By Richard Diss, Firekeeper in Bedfordshire

The story begins last year when, to my surprise and delight, I was told that the next UK Grandfather Fire was to be at Clophill where I run a Centre with my wife Katarina.

Though it was what I had very much wanted, I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.

Now fast-forward to earlier this month, with scenes of intense activity getting things ready for the Firekeeper Retreat whilst hosting the Ukalai Women’s Retreat simultaneously. To add interest, I’d made various promises about what would be provided for the events, including building a compost toilet, which we were still assembling as people were arriving!

Tuesday arrived and the Firekeepers started to gather, along with Tanya Smart, who beautifully and joyfully catered for the retreat, with music, laughter and delicious food. Tanya, you were a star!

The next day, we all gathered around the Fire for the Firekeeper Retreat. For me, it felt good to be with my chosen community and witnessing emotions being freely expressed, even on occasion dipping my own toe in the water. It felt like how a healthy, functioning community should operate, warts and all!

The Sacred Fire Community Grandfather Fire weekend for everyone, entitled ‘A Date with Mr Hot,’ was a weekend of fun, music and community culminating in the presence of Grandfather.

The weekend had folk joining us from Ireland, Germany, Sweden and the US, and the atmosphere was beautiful. Once again, the phrase ‘a sense of community’ comes up for me, and I had a ball, as I hope everyone else did. I would like to thank everyone who came along and gave of themselves, with special thanks to my wife Katarina for hanging in there, standing by me and not losing her sense of humour in spite of my best efforts to create chaos out of order.

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