Monthly Archive for March, 2014

Springtime at Brockwood

Photo by James Duncan MacDougallSpring, Photo by James Duncan MacDougall

History Bound up in a Batik

Pablo Severin (on the left) arrived in Brockwood from Belgium in 1973 as a rebellious teenager, with no understanding of English and no wish to be here. Thinking about it now, he believes his whole life changed for the better that day and it was the teachers and students he met who helped make it happen. On one occasion, the gifted artist and teacher, Jane Hoare, suggested to the students that they try their hand at batik. Along with a few friends, Pablo undertook the ambitious project of copying an Indian batik banner that was in the School. After many mistakes and hours of painstaking work, they recreated an excellent copy of the banner which announces forthcoming dance dramas at Rishi Valley.

Pablo Severin
Pablo left Brockwood in 1976, taking the batik with him, and this year his son, Virgil, arrived in the School as a new student with the batik in his suitcase. Virgil is pictured here holding it along with Pablo who is attending the Parents Weekend. And what does Pablo remember of making the batik? “The toes were particularly difficult to get right.”
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Parents Weekend

It’s Parents Weekend at Brockwood Park School. This is a special weekend that has been established as the one time in the academic year when parents and families are welcomed fully into the school and have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their child’s education and life here at Brockwood. All of the parents have arrived and the weather is cooperating beautifully. All of the families are staying at the school and the Krishnamurti Centre and have a programme for their weekend.

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Friends of Brockwood Park Retreat spaces available

The First Friends Retreat is due to occur at the Krishnamurti Centre, beginning on the evening of Friday 30th May and ending on the afternoon of Sunday 1st June (a change from the dates mentioned in the November letter). We hope that you will be able to join us for a weekend that will include dialogues, previously unseen talks from Saanen (the first ever filmed there), a tour of the School and a talk by Trustee, Mary Cadogan, about her forthcoming book, ‘Working with Krishnamurti: the Immaculate Enigma’. There will also be time enough to take a spring walk in the Grove and surrounding countryside, and to meet and talk about the operation of Friends and the work occurring at Brockwood.

To find out more, please click here:

http://www.friendsofbrockwoodpark.org.uk/events.html

Friends Retreat

Historical Visit to the Winchester Archives

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The Brockwood Park School History class, studying World War One, recently visited the Winchester Archives. They wanted to look more closely at primary source materials involving WW1. They first received a general tour of the Archives, where they restore, categorize and preserve many very interesting primary handwritten documents, which range from all sorts of documents from the 12th century on. When planning the trip, the teachers, Robbert Bleij and Benjamin Hammond, had asked to look mainly at diaries and letters, in order to research the lives of individuals involved during WW1. The trip proved a great success as the varied documents students were able to examine gave all a good glimpse of the lives of people of all layers of society during WW1.

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Brockwood Students and Staff visit Bedales for Lecture by Rupert Sheldrake

Last night, more than 25 students/staff travelled to Bedales School to hear guest-speaker Rupert Sheldrake deliver a talk entitled “The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry”. Sheldrake is a controversial, world-renowned biologist and author, who is best known for his theory of ‘morphic fields’ and ‘morphic resonance’, which lead to a vision of a living, developing universe with its own inherent memory.

In his talk Sheldrake identified 10 dogmatic perceptions he believes science has presented to the world, and then he went into challenging three of them in some detail. He talked about different types of experiments we may have been conditioned to overlook by the methodological foundations science presents and has limited itself to.

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Sheldrake has had some previous contact with Brockwood Park School and Krishnamurti. In 1982 he visited Ojai, California and did a series of talks with Krishnamurti on psychological disorder and suffering.

The first picture shown here was taken in 1981 in the sitting room at Brockwood Park, when Sheldrake was visiting the School before going to Ojai to meet with Krishnamurti.

1981 Photograph (above) by Rita Zampese—Sheldrake is seen in the centre of the picture with arm resting on the wall.

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Rupert Sheldrake

The Trust Walk

“The mind has to be empty to see clearly.”
Krishnamurti, The Little Book on Living

This past Sunday during Inquiry time, BP students and staff went on a trust walk. Students Ara and Jing-Yi had arranged everyone into partners. Each person was blindfolded and then guided through a 30-minute walk by their partner. The purpose of this exercise was to be able to see and feel some of nature’s beauty while being blindfolded, only to be guided by the direction of your partner.

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Flying Workshop at Brockwood

One of the workshops during the recent very successful and popular winter workshop weeks was a flying workshop. Long time maintenance employee David Madgwick taught the workshop, using an incredible self-built replica of an actual Spitfire cockpit he constructed in the maintenance shed whenever he had some free time.

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The workshop lasted two and a half days and the students who signed up for it were interested in flying. One is even hoping to become a pilot himself after his years at Brockwood Park School.

David, who is a trained pilot himself, taught students about aerodynamics, the biology of the human body in flight including the effects of acceleration and deceleration on the body, optical illusion for pilots, weather & meteorology and radio systems.

 

In addition to the self-built cockpit he used US pilot training films and a flight simulator program that he downloaded onto computers in the Art Barn.

Apart from the flying lessons, there was also a historical component to the workshop. Students learned about what is still regarded today as one of the classic planes, the Spitfire. It turns out that the grandfather of one of the students actually flew one during World War 2. David also brought books from the WW2 period and memorabilia.

On the last day, after learning the basics of flight and how to fly on the flight simulator, students mimicked flying conditions in a Spitfire. They dressed up in actual flying garb from the period, lights were dimmed to simulate nighttime flying conditions, and for a brief time students were transported back to the 1940s.

Flying Workshop

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Flying Workshop2

“Plant 2,000 daffodil bulbs immediately!”

These were the instructions Krishnamurti cabled to England when it was thought a suitable house had been found in which to start a school. Shortly afterwards Brockwood was found and hundreds, if not thousands, of daffodil bulbs were planted during the following years. Now they are flowering in profusion and at their peak, as this bevy of photographs show.

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In her biography of Krishnamurti’s life ‘The Years of Fulfilment’ Mary Lutyens beautifully describes the lead up to and the discovery of Brockwood and mentions the instruction from Krishnamurti:

“In their absence the trustees of the new Foundation in England had been looking for a house for the school. It had to be fairly close to London and with enough land to ensure complete privacy. Ayot Place having been turned down, a second house near Horsham, called Nore, belonging to Dirk Bogarde, was considered sufficiently promising for K to cable, ‘Plant 2,000 daffodil bulbs immediately’, and for Alain to fly over from New York for the night on September 24 to inspect it. I went with him to see it and we came to the conclusion that it was too small. While K was giving talks in New York at the New School for Social Research, a third property was found which seemed ideal—Brockwood Park, Bramdean, in Hampshire, midway between Petersfield and Winchester about sixty-four miles from London, belonging to Lord Chesham. It was a large, low, white, late-Georgian house, set in thirty-six acres of park and garden, surrounded by farm land in some of the most beautiful country in England, with extensive views to the south of rolling hills and woodlands. It had a small swimming pool, a hard tennis court and a vast derelict walled kitchen garden (ideal for vegetarians when brought under cultivation), and a little way from the house, an enclosed grove full of azaleas and rare trees, including a great ‘handkerchief’ tree and some of K’s favourite sequoias. A beautiful beech avenue led from the Winchester road to the park lodge, and a further avenue of copper beeches curled round to the back entrance.”

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“There is no combination of words I could put on the back of a postcard…”

A group of Brockwood students got to showcase some of their talents and produced a cover of “Better Together” by Jack Johnson, courtesy of Winter Workshops 2014. They produced it themselves in the Music Production workshop and it’s worth the listen.

To Listen, click here:

https://soundcloud.com/miriambrennig/better-together

Better Together