This Guardian piece is an essay by a young British woman who consciously pursues solitude within her urban environment. The title is: “The pursuit of loneliness: how I chose a life of solitude.” The byline is: “Hayley Campbell quit her job and moved into an empty flat. Here she explains the tough but peculiar pleasures of seclusion.”
A brief article in Londonist titled “The Sad Story Of The Hermit Of Dulwich,” about an 18th-century hermit Samuel Matthews. He became a hermit when he became a widower, and was described as eccentric and deranged.
In this Guardian profile aptly titled “‘Truly, madly, deeply alone’ – embracing solitude,” a British woman (Max Riddington) reflects on her choice to pursue solitude.
In the article “A Hermit’s Christmas,” BBC News reports on Sister Rachel Denton, a British hermit mentioned several times in this blog. Describes her Christmas practices and life as a hermit.
The Guardian profiles several modern hermits in an article titled: “If you choose to be alone you can’t be lonely.” The hermits include Rachel Denton, Jade Angeles Fitton, Neil Ansell, and an anonymous man.
London hermit Daniel Pike (http://hermitary.com/around/?p=1360) has lost his bid to keep his hut. As a Daily Mail byline notes:
Daniel Pike built his home in a forest on the outskirts of a north London from clay and other foraged items. 28-year-old lived there for four years after being made homeless but Woodland Trust demanded he leave. Today he watched in tears as structure was destroyed, leaving just a flat plot of land where it once stood. He was arrested for obstructing a court official as it happened and is now living in his mother’s house.
URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1332003/Modern-day-hermit-s-handmade-home-destroyed-legal-battle.html; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3800752/Modern-day-hermit-watches-tears-woodland-mud-hut-spent-four-years-building-finally-ripped-down.html; http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-37438541
From the Daily Mail: Albert Pike lost his job and suffered a nervous breakdown, becoming homeless. But through his ingenuity, the 28-year old has constructed a makeshift shelter in a north London wood, gradually enhancing the hut’s amenities to include running water, solar panels, and vegetable garden. A trust that claims ownership of the property has announced that he must vacate. This is a not unfamiliar drama for involuntary solitaries and shows the vulnerability of not only society but members who cannot psychologically transition back to the world — or get to the point where they don’t want to anymore. Albert Pike himself notes:
Through being spiritual, positive and adapting to the changes in life I have managed to get through these hard times and become a better person. … No one knows I’m here. I am so proud of what I have achieved and feel so lucky to call this place home.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3498326/Hermit-lives-hobbit-house-mud-hut-foraged-materials-including-mattress-dried-leaves-bath-driftwood-ordered-leave-home.html#ixzz4CGkjfdcI
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The newspaper Catholic Philly reports on Julia Bolton Holloway, 78, a Catholic, a Dante scholar with a doctorate in medieval studies, and a resident of Florence, Italy. She works as a groundskeeper in a cemetery — and assists Roma (gypsy) families in seeking social assistance and especially in offering them English language instuction. She calls herself an “urban hermit” who is “freelancing” the religious life in her contemplative solitude, while pursuing a busy life.
Holloway, who is a writer, carpenter, seamstress, cultural critic, religious website designer and great-grandmother, said the eremitical life enables her to focus on her many projects. One of those is lobbying local authorities and international courts to allow Roma families to work and retain custody of their children, who are often taken from them by Italian social services.
Holloway was particularly influenced by the medieval mystic Julian of Norwich, who combined an active life with reflective eremitism.
“The eremitical life is an excellent mode of life to be a writer, because what you do is you reduce all the false stimuli. There’s no television, you’re just not interested in consumerism,” she explained.
“With writing you transcend time. It’s a conversation you have listening to (Sts.) Augustine and Monica. … You arrive at that silence, which is the like the silence of a Quaker meeting, where the Spirit speaks,” she said.
Being a hermit is a liberating lifestyle, Holloway said.
“If you are doing it from the spiritual base, from the base of prayer and contemplation, somehow it takes off, it has its own energy,” she said, “it doesn’t come from me.”