Friday, 8 August 2014

THE CROWBOROUGH RETREATS.

Hello there!
Thanks for popping in. 
I’m afraid I am running a little late again today, but that’s okay.
The last few weeks have been so busy in Retreat Zone, I haven’t really looked up, except to say, “Are you still with me?” or “Everybody happy?” or “OK, so let’s move on...”
Yesterday was the last day, so it was very strange this morning to wake up when I woke up, instead of 5am! Needless to say, it was gone 9 when I finally surfaced today!

But looking back over our time with 5 lovely groups of Clarity friends who each spent 2 days with us, believe it or nor, I would happily do it again! There is nothing like being in the company of good people who share the same passion for creativity, and who have the same thirst for knowledge. 

We had several surprise guests drop in on us - literally!
On the very first morning of the very first day, 
a helicopter landed in the rugby field,


and none other than HRH The Duke of Edinburgh popped in!



Naturally, we were all there to give him a lovely warm 
reception in our aprons!


 But then it was heads down and crack on!



One of the best things about this job is spending time 
with people I really, really like,


and seeing them year after year.


They are a pretty awesome bunch


of ladies AND gents


and many of us have known each for many years -


 way before TV and all that jazz!


Friends come from near and far, from Scotland and Ireland down to Devon and Cornwall - and everywhere inbetween.

The Dorset Duo!


The Scottish Team


and so many other super guests! 

Many of the ladies have made friends, and they meet up here every year, for a mini holiday.

One of the groups comprised half the Clarity Design Team!
That was the loud bunch!!!
Lots of hilarity with Clarity!


But they mucked in and got covered in ink - like everybody else! 
Especially if they were on the Sam Crowe table!!


 I think there was a good mix of skills and techniques presented,



 and a wonderful mix of people and personalities.


There was a lot of generosity, at many different levels.

People gave me so many beautiful gifts! Many, many thanks.

People helped each other.


People helped us.
Without any prompting, 
ladies would simply go and clean the kitchen for me.


Dave washed the brayers and mats without a murmur.


Jayne, she who provided excellent lunches and refreshments 
every day, celebrated her birthday.



When I look at the photos now, I am grinning from ear to ear, because it really was pretty special. 
My Mum was in this group, too, which always makes me happy. 



One morning, a Hot-air balloon landed in the field! 
And we wondered who it might be this time!


Gate-Crashers?


Perfect day for it either way!


 But always somewhere, you would find Dave and Paul 
milling around, helping it all run like clockwork, and it did!



Paul Church is a good friend. He is brilliant to work with.
He has a wicked sense of humour and a very big heart.
He just KNOWS what needs doing, and quietly gets on with it. 
So hip hip hurray and many thanks to Paul!!!


 Big smiles!


Another thing which I so loved, was watching folks of all ages enjoy their art.
Eighty-four years old was Helen. 
And she produced some superb work.
Kept up, no slacking, and oh boy! Did we laugh when she rolled her sleeves up for the Shaving Foam finale!!


We had a couple more friends drop in, too.
How chuffed were we when Nigel May and Alan strolled in!!


 Lots of hugs and photos.
It made us all feel so special.
Thank you Nige. 
You are one in a million. 


On the very last day, lovely Annie, our ClarityStamp & Stencil artist, turned up, with her beautiful little Dot. 
Check out the T-Shirt!!!!
What a smasher! 


 It was the perfect end to the retreats for me. For the guests to meet the young woman who had drawn the stamp they were actually using at the time!

So I may be tired, and the house may look like a bomb’s hit it, 
but that’s fine. Mission accomplished. 

I just have one more busy week, 
2 hours German TV HSE24 Tuesday 8.00am and 14.00pm, 
5 hours Create & Craft TV Thursday, sprinkled through the day,
but then I am off the hook for a while. 

So, to all who joined us in Crowborough at the retreats, many thanks to you for making the time and giving the energy which made it such a great experience. 

 I will sit down with a calendar soon, 
and work out a plan for next year....

Right. Where’s the kettle?

much love,

44 comments:

  1. It is us who need to thank you, Barbara, for a fantastic experience that none of us would have missed for anything. I am sure we are all just waiting with our fingers poised to ring Clarity to book our places for next year the moment the dates are announced. Any ideas on the visitors who will drop in next time to give added excitement? Meanwhile, enjoy that cuppa and take a few hours to gather your thoughts before next week. You have a wonderful team to back you up, so thank you to everyone at Clarity. You are all awesome. xxx Maggie

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    1. Nice email highlighting your work today. Congrats!

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    2. Thanks, Debby. Hope you are still having a good time on the other side of the Pond. xx Maggie

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  2. How magical to bring smiles to so many faces. Our 2 days were wonderful and as I'm sure it was for all the groups, you can see it in the photos. Cant wait for next year, Enjoy the quick rest. Safe journey to Germany and see you on the TV on Thursday. xxx

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  3. All sounds absolutely fantastic !! I hope I'll be able to come one day! I've booked Thursday off to keep up with you on TV ! Get this busy week over and then put your feet up for twin mins although I'm sure you mind will continue to create ! Got to get a card done tonight for Dad's 86th birthday tomorrow, the first one in his nursing home.... A little bit sad now he has dementia but he still knows us. xxxxxx

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  4. BIG, BIG THANK YOU to you Barbara and all the team who supported you with the retreats, Paul, Dave, Jane and all the Clarity team behind the scenes. I had the most amazing, wonderful, fantastic time with all you lovely people. Looking at these photos is a reminder of the fab things we did and the new friends I made...Hi Sally Spanner, I see you.
    Can't wait for next year. Thanks again
    Love Jeanette xx

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    1. Hi Jeanette, It was lovely to meet you, hope to see you again. x Sally x

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  5. Hi Barbara, I just want to say, yet again, what a fantasitic two days I had at your retreat. I made friends and learnt loads. I have not stopped talking to my friends and family about the retreat.
    I have already tried some of the new techniques you taught us.
    I am hoping to attend again next year. Enjoy a restful time once you have finished with this week.
    Take care, Sally xxx (Spanner)

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  6. Thanks it was lovely reading this today. It was my first clarity workshop and I had a fabulous time. Great venue, loved the teaching and as you said great crew, Dave, Jayne and Paul and of course not to forget the crew behind the scenes, love to you, happy crafting

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  7. Really sorry I couldn't com this year but planning on making it next time!

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  8. Good morning,
    What a lovely reflection of the two weeks. Hard work from you and the Clrity team but so much fun for us. Thank you thank you thank you !!? Until next year,

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  9. Sounds a great time was had by all. How do you advertise this event as i would love to attend some workshop's to learn all the techniques.

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  10. Wow that all looked amazing , great photos, hmmmmmmm maybe next year xx

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  11. Can't wait to do it all over again next year. Xx

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  12. A big thank you goes to you, Paul, Dave, Jayne and all the others behind the scenes that made these workshops so enjoyable and educational. Without all the hard work before and during these workshops would never happen. Although there was lots of fun and laughter - I think we all felt that we learnt such a lot from you and seeing Paul trying to overstamp (what an expert) whilst trying not to laugh will be something I won't forget in a hurry. These workshops are a truly memorable experience and that was in the proof of how far people had to travel to get to them. You and your team were superb hosts and I am looking forward to joining everyone again next year. Your workshops really are superb value for money and the little extras were so appreciated and so thoughful and generous.
    Hugs Elaine xx

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  13. What wonderful memories for you and for all of us able to benefit from your time and inspiration. I certainly enjoyed myself and the smiles on the faces would suggest everyone else did too. Thank you so much Barbara for giving us this opportunity, you are one amazing person. I can't wait to join you again next year. In the meantime enjoy your cuppa. Looking forward to seeing the shows on Thursday. Have a safe trip to Germany. Hugs xx

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  14. Thank you again for giving us such a fabulous time over the last two days. I'm still beaming every time I look at my Gelli print, having finally achieved a successful one - can't believe it! I hope you & Dave have a restful day today - can't wait to do it all again next year!

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  15. Hi Barb,
    What a great blog and photos today. I hope you are feeling better after your tumble and got to say I've started saving for next year's retreat. Enjoy your R & R after next week's work and take Dave out! (not in the Mafia sense you understand!). xx

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  16. Hi Barbara Wow all those smiling faces it must have been a blast and so nice to meet up with people you have not seen for awhile like Lisapmac I would love to join you next year but I will have to do with your once a month c/c lessen which is fine
    Crafty hugs
    Pauline B

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  17. Wow - I was wishing I had the time to come along before I saw the photos, but now I am just pea-green with envy and pea-green is NOT a good colour for me! Please, Please could you think about doing a retreat or some classes in the winter time, then I might have a chance of coming along - I so enjoyed the ones I attended years ago now in the village hall at Cowden. Hope you have a restful day today, and don't overdo it too much! Susan x

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  18. It all sounds wonderful Barbara - I would love to have been there - one of these days I'll make it but until then I'll go to as many Clarity Cumbrias with Jo as I can!! Good look with another busy week! Hugs Rachel x

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  19. Lovely reminiscences. Clearly you spread joy. I'm glad you felt you could enjoy it too and it wasn't just a slog. I love that euphoria at the end of a course/workshop/concert/whatever.
    That ref. to visitors reminds me of the old joke that ends 'Who's that on the Vatican balcony with Fred?' Does the D of E realise who you are?
    Have a good time in Germany.

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  20. Lots of lovely memories for all to keep looking forward to 5 hrs clarity on c&c Thursday xxx

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  21. Afternoon Barbara! Hope you are having a good potter about today!
    It is fabulous that you can look back on the retreats with such enjoyment. It must make you so proud to have a great team of people around you that all muck in to make everything run smoothly! And although you may be paddling furiously underneath on the surface you glide! Your warmth and personality make it all possible!
    I feel privileged to have been able to be a part of the retreat this year Barbara and hope that I will be able to join you again next year!
    Love and hugs xxxx

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  22. happy birthday to Jane!
    ooops we forgot that one!
    But we were SO chuffed with Dot's little t-shirt,
    and thought it would make a lovely suprise.
    Good to see the designs being put to such good use yesterday!
    All our love and hope today has been a feet up cuppa kind of day :) xxxx

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  23. I was one of the lucky ones who spent two days at the retreat.
    I truly enjoyed myself and loved meeting so many new friends. I am looking forward to next year now.
    Thank you so much for all the hard work you and your team put in.
    Big hugs to all

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  24. Hi Barb,
    Well it certainly looks as though everyone had a great time. It must be a wonderful experience to be taught by someone as talented as you. It also comes through just how much the whole team mean to you. By the way thank you for replying to my email, your comments were very lovely and meant a lot to me. Have set the recorder already for Thursday but will try to watch as well. Thanks For everything you do. LoveAlison xxxx

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  25. Hey Barb, well what wonderful memories of great things, great creations, great people. I love Churchie, always smiling much like you. I dream of attending one of your retreats. Well done everyone, glad you had a blast! can I have Dot's tshirt in a much larger size please. Bx

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  26. Hi Barb, glad you had a good week and now for a few days rest - maybe, anyway can't wait until Thursday on C&C God bless xx

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  27. What great photos of everyone having a wonderful time, and lovely for you to see the same people returning. I look forward to seeing you on tv on Thursday, and after that it's good you will have a little more time to sit back and take stock. I am looking forward to using my new stamp club stamp which looks as though it will get many outings. It's so lovely to have a new stamp to look forward to every month and great ideas for using it too, so thank you Barbara. x

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  28. Barbara thanks to you and all the team for a superb retreat. We are now back in Scotland talking ten to the dozen about our trip. We are already saving for next year. There is a 'D' Notice on how much we spent on the essential crafting supplies we had to buy. Hope you had a good day today.
    Love from the Scottish Team

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  29. Hi Barbara
    You all looked like you had a good time wish, I'd have been there.Must have been a nice surprise when Nigel visited he's so nice.Have a great visit in Germany.
    Looking forward to seeing you on C&C on Thursday.

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  30. Love your post Barbara, how I wish I could have been there. Photos are great, you can see the happiness on all the faces and that must make you feel so proud. So pleased that everyone mucked in to help out with the cleaning and clearing up - you should have snaffled a few of them to take home with you! Pat x

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  31. Looks like you all had a fabulous time. I think you deserve your break when you get it. Hope all goes well with TV shows. xx

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  32. Looks and sounds like such great fun & we're never too old to learn right?

    Was just reading this out to my other half while he's cooking dinner and he said he would treat me next year woo-hoo!!!! :-)

    Have a great weekend Barbara knowing that you have made LOADS of people very happy!

    Take care, Carole xxx

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  33. What a lovely time you had!!!! Have to find a way to be able to join you next year.....It will be my holidays..... May be!!!!
    Laurence xx

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  34. Oh wow Barbara - what a great time Mike and I had on the first Monday and Tuesday - haven't laughed so much for ages and can't wait for next year. We have met so many lovely people that we hope to meet up with next time if not before. You and the amazing Clarity Team made it a very special time - and can't thank you enough for that. Keep spreading the love and sunshine xxx and big hugs from us both
    Helen and Mike xxx

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  35. Thank you for so many happy memories and the opportunity to learn so much. I am filled with awe and wonder at your amazing team Barbara. Jx

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  36. Hi Barbara, what lovely photos and such wonderful memories, so glad I shared two of those days, a real real pleasurexxx. Enjoy a few days R&R youve earned it as have Dave, Paul and all the Clarity Team.
    Can't wait for next year xx
    Hilarity with Clarity all the way xx
    Much love
    kim xx

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  37. Hi Barbara I hope you have enjoyed your day pottering about and have found the house again - it's amazing how quickly it vanishes under a pile of 'stuff'! The photos are fab and you had some great visitors - it looks like everyone had so much fun. I will talk nicely to hubby and see what happens next year :) you all deserve a good rest following all that work. Hope you enjoy Thursday I will try and watch but it is exam result day so not sure yet what the day will hold! ( not mine - my daughters! AS levels! ) have a great weekend . Love Diane xxx

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  38. Was lovely looking at pictures so would love to join you. Ext year hope will be possible, just love my ones a month over at clarity East Midlands high light if month. So would be nice to come to the retreat hope you had a relaxing day today enjoy your weekend night for now xx

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  39. Lovely photos! I would so love to come to a retreat one day! xx

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  40. Sounds like and looks like you all had a great time .
    Looking forward to Thursday.

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  41. Hi Barbara. Thanks for the great pics. What a lot of very happy people : ) So glad that you enjoyed yourself. I must see if it's possible to get to the Retreat next year, it looks so much fun. I hope the house has been sorted, as much as it needed to be. Having a rest, sitting and enjoying a cuppa is just as important- P for Priorities! Take care.

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Thank you for your kind messages and I hope you get inspiration from my ramblings.

Barb x