By October 31, 2022March 28th, 2023No Comments

Harp-gasmed!!! 😃 😃 😃 brilliant read as usual. DA
Lemon-drizzle shizzle baby. DW

Where oh where does this daft saying come from?

It was just two weeks ago and I was all prepped and ready to welcome some brave women off the ferry as they arrived on my wee island of IONA for the “Cutting the threads that Bind Retreat.” Getting to this Inner Hebridean island is ALWAYS a lovely and lengthy pilgrimage – no shortcuts, no quick drop-ins…you REALLY REALLY have to want to come here with all your heart and soul. So when it calls you, it doesn’t let go till you have come and greeted this ancient piece of land. It is also why so much love, magic and healing happens here. And Lemons!

If you have followed me for any length of time you will know that lemons are always my little talisman of proving I’m on the right path. They appear out of nowhere in the most unlikely of places. Others find feathers or see angels in clouds. Apart from my love of heart-shaped rocks, lemons are my key way of the universe showing up and reminding me all is ok! 

So this whole story tickled me and we created the saying ….JUST LEMON DRIZZLE IT!
As my eager clients arrived at the Green Shed, our beautiful venue on the North Shore…. I finally got to meet each one. Happy, eager but super tired eyes looked into mine and then I heard the news! Traveling from Scotland, West Coast USA, and England …these ladies had ALL come so far. But for the poor lass traveling up on the overnight sleeper train from Devon…. oh my word. It was worse than the trip from the USA! The sleeper train did not have a bed. 

So I learned very fast as everyone was settling into their rooms, that while they were all venturing together on the last leg from Oban to Iona – that’s a ferry, bus and another ferry – Ms Devon had declared that all she needed was a cup of tea, lemon drizzle cake (her favourite) and a quick power nap, and all would be ok. She had been “on the hoof” for 24 hours with NO sleep, 3 trains, 2 ferries and a bus! 

Now, on our side of the equation in preparing for this special island retreat, we had created the most delicious, soulful, nourishing menu to support them process, heal and rest. Hatti (chef) and Anne (assistant) and myself had been concocting for months. The sheer logistics of catering and getting stuff here are nothing short of miraculous. In terms of pre-planning, shopping, car permits, traveling, prepping and freezing certain things ahead of time, it’s a LOT to coordinate. Our retreat menu was printed out and up on the board to share our five nights of delicious food meticulously planned with love and care! Day by day.

So what do you think we had planned for tea upon arrival on day 1?


With welcoming SUNSHINE to go with it!

It was like a rainbow drizzle of lemony love had enveloped us all as we realized she got EXACTLY what she wished for – exhausted beyond exhausted, she ate her favorite cake in the whole world, had a nap and was ready to rock our opening session just an hour later! You can’t make this stuff up! We didn’t go and quickly make it, or take it out the freezer….it had been planned all along! The pure delight of life showing up in perfect timing. 

I also knew that the retreat was being given a dose of approval and support from “upstairs” I started using the phrase. …Let’s just LEMON DRIZZLE IT – as my new mantra. Remember last month I shared some stories about special mantras (if you are new to my newsletter you will find the link when you signed up!) 

So this one is firmly at the top of my list now! 

THERE IS WAY MORE THAT UNFOLDED in this lemony tale. 
So we started doing deep emotional work, releasing the past, honoring life, letting go, cutting threads, and creating beautiful connections between the 7 of us. As the five days unfolded we needed to lemon drizzle a few more things FAST.

When I had arrived back on Iona a week before the retreat, I started watching the weather forecast with trepidation. October is a totally different ball game from the last retreat in April

One day we always do a special pilgrimage to the far side of the island for one of the rituals. …it’s quite a long, tiring, and emotional 9am – 4pm day out. My weather app was showing me 55-gale-force winds, and pounding RAIN! Not great for us. All week I kept obsessively watching …..the wind started easing up as the storm moved and yet the rain changed forecast every day. I was maybe going to have to move everything around ….but no other day was looking promising either! And the pilgrimage is such a vital part of the process.I just started trusting and affirming I AM LEMON DRIZZLING the weather to myself. 

YES! We got to walk on the right day, and I just had to course-correct once en route to dodge a fast downpour and landed up having a profound experience in St Oran’s chapel (instead of the Nunnery Ruins). We also got to lie flat on a grassy hill listening to music and as we left Columba’s pay with full hearts, threads cut and stones in our pockets we were gifted rainbows from the skies. 

As a surprise I wanted to take us all to Staffa. A truly memorable experience to visit this iconic rock close by…but of course it’s always ‘subject to both wind, tide and swells and at this time of year it’s very touch and go. The Staffa trips were only going out about once or twice a week this past month. Arrrgh …….the women didn’t know were going initially, until about day 3. It came out so we could ALL group lemon drizzle focus! I was in daily contact with the boat company to say YAH or NAY and it was a constant process of wait and see. So it sat there as a possibility. We had to adjust the day, and still getting there wasn’t a given yet. But boy oh boy we needed to lemon drizzle that boat for them! We never got there on the April Retreat because of the weather (one reason for those ladies to re-visit IONA) so I was manifesting extra hard this month. 

Lemon drizzle lemon drizzle shizzle baby!

In the final 24-hour window…. Staffa Trips said they could not risk going BUT the other company Staffa Tours with bigger (and therefore more stable boats) was still possibly trying for the next day. That was the last day the ladies would be on Iona! Quick messages back and forth to them to double-check and see if they had space for us. The power of intention! Everyone Lemon drizzle… We got glorious sunshine, tumultuous water, sea birds, seal pups, wild, wild wind and got to experience first hand the reality of the great Atlantic swell swooshing into Fingal’s Cave up close and personal. A little terrifying and exhilarating to hear that water! 

So although we didn’t get to land ON Staffa, we got a very special trip up the east side of the island that I had never seen before. Sweet lemons.

So now it was time for Ms Devon to lemon drizzle a bed en route home. With offers of a night in Glasgow, help with luggage or a ride to the airport if plans were to be changed…she lemon drizzled double seat capacity which meant she could at least curl up and sleep properly, even if not horizontally. And we all learned that booking the sleeper train with Trainline does NOT mean you have a bed…remember that when you come to visit me here on Iona soon. Book direct with Caledonian sleeper! 

Ms California stayed on for a couple of extra days and we got to spend a beautiful day simply hanging out. En route to the village we were greeted by THREE harpists walking up the road, playing the most hauntingly hypnotic music. We just sat on the bench and both had tears in our eyes at the glory of witnessing it. We followed (ok stalked!) them into the St. Columba Hotel and stood behind them absorbing it all for as long as they played. I was smitten. We asked where else they were possibly playing, but nothing was forthcoming and so, of course, we started saying …We ARE going to LEMON DRIZZLE more harpists. 

That night we lurked back in the hotel lounge for an aperativo in the hope that we would hear them practicing. Within ten minutes, I swear, an angelic voice accompanied by the plucking of strings started drifting from the lounge next door. We just closed our eyes, burst out laughing with glee and soaked it up. Smiling at the ludicrous magic of it. We were so darn determined to hear more harps that day that we had breathed it in and called upon all the lemon drizzle cake in the world to help us. Then a second lady started playing! 

We left there with big grins, and happy hearts…. And I wanted more
I wanted to be “harped!”

I did some more sleuthing, and after I waved goodbye to MS California the next morning, I went to St. Michael’s chapel behind the Abbey. I had heard there MIGHT be something happening there, but it was NOT as a public concert. It was to close off their weeklong harp workshop (I told you magical stuff happens on IONA!). I had interacted with a few of them to be sure they knew my face, and so went 30 minutes ahead of the time to sit in the chapel. I waited and waited and kept saying out loud “ I am lemon drizzle shizzling harpists!” 

And then in she walked, sat down and pulled out her harp. I asked if she minded if I stayed and listened. She smiled sweetly and said of course not. Then another one, two, three, four. Approx. 20 Harpists with shiny faces and gleaming eyes filled the chapel, known for it’s wonderful acoustics! I sat quietly mesmerized in the corner and was witness to their inner circle party of celebration with music, dance, Gaelic poetry recited. Merriment and love abounded

I was “HARP-gasmed” for 90 minutes!!! 

So please borrow this phrase Kate – it’s imbued with love and magic!

Go and find some delicious lemon drizzle cake soon to eat, pray and love that energy in your life. There were so many more special stories from the retreat. …But that would be letting too many lemons, sorry I mean cats, out of the bag! 

I do love and appreciate you so much! 

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