Eurythmy Revisited

As we were leaving Hawthorne Valley on Halloween Eve, I met the eyes of a woman I used to do eurythmy with. We both attended two of the same classes over a period of a few years. She came over and we spoke for quite a while, about European vs. American lifestyles (she used to live in Germany and elsewhere) and then she announced, “Oh, Nina, tomorrow is Wednesday Eurythmy with Karen, come!”.

I can’t tell you how excited I was at that prospect. Every time I’ve been away from eurythmy for a period of time (usually due to home schooling) and then been able to start up again, I’ve felt an intense “rightness” and even an urgency about moving the forms with the class. I had looked and looked and made phone calls and wrote emails with the goal of finding a group in England, but I wasn’t successful other than eventually speaking with a fellow in York who used to have an adult class but nothing current. Sigh.


What is eurythmy? The official definition, as I remember it, is a form of movement developed by Rudolf Steiner meant to embody “visible speech”.  I find it to be very reminiscent of qi cong, an ancient form of Chinese martial arts comprised of movements that circulate energy in the meridians of the body to cultivate health and personal power. Since I’m an acupuncturist, that’s rather up my alley. I love the meeting of the intangible with the tangible, of feeling the energy move so strongly that there are physical sensations in the body. It’s a reminder of the magic of being in a body, of the unseen dimensions of the energy beings we actually are.

Anyway, I went to class on Wednesday morning, was graciously welcomed in to the group, and I thought again to myself how much I’d MISSED THIS. I am super lucky to have found a qi cong class in Beverley, but I’d love to do eurythmy as well.

I don’t have any photos of people moving eurythmy. I do have a picture of the amazing new bathrooms in the downstairs level of the building where we had class. I’ll just have to pop that in here:


This is a very “Waldorf esthetic” to use natural wood with simple forms and to bring in rough tree trunks is all the better. The whole space is gorgeous at Mettabee Farm.

Thank you to the teacher and class for giving me another experience of moving and sensing eurythmy. It feeds me so!



Back in “My Community”

On the day of Halloween Nicholas and I drove over to Hawthorne Valley, which is a unique place. It is a collection of Steiner school buildings and playing fields (where our children attended Waldorf school for most of the elder’s schooling and a few years of the younger’s), biodynamic farm fields and buildings, homes of people somehow related to the school or farm, a crafts and school supply store, and a fabulous farm store eco-building that sells raw milk, organic and biodynamic veggies and meats and cheeses as well as thousands of packaged “health foods” and non-toxic cosmetics and cleaning supplies. I used to shop there often, and it was a treat to have a visit.

Nicholas and I went mostly just to have a cup of tea and sit and chat about a big subject related to our “spending more time in England” theme. What happened is that I felt wonderfully enveloped in the feeling of belonging to a place I used to know well.

Just looking at the bulletin board with all their notices of exciting happenings made me nostalgic – this is only a slice of offerings advertised:

HVFS BulletinBoard

Lots and lots of classes and talks and events – though, to be honest, many of them had always felt too far away for me to get all the years we lived there. Our house is a half-hour from Hawthorne Valley and evening activities were always tough, being away from kids at meal and bedtimes. But our visit last week made me nostalgic all the same!

What occupied most of our time there was speaking with people. We saw a string of wonderful souls we engaged with – from our elder’s main Waldorf class teacher, who we saw riding his bicycle and stopped to chat with in the parking lot, to a previous classmate who always impressed us a little boy and is now looking all grown-up and very poised and able to converse so well, to many friends we hadn’t previously had a chance to connect with and it was such a joy to see them all. We were at the Farm Store for hours!

I felt so welcomed by and into the community that I had invested fifteen years in, and I suppose that experiencing that warmth and connection made me grieve the notion of leaving it. I know that I can create more community in England, but that takes time. And is there a place anything like Hawthorne Valley anywhere in East Yorkshire?


Runswick Bay last August

Here is an entry I never posted! A taste of summer now that Fall is here.

…After our NY friends left us at our camping grounds, the sun was also absent. Overcast and rainy days were the norm for the remainder of our trip. But we made the most of it! One drizzly morning (the day after it rained torrentially) we headed out for a drive. Runswick Bay was our destination.

Actually, we thought we were supposed to be camping in Runswick Bay the whole week – there is a caravan site there owned by the same company we used, but ours was in the Dales instead. The fact that they both had the same name had confused us. Runswick Bay is a tiny town on the coast, about half an hour from where we were camping. It’s magnificent in the summer and must be both lonely and treacherous in the winter months. Perched on a hill, the walkways are made of slippery stone steps. Cars don’t go through the little collection of house streets, it’s that small. Parking is mostly to one side of the village.

We walked down to the sea and then started back up again to explore the town. We were transfixed by the colors of the cottages – this one was particularly beautiful:


Each one has a gloriously perfect view of the sea. The tide was low and far out. If we’d have brought wellies with us, we’d have been exploring the rocks more, but as it was we kept to higher ground.

Runswick SeaView

We felt like we kept discovering secret treasures ’round each corner we walked. A house just slightly further up the hill had a garden jam-packed with trees, bushes and flowers, the largest of which was a glorious fig-tree, huge-leaved and with pendulously ripe figs. I was transfixed.

Runswick FigTree

Perhaps I am easily impressed by figs, but these delighted me. Also amazing was the fact that the birds hadn’t eaten them all! While I was standing, marveling at this riddle, a woman walked by, the owner of the house. We chatted. She told us that she lives in her house only for the summer and that there are but TWELVE year-round residents. I asked her about her tree and she said she didn’t eat the figs and we could pick them if we wanted. Incredulous, I asked if she was sure, and she immediately went and got us a bag from inside her house. Overwhelmed by both her generosity and that of the tree, we picked these beauties:

RunswickBay FigsWhole

I’m trying to determine WHY figs excite me so. When I was younger, living on the eastern tip of Long Island, NY, I don’t think we ever had any fresh figs, but we did eat the dried ones that came in a circular “ring” of string, from Greece I think. The few times that I brought some in my lunch to school, it seemed my classmates found them too exotic and unfamiliar. No one else ate them. My family felt different from most families in terms of many of our food choices, especially regarding fruits, probably. Pomegranates were another – a girl briefly moved to my school from California in seventh or eighth grade, and she was the only person I’d ever seen eat a pomegranate in school. I felt bonded to her on that basis alone! I still remember her given name: Megan Morgan, even though I never again saw her after that year. Sorry for that tangent…

I don’t remember the first fresh fig I ate, but it must have been in Staten Island or Manhattan, where many more “non-Northeast” foods were available. My mother probably presented them the way she always served food: simply yet beautifully, somehow understatedly communicating appreciation and love.  I paid attention to my mother’s recommendations and recognized them as always being of superior quality and generally adopted her preferences for my own. As for the fresh figs, I loved both the taste and texture  – small green ones and small black ones are what I remember. And when I was thirteen, I went to France for the first time and my aunt’s house on L’Île d’Yeu had a fig tree. We got one fig off of it because it was too early to expect many. That one fruit was spectacular, and several of us shared tiny slices of it. How I wished we could stay ’til September and enjoy a bountiful supply, sigh…

And so, here we were standing in front of a prolifically productive tree. I’d NEVER seen figs this large. Nearly as long as my hand, and very darkly purple. Picking them was like winning the jackpot for me. We ate one right away, eyes widening in excitement, finished off a few more in the parking lot on our way out of the village, and the rest we savored more slowly back at the campsite over the next two days.

RunswickBay Figs

Delicious, truly. Fully and perfectly ripe. We devoured half of them far too quickly, yet also consciously relishing their flavor. They were so large that eating just one of them was nearly like a meal. Thank you, fig-tree owner! I shall forever-more hold magical memories of Runswick Bay.

Where have I been?

It is Fall is the US, and I have been here for almost nine weeks. I have only written one blog post since my time here, my goodness! My time felt very much occupied with communicating with my British lawyer about my visa and making sure all the necessary information was submitted, then trying to pack in all the tasks I needed to do in the first three weeks because I thought my visa would be ready for me soon, then worrying about how LONG my visa was taking and what my children were doing without me (because they were in school in England), then realizing how relaxed I was starting to feel not needing to focus on anyone’s needs but my own, then finally starting to do some things for FUN for myself. I had several days with my aunt in NJ and we did a cleanse together and spent time in her gardens and went to a wild and wonderful new Network chiropractor she’d discovered. Almost two weeks ago I drove to Boston to take a training in acupuncture with Kiiko Matsumoto, Japanese teacher and practitioner extraordinaire. Last week found me in Manhattan to visit a Wellesley friend I hadn’t seen in fifteen years and with whom the years simply fell away while we talked for hours. It was all lovely and I felt like an “individual” rather than a mother, Halleluliah! Currently I am reunited with my children while they’re on school break for half-term (sounds SO English, and it comes so naturally to us now :).


We were welcomed in to the home of our Stuyvesant neighbors – their table felt like Fall, so I snapped a picture last night. The dahlias are from their garden, as are the two smallest gourds; the tea cosy I’d knitted for them last year but they need a larger teapot! This was the home of the friends who visited us in Beverley in August. We’d been in their home so many times over the course of fifteen years, but never to stay, since we lived right next door! It was odd and yet perfect, to be with them. Having the comforts of home was excellent, as I don’t enjoy eating out three meals a day for any length of time. It was funny that they have an Aga, oven of England, and we don’t have one in our UK home. I loved using it, and we got to spend good time with friends.

My girls have been so very busy with their friends that I haven’t spent many hours with them, actually. I am very glad they have the time to revisit the home and community they knew for their whole lives. Nearly every day and night they have been deep in conversation and play with these bosom buddies. They are saying they don’t want to leave, but Friday shall find them flying back to England. I hope it goes alright.

I hope to write more while I am here. Happy November to you all!

They made me leave

Well, my six month tourist visa has expired, and I am back in the U.S. temporarily. I hate not being with the rest of my family who have stayed in the UK. It is SO strange to be back “home”. Two of the first things I noticed right away, that really struck me: everything truly does look much larger here than in England, and related to that, there is so much space on the roads both for the cars and between towns. Everything is big in the Big Old U.S.A. I’d gotten quite used to the English scale which is really and truly much smaller.

My first day in New York, we went to a Whole Foods shop. There was another moment of reverse culture shock. Now this is a funny one for me – previously on every trip I’ve made to England, the prices have felt quite high, but for this half a year I’ve been extremely pleasantly surprised to find that prices of most things seem actually a good deal better than in New York. Take, for example, organic produce. At Tesco’s in Beverley I can buy a head of organic celery for only one pound (just over a dollar). At Whole Foods, it was $3.49. Huge difference. Many other organic foods have a similar price gap.


One thing that made me gasp with delight was to see the section of probiotic foods. Ah, now that is something that there is very little of in the part of England I’ve been in. I don’t think I’ve seen ANY “true” sauerkraut for sale in any shops, though I’m sure some must be somewhere. Look at this grand variety of choices at the same Whole Foods market:


I bought a nice little box of miso and have been having a cup of miso soup every day since. Yum, yum, yum. I would have bought some sauerkraut, too, but it was ridiculously expensive! I usually make my own anyway, unless I go to the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store where they make it and so sell it for slightly better. I didn’t get to the Farm Store yet but might in the coming weeks. They make excellent products.

That’s all I’ll manage for the moment about my UK/US impressions. I’m waiting for a new visa to come through to allow me to return to England, and while I’m “home”, I’m working hard on several projects. Hopefully I’ll get to see some dear friends, as well.

Falling Foss

Just as our friends from New York left, our relatives arrived at the campsite, for two nights only. What a lovely transition. We spent the full day we had together exploring a part of the Dales that had been recommended to us – a walk called “Falling Foss”. ‘Twasn’t easy to find!

We drove quite a while, spying lots and lots of brambles on the way. We stopped and picked quite a few to eat, wishing we had containers to fill. Finally we found the walking trail entrance and parked our cars. A magical wooded pathway, very different from what we’d been experiencing on the moors. A large waterfall was at the end, with some smaller ones along the way…

FallingFoss MiniFalls

Fairy trees and graffiti-ed grotto-like structures were in the woods…

FallingFoss Fairy TreeFallingFoss grotto

At the end of the walk was a tea room, right in the middle of the woods. From the outside it appeared to be a little cottage:

FallingFoss tea room

It was originally a gamekeeper’s cottage from the 1700s, but people did live in it full-time for many years and it was a tea-room in the 1930’s. There was a large placard of history written up about it that I’ve now mostly forgotten. The residents abandoned the isolated cottage in the 1960’s after a particularly bad winter, and it has only recently been taken over and restored into a tea-garden. It is SO lovely! Very modern-looking outdoor-area where the orders are placed, with lots of outdoor seating and really very good food. They even served small bottles of Prosecco of which we partook to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday.

The tea garden was right next to the 30-foot waterfall, but somehow I didn’t get any pictures. This was a coin-filled wishing log that caught my eye, though:

FallingFoss WishingLog.JPG

And while my younger daughter and I waited for other grownups to fetch the car (really, we could have parked right near the tea garden, but we’d parked two miles away at a different carpark), we tried our skills at leaf-identification and then enjoyed the low-level water nearby…

FallingFoss TreeLeafGuide.JPG

FallingFoss NearTea Room.JPG

I’d highly recommend a visit to Falling Foss for a magical woodland walk and a spot of nice lunch.

A Day Out in Beverley

The first day that our NY friends arrived was spent showing them ’round the town. Beverley is beautiful, and there was so much to try to fit in to the eleven hours of daylight. Now I get to show you snippets of that tour.

We started with a quick walk into town to show them how CLOSE our lovely little street is to the thick of things. They needed coffee, so we went to Filmore and Union, a café-restaurant that serves good food and coffee and fresh veggie juices. We sat in the outside garden and drank in the gorgeous sunlight. Most pubs and restaurants have “gardens” here in England, to take the opportunity of the sun and color of beautiful growing things.


We walked by lots of “snickets”, tiny little pedestrian alleyways that link larger streets. I’m quite taken by both the name and the fact that they exist. I may do a post solely on snickets one of these days. This one had a name pertinent to our NY neck of the woods…


We visited the Minster, which is a Church of England gothic church, as large as many cathedrals – I’m still not clear on the difference. I think it has to do with whether a bishop is associated with the church or not. Scenes from the TV series “Victoria” and “The Crown” were filmed there, I think. It’s incredibly beautiful. Just one or two pics…

I quite like the trompe l’oeuil design of the marble floor.


and a close-up of the hand-carved wooden “miserichords”…


We walked to my new allotment so they could see that quintessentially English system of a collection of gardening plots. On the way there, we spotted another plum tree (not wild this time) within the Minster grounds. So many had fallen to the ground. We sampled them – delicious!

My plot is still bare except for the many berries we inherited from the previous occupants. The good news is that many of the weeds are gone and that there is tons of potential! There is one slightly sad-looking plum tree that didn’t produce much and whose plums are now gone, but here is a shot of the few that we picked several weeks ago. I remember them being sold at Loveapple Farm in Columbia County as “elephant heart plums”. Super-flavorful and delicious. Allotment Plums.JPG

Other plots are quite impressive. Here’s a meticulously kept and organized one:

Allotment OrganizedPlot


I quite like the “wall” of runner beans in another – thick steel poles are holding these gorgeous vines up:

Allotment RunnerBeans.JPG

And one plot is filled exclusively with apple trees interplanted with flowers!


I didn’t photograph the windmill that is at the center of the allotment area, nor any of the numerous sheds and greenhouses that look both picturesque and practical.

We continued with a walk on the Westwood open pastureland and communed with some cows lolling about the golf course. Cows have free rein, as there are no gates or fences anywhere on the Westwood (that I have seen).


and enjoyed the more wild windswept look of trees a bit further along –


We finished our walk with a visit to Nellie’s, an ancient pub from the 1600’s that still has original features like the gas-lighting. It’s a bit dark for me in there. Nicholas loves it. It certainly has a lot of local charm and color and is an excellent spot to show visitors.

It was such a pleasure sharing bits of Beverley with our friends from home!



A Few Weeks Ago At The Farm


Yikes, just found this from several weeks ago! I never posted it! Well, here are a slew of posts I’m letting loose to the ether. Here is what I’d written…

A full day this week in Beverley, or at least it felt like a full day! A good five hours anyway. We had a nice crowd of folks in the morning – I think seven volunteers for a while, two of whom I’d not previously met. I worked on purslane first, cutting back the older growth of lusciously full heads to encourage more young growth that is used in the upmarket salads they offer to restaurants. I filled two huge plastic bins full of cuttings! Only a small portion made its way back home with me, and I think it must weigh seven pounds. Heavy, thick lemony stems they have. I need more people in the house who like the same things I do if I’m ever to get through all the food we’ve got. I couldn’t entice any other volunteers to bring any home, so the main farmer Ben may be eating or juicing masses of it. Not sure what I’ll do with mine, other than put in salads and think about all the good omega-3 fatty acids I’m getting.

Purslane Cuttings

We weeded out a large carrot bed, and the chickweed in there was just perfect, for the first time in weeks. Again, I couldn’t resist, and I saved all the beautiful little and longer tendrils, ending up with a large shopping-bag full in a short while. The five of us who were left stopped for lunch after 1pm and sat on wooden benches around the fire. One woman made us all tea, and we talked. Everyone there is lovely, interesting. It’s a pleasure to be around them. For the afternoon, we weeded onions to give them a chance at light and space to grow…

What I really need to do is not to be so tired and preoccupied upon my return home to be able to make a good dent in cooking or preserving these things the very same day I bring them back. But that wasn’t the case for me this week! My younger daughter was very much in need of attention and my own tasks needed to wait. Tomorrow I’ll blanch and cook and chop and blend to my heart’s content. Thank goodness this is a cultivated variety. The wild garden purslane doesn’t last more than a couple of hours once it is picked.

Update: I made two types of pickled purslane stems (fun to say, too), ate a ton of it in salad and also cooked some. It lasted, even out of the fridge, for quite a few days, surprisingly. I found it hard to sell to anyone else to try, but I really enjoyed it! Here’s some being cooked,


and a jar of preserved purslane.


This way it will last me for weeks, even months, to come.


So sad to have friends leave…

For months we’d been anticipating a visit from our friends in New York. Finally, on August 16th, they arrived! They had flown in to Amsterdam earlier, then took the overnight ferry to Hull and drove to us in Beverley. We hadn’t seen eachother in nearly half a year, and the visit was a very welcome one.

I’ll be backtracking for the next few entries, posting about what we did with our guests and reliving our days together exploring the area.

This scene is of the morning they left us in the North Yorkshire moors. Their daughter and my two had been spending their last minutes together sitting by the stream at our campsite.


My sentimental side couldn’t bear to move the chairs for the rest of that morning…

Beautiful Burton Agnes

Here is an entry from a couple of weeks ago…

The plan was to celebrate Life today, with our friends who have journeyed all the way from America to be with us. We took the day to explore Burton Agnes, a local manor house and gardens. We arrived and first visited the Norman Church which has been operating as a place of worship since about the year 1220. Just outside the church door is a collection of yews that are 300 years old. Gnarled and not very green but full of ambiance.


Inside was full of presence and ambience, with the requisite sculptures, carvings, stained glass. Outside was a cemetary area full of ancient-looking tombstones and plants.


And then on to explore primarily the gardens. The day was spectacular – no stereotypical English weather here. This is a long view of the formal gardens, the far end of which borders on a retaining wall to a lower-level field. What a clever visual effect – the cows seem to simply be in the distance, further away in the main field, but they are actually in a separate field and not able to enter and possibly destroy anything in the gardens area.


And the koi up close…


The cafe is nice there – nearly all English manor houses and open gardens seem to have a café to sit at and have some tea and cake or something savory. This one sadly was all out of the delicious-sounding soup and didn’t have any gluten free options, so I just nibbled at Nicholas’s salad. Needless to say, I was quite hungry later. Lucky for me, the walled gardens had lots of edibles growing as well as ornamentals.


I spent a fair bit of time passing by these beans and sampling them. REALLY good.

And there were fruit trees! The apples didn’t look ripe, but lots and lots of plums were! It’s a plum year here in the UK. I only took a few ripe ones that had fallen to the ground. I felt so much better after a few beans and plums in my tummy.


Right next to a plum tree were these – look a lot like plums, but aren’t –


And then I rejoined my group to find the kids playing at Giant Chess and Snakes and Ladders. Much fun.


So many more pictures from that day, but I’ve posted so many as it is…

Well, just the yarrow. They filled me with delight.