Reflections on last Summer!

My summer has had more turns and twists than I can remember.  A thread throughout has been kindness, loss, growth – and of course plenty of Joy.

Kindness was apparent in the help, creativity and team work that was involved in making Sharing Joy’s tour such a success. For me, it has been a real learning curve and interesting to see what goes into making a theatre show like this; the actors are smart, empathic and dynamic and the combination of arts and health are the best prescription anyone could be prescribed.

Kindness more close to home was seen in several of us in our local village pulling together at the local Vide Grenier (attic sale)  to fund raise for ‘les Resto du Coeur’, providing food for people who find themselves living on the streets.

The loss was a folder that the touring team mislaid and as yet still hasn’t turned up, so everyone that we visited on our Sharing Joy tour please look under that chair one more time!

Loss closer to home was our dear neighbour, who died at the age of 92 years. Solenge was one of the first people I met when I first arrived in SW france seven years ago; she literally skipped down her front steps and embraced me, quickly followed by her daughter apologising for her over familiarity, explaining she had Alzheimer’s. Solegne and I just kept hugging and laughing and I felt I had met a kindred spirit.  I sobbed in a packed out church and found the walk to the cemetery very moving as her coffin was carried by her family and the rest of the village walked behind.

The growth has been in my confidence in my role as Strategic Touring Manager – the momentum I am now finding is very exciting.

Growth closer to home has been my garden and the abundance of figs, tomatoes, aubergines and basil: having been a ‘Townie’ all my life this is truly a surprise and a gift.

The Joy? Well it’s obvious finding Vamos and Vamos finding me!

Hazel Ratcliffe, Strategic Touring Project Manager