We are Joo and Patrick, and La Scellerie is our home. We are restoring La Scellerie to become a space for retreats, learning and personal growth. We are a twenty-minute drive from wonderful, sandy beaches and protected dunes full of wildflowers and birds. The cathedral town of Coutances sits on a hill 10km away, and the rolling countryside around us is studded with small Normandy villages. The air is clean, the night sky is full of stars and we are encircled by birdsong.
Fate led us to stay at La Scellerie while on vacation in June 2017. Three 17th century buildings sit on just under two acres of land. There is a young woodland with silver birches, oaks, walnut trees, birch trees, field maple, sweet chestnut trees, cherry trees and ashes. The woodland floor is a blanket of celandines and primroses in the spring, and ferns after. In the orchard, there are six apple trees and four pear trees. The main house used to be two identical houses, and the outbuildings were stables and hovels for field workers. The buildings are made of local stone and 'masse' - a strong mixture of mud, stone and hay.
Overnight, we fell in love with it, and made an offer to buy it. We had both secretly harboured ambitions for a retreat centre for many years, and were about to start building a studio in our back garden in St Albans when the opportunity to take on La Scellerie was presented to us. We followed our intuition and took the leap. It has been a big commitment professionally and personally, to move our lives and established careers away from the UK, but it is a decision that we are both so pleased to have made. We hope to capture the joys, surprises and challenges of our journey here on this blog (and our social media channels.)
When the renovation and restoration work is complete, we hope to have six very comfortable guest rooms each with ensuite shower room, and two spacious teaching studios. Beyond tending the young woodland and planting more fruit trees in the orchard, we will be adding a vegetable garden, a herb garden, wild flower meadow, chickens and bees to the plot.
Joo is an acupuncturist who teaches Yoga, Qigong and meditation, and Patrick is a professional singer who teaches the Alexander Technique, vocal technique for singers and speakers, and MDH Breathing Coordination.
La Scellerie is about living with nature in a cohesive, respectful way. It is a space to see how life can be different. Our vision is of a reciprocal world in which people, plants and animals exist in collaboration with each other and with nature everywhere, recognising that all are interconnected.
A "scel" is stamp, or a seal signifying quality. The ‘Scellerie’ is the place where sheets of fabric are ‘sealed’. In drapery, the ‘guardians’, who were quality controllers employed by the master drapers, were tasked with assessing the quality and dimensions of the sheets. If the quality of a sheet was satisfactory, the guardians affixed a small, round, lead seal which guaranteed its quality and raised its value. Some seals were prized and sought out for their quality. This has inspired our vision for La Scellerie.
Here, we seek to make the most of the rich resources of La Scellerie to enable ourselves and guests of all ages and abilities to develop our potential, integrating mind, body and spirit.
We believe that:
Collaboration with and respect for all beings forms the foundation for peace and abundance
Every action, however small, will contribute to a meaningful change, somewhere for someone
Mindfulness and kindness in thought, word and action will bring healing change in ourselves and others.
Photos and text are copyright of by Joo Teoh & Patrick Ardagh-Walter.
Please email Joo or Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are situated in a hamlet between Saint-Denis-Le-Vêtu and Roncey. We are close to the larger towns of Coutances, Saint Lô and Granville. Long walks on the beach at Annoville or Regneville is a 20 min drive away. Mont St Michel is 50 mins away. Caen or Cherbourg's ferry terminal is 75 mins away. Nearest airport is Caen Carpiquet, which is an hour away. Dinard and Rennes airports are also well-served by various international and budget airlines.