In commemoration of the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday the Road to Peace Films team undertook a peace walk pilgrimage from London to Glastonbury. This was a penniless walk relying upon the generosity of strangers and carrying the message of interfaith harmony. On Saturday June 27th they arrived in Glastonbury. I was one of the representatives of the Glastonbury Pilgrim Reception Centre and Sanctuary with the privilege of welcoming the peace walkers to the town.
We gathered at the towns Peace pole to greet the pilgrims arriving in the town where they were presented with The Glastonbury Unity Candle. There followed a foot washing ceremony where the weary walkers also touched their feet to the Avalonian earth for the first time. The Mayor of Glastonbury welcomed the pilgrims and carried out the Call for Peace, a local traditon. Priestesses from The Goddess Temple then drummed the way to the temple where theUnity Flame was merged with the Flame of Avalon, a flame that was created through the bringing together of a number of others including the Perpetual Flame of Kildare and the Hiroshima Peace Flame.
The final part of the pilgrims journey was to ascend Glastonbury Tor where an interfaith peace ceremony was carried out. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to welcome them at he end of their journey.
We use cloth nappies, a decision that was made partly due to environmental considerations, partly financial and primarily because we wanted soft and natural materials against our daughter’s skin. We investigated various ways of doing the whole cloth nappy thing as there are a number of options – terry towelling or other flat nappies, prefolds, pockets and all in ones. In the end our decision was based on what we managed to obtain from Freecycle so we ended up using mostly Motherease one size cotton shaped nappies but we also have prefolds and one or two pocket nappies.
A further consideration when using prefolds, flat or shaped nappies that aren’t all in one is what goes over them. Wool was a choice that I had never heard of but the more I read about wool, the more my enthusiasm gained momentum. Some of the benefits of using wool include that it is natural, it is breathable so it is gentle on little ones, it both absorbs and repels liquid (yes that seems to be a contradiction but this is one of the reasons it is such a good option) and its antibacterial and self-cleaning. Rather than it making little ones hot, the wool helps to regulate their temperature, keeping them warm in the cold weather and comfortable in the summer. It really does seem like magic! Plus, it is so easy to use. Being self-cleaning means that there is no need to wash wool covers regularly. What this means in practice is that you change your baby taking off one wool cover which may or may not be damp and swapping for another. You hang the used cover over the back of a chair to air and it will be ready to use again when you next change the nappy. No smells at all (this amazes friends who have checked this out because they haven’t believed me), no washing, just a very simple nappy system. You do need to wash them occasionally. I washed ours once in the last five months. They didn’t seem to need it as they still looked and smelled clean but I felt I should! They also need to be treated with lanolin from time to time as part of the washing process. This is really easy and if anyone needs an explanation as to how to go about this I’d be happy to share.
Wool covers are also so cute. You can buy covers that are made by machine or hand knitted, you can knit or crochet them yourself using one of the free or bought patterns available on the Internet or you can make upcycled versions from wool jumpers etc. The key is they must be made from a minimum of 70% wool and can’t be made from superwash wool as this has been treated to be suitable for machine washing and in this process they lose the properties that make them suitable as nappy covers. If in doubt check the label. If it says it can be machine washed it won’t work. Covers can be like underwear, shorties, skirties or longies. This gives you options. You can use pull on covers and add extra layers of clothing over the you if you want to or they can double as outerwear which is my preferred option.
Here are some photos of my daughter in different kinds of wool covers.
We have been sharing some experiences with the element of water with our baby daughter. For the Summer Solstice we had visited the beach for the first time with great success. This week we decided to go out for the day to Bristol, a city in South West England around an hour from our home. We planned to visit the aquarium and to spend some time at the harbourside, a beautiful and vibrant part of the city.
The aquarium was a huge hit with our daughter. She was very interested in looking at the fish and showed a distinct preference for a tank containing cold water species such as cod and bass. We spent a couple of hours there and it was really worthwhile taking her. We then took a stroll around the harbourside area, stopping to check out the padlocks inscribed with messages of love on Pero’s Bridge before climbing on board The Matthew, a replica of the ship that sailed to North America in 1497.
We had one tired little girl at the end of the day but it was so much fun watching her reactions to seeing things for the very first time.
My little girl is already five months old and I really can’t believe where time is going. She is becoming mobile, not yet crawling but doing a sort of backstroke shuffle to move around when on her back. When on her front her little arms and legs work so very hard to try and crawl. She has become very interested in meal times and has grabbed food from plates a number of times. We have therefore bought a highchair which is now around the table so that she can feel she is joining in with us at meal times. We are planning to do baby led weaning so it isn’t yet the ideal time for her to try to eat. Distraction techniques include playing with a spoon and she seems to be able to coordinate it well.
She is such a joyful baby. She wakes every morning with a huge wide smile. She loves to chatter to her older siblings and her current favourite game is blowing raspberries which makes her chuckle when we respond to her. I sing to her a lot and there are a few songs which she enjoys more than others including a traditional Waldorf morning verse and The Wheels on the Bus which has specially extended verses to incorporate some of the baby signs we are using. She loves playing games with scarves and play silks. I am so grateful every day that I get to be her mama.
it is National Breastfeeding Week here in the UK. I love breastfeeding my daughter. It is a very special bonding experience and I know that I’m giving her the best possible start I can. She is five months old and exclusively breastfed.
Carried upon your instinct
Your little mouth roots against me,
Latches, a pause, then comes the flowing
Here my child, here is my offering.
Your little fingers explore my skin
Eyes locked to mine
Little legs tucked against my belly
Rosebud mouth at my breast.
Full, round moon-breast feeds you.
This magic milk nourishes you, my child.
How sweet this moment.
You pause even in your hunger
To share a smile with me
Hand reaches out for mine.
I am here little one. Always here.
Soon enough you will be dancing.
Soon enough you will be the laughing child
I envisioned when I dreamt of you.
Soon enough this will be but a memory.
So, for now Let me gaze upon you with wonder,
Lost in my love for you.
Let me offer you my mother-milk.
Let me hold you to me little one
Let me always remember this milk-flow.
To mark our daughter’s first Summer Solstice we decided to take her on her first visit to the beach. We had plans to visit relatives in Wales so we opted for Tenby in West Wales. We arrived early so only a few people were around. Our daughter was captivated by the sight of the sea and couldn’t tear her gaze away.
We collected a few beach treasures along the way. These will go in a box in which we are saving things to share with her when she is older.
It was a lovely way to spend her first Summer Solstice.