Bye bye Bristol, hello Devon!

Jul 14 2022

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Amerie Rose / Holly on the lawn of The Barn Retreat Centre

Picture the scene: Me sitting up in my bed in Bristol after being knocked out by Covid for two weeks (my tripadvisor review of COVID: "I’ve had more fun at other times in my life"), with only two weeks to go before the BIG MOVE!

I’d scheduled a month to sort through a whole house full of random / incredibly-useful-to-a-clown-teacher tat, but Covid had other plans! As the mountainous scale of the house-moving task dawned on me, I picked up my phone and composed a very specific and detailed list of what I needed help with and cast my net very wide. 

A steady stream of wonder beings magically appeared to help me sort through a life-time of accumulated artefacts, working out what to keep, what to chuck and what to put in the Wall Treasure Free Shop (my front wall) for the good people of Bristol to take away. 

Two strong and clever souls, led by King Of Logistics (and actual moving professional), Greg Champion, helped me transport and tesselate the rest of my tat into a 10 x 8 x 8 storage unit. (My tripadvisor review of Greg Champion removals: “If you are a fragile person at a highly stressful time in your life, Greg is your man; he’s calm, gentle and can provide a range of comedy walks whilst pushing your stuff around a storage unit on a trolley.”)

Then three wonderful cleaning sprites helped me scrub the house from top to bottom, making it gleam for the next tenant and another three super efficient garden pixies hacked my forest back into a garden.

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Amerie Rose / Holly draped over her stuff in her 10x8x8 storage unit

If You Want To Be Held, Hold Out Your Hand

Moving house has been a real exercise in asking for support and trusting that it would arrive. I can’t remember which of my meditation teachers introduced me to the phrase “If You Want To Be Held, Hold Out Your Hand,” (and I can’t look it up because all those note books are in storage!), but it worked for me. I’m so grateful to all my friends for showing up for me.

My Devon Doula

I am extra grateful to my dear friend Amerie Rose, who acted as my Devon Doula. She travelled up to Bristol to be by my side throughout the final two days of adrenaline-fuelled hectic house clearance, before ferrying me over the threshold to Devon. 

On my final night in Bristol, Amerie collected a bouquet of flowers from my garden and gathered a nap-sack full of random objects from around my house and accompanied me down to the wonderfully wild Greenbank Cemetery to perform a leaving Bristol ceremony. We drifted through the delightfully overgrown graveyard and up the secret steps towards the secret Moon Temple (shhhh). 

A leaving ceremony in the Moon Temple

The Moon Temple is an old ivy-covered structure without a roof, often decorated by local graffiti artists. At the moment it’s sporting a huge purple squid on one wall, which felt like a fitting witness for my leaving Bristol ceremony. 

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Amerie Rose / looking in through the window of the Moon Temple

I lit a candle and took the objects out of the nap-sack, one at a time, cradling them in my hands and sensing what each represented to me, before naming them and placing them on an altar. Here’s what I said:

This tiny red pom pom represents my clown journey, thank you Bristol for supporting me for the last 22 years through being a performer to becoming a clown teacher to evolving into a clown therapist and finally becoming a clown therapy supervisor!

This little badge with a bee on it represents my Bee Golding, my wonderful radministrator for the last 5 years. Thank you Bee for supporting the evolution of my work, helping me become more visible in the world and being my wonderful friend. 

This piece of chocolate cake represents the sweetness of all my Bristol friendships. Thank you dear friends for nurturing and sustaining me in so many ways.

This bouquet of flowers represents my home. Thank you home for holding me through some of the hardest years of my life. You’ve been my safe container and I’m ready to say goodbye.

I have arrived

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Amerie Rose / Holly posing with the sign to The Barn Retreat

I can’t quite believe it, but thanks to A LOT of help from my friends, here I am in glorious Devon, sitting on my little wooden chair at my little wooden desk in my spacious sunny room, beginning to learn the ropes for my new life as a volunteer retreat coordinator at The Barn! 

Watch this space for the next instalment of my Devon adventure...

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