31 July 2014

T'ai Chi in Sweden - all welcome!

Thanks to Anna for organising this: I love my summer trips to Sweden.

Autumn Intensive 11-13th October

This years Autumn Intensive with Mark in Aberdeenshire is from Saturday 11th to Monday 13th October at Fetternear Hall. There is also a Weapons session on Friday 10th October. Train tickets are already on sale here and local students will have rooms available for visitors.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need any assistance with travel or accommodation.

Workshop celebration cake recipe

My mum just sent me a photocopy of her hallowed recipe. As soon as I get time to type it up I will blog it for those who requested it, including my chocolate topping. 

30 July 2014

Elvers and purple fruits

Collected and counted by the eel counting man today, all these little elvers. They are late coming up river, but there are more coming now. 
Today I spent a delightful hour foraging for damsons, plums and brambles nearby and just finished two hours sorting before another 3 hours prep and cooking tomorrow. Planning damson jam, chutney, liqueur, umeboshi and cake. Will post photos if not too sticky. 

29 July 2014

Post workshop bits

Wow, what an amazing week that was... 61 visitors and a week of 95% great weather. Thanks to all for the great T'ai Chi, wonderful vibe, great food and most of all to Mark for his excellent teaching. I am collating all the pictures (if you took any, please send to me) and will post some here over the next month. Taking it easy for a few days but thought I'd say hello to all my Sangha in Unheimlich.
Heron and swans, by David.

Mark and me slipping hands, by Jeremy.

The bon fire, by Jeremy.

Upcoming Gig!
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Dear all

Just a heads up about my gig on Sunday 3rd August at The lovely Gladstone Arms.

Address: 64 Lant Street, SE1 1QN

Time: 8pm.

Come and join me in this delightful little venue for a night of musical joy!

See you then! :)

Karen x


Aberdeenshire Thursday group

This week we'll keep a bit of the workshop feeling going by meeting at Anneke and Neil's place near Finzean. Hopefully the weather will stay fine so we can work outside.

The rota for the next 10-week block will follow in due course: let me know of any dates you're away.


Tuesday night

21 July 2014


Is spending time in the good company of so many T'ai Chi brothers and sisters at this week's workshop. 52 folks so far...
See you tomorrow.

15 July 2014

12 July 2014

I Vant To Be Alone

A good friend and one-time student recently asked me for a few books to shed light on solitude, spending time alone and getting a bit of a meditative practice together. I just emailed him, but thought I'd share this odd little list here too. Suggestions for additions gratefully received.

Sara Maitland: A Book Of Silence,
see also http://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2014/feb/02/sara-maitland-how-to-be-alone-interview for a good article about solitude with her.

Thomas Moore: Dark Nights of the Soul (very helpful for the inner path)
Stephen Bachelor: Buddhism Without Beliefs (not just good for Buddhists...)
Nan Shepherd: The Living Mountain (out in nature, alone yet not lonely)
Jack Kornfield: The Wise Heart (a great book of insight)
Clark Strand: The Wooden Bowl (a useful 'how to' book for a meditative practice, no fuss)
Marcel Theroux - Far North (a novel by our good T'ai Chi friend, featuring a post apocalyptic, indomitable heroine, alone and self reliant)

I would also add the 'Hainish' novels by Ursula K LeGuin, all the Taoist Classics and Clear Waters Rising by Nicholas Crane (of Coast TV fame) which is the remarkable story of his 18 month solo walk along the mountainous spine of the European continent from West to East.

10 July 2014

River Thames tides during the Summer workshop

Karen was asking me about the tides this year, and whether we would have a repeat of the photogenic flooding we have on our invite card this year. Here is a link to a good tide table, it doesn't quite reach to the workshop days yet, so check I a few days' time. As a rule of thumb, highest tides ('spring tides') are a couple of days after the full and dark moons. Lowest tides (neaps) are 7 days either side of that. The next Spring tides are on 14th July, according to my tide planner, so they will be highish again at the end of the workshop, but not like last year. Watch out for parking near the water end of River Lane on the last days of the intensive, stay near the road end.

July photos so far

Baby Whites aboard their mum last week. I had never seen this in real life, only in cheesy photos. Now I am posting said cheesy photos. It appears I am not immune to the soft power of furry cygnets. Last night on my way home I saw they were both asleep on her back, but they are almost too big already.

Sabre class last week at The T'ai Chi Centre.

Photos from June

Sword versus staff application from - immensely satisfying.

Form study at Finzean on Midsummer's day.

Sword applications: ' Falling Flowers'.

Graffiti on my way to Hackney class last week. 

Mrs White (she has white feet) has hatched two lovely cygnets, here shown at 3 days old. They just came round for a feed.

Pictures from The Blade workshop


The Bladers

Freshly crushed malachite ready for smelting.

The resultant ingots of copper, which were added to the bronze mix.

Will Lord, quenching my freshly-cast bronze sword.

My mis-cast bronze knife after cooling. It went on to be a lovely little knife, and I will finish the handle to it this week.

Antony Whitlock, starting a new flint core for us to knap from.

Dave Budd, knife maker extraordinaire, polishing a sword.

Open, close, open, close. Bellows in the forge.
The course may run again next year in this or similar format with Woodsmoke. Let me know if you would like to come. Flint-knapper and new T'ai Chi friend Antony Whitlock can be found here. We hope to meet up and do a T'ai Chi / flint knapping swap in Dorset in August. Will Lord's website is here, he can teach so many amazing things, and a good friend made a beautiful long bow with him a few years ago. Dave Budd knives are here. His knives (one tiny very useful one so far) and courses are where I can see all my spare money going over the next year.

09 July 2014

Hackney Tonight

7-9pm in the Church Rooms. Next week back in our usual space 6-10pm, for the last class of term.

The T'ai Chi Centre last night

Thanks to Mark for a great class, eapecially the applications, and here's a photo of the senior students working on Squatting Single Whip going in to Step Forward to the Seven Stars.

08 July 2014

Showers for campers this workshop

I have just bought a shower tent and pressure shower for everyone's use this summer, and I will use it in Dorset when I go away. Hope they make things more comfy for all campers!

London buses no longer take cash

...for all those who may be visiting the workshop from outside London, get yourselves Oyster cards for the cheapest fares. More details here.

Workshop set-up

Anyone wanting to help me set up can meet at the venue from 5pm on Friday 18th July. The venue is not free until then.

07 July 2014

Changing view

Been in London on and off for over 20 years. Still wonderful to cross the Thames on a moonlit summer night and look east to St Paul's then west to Parliament and the London eye. I was walking back to Waterloo Station from seeing Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall' from RSC at the Aldwych Theatre.