A couple of Sundays ago, we held an Open Shepherd's Hut afternoon with friends and neighbours, as a way to launch our new venture and to show what we have created. It was a lovely gathering, a real celebration of what we have achieved, almost a year to the day since we first set eyes on our shepherd's hut.
It was an almost sunny afternoon (given the cold and wet weather we've been having this August, that was a good thing!) and people came and went as they pleased. Our local Welsh Assembly Member even responded to our invitation and paid us a visit, a real honour. We enjoyed showing everyone round the hut and the "caban" and sharing how we turned our idea into reality. People who know us would have heard us talk about our plans and followed the process over this last year, from seeing the hut, planning application, ground works, composting loos to furniture, curtains, quirky features and actual guests booked in! Last Sunday was an opportunity for us to show it all.
We had fizz and bubbles in our glasses and ate cakes made with homegrown produce: I made scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, lettuce and nut cake (some people needed convincing that it actually tastes much better than it sounds!), courgette and chocolate brownies (we have a glut of courgettes!) and a very special wimberry and almond tart (I had gone to pick the wimberries a few days before). A friend also brought some delicious Welsh cakes, a most generous contribution.
Showing the shepherd's hut off to our friends and neighbours was a wonderful validating and affirming experience. We received heartwarming, positive "strokes" and felt that our efforts, skills and talents were recognised and appreciated. It was a moment filled with joy and fulfilment and reminded me how important to our well-being such positive, encouraging and supportive interactions are. Human beings are, after all, social beings who need recognition, validation and affirmation in order to be happy and thrive. Positive strokes build our self-esteem, which buffers us against the trials, knocks and curve balls that life throws at us.
The Open Afternoon also marked the end of the "making" phase and the beginning of a new one which sees us officially on the map for holidays and retreats in the beautiful Welsh hills. With our bank of positive strokes well stocked up, we enter this new phase with excitement, confidence and renewed energy.