Friday, 19 December 2008

Llyn Evans - Greetings From India

Dear friends in Perranuthnoe,

Warm greetings from India!

Those of you who so very kindly helped me on my way in those last days will understand that at that point it was hard to be sure of sending you these greetings……….. because it didn’t seem possible that I could ever leave Perran, let alone get to the airport and on to the plane that would bring me to India.

But it’s happened, so let me assure you: if I can do it, anybody can.

The flight was good: 9 hours overnight to Delhi, but the taxi from the airport to this ashram took another 9 hours instead of the usual 5. Don’t ask me why: every bone in my body was rattling about (not only are the roads dusty and rocky and potholey and merciless, with cows pushing cars out of the way, but they have speedbumps like giant’s rolling-pins as well). I think you’ve all heard that I had the warmest of welcomes here in the ashram, with every one of my students coming to greet me and no doubt see if the alleged English teacher was real. I was given a room in a little terrace of 4 along a walkway; it’s a good size bedsit, with a small bathroom (warm shower and flush toilet) and ‘kitchen’ cubicle with sink and space for a kettle. I’m comfortable here, on the ground floor with stairs 3 floors up to the roof to hang out the washing (and do some ‘power walking’). The view from the roof is fabulous, with mountains all around. I love greeting those foothills with ‘Hello Himalayas!’

We have guests from all over the world, coming for a few weeks or months and living in the cottages on the ashram. There are 33 of these. They will all be full in February, when the ashram is hosting an international Pain Management Conference.

The dining hall is nearby, where we have meals together: the food is good, purely vegetarian, well-balanced and nourishing, without being too spicy: it’s designed to give students energy, and it certainly energises me. Fruits are seasonal here; bananas pop up everywhere, and since I’ve arrived we’ve had apples, papaya and tangerines. There is a mango grove in the ashram, so we’ll have mangoes in a couple of months.

When I wake up I smell the bougainvillea, roses and unforgettable frangipani, and see the little red-roofed cottages of the ashram snug among the temples and flower-beds, with the backdrop of the forested slopes and higher mountains of the Himalayan foothills. Between here and those forests (only about twenty minutes’ walk) is the river Ganga, and in the forests elephants roam. I haven’t seen any yet, but there are green parrots in the big tree here, flying freely and singing to one another so sociably that I wonder why anyone would want to isolate them in a cage.

This ashram is an academic one, based on the science, philosophy and practice of the Himalayan tradition of Yoga, as laid down by Swami Rama – centuries of wisdom from yogis who lived in caves high in the remote mountains, seekers of the divine centre that lies deep within us all.

My students are terrific personalities; mainly Indian from all over India, (also 3 Koreans at present) many of them are graduates, and they all follow courses of 3 or 5 years or more that train them to be spiritual guides and teachers. Their classes and lectures are in English, so shaky knowledge of the language can be the one thing that holds them back. This is where I come in, and I’m being kept pretty busy dealing with about 20 different levels of English. I’ve grouped them as well as I can under the circumstances, giving individual attention to the weakest and those who are actually teaching yoga here already. I’m encouraging a light touch, there’s plenty of fun, and I am enjoying it to the full.

Life outside the ashram is much noisier and has different contrasts. At a bank the other day I saw a few cars parked on the pavement, with a cow stretched out on some rubble in line with them….. the shops look like sheds, but sheds can contain shimmering silks and the finest stitching. Plenty to enchant the Perran stitchers, the portrait painters, the poets and the dressmakers of Perranuthnoe.

But oh I miss my morning and evening walks to the Mount! Instead, to be sure, there is the Ganga, green with the reflection of forested slopes. Jolly little ducks bob around on it here, and flights of birds skim the surface at sunset. That is the time when a fire ceremony take place to thank the gods for the light the sun has given us: little oil lamps are lit, swung round in a circle, and offered back to the gods. This takes place every evening – simply, at this part of the river, much more elaborately and noisily in Rishikesh and bigger places.

I’m sorry to hear the rain veiled the big moon for the Christmas Tree blessing in the village, but in Wales we say that enhances the singing (we have to!), and I’m sure your lovely voices could be heard in Goldsithney.

I’m very happy to hear from any of you who’d like to write to me. Emails seem to have stabilised now, and they are a paradoxical blessing in the Back of Beyond.

My best wishes to you all for a joyous Christmas, with a peaceful 2009. My Christmas ‘card’ to you is some pictures of the ashram, including my second day here, when the place was full of visiting sages and swamis in orange robes, and I was suddenly called to be introduced to our revered Head, His Holiness Swami Veda Bharati. You see my students there, one of them protecting Swamiji (as he is known) from the sun, by the classroom where I teach and the library next door.

With love,

Marazion Surgery Dispensary - Update

Save our Dispensary – Good News!

We were absolutely delighted to hear the excellent news that General Practices would continue to be allowed to dispense medications. The Minister of State in the Department of Health Phil Hope MP said in the House of Commons on Tuesday 16 December:

“We are analysing the responses to the consultation on pharmaceutical provision in England, and we will be making an announcement on these wider issues as soon as possible in the new year."

"I am aware of the strength of the responses we received on the various options for amending the criteria for dispensing by doctors. We have taken into account the views of those attending the listening events, the meetings and so on, and as a result I am pleased to announce to him that there will be no change to the current arrangements on GPs dispensing medicines to their patients.”

We wished to share this good news with you, and also take this opportunity to thank you, your committee members and all members of the public for your support and encouragement during this worrying consultation period.

We wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and Happy Healthy New Year,

Yours sincerely

Mrs Jackie Brown
Practice Manager
On behalf of Drs Hamilton, Walden, Thacker, Killeen & Sugrue

Monday, 15 December 2008

Perranuthnoe Christmas Tree 2008

Perranuthnoes annual Christmas Tree event took place on Friday 12th December despite the dismal weather.

Village Crafts kicked off the event by hosting an open evening serving mulled wine, Cornish mulled apple juice, nibbles and music.

At around 7.oopm the tree was blessed and illuminated and the carols were led by members of 'The Perranaz Will Do'. Sausage rolls and mince pies were handed round.

Father Christmas arrived with gifts for the children and the evening finished off with punch and nibbles being served in The Victoria Inn.

Thanks to the Christmas Tree committee and all those involved with this years event.

Merry Christmas and a very happy 2009 to everyone.