Category Archives: Bancroft Manor Tours

A Story Teller in Residence at Bancroft

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.
Woodrow Wilson

Like any restless spirit with time on their hands, Anita Marie Moscoso who proudly wears the label ‘storyteller’, was quick to take up residence at Bancroft Manor. She decided that this gothic old mansion was the perfect place for her to haunt. When she is not in the manor you will find her at The Crossroads

The Bancroft Manor and Estate

The purpose of the Soul Food Cafe is to promote writing as a daily practice. The site is quite literally overflowing with healthy and tasty morsels for every writer. It’s full of tips, techniques, references and encouragement for writers of all kinds. Visit it often for inspiration for “listening to your muse”

What’s changed for me over the years as I have begun to haunt Bancroft is this, I am older ( of course because I came to the Café over ten years ago ) I feel like a writer AND a storyteller and now instead of wearing labels that were slapped on my back as I raced through life I’ve kept one because I am fond of it. You can meet Anita Marie at The Crossroads

Anita Marie Moscoso stumbled upon the Soul Food Cafe back in 2004 when she was searching online for a restaurant to have some…

View original post 235 more words

Colouring Stories

It is interesting to watch as Heather steadily digs away in the Way Back Machine and draws out stimuli that she so effectively used with her students over twenty years ago. Young participants in her recent Stories by Me course enjoyed these quirky exercises just as much as the students she worked with back all those years ago.

Soul Food Bumper Catalogue of Creativity

“You have power over people Mrs Blakey. You can get everyone in the room to write. How do you do that?” asked Jason from Keon Park Primary.

“We belong to the force of Blakey” said Avril, a member of a small working group at Keon Park Primary School.

When writing or talking about the Soul Food Cafe one does have to keep in mind that its original purpose was not only to publish fun projects, for both primary and secondary school students that I was working with at the time but also to ensure that students had a readership. Primary school students who I met, years after I had worked with them told me that they still loved showing off work that had been published on the internet, back in the days when the internet was still youthful and uncluttered.

Colouring stories went down well with all ages. One favourite…

View original post 343 more words

Diverse Creative Projects at Bancroft

We have wandered roads together
played and learned and found each other
hand in hand the journey winds
through the back roads of memory
through the pathways of new learning
up the stairs where magic beckons
into caverns dark
and to the morning.
Waking we have joined the circle
glowing dawn forever holds us.
Fran Sbrocchi

Anita Marie Moscoso and Heather Blakey, each of whom have established themselves at Bancroft Manor, have been working collaboratively and spending some time Dansing with the Macabre. If you visit the site you will find that it is full of interesting stimuli and has lots of prompts that folk can work on in their journals.

When she is not off ‘Dansing with the Macabre’ or running a creative Lived Life Narrative course in Castlemaine, Heather Blakey is working in her apartment at the Manor, wandering down memory lane, remembering the times she travelled with a host of Soul Food patrons. She is busily putting together a retrospective of the decade when she created and managed the Soul Food Cafe.

Suzanne, who revels being in nature and had recently made Descansos, inspired by all the talk about visiting cemeteries “had the compelling urge to stop and take photos of stone angels“.

There are diverse spaces available at Bancroft and you certainly do not have to confine yourself to the Manor House. She hasn’t revealed her location yet but I assume that Raven’s Apothecary is located deep within the woods that are a part of the estate.

If you established yourself in space at on the estate what would it be like? What projects might you be inspired to undertake? Check out the Artist Loft in the Soul Food Cafe to see just what an interesting group of creatives found their way into the site.

Warm the Stone Artist

To highlight the therapeutic power of creativity

When you look for the person inside do you see a living, vibrant being or has your creative side been calcified and turned to stone by the ‘White Witch’. In The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe it is Aslan who miraculously revives the statues and infuses them with life. At Bancroft Manor, like its predecessor, the Soul Food Cafe, it is art and writing that warms the stone artist

Once Upon A Time – Not So Long Ago

Bancroft Manor House - a virtual collective for creatives

Perhaps this portal will help you locate Bancroft Manor.

Once upon a time, in this lifetime, participants of the Soul Food Cafe found their way through portals into Lemuria. The portal closed and it became harder to navigate one’s way into Lemuria when the Enchantress took a long sabbatical. The roads faded and the number of travellers passing through this realm diminished.

Bancroft Manor may not be in Lemuria but it is another place for creatives to congregate. For those who remember places like the Lemurian Abbey, the Gypsy encampment, Riversleigh Manor, the Lemurian City of Ladies, The Temple of Solace, White Owl Island or the Isle of Ancestors it is not so hard to envision what Bancroft Manor might become.

Into the Blue
by Lori Gloyd 2007 
a Lemurian Resident

It was still dark when I rose from bed. I slid open the doors to the balcony of my room and stepped into the pre-dawn chill. Before me was a lake as flat as glass and mirroring the blazing vault of the heavens. 

I had come to Madame Lysandra’s lake-side home in the Mulberry Highlands a few days ago to participate in her annual viewing of the cherry blossoms. A number of poets and artists from all over Lemuria were there as well, and Lysandra’s gracious hospitality, once again, was praised and lauded by all. 

But as much as I wanted to stay and enjoy her company, it was time to depart. I was all packed and ready to return to the City of Cyberiaand the Taverna. I groaned inwardly as I thought of the condition my establishment would now be in– heel marks on the tabletops, the rum supply utterly depleted, and the staff– oh dear, the staff. I could only imagine what kind of trouble Maximo, my bouncer, and Hans, my chef had gotten into by now. 

I heard a quiet knock on the door. I returned to my room and opened it. It was Lysandraholding a folded blanket.

“Good morning or good night, as the case may be,” she said in a hushed voice. ” I heard you moving about and thought you may be looking for a comforter.” 

“Oh, thank you, Lysandra. In fact, quite the opposite. It was a bit stuffy and I needed some cool air.”

Lysandra smiled as she usually did when she had something more to say. “Are you enjoying the starshine?” she asked. 

We both strolled on to the balcony to survey the sky. “Yes, it is truly amazing. You don’t see this in Cyberia– too many lights.”

“Too much of many things, I should say.”

“Excuse me?” 

“I have noticed something. May I tell you about it?”

I stiffened a bit but nodded for her to continue.

“You rushed to get up here. Now you are rushing to leave. You seem restless and pre-occupied.”

“No, not at all. I just needed a few days away from the City…to recharge… now I need to get back to the Tavern. You know… responsibilities and all?” 

“Yes, I understand.”

We stood for a moment watching the stars pulse and twinkle. Lysandrawas deep in thought. 

Still staring at the lake, she broke the silence at last. “When was the last time you wrote?”

“Excuse me?”

“When was the last time you wrote a story?” 

“A few weeks ago– well, maybe it was longer– why? I’ve been busy, you know– with the Tavern and the Kitchen–oh, and the Atelier– yes, I’ve been focusing on art-making at the moment….” I shifted uneasily on my feet. What was Lysandraup to? 

She nodded and gazed at the night sky. 

Finally, she turned towards me, her green eyes looking straight into mine. “Yes,” she said with a bit of sharpness in her voice. “You need to leave here now.” 

“Yes, I’m packed and I’ll leave after breakfast. We’re having French Toast, right.” I wanted to change the subject. 

“No, you need to leave now. It’s time for the Journey.”

“Journey? What journey?… You don’t mean THE Journey, do you? I’ve done that already. I told you all about that, remember? How I got Syren and found Cyberia and the Taverna……”

“You need to go on The Heroine’s Journey.” 

“But I’ve done that once. I found my voice. I don’t need to do it again.”

“You found your voice, my dear, but what have you done with it lately!” 

I faded into a stunned silence. As gentle as Lysandrawas, she could lance a person with just the tiniest shard of the truth. 

“But I can’t do the Journey twice,” I whined. 

“Who said you can’t? This is Lemuria– nothing is linear. Everything spirals and comes back around again. You’ve come back to a beginning and need to go again.” 

“But the Journey is about entering Lemuria. I’m already here!” 

Lysandra looked at me with bemusement. “Yes, this is Lemuria, but there are many layers to it–layers that take your farther, deeper, higher– wherever you NEED to go.”

“You sound just like Enchanteur!”

Lysandra chuckled. “Yes, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed and I go a long way back. And she as well as I want you to step through the Portal and journey again. And you need to go NOW.” 

“How can I go now? The Portal is miles and miles from here, in the Murmuring Woods!”

“The Portal is wherever you want it to be. Just look….” Lysandragestured toward the sky. 

I squinted my eyes. Something was moving. A speck of blue seemed to be spinning. It grew larger and larger until it filled all the night sky. A wind off the lake picked up and began to blow across the balcony. I wanted to run away but I could not move. 

I heard Lysandrawhispering in my ear, “Step into the blue, my dear, and go deeper into yourself, farther into Lemuria. Find out what you need to say…..” 

My mind was spinning. My first journey had been an amazing yet terrifying endeavour. Now I was being asked to go again. I did not want to go. If the first time had been hard, what would the second be like? 

But I could not resist the Call. Enchanteur was calling again, through my friend Lysandra. I sighed. With my eyes on the swirling blue vortex, I began to climb over the railing of the balcony……

A Room of My Own at Bancroft Manor

When you sign up and join Bancroft Manor the choice is yours. You can work in solitude, post on the group Facebook page or join a tour such as Danse with the Macabre.

While Waiting For Godot

A room of my own at the virtual Bancroft Manor

Since settling in at Bancroft Manor, despite having heard movement through the corridors of this palatial home, a property that rivals the famed Romanov Gatchina Palace, I have mainly been happy with my own company. Mostly I am comfortable to enjoy this room of my own. When I am not on tour, Dansing with Macabre, I enjoy exploring the grounds and gardens with my dogs, going for walks around the estate.

Our host, Georgina McClure, has made sure that we have all that we are well connected to the outside world and I have loved this time of quiet solitude, enjoyed rummaging through Borrow Box. I have been happy to lay on the couch or in the bath listening to a vast range of audiobooks including my childhood favourite, The Magic Faraway Tree.

Imagine my delight when I rediscovered Alexander Mcall Smiths No 1 Ladies Detective Series and…

View original post 105 more words

A Touch of the Macabre

Bone Church Kutna Hora

One of the tours that have left Bancroft Manor involves cemetery hopping. Some of the best travel destinations involve cemeteries such as

1. Highgate Cemetery, London

2.  Cypress Lawn, Colma, California

3. Vysehrad Cemetery, Prague

4. Protestant Cemetery, Rome

5.  Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

6. Swan Point Cemetery, Providence, Rhode Island

7. Sunset Hills Cemetery, Flint, Michigan

8. Zoshigaya Reien, Tokyo

9. Sleepy Hollow Cemeteries, New York

10. Waverley Cemetery, Sydney

I have visited Montparnasse and Vysehrad and can testify to the benefit of using cemeteries as one focus when you travel. Certainly, my day visiting the Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic and another exploring the historic cemetery in the old Jewish Quarter of Prague will be etched into my memory as absolute highlights of my time in Prague.

Loren Rhoads has worked extensively in this field and her Cemetery Tours site provides a wealth of insight into the creative work that simply visiting cemeteries can generate.

Danse Macabre is a site that is a receptacle for some of the work that emerges. If you are interested in joining Bancroft Manor you will find details on this site.