24 April 2015

Aberdeenshire this weekend

I am looking forward to seeing all the students for some great T'ai Chi tonight and this weekend. 


... To Rachel from Hackney class on the birth of her baby girl this week. We all send our love and best wishes. 

22 April 2015

Apologies to the Hackney crew, I was taken very ill this evening, still with this flu, and have come home where frankly I am not feeling much better. Perhaps it is the poor air quality due to pollen, pollution and high pressure making it worse, but I am very grateful to Carmen for covering tonight.

I hope to see you all in two weeks time, fit and well. 

21 April 2015

Hackney class

...resumes tonight Wednesday 22nd April at venue next door to old one, on Powerscoft Rd. 

19 April 2015

Aberdeenshire Workshops 24-26th April

Best wishes to Caroline for a speedy recovery !

This month's Aberdeenshire workshops with Caroline are this coming weekend, 24-26th April. Great River students of any level are particularly welcome to the Saturday sessions.

Please note the change of schedule for the workshops until June.
The weapons workshop is now on Sunday afternoon at Fetternear Hall. All other sessions are at Balvack.  Saturday and Sunday sessions will start an hour earlier.

Friday 7-10pm               Dance at Balvack

Saturday 1-4pm             Short Form, and related study
Saturday 5.30-8.30pm   Partnerwork

Sunday 1-4pm               Weapons at Fetternear Hall
Sunday 5.30-8.30pm     Long Form, Heartwork, One Posture

The price is £15 (concs available) per 3 hr session. Please bring food to share on Saturday and Sunday. Get in touch with your instructor if you need travel directions or feel free to contact me with any other questions.

All the dates for the 2015 workshops are here

Turriff class restarts 20th April

The Turriff class restarts at the Gateway Centre on Monday 20th April 6:30-8pm. The term will run until the 29th of June and there will be no class on Monday 4th May. The class is open to total beginners and of course any students wanting to return to T'ai Chi will also be very welcome. More experienced students may stay 8-8:30pm for the Long Form section of the class.

The price is £42 per 6 week block, £48 for Long Form students. The weekly price is £9/£10. Concession prices are also available.

Please get in touch if you need any further information.

16 April 2015

I have not been posting on the blog, seeing anyone, or doing much of anything at all as I have been ill with virulent flu for 14 days so far. Today I finally had some mental sharpness returning and could get on with my reading and notes for an upcoming writing project. However, I am by no means well yet. Wish me luck against the virus! See you at classes next week, I hope. 

10 April 2015

Karen's next gig

From Karen:
I hope you're enjoying the marvellous sunshine :).

My next gig, (where excitingly, I will be joined by old musical partner in crime Zanna Evans on harp), is Sunday 19th April at the wonderful Breathing Room in The Antelope- 76 Mitcham Road, London, SW17, 9NG.

Doors at 7.30. Entry £5. Please see here for more details.

I look forward to seeing some of you there :). And a reminder that you can have my EP for free if you go to my website or one of my gigs !

Karen x


05 April 2015


Happy Easter, Eostre, Ostara, Passover and Spring holiday! 

I am just a out to make chocolate and marzipan eggs for my dear ones, plant out the rocket and lettuce seedlings, and treat myself to a day of good cooking and drinking tea with neighbours at any available opportunity. I have a stinking cold so I need to keep my spirits up with a bit of Heartwork later. 

Strangely, I awoke with the hymn 'Joy To The world' in my head, which I probably haven't sung for 26 years. However, despite being a carol, it's entirley appropriate for the day and no doubt I shall sing it at the galley sink later. 

Wishing all who may read this a peaceful and joyful day. 

No sunshine in the sky but plenty on the chopping board. 

04 April 2015

Turriff & Inverurie classes

There will be no class at Turriff on 6th and 13th April. A new term will start on Monday 20th April and will be open to beginners.

The Inverurie class will continue throughout the Easter break but there will be no classes on 4th to 18th May.

02 April 2015

Farewell HRC

Thanks to all for a fitting send off to the Round Chapel. It was a lovely class, we managed to whizz through the whole curriculum, apart from connecting hands, which I forgot to do. We did: warm ups, chi kung, salutations, sticking, single push hands, double push hands, short form, one posture, wa bu, ta lu, knocking, the dance, long form, sabre form, sword form. Phew!
Despite moving home 4 times, illness, storms, floods... Hackney class has been and will continue to be a true constant in my life. I love teaching the students, and my goals are keeping the class local, affordable and , of course, as good a class as I can make it.
See you on 22nd April. 
Helium balloons floated gently up and down during the class adding a surreal touch.

Choc egg tea break.


Sword Form


Great class on Tuesday night at Mark's. The Dance is coming along. 

Palm oil

...No, not that greasy feeling after lots of push-hands. Oil from the imported tropical palm fruit has no business being in food that didn't need it until now, in my opinion. This is happening because companies put profit over environmental or even flavour concerns. Palm oil is traditionally and legitimately used in Caribbean cuisine, of course. We have plenty of sunflower and rape seed oils grown locally in Europe and the UK. Even 'sustainably grown' palm oil is a misnomer, as it travels so far to get here. Why this rant? Even my staple snack - oatcakes, seem to be full of it now, even Nairn's brand. When was palm oil a part of traditional Scottish oaties? I tried a few locally made oat cakes whilst I was in Aberdeenshire, as I remembered buying them at roadside stalls and eating them when I lived there. Sadly they were actually quite revolting - lardy and over salted. So- prizes will be given for helping me find a regular source of tasty oaties and also crackers (yes even Carr's water biscuits...) which do not contain palm oil. I have hear that Lidl or Aldi do some... I will have to look. perhaps it is time to make them myself, as I do with bread, yoghurt, and other staples. This is also happening with added 'high-fructose corn syrup'. The EU couldn't stop the US dumping this industrial by-product on us and gallingly having to label it with a sort-of healthy sounding name. Even worse than ordinary sugar, it is finding its way onto labels on items I have been buying for 20 years or more. If you haven't checked the label of your regular products recently, you may be in for a shock. look up 'clean label': it's a ruse by the food / chemical companies to not really tell us what's in the food they make.

A radical idea: create products with as few non whole-food ingredients in the food as possible, no additives unless needed. There are still producers trying to achieve this, but 'the market' values cheap and crappy. This is why our dairy farmers suffer; their animal welfare and costs are so much higher than elsewhere in the world. The side effects of cheap and easy are low welfare sources of meat and milk, masses of plastic waste, toxic levels of sugar, fat, additives and cheap thickening agents in our food, and this is supposed to be progress?

If wanting simple, safe, ordinary foodstuffs is going to be a cranky left-field project, what is going on? I shall go and water my rocket and lettuce seedlings...

Hackney venue news -Updated-

I am delighted to say we have found a new home for the Round Chapel Class, next door in the main hall of the Old School Rooms, which we have used many times before in the past. Below are all the dates for the coming term, with where we will be, as there is one night when the hall is not available. In May the management will have a better picture of hall use in the venue, and we will be able to confirm the rooms for June and July dates, and hopefully make a long-term arrangement. All details will be posted here, emailed to students and given as flyers at class for those not regularly online. I have managed to keep the fees the same, so there will be no price increases for students. This was only arranged on the morning of 1st April, and thank you to Karen for the suggestion and contact details that led to this.

Class dates (all Wednesdays 6-10pm):

1st April (tonight) - Final class in Hackney Round Chapel.

8th and 15th April - no class - Easter Holiday.

Summer Term
22nd April - 1st class in main hall, Old School Rooms (OSR), 2 Powerscroft Rd, E5 0PU, around the corner and next door to old venue.
29th April - No Class - as will be in Scotland conducting interview and hall unavailable.
6th May - main hall OSR.
13th May - main hall OSR, my teacher Mark Raudva teaching.
20th May - main hall OSR.
27th May - main hall OSR
3rd June - main hall OSR
17th June - TBC
24th June - TBC
1st July - TBC
8th July - TBC
15th July - TBC
22nd July - TBC (last class of term before Summer Workshop and then holidays)

2nd September - classes resume

29 March 2015

Summer workshop invitations

I have just ordered this year's invites, featuring the Kingston swans, who you will surely meet if you attend. The cards will be available at class after Easter, and all the details are now on this blog.

This week is also the last week of term before the Easter Break.
There will be no weapons sessions in April, they resume in May.

The T'ai Chi Centre 10th Annual Week-long Intensive

The T'ai Chi Centre 10th Annual Week-long Intensive
Saturday 25th July - Friday 31st July 2015

You are invited to join us at a new venue, a couple of miles upstream from where we were last year, for our 10th Anniversary workshop. Students who have never attended an intensive will need to come from the start rather than drop-in later. If you are an 'old-hand', and can't get all the time off, come whenever is possible. The sessions really build in depth and intensity over the week, and we look forward to sharing some more great T'ai Chi, as we have at the previous 9 events. Mark Raudva will be teaching all week at this unique riverside venue: Leander Sea Scout Hut, 92 Lower Ham Road. Kingston upon Thames, KT2 5BB. Indoor 'camping' and showers are available at the venue for a small donation towards the Sea Scouts.

There will be time and space for T'ai Chi weapons practice too. Outdoor sessions may be held 50 metres away at Canbury Gardens, weather permitting. The Boater's Arms is a great pub with good food and a large outdoor area just 50 metres away and Kingston train station is a short walk, as are food shops, a market, bakeries and cafes. Buses pass nearby including the 65 from Richmond to Kingston; I will post full travel and accommodation details here early in April.

Fees will be £40 per day, or £20 per half-day session, concessions (£24 / £12), instalments and further concessions are available if that helps you come along. We bring food to share each day, tea is provided. Sessions run 2-5pm and 6.30-9.30pm. Extra optional stepping partner work session 7-10pm Friday 24th.

Call me on 07732 659104 or email caroline[at]greatrivertaichi[dot]co[dot]uk re accommodation, enquiries, or to book.

Accommodation request

I just received a lovely email from Anna Dahlman, our T'ai Chi friend in Gothenburg who came to the summer workshops  a few years ago and who hosts Davina in the Summer. She plans to come to London next month with her two (lovely) teenage daughters and is looking for somewhere to stay, and is happy to make a contribution. If you can put them up do get in touch the dates are: arriving Friday April 24 early evening and leaving Monday April 27 in the afternoon, so it’s three nights. Thanks!