Summer 2017

20 July 2017

A long overdue blog.

I took a group of friends up to the burial ground yesterday as a part of a walk around Coleshill and Westmill.  The weather was kind while we sat in the willow arbour having our lunch and as we walked over we heard buzzards above the cloud and on our return saw a kestrel perching on the polytunnel at Westmill organics.  We seem to see less of the smaller birds of prey now we are so blessed with both buzzard and kestrel.  The apples on the trees in Pioneer Glade are beginning to plump up and some of the sloes already have a dark tinge of colour amid the green.  Hazelnuts are milky soft on the trees and in some places on the farm the ground is bright with the warm yellow scatter of mirabelle plums. Delicious to eat as you walk along.

I want to talk about two things that have happened recently that felt very important to me.

I was very saddened some weeks ago to hear of the death of Jon Underwood. He was the person who seeded the idea of Death Cafes in this country and is responsible for their rapid spread.  He was a very quiet, modest person who always maintained his strong principles around them being for free and never benefitted financially from his quiet revolution in people talking about death not only in the UK but elsewhere. There have now been nearly 4000 Death Cafes.  He was only 44 and leaves a young family behind having been diagnosed only very late with a rare form of cancer.  Thank you Jon for all you inspired to happen. You were very much part of the seachange we observe around how our society is handling the subject of death and dying.  If any of you have benefitted from going to or running a Death Cafe there is a collection for his family which can be found here  If you don’t know what a death cafe is refer to some of our previous newsletters or go to

The other very notable event in the past few months was the death of Wendy, wife of  Russell Davison in Derby. He made the headlines because he kept her body at home for six days until her funeral.  For many this was a revelation. Most people do not know this is even possible.  It is not a choice that everyone would want to make but for those that do this can be a very special time, a chance to say good-bye, to come to terms with the death and care for the body in the same tender way they were caring for the living person.  He was happy to talk about it and how right it felt for him and has done a great service by sharing his experiences so openly and honestly with the wider world.  We are happy to support families who choose to do this and point them in the right direction for the practical, compassionate support they need to do this.

I am yet again making a resolution to keep this blog more current and hope meanwhile you are able to enjoy the summer.  I hope you have the same bright washed clean feeling day as we have here.  The rain has brought all the colours out in our garden.