Ian and I were up at the site today to water the newly planted plants and Millie’s trees – we have had a dry spell for a few days and we can’t have them drying out.
There was no one else there today of course so it was very peaceful. Ian was busy sorting the tree ties and I decided to sit at the pier and look down the loch and had some moments to think.
And this is what I was thinking…..
Three and a bit years ago when we first met David and Jean we had not expected them to give us such a beautiful piece of their land. We had not expected it to be so peaceful, stunning and have views like it has. We had not expected to be given a piece of land in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
Our next concern was – would the planners let us build here? We could but ask. They (the planners at the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park) said if we were to have any chance of building here we were going to have to produce a design that was ‘exceptional’ and fitted in to its surroundings.
A tall ask.
Incredibly around the same time we were introduced to Tony Kettle. Tony had designed the Falkirk Wheel among many other buildings of note. He was interested in helping. Give me a few weeks he said and we did. Not in a million years did I think we would like the very first (and only) design he would show us.
But he’s good. He is really really good.
The design was both exceptional and fitted in to its surroundings.
We loved it. Fortunately so did the planners!
And so today, the last day of April 2017, I sat there and pinched myself – listen, I am not going to kid you and say the past three years has been easy – this project threw up all sorts of obstacles and hurdles – the design team have all worked together to work through them though and let’s not forget that for almost a year I was getting chemo and radiotherapy – not easy for either me or Ian but working on this project helped us both a lot.
In particular this year has been tough – unavoidable delays here and there are frustrating to say the least and differing views on style has meant compromises too by all parties.
Plus it is hard working on this to the extent we have this year, plus continuing to fundraise for it, organise events, and run the charity!
All that by way of saying, I think, that I had been getting blasé about the Retreat, taking it for granted and yet today as I sat at peace, loch side, it hit me.
Tony Kettle is an absolute marvel, David and Jean are awesome and our contractors quite remarkable – everyone else involved is pretty cool too. Our Patrons, Trustees, Ambassadors, Young Ambassadors and volunteers are some of the finest people on the planet.
And our Ripple Retreat is truly truly stunning. Breathtaking. It took my breath away today, brought tears to my eyes as I realised we are less than two weeks away from opening it. (well those tears might have been tears of terror at the thought of just 2 weeks to go and quite a lot to do in that time.) (kidding – they were tears of wonder, of joy, of immense gratitude).
What an amazing collective achievement.
Now, I must go, there are a fair few tasks to do before Lorraine Kelly cuts that ribbon!!