday and with Lizzie and Jackie's help, we will be making the exhibition as memorable, as effective, and as welcoming as possible.  The setting up is always a total act of creation.  We often are not allowed to touch the walls, and so have to find other ways of displaying the paintings.  I propped them up on piles of old books against the walls once, in a lovely old room that was used as a tearoom, in a big old manor house.  If we can't use the walls, I have ways of adapting the exhibition so that it still greets you, still works and is strong enough to speak its message. In the Chapel in the Garden in Bridport, I will have a lovely large room in which to play, a staircase, a lobby area and a separate room where we will be holding the workshops and Lizzie's concert on Friday night.  I will be displaying the new paintings of Mike and Julia with MND, of Claire and Kate Granger with Cancer.  I hope I can play the films of Julia, of Mike, and the AGD film made by Neill Blume too.  We are expecting Mike to come on Friday, and hope it is possible.  

This is Lizzie's piece composed for the exhibition, called A Graceful Death. The left hand plays the notes as if they were a heartbeat.  At times in the piece, the heartbeat fades, becomes irregular, and then starts up again.  Lizzie's creativity amazes me, and her adaptation of the AGD message into her music, is an example of how clever I think she is.  Lizzie will be playing this and more, on Friday night, at the Chapel in the Garden Unitarian Church, East Street, Bridport.  £10 on the door, and a glass of wine and nibbles included.  You will, of course, have access to the exhibition and be able to talk to us all.
You are all welcome.  We hope to see you there, we look forward to meeting new friends, and seeing our old ones, and hearing what you think both of the exhibition, and of the end of life in general.


And So.

A snap shot of this afternoon.  I sit, as I do, on my sofa.  Outside my window, the guard hollyhocks are smacking passers by in the face as usual and the wind and rain are making them even more unpredictable (hollyhocks, not passers by).  Giant Boy is lying in a pair of jeans only, on the sofa opposite, eating pasta loudly and listening to South Park through headphones on his laptop.  His legs hang over the end of the sofa from the knees and he is so obviously a baby dinosaur, that if I was not used to him, I would wonder how on earth he is kept fed and exercised.  This dinosaur is laughing loudly every few minutes and I am trying not to react because the only other way for him to pass his time is to practice judo on me.  I don't want to bring myself to his attention.  We have a mantra here for when he gets too enthusiastic, "Mummy is for loving, friends are for hitting."  When he is longing to throw me over his shoulder and when he gives me a wooden stick with which to hit him so he can fend off the attack with quick Bruce Lee type moves, I have to shout very loudly "Giant Boy!  Mummy is for loving and friends are for hitting!" and then I run.  

He is on half term now and has told me he will be here 24 hours a day until next Monday.  Giant Boy doesn't go out much, he is a home bod and wants nothing more than to see his mother fly through the air between meals.  However, his mother is going to Bridport on Thursday, and won't be back till next Monday.  He may have to find the Hungarian Lady Lodger and give her some Judo instead.

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