A Dartmoor High!

Woweeeeeeeeee!  Sunday 23rd. October 2016 – Dartmoor was WILD! The North Wind was so powerful that it was almost impossible to stand up at times – and I’m no lightweight!  No hat – no gloves – just me trying to stay balanced.

Free-falling on Roos Tor.

Free-falling on Roos Tor.

When I stretched my arms out it was as if I was free-falling – the noise of the roaring wind passing my reddened ears – was bloody deafening!  While I struggled to keep upright – the massive Tors of Staple and Roos – stood still – even the logan stones balanced on the granite piles of Great Staple were ‘strangely’ unbudgeable  – despite the wind blowing a force 10.  I think it was quite one of the most invigorating walks that I have ever experienced on Dartmoor.  By the time I got back to my car – I literally felt drunk on oxygen – it was intoxicating.

Getting high betwixt the Staple Tors.

Getting high betwixt the Staple Tors.

It was as if I’d had my head stuck out the car window at high speed again – my hair was messed-up, my eyes were watering and bloodshot – yet it felt so alive.  Most of the photos I took were out of focus because I just couldn’t keep my hand still against the force. When I sat at the wheel to drive home – I couldn’t feel my hands because they were so numb with cold – yet my face burned like it was on fire – I probably should have been breathalyzed I was so drunk!

Oh God! I love Dartmoor even greater on a windswept day. 

Happiness; horizontal hair, bloodshot eyes and stinging skin! Roos Tor - Dartmoor.

Happiness; horizontal hair, bloodshot eyes and stinging skin! Alive on Roos Tor – Dartmoor.

Hart and Soul.

Friday – 21th. October 2016 – I took delivery of an expansive canvas print that I’d ordered of Tip’s skull suture.tips-cosmic-suture-something-about-dartmoor

The one that I’ve simply turned inside out as it were – so that it seems as a negative. It is fantastic – cosmic man – if I say it myself!

I have hung it over the portal to my Red Room – and it is absolutely brilliant – like the stars themselves.  It’s like having the Milky Way stretched out across my double doorway.  What do all those funny joined up characters mean? It’s a question that I find myself puzzling – as I gaze up in awe from my armchair – at the infinitesimal intricacy and connectivity of the pattern.  To me it looks like Tip’s personal code for his path through “Undying Life” – it’s his individual gateway where his soul leaves and re-enters each earthly existence. As he goes on and grows into his next physical form – so one more character will be fused into his ‘soul signature’ – and so life goes on…

My guess is - it spells INFINITY.

My guess is – it spells INFINITY.

The other striking thing about it is the way it doubles as a heart trace – or ‘Hart’ trace in Tip’s case. 

No one knows how long Tip had lain in that cold bog – but now that his earthly remains are here with me in the warm – he’s breathing inspiration and light through his very Being.  So much so that his trace has become the new background image for my website – Something about Dartmoor.  

Tip has filled what was once a big, empty – blank space with his ‘soul signature’ – so that from this day – 22st. October 2016 – he will literally run through all that I think and write here.

"Undying Life" - from 'No Coward Soul is Mine' by Emily Brontë - a daily inspiration.

Hart and Soul – and Inspiration.   My beautiful, ghostly Tip.

(“Undying Life” – borrowed from ‘No Coward Soul is Mine’ by Emily Bronte – another daily inspiration.)

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 ‘Strangely Beautiful’ by Amethystium 

Dark Rainbow.

Wow!  Earlier tonight – 17th. October 2016 – I saw a rainbow in the dark – a ghost of a rainbow – or Moonbow.  What a super, natural phenomenon! The Moon was just passed full and incredibly bright. Opposite on the western horizon – I could see a beautiful grey arc in the sky ending right where my Mother lives in Torrington – it must have been raining there.  I had planned to go out earlier while still half-light – but with one thing and another – I was late venturing out at about 9:30-ish. If I had gone out at my planned time I would have missed the Dark Rainbow – and would now probably have to wait another fifty odd years to see another one – my lifetime.  Somethings I guess are just written in the stars – they’re unavoidable.  While tinkering around late at night with this site – and suture detail from Tip’s brow –tips-skull-detail-something-about-dartmoor

no-coward-soul-is-mine-tips-skull-detail-something-about-dartmoorI was amazed how like the Milky Way it appeared when flipped its-all-written-in-the-stars-tips-brow-suture-something-about-dartmoorand simply solarized.  If you click on the dark image to enlarge it – the similarity is even more astounding. I wish I could decipher what it all means other than everything is connected and happens for a reason – I know that much.  Sorry no images of the Dark Rainbow – ‘just’ in my head. Wow!

‘Tip’ an Exmoor Stag.

Posted on the 16th. October 2016 – to honour the date of the Hunter’s Moon – or Blood Moon.
tip-an-exmoor-red-deer-something-about-dartmoor Where I live – hunting, shooting and fishing are a way of life.

Wildfowl. Shooting, hunting and fishing - a way of life and death - in the country.

Wildfowl. Shooting, hunting and fishing – a way of life and death – in the country.

I have a good friend that I call the ‘Squire’ – because he shoots small game – like wildfowl and pheasants for the table. He assures me that he is a very good shot but he doesn’t shoot Deer – as he loves them like I do – and welcomes them on his land to graze.

Tip's friends. Red deer herd happily grazing out in the open. Image courtesy of the Squire himself.

Tip’s friends. Red deer herd happily grazing out in the open. Image courtesy of the Squire himself.

In fact – he tells me that as he gets older – he shoots less and less because he doesn’t have the heart for it anymore.  His main sport is freshwater fishing.

Beautiful Salmon caught on the River Mole - and let go again! Image courtesy of the Squire himself.

Beautiful Salmon caught on the River Mole – and let go again! Image courtesy of the Squire himself.

Really – we probably ought not get on so well – because he also occasionally shoots the very birds that I love – magpies, rooks – crows – it’s land management apparently.  He has other people that come to his land to shoot – it’s his business – it’s just a pity he’s not able to control them like the so called ‘nuisance’ birds!  You will understand the meaning of this statement when you read his poem later.

I can’t help but like ‘The Squire’ – because every now and then he gives me something really special from his land.  He doesn’t really understand why I get so excited about skulls and bones – he says “But they’re just some old bones!” – but he indulges me nonetheless. Once he gave me a startling white skull in a black box – that had a label attached with a story about how it was that of ‘Jed’ the feral cat that the gamekeeper had accidentally shot! Of course I took one look at it and said – that’s no cat – it’s a fox! But that’s why I like him because he has a fertile imagination – and he is very, very funny. When you live in the country like I do – and work in a small market town like I do – you meet lots of interesting people from all walks of life.  I used to have a horse but I’d never go hunting – but it doesn’t mean I don’t like them that do!  jed-the-feral-cat-or-fox-something-about-dartmoorAnother time – he and his wife – gave me a single stuffed Magpie in a beautifully wrapped box for Christmas.  christmas-all-wrapped-up-magpie-in-a-box-something-about-dartmoorThey are a generous couple – who give occasional work – and a free lunch – to my younger son in the holidays; casual labour I suppose. Very casual from all accounts!  He loves spending a day helping them out on the land – and around the outside of the house.

The Squire bought the Magpie on Ebay – so it had been professionally cured and stuffed!  He was unaware of the rhyme – “One for sorrow – two for joy.” despite the fact that he lives in the country! Later mortified by his ‘ignorance’ – he offered to get me another one to make it a lucky pair – but I declined as I don’t really like taxidermy.  It looked for all the world like a dead bird I’d found as a child and buried in a shoe-box come back to haunt me! Having said that – I’ve grown very found of ‘Mercury’ my stuffed magpie – but I make sure I always bid him ‘good day’.  I love how he has his beak wide open – he always looks so animated as if he’s telling a secret.mercury-my-stuffed-magpie-something-about-dartmoor

This reminds me – how once I bought an antique book of poems by Emily Bronte – and the seller kindly put a bookmark inside – a peacock’s feather!  My house is full of wild feathers that I have collected on my walks but one feather that I’d never bring inside is a peacock’s feather because of superstition that they are unlucky.  But because the feather came in by stealth – in a volume of Emily Bronte poems – I’m happy for it to stay – I call it ‘Emily’s feather’ – it’s like an all seeing eye. emilys-feather-the-poems-of-emily-bronte-something-about-dartmoor

Getting back to the ‘Squire’ – his latest gift to me is an Exmoor Red Deer skull complete with eight points – a Spring Stag.  He found it on his land knee-deep in a bog.  The thing that caught his eye was a white tip of one of the antlers – so I have called him – ‘Tip’.  The Squire offered to bleach and mount the head on a wood-shield but that would have involved cutting and screwing the skull – sacrilege in my eyes! He emailed me a picture to show me how it looked not long after it had been lifted from the bog – the underside looks like a face that is almost human. tips-underside-something-about-dartmoor

Of course I ‘screamed’ back at him – “DON’T TOUCH IT – I LOVE IT JUST AS IT IS!” and I hoped he’d heed my words. 

The next day – Thursday 11th. August 2016 – just as I was leaving work – The Squire pulled-up in his big green farmer’s truck – and brought with him – ‘Tip’ on the backseat.  I was so excited – my manager said he didn’t think he’d ever seen anyone that excited – especially over some bones!golden-tip-on-the-red-garden-wall-something-about-dartmoor

Oh the joy – the colour!  ‘Tip’ is absolutely beautiful – golden – no way could anyone ever reproduce his rich depth – in more ways than one.  He is completely natural – untouched – preserved – just as the Squire had lifted him from the bog.  His antler tip acted like Excalibur – Tip was asking to be lifted from his watery grave. tip-an-exmoor-stag-something-about-dartmoorTip is shown here lying on a woven blanket laid-out on the grass – but normally he lives inside – where he isn’t cold anymore – and where he is deeply loved.

‘Tip’ has been in my ‘red room’ now for over a month – and at first my family were uneasy about his presence because he had died in a bog – my Mother especially voiced her concern.   She said that I should return ‘Tip’ to the land because she felt that ‘Tip’ had died a horrible, slow death – and she was worried by me bringing him into my house.

I myself have thought the same thoughts regarding the way in which ‘Tip’ must have struggled so desperately before surrendering to his murky fate – but all I can say is that having had ‘Tip’ home for well-over a month now – I get an overwhelming feeling of peace when I see his noble profile caught in the half-light of my lamp-lit room – suddenly he looks so alive again.  Late at night when the rest of the house is sleeping – I find Tip’s presence very powerful – like the crucifix of Christ’s suffering that hangs also on my red wall.  crucifix-on-my-red-wall-something-about-dartmoor

Getting back to the Squire – he followed up ‘Tip’ with a poem he’d written for my ‘birthday’ – which he’d forgotten and later remembered because of our friend – Sallykins!  It’s all about the nature of Tip’s sad demise.  Original or what – and no money spent either!

Close to Tip's 'Death Bog - with river near. Image courtesy of the Squire.

The area of Tip’s ‘Death Bog’ – with river near.  Image courtesy of the Squire.

Poem for ‘Tip’ – for me.  Written by my good friend the Squire.

At your request – I viewed today 
The death bog of poor “Tip” the Deer –
My photos show where he passed away
In a swamp with river near.

Who knows the cause of his demise?
I think the answer is near –
A foolish farmer out with his gun
Did not wait, for a killing shot clear.

Poor Tip ran off with lead in his guts
So terrified was he –
Until his blood loss brought him down
As he struggled to get away free.

He sank a little in that cool bog
His breath in urgent gasps –
Until relief did come at last
One last and final rasp.

Oh joy for the fox and badger near,
As his carcass was free for all –
And many a meal from poor old Tip
Was enjoyed by creatures small.

They gnawed and ripped
His tender flesh whilst he was still just warm
And then – by day the insects came
And on it they did swarm.

As time went by poor Tip sank deep
Into that soggy mire –
By now his skin – his flesh – his guts
Were taken as if by fire.

A year or more passed by that scene
And only his bones were left –
Until the day the Squire passed by
And found Tip’s skull at rest.

So from the bog he pulled away
Until Tip’s naked skull came free –
Complete with antlers oh so fine
Especially for – Melanie!

So as you gaze upon this beast
Proudly so displayed –
Think well of me your shooting friend
That life has aimed your way!

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There is not room for Death Nor atom that his might could render void Since thou art Being and Breath And what thou art may never be destroyed.

“There is not room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void
Since thou art Being and Breath
And what thou art may never be destroyed.”   From ‘No Coward Soul is Mine’ by Emily Bronte.

On the wings of a Buzzard.

A poem for ‘Beautio Beautio’ – a Devon Buzzard.on-the-wings-of-a-buzzard-something-about-dartmoor

On Thursday – 13th. October 2016 – I stopped on my way home from work to pick-up a roadkill; sadly it was a beautiful Buzzard – already cold at the roadside.  If there is one bird that I could choose to symbolise the spirit of Devon – the ‘Land of Two Moors’ – with its patchwork of small fields spread-out between – it would be the Common Buzzard – (Latin name – Buteo buteo). Everyday on my walks – I see and hear Buzzards circling and mewing overhead – and now I had the sad duty of recovering one that had been killed on the road.  I hate to see wild animals squashed into the road until they become unrecognisable.  I didn’t want to see it become a pancake of dried matter and feathers stuck to the tarmac on my journeys to and from work – it’s too matter of fact.  I brought it home with me – and at the time of writing this – it is resting under the Mulberry tree in my garden.  

Before laying it down – I stroked its soft feathers and cupped it’s bloodied head in my hand – and took some photos to remember it. roadkill-buzzard-something-about-dartmoorroadkill-buzzard-talons-something-about-dartmoor A couple days have gone-by now – and I find myself thinking about the Buzzard often – so I have written a short poem to remember its passing.  

I’m circling ever higher – beyond my usual limit – where I can see myself lying at a roadside – crying tears of blood.

Higher and higher – until the fields and moors that are my hunting ground are lost from sight – beneath a veil of cloud.

Onward and upwards nearer the Sun – I’m disappearing into light.



As I placed its stiffened body under the Mulberry – I noticed one small feather outstanding from all of its other magnificent plumage…heart-of-a-buzzard-something-about-dartmoorso I plucked it.heart-of-a-devon-buzzard-something-about-dartmoor

Every Seventh Wave.

every-seventh-wave-something-about-dartmoorWith my eldest son ‘home’ for a few days – we’d ‘planned’ an outing to Torcross in the South Hams district of Devon – via Exeter!  Younger son chose Torcross – while elder son chose an urban ramble around Exeter – while birthday ‘girl’ – me – had little say in deciding the matter.  I just went along for the ride – consigned to the backseat as ever – where I imparted my usual pearls of backseat guidance – and got slightly nauseous! 

We’d got our wires crossed a bit – thinking younger son had suggested Starcross rather than Torcross which is slightly closer to Exeter by a considerable number of miles!  And so our grand de-tour of South Devon got off to our usual, predictable – haphazard start! 

Sunday 9th. October 2016.   Our day didn’t get started properly until elder son arose – and graced us with his presence at about two o’clock in the afternoon.  Approximately 25 miles later – Exeter was an ‘unexpected’ Sunday treat beneath a clear blue sky.  As ever I found myself snapping pictures of contrasting lines either above me or below me – as the chain shops between were of lesser interest.  All snapped in – or just off the main thoroughfare. guildhall-shopping-centre-exeter-something-about-dartmoorlantern-exeter-something-about-dartmoorrapunzels-tower-near-the-cathedral-yard-exeter-something-about-dartmoorjohn-lewis-building-exeter-something-about-dartmoorqueen-victoria-atop-marks-spencer-building-exeter-something-about-dartmoorcobbles-cathedral-yard-exeter-something-about-dartmoorpaving-cathedral-yard-exeter-something-about-dartmoor

At the far end of Exeter High Street into Fore Street – there is a small church with beautiful angels inside called St. Olave’s. Outside on the pavement wall is a place I always stop at – to be still for the briefest of moments in a city that’s constantly moving.  I touch his feet and rejoin the throng.  He’s very special.

At the far end of Exeter High Street there is a small church with beautiful angels inside called St. Olaves. Outside in the wall there is a

Another place I often stop – without going in – is the open portal of ‘Jack Wills’.  Their skull-cap display on terracotta reminds me of my own ‘red room’.  jack-wills-exeter-something-about-dartmoor

I love how many of the High Street shops have taken the British wildlife theme as inspiration for this season’s latest lines; Deer, Badgers, Hares etc – are prolific – on all-sorts of merchandise.  For once my red room is in vogue and I’ve hardly spent a penny – my collection are all foundlings or magical gifts.

Having made this statement – I did succumb to a lovely folk art style ‘Hare’ cushion in elder son’s emporium – ‘NEXT’.  next-emporium-exeter-something-about-dartmoorWith Christmas on the horizon again – there were so many pretty things to buy – especially in the glittering home department – plus elder son has staff discount!  I couldn’t resist a leaping Hare cushion – even though my boys voiced their concern that my armchairs no longer function as armchairs because they are too full of cushions with no room left to sit!   This isn’t true of course – how they do love to exaggerate!  I took no notice of them and willfully made my purchase – enjoying elder son’s staff discount into the bargain.  I know when I like something – and I loved it!next-hare-cushion-something-about-dartmoorwitch-ball-exeter-highstreet-something-about-dartmoorpiddly-stairwell-shadow-john-lewis-carpark-exeter-something-about-dartmoor

We finished our Exeter leg with a walk up the piddly stairwell back to elder son’s car in the multistorey – where I have to say – I was pleased to get out of the city and back to wide-open space and fresh air again! 

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Our ETA – on elder son’s sat nav predicted that we would arrive at Torcross by about Sundown.   All I can say is that with the blinding Sun low in the western sky – the journey on the A38 went by in a blur especially when viewed through the back-seat side-window! There was a brief respite – when a fifty mile-per-hour speed restriction was enforced but alas it was only on a relatively short stretch. Needless to say – my pearls of backseat guidance were not appreciated – as we sped on regardless to Torcross and Slapton Ley.

Although elder son did mention en-route that he is looking forward to the day when younger son can drive and he’ll be able to join me in the ‘backseat’ where together we’ll be able to offer an even greater guidance service – even funnier – younger son thought we were kidding!

Thanks to elder son’s expert driving we predictably arrived before our ETA – and watched the sunset behind us – while we ate our M&S picnic on the seafront…



After our delicious takeaway – we stepped out of ‘our’ cosy cocoon into the fresh evening air for a walk along the shingle beach by moonlight – and the intermittent flashes of the lighthouse on the head. As fate would have it – our late start meant that we’d arrived at the best time of the day – it was serene.  torcross-beach-by-moonlight-something-about-dartmoorEveryone else had gone home or headed to the pub – all bar two patient fisherman and a couple of promenading crows.torcross-fisherman-and-crows-something-about-dartmoor

At this point – I left my sons to their own amusement which was mainly throwing pebbles into the sea including a heart-shaped one that I’d just found and given to elder son for keeps!  He explained that he’d kept it for a moment then tossed it into the sea because it belonged there – although he promised me he’d never forget where he’d put it!  I was just warming to his philosophy when he added the rider – that he doesn’t do symbolic or spiritual s**t anyway!  

I continued my journey walking along the tideline in search of magic – watching and listening to the water come-in – and pull-back-out again – hoping that something would show itself to me – a keepsake of a happy day spent with my sons.


I couldn’t believe my luck – or eyes – when literally washed-up at my feet upon the Seventh Wave – came this. lucky-number-seven-stone-something-about-dartmoorsharing-my-magic-torcross-beachA gift from all the Seven Seas together – a lucky Seven Stone washed up just for me; this gleeful picture says it all! lucky-find-at-torcross-something-about-dartmoor

With the excitement of someone whose lottery numbers had just come up – I called my boys over to witness this gift from the Cosmos. “Look what I’ve been given – a lucky seven stone!” I beamed.  

Elder son took one look at it and said with deadpan aplomb “Or a one!” – much to younger son’s amusement!   How they do love to rib their Mother!  It is definitely – infinitely a Seven.

And if  ‘Lucky Seven’ wasn’t lucky enough – I also brought home the ‘Torcross Moon’ in my pocket – or a “potato shaped stone” depending on what wavelength one’s on.  Elder son sees things differently to me at the moment – while younger son falls somewhere between.  torcross-moon-something-about-dartmoorBefore we left Torcross – I took this fuzzy picture of our location and all the lights in the darkness – it came through my elder son’s iPhone; kinda magical.  lights-in-the-darkness-a-fuzzy-satelite-image-of-torcross-by-night-on-my-elder-sons-iphone-6s-something-about-dartmoor

When finally we got home long after dark – we enjoyed a couple pizzas together and settled by the fireside.    I sat contented in my comfortable armchair supported by a multitude of cushions  – apparently doing ‘nothing’ whilst holding my magic tablet.magic-tablets-something-about-dartmoor

In the other fireside chair – with fewer cushions – I noticed elder son was engrossed again with the apple of his eye – his iPhone 6S.magic-tablets-something-about-dartmoorA magic tablet of a sort – but on a completely different frequency to my Infinite 7.  One day he’ll ‘upgrade’ – it’s just a matter of time and tide – and waiting for a Seventh Wave to break upon another level – of his own consciousness. That neither son has any interest in ‘gaming’ makes me a very happy Mother while I wait for them both to catch up!

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Every Seventh Wave.   My 'inseparable' sons born seven years apart - already on their way.

Every Seventh Wave.   My ‘inseparable’ sons born seven years apart – already on their way.

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Just rollin’ – ‘my’ song for the day – as heard several times on Heart from the backseat…

A Dark Cloth.

'M' for Melanie - and for middle sister.  (Melanie means 'Darkness'.)

‘M’ for Melanie – and for middle sister.       (Melanie means ‘Darkness’.)

When I’m out walking under the stars ‘alone’ – I find myself remembering poetry – and these favourite lines of W.B Yeats regularly come to the fore.  In a twinkle of a star – I recite them to the night – and to the unseen animals and birds that see me and hear me – and know my falling steps…

“Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

Of course – the heavens’ embroidered cloths are way out of my reach – for a while anyway…

However, in this Earthly interim – I have been given a cloth so beautiful – that the embroidered cloths of Heaven couldn’t WOW me more than in that magical moment of unwrapping…

'Leaves & Lace' - hand-printed bespoke designs on fabric old and new.

Unfoldment.  ‘Leaves & Lace’  Hand-printed designs on fabric old and new.  Caitlin’s website is under construction – and her bespoke designs will soon be more widely available to buy over the internet.

A few days ago now it was my birthday – and my sister Caitlin came a calling – she gave me a ‘Dark Cloth’ – a hand-blocked bespoke item that she had designed and printed herself onto a hand-embroidered Victorian runner.  In that sense the ‘Dark Cloth’ is as timeless as the Heavens themselves.  

The design was inspired by my ‘spiritual plant’ Atropa belladonna – or Deadly Nightshade.  Caitlin’s part was created especially for me – for my birthday.  And as for the maker of the embroidered ‘M’ – it’s a mystery that has come down to me from out the tunnel of time. 

First, Caitlin breathed new life into the old cloth with a ‘wash’ of soft grey dye – and then she hand-carved her ‘Belladonna’ design onto lino and hand-blocked it on to the fabric.  Then she has hand-painted touches of ‘light’ to give the bell-shaped flowers, leaves and berries extra definition.  It is a complete one-off – and here it is laid-out upon the dappled, October grass…


More than LUSH.

Two artists bridging one century - to make one extraordinarily beautiful work of art. 'M' spells magic too!

Two artists bridging one century – to make one extraordinarily beautiful work of art.  ‘M’ spells magic too!

If the ‘Dark Cloth’ wasn’t enough – she also gave me a mellifluous ‘ribbon’ to tie in my hair – a pure silk scarf printed with a variety of beautiful leaves gathered from her garden – it is a celebration of October in silk and dye.  It’s so delicately stunning – far too beautiful for my greying plait of hair! Caitlin is always way too generous in more ways than one – but I’m deeply complimented.  I shall probably display it as a work of art – and occasionally I’ll run my fingers down ‘October’ – and feel time passing through my hands again and again…


This post is dedicated to my brilliant sisters – and our wonderful Mother, Sallie – whom without – none of us would exist in this lifetime – together.  Thanks Ma.

My younger sister, Rosie – is a teacher in Vienna – ‘Happy Fiftieth’ on the forth – and my elder sister, Caitlin – print maker extraordinaire on the cusp.  All three ‘girls’ share October as a birth month.  Glorious October a time to celebrate and give thanks.  

Thanks ‘big’ Sis – this one’s for yours! 

Ah Belladonna! (Ah Beautiful Lady!) My sister, Caitlin searching upwards - while seated in the woods with her beloved whippets.

Ah Belladonna! (Ah Beautiful Lady!)   My sister, Caitlin searching upwards – while seated in the woods with her beloved whippets.

Inspiration cometh from all-around.

Inspiration cometh from all-around.

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A timely reminder about my Atropa belladonna seedling.

My ‘Belladonna Babe’ has been growing a little everyday – now she is preparing for a long sleep.  Here she is in her ‘bed’ in the end days of Summer.  You won’t see her again now until next year – when she will grow taller and stronger – and lustier; I so can’t wait!

My 'Belladonna Babe' getting ready to sleep with Jessie's special shoes in the background.

My ‘Belladonna Babe’ falling asleep – with Jessie’s special shoes in the background.

'Dark Beauty' Jessie

‘Dark Beauty’ Jessie – I’m sure when I walk around in the darkness over tracks and roads where we used to go together she hears ‘my’ poetry; she is the twinkle in the star always.

Ticket to ride.

5th.October 2016 – a glorious October day. 

I love small creatures in bright, shiny jackets that scuttle and scurry – and busy themselves about the earth.the-upside-down-tree-something-about-dartmoor

On my way to ‘The Upside Down Tree’ this afternoon with my sister and her whippets – I met ‘The Beetles’ – and helped them cross the road – like I do. I also noticed a very pretty ladybird crawling across the top of my sister’s ‘Ka’ – a car not unlike a beetle itself in shape. Also a tired Hornet in need of a lift too – another one?the-beatles-something-about-dartmoor



A Hornet’s tale.

4th. October 2016.  This evening – during my crepuscular ramble around the block – about six miles – I met a lone Hornet.  He was on the road and I must confess – I thought about paying him no heed. hornet-in-peril-something-about-dartmoorTrouble was he was doomed to be squashed by the next car – whose engine I could hear already.  My better self took courage and I set about a swift rescue. hornet-not-for-pressing-something-about-dartmoorHe was probably cold – but agitated enough by my well-intentioned interference – so I found something to transport him in preference to using my bare hand!  With a little coaxing – he clambered aboard a fern frond – and was given safe passage to the hedge.good-evening-mr-hornet-something-about-dartmoorI watched him crawl away up the earthy bank in search of cover for the night – job done. hornet-making-tracks-something-about-dartmoorhornet-on-his-way-something-about-dartmoorfinding-cover-something-about-dartmoorFurther round – under the cover of complete darkness – I met a perfect stranger called, Phil – who was walking his gentle dog, Ralph. For a period of unmeasured time – we talked all about a shared love of local wildlife – and Exmoor wildlife enthusiast, Johnny Kingdom.  We shook hands and went our separate ways.

It was an enjoyable, torch-lit  interlude – which is funny because I deliberately head out when other people who live in the countryside prefer to head in – in that way I’m rather like the hornet who keeps his own company.  That said – it was nice to engage with another kindred spirit.

Roughly three hours later – I returned to my start point – and noticed our new next door neighbour’s lovely sports car parked at the side of the road – still had its boot wide open! Not really wanting to disturb anyone – I pensively knocked on their neat front door. Standing there with my striped yellow reflective jacket strung untidily around my waist – I probably looked for all the world like an over-sized hornet at his door. My neighbour soon opened up and without alarm he greeted me warmly and invited me inside.

Choosing to stay this side of the threshold – I quickly told him about my observation.  After a second hand shake this night – we introduced ourselves and as quickly said good-bye.  My neighbour then scurried off outside to see to the matter. 

In the short walk to my front door – about fifty yards – I couldn’t help thinking how lucky I am to live in the country – where I can meet without fear – a stranger in the dark – and my neighbour can leave his lovely posh sports car with its boot wide open for a good three hours!

Good night.



Sheepstor Dartmoor: Breathing new life into old bones.

Sheepstor Dartmoor: an artist's impression.  Church and Tor a century ago - watercolour by W. H. Dyer

Sheepstor Dartmoor: an artist’s impression. Church and Tor a century ago – watercolour by W. H. Dyer

Sheepstor is one impressive tor – and its top was the destination for my Sunday afternoon walk on Dartmoor – 2nd. October 2016.

It was one of those afternoons when everything became crystal clear before my very eyes – the views from the top were breathtaking – far more so than the climb up.  

Reflection above a sheep's-eye view. Burrator Reservoir from the slopes of Sheepstor.

Reflection from above a sheep’s-eye view. Burrator Reservoir from the slopes of Sheepstor.

As a collector of natural history items – it wasn’t long before my attention turned from the present to the departed – I’d honed in on a small quantity of sheep bones laying in the moorland grass…

Scattering of sheep bones on Sheepstor.

Scattering of sheep bones on Sheepstor.

An idea began to hatch…  

Recalling a picture that I’d gleaned from a discarded diary at work just days before – I set about picking-up the bones to make ‘A Magic Pile’ at the edge of the tor – as a final resting place.

Native American Art.  Assiniboin's 'Magic Pile' by Karl Bodner

Native American Art.  Assiniboin’s ‘Magic Pile’ by Karl Bodner

I gathered the parts and placed them neatly on top of my chosen granite ‘pile’ near the edge of the tor – and suddenly as if by magic – the picture from the discarded diary came to life…

Sun breathing new life into old bones. Something about Dartmoor.

Sun breathing new life into old bones…



my-magic-pile-sheepstor-something-about-dartmoor-Brentor on the horizon. my-magic-pile-sheepstor-something-about-dartmoor-3 my-magic-pile-sheepstor-something-about-dartmoor-2my-magic-pile-sheepstor-something-about-dartmoor-5

As I came away – I found a ‘husk of something’ in the shape of a wing –


To me it perfectly symbolised the nature of this great place – 

Elemental Sheepstor - Dartmoor - a place where earth, water, air and fire and spirit are one. Blog post to follow!

Elemental Sheepstor; a place where earth, water, air and fire and spirit are one. elemental-sheepstor-a-place-where-earth-water-air-and-fire-and-spirit-are-one-something-about-dartmoor

I came back down with a brew on Walkhampton Common.  

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Sheepstor – Dartmoor’s sleeping giant.