Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Sleepover - Tribal Style - Part One!

Pauline, our hostess extraordinaire!
Whew --- three days later and I'm FINALLY awake enough to blog! Still coming down after the most amazing Tribal Sleepover weekend organised by Pauline and Asif Qu, together with Michelle Pender and Angela Noble. And what a stunner of an event it was, hopefully the first of many more to come. It was an intimate and select gathering where we danced, drummed, chilled, chatted, ate cake, laughed, at more cake, made new friends ... and generally had the cockles of our hearts warmed in the midst of a very chilly November weekend. Now - where to begin? 

Top left hand window = Our Room!
THE VENUE : Cliffe House in Shepley, near Huddersfield was the perfect venue! Only an hour and a half or so away from us the journey was fine even given Friday evening traffic on the M62! The house itself is a magnificent Victorian affair with some stunning stained glass windows, a Dickensian wreath on the door and a rather grand staircase to the first floor. Of course, Pauline had got us well sussed and had put us up in the eaves in the servants' quarters ... in a quirky beamed room straight out of Harry Potter! We loved it! Tea, coffee and cake (replenished at regular intervals by the invisible cake elves!) on every landing, a range of rooms for dancing, relaxing and watching dvds on big screens and some rather unusual toilet facilities (I rather liked the one on the first floor which was also the fire escape route!) really made us all feel at home. We sadly didn't get chance to romp about on the adventure playground outside in our tribal gear - maybe next time?

Tribal Jane goes vegan!
THE FOOD : Oh, the food! As a newish vegan I was a little nervous about this, and brought copious amounts of sustenance in my suitcase (that could have been why you had to help me up the stairs with it, Pauline?). I needn't have bothered ... the lovely folk at Cliffe House catered perfectly for folk of all persuasions! Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, nut free - you name it and it was there! And it was all delicious! I have happy memories of falafel and tagine at Saturday night's Middle Eastern feast, polenta cakes and apple crumble (not together!) at Sunday lunch and veggie sausages to die for with saturday's breakfast. And just in case anyone was still peckish, there was always cake .... including some wonderful stem ginger vegan cake (how did Pauline know I LOVE ginger?). I was the only vegan there but was never made to feel I was a nuisance; nothing was too much trouble for the lovely ladies (and gentleman) of Cliffe House!

Just wow!!
THE CAKES : need a special mention! Home baked and decorated by Pauline and Asif, these were a veritable triumph! Sadly none were vegan (I shall give you a recipe next time Pauline; vegan chocolate cake is to die for!) but I certainly feasted my eyes on them! What super talented people we have in our community! The Henna cake was quickly devoured by hungry dancers and drummers, whilst the others were raffled in aid of charity (Our friend Jo won the drum one whilst our other friend Julie won Muriel the dancer!). Fantastic!

My fab-tastic new i-phone cover!
THE SHOPPING : Tribal paradise! Qu'Reations by Pauline and Asif, Michelle's Whirling Dervish, TribeZuza with Angela and Mark, Tribal Temptress Tania and Catherine's Peacock and Rose Designs meant that we were all in seventh heaven! I did TRY to resist, honest --- but it was all too much for me! I ended up with a hipscarf, necklace, i phone cover, hair ornament and Tribal Goddess top. But could have spent SO much more. I really did try ..... but all those stalls full of pretty things were just THERE!!

The smiles here say it all!
THE COMPANY : It was just wonderful to spend the whole weekend with so many like-minded people, with friends old and new. We had fantastic room mates (waves at Amy, Jo and Tania) and everyone was so relaxed and friendly. We gossiped over meals, giggled as we chilled out together, forged new friendships over vodka and cake and came away full of warmth and love for our tribal sisters and brothers. There was an amazing atmosphere of support and togetherness and we were so well looked after by both the organisers and the staff. There really wasn't one 'down' moment all weekend. Actually I think we need this EVERY weekend!

Just one of TJ's special memories!
Well, I have LOTS more to blog about ---- the workshops, the drumming, the dancing, Tribal Jane's favourite moments .... but I'm afraid you're all going to have to wait for Part Two! I'm off to make vegan sausage butties and to bask in my happy memories! I have SO much more to tell you all ....

Until then, happy dancing!

With thanks to Jules Horner-Kucharski for photos of Pauline and of the hafla audience


  1. You have summed it all up beautifully here. Wasn't it just a wonderful weekend and very special. Every bit of it was great fun - the dancing, the drumming, the eating, the drinking, the dorms, the drinking and eating in the dorms and making new friends too. Marvellous!!! x

  2. And all that lovely crafting too!!!