Some Autumnal Vibrations…

Acorn (1) 15th October 2017 - Something about Dartmoor

And one Golden Promise.

On Tuesday – October 17, 2017 – I stopped what I was doing – which was laying the fire ready for lighting – to read an eye-catching article in the Daily Mail.  It wasn’t my newspaper but my brother’s – that he passes on to me for fire starting.  As ever – whilst on my knees – I scanned the pages in an unhurried start to get the fire started – before screwing them up into loose bundles.  One page caught my eye though – so I put it back for some late night reading… Daily Mail newspaper cuttingA fascinating article by Peter Fiennes – about acorns – and why for some unknown reason Oak trees and some other native trees such as Beech and Chestnut – produce more nuts or ‘masts’ – every five to ten years.  Thank god – this bountiful boom known as a ‘mast year’ – is one of Nature’s eternal mysteries; it’s a nut that even the clever scientists haven’t conclusively cracked!  

Conjecture tells us that the cause of this cyclic glut is Mother Nature’s way of ensuring self-preservation for trees – and therein, our preservation too.  In generating a periodical surplus of nuts over and above the appetites of the many ravenous foragers and feeders that feast on them – ensures that all of us get to enjoy the renewed promise of lovely, seasonal greenness year in year out – as new saplings burst forth from each surplus golden casket.  

To my mind – a tree’s outwardness is my inwardness; trees to me, are the tangible embodiment of the air I breathe – and yes I’m a tree-hugger!  I can’t quite square this with needing newspaper and firewood for lighting my fire – or the effect that burning either has on the environment – but the nights are drawing in – and this draughty, non-centrally heated house ain’t gettin warmer! A faggot for the fire - Something about Dartmoor

Moving swiftly on and in-between but still on the same thread – are these wondrous teeny-weenies… 

Wriggling in my hand - they for all the world looked like two little black dragons.

Wonders of Nature.  They looked like little black dragons seated in the palm of my hand…

I found them struggling across a hard road with a long way ahead of them to get to the other side.  As is my wont – I gently picked-up the waddling, tummy-scraping pair and gave them a lift in the direction that they were heading…  

Newts chasing each other's tails.

…wriggling and chasing each other’s tails en route to safety.

For one small animal – I was sadly too late to lend a helping hand…

Squirrel (3) 15th October 2017 Something about Dartmoor

On Sunday – October 15, 2017 – I found a beautiful grey squirrel – unbloodied and still warm laying at the side of the road – he looked for all the World like he was fast asleep.  Apart that is, for one darkened, unblinking eye. Squirrel (1) 15th October 2017 Something about Dartmoor

The thing that really struck me – was the poignancy of the abandoned acorn that lay close-at-paw, and the promise it held for the Squirrel before the wheel of a moving car – snuffed it all out.

I transferred the dreamless Squirrel to the hedgerow – before picking up his abandoned ‘larder’…

Acorn 15th October 2017 - Something about DartmoorWith an idea already planted in my mind for one hundred years – or twenty ‘mast years’ hence….

Acorn and Stone - 15th October 2017 Something about Dartmoor

One other foundling from my Autumn ramble – a little piece of gravel found in the middle of an otherwise gravel-less road.  I like to think it was caught in a horse’s shoe – and dropped out as the horse went clippity-clop on it’s way – a lucky stone.

To plant the mast in the hope that it will seed – and mature – in everlasting memory of its once bright-eyed hunter-gatherer…Squirrel (2) 15th October 2017 Something about Dartmoor

RIP my bushy-tailed friend. X

“Of all man’s works of art, a cathedral is greatest.  A vast and majestic tree is greater than that.”  Henry Ward Beecher. 

Favourite Tree Winter2011

I agree.  A majestic Beech – that I see on my journeys to and from work…

Favourite Tree Summer 2011

– through the seasons – through the years…

Favourite Tree Spring 2011

The sight of it high on the hill never fails to uplift me.

Yulia's tree. Something about Dartmoor

And as a magical gift from my new friend called, Yulia – an amazing artist and poet who lives over the horizon – in Ottawa. X

It’s those invisible shifting green ribbons that connect all of us through Light – Time and Space – or as my Yaffle friend calls them – ‘Vibrations’ – we just have to learn to tune into them!

Vibrations as seen on the Ashmolean floor - Oxford. Something about Dartmoor

‘Vibrations’ interpreted as a light display on the Ashmolean floor – Oxford.  From the Yaffles’ Summer that was.

The Yaffles’ Summer That Was.

"We are all two sides of a single entity, each ourselves one by one." Clever Yaffle B

“We are all two sides of a single entity, each ourselves one by one.” Clever Yaffle B

Throughout the long Summer months – that seemingly fly-by in hindsight – a pair of Yaffles have been hard at it – hammering away at the woodwork of a knotty problem – stopping only to listen – for grubs and the occasional sound of falling trees…

Gggggrrrrrrrrkkkkkkkkk. Something about Dartmoor

‘The Yaffles’ set about the task of the knotty problem from opposite sides of a shared but expansive trunk that physically separated them from each other’s sight and earshot for almost a lifespan.  For many a long year – the elder, über male Yaffle – ‘Yaffle B’ – had continuously knocked on wood but few it seemed had listened to him – until one day the ever-intuitive female Yaffle – ‘Yaffle A’ – picked up his worldly vibrations. Together but separately they continued to peck-a-way at their individual holes – as two arteries in the pulsing heart of an Evergreen tree of knowledge. 

Through constant ggggrrrrrrkkkkkk, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, peckpeckpeckpeck at the woodwork – the Yaffles enjoyed a breakthrough in early Spring 2017.  They connected with each other via an invisible green energy that shifts and manifests itself around the Globe.  ‘Yaffle A’ senses ‘Emilia Borealis’ – whilst ‘Yaffle B’ through years of steadfast diligence – knows her ‘simply’ as EB. 

All Summer the pair of dedicated Yafflers enjoyed much laffin’ n cacklin’ – plus exhilarating and undulating swoops through the lofty green canopy they inhabited in a virtual sense.  On several occasions they ruffled each other’s feathers too!  For seven whole months – the Yaffles were sworn to secrecy – to each other and to one cause – through a continuous and intensive round of yaffle-scribblings that to’d and fro’d – and flowed between the them. 

Two-hundred and fourteen days later – one single ‘Yaffle-darling’ – or ‘Yaffling’ for short – has been given a renewed lease of life.  The ‘Yaffling’ is an egg of three parts – individually called ‘Yafflettë’ – and although technically the golden egg is still to be hatched – it magically fledged with virtual wings a week ago today – on the 10th October 2017 – to a faraway place in the Northern Hemisphere – where it will continue to incubate and grow Ever stronger.  By Green light and Amber fire – the Yaffling egg will be kept at just the right heat throughout the long, cold Winter months ahead…

At home and miles apart – The Yaffles too have entered sleep mode – independently going about their daily lives – whilst quietly anticipating the birthday of their darling bonneted babe – who is hopefully due around the corner of the coming year.  

2018 will see an emergence of a single entity – in three parts – each one determined by the tricolour plumage of the Picus viridis¹ – a bird that knows when He – or She – knows!  The largest Yafflettë is already fixed in Vermillion Red, the smallest Yafflettë is shaded in tones of White and Black – whilst the middle Yafflettë is eternally Evergreen.  

Apologies if the above Yafflin seems bafflin to those who are not in the Yaffle know – but hopefully one day it will all make reasonable sense!!!  One hopes… 

Heading into Winter – the virtual wood is much quieter – apart that is from the sound of the wind’s song moving across the forest floor.  The summer-long sweet hammerings from the canopy have all but ceased – yet the silence seems all the more deafening – now that the Yaffles’ task is done. 

Single Yaffle. Something about Dartmoor

Signing off the Yaffle way. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX…………

Footnotes –

  1. Picus viridis – Green Woodpecker – or Yaffle. 
  2. Figures: The single Yaffle carved in wood – perches on my sideboard – and heart – as a constant reminder lest I should forget – the unforgettable, the indefatigable, Ever unflappable ‘Yaffle B’.

Hope is a thing with feathers – and a new chimney.

Seagulls on our Chimney - Something about DartmoorOur other chimney had leaned into the wind for too long.  If our builder hadn’t dismantled it brick-by-brick – I think a gale-force gust may have toppled it in one fell swoop. Luckily for us the old chimney leaned into the prevailing Westerly – and not a northerly or easterly direction.  There have been a few nights – when the wind has howled and whistled around the old stack and I have had a fancy that some other invisible force must have braced the chimney until our builder was ready to come; a good builder always has a waiting list! Old Chimney with scaffold (1)- Something about Dartmoor

Over the last couple of weeks – Glen has single-handedly resurrected our once banana-shaped chimney – into a stack that is strong and straight again – heavenward. Glen - Something about Dartmoor

Glen crowned his masterpiece on Monday – 18th September 2017 – by restoring the original Victorian pot to its rightful place atop thirty-two angled layers of new red bricks.  The scaffolder’s skill is worthy of great admiration too – its design and rigidity has enabled Glen to safely access the otherwise inaccessible chimney – I think it’s a remarkable structure – an art form in itself albeit a transient one.

At my behest – Glen’s last flourish – is an inscription in his otherwise super-smooth finish – in memory of Dad who lived here for forty-four years until he passed away on the 6th January 2017 – aged ninety-two.  

The cement cap will serve as a memorial seat – a perch between worlds – where the birds can rest a while before ascending – as smoke signals – carrying our thoughts and messages away to the next…Chimney (5) 18th September 2017Chimney (4) 18th September 2017

Thanks Dad X

Dad sitting by his fire. December 2009

Dad chillin’ by his fire – December 2009.


A small light white curl of hope – found on an otherwise gloomy day – lying on the hall floor outside Dad’s old room. It was especially significant because I’d been at work and returned to an empty house that was otherwise undisturbed.  It’s probably a seagull’s feather but to me it’s about that mind’s eye moment of suspended disbelief that it was something other.  That’s why I’ve preserved it under a small glass dome.

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‘Hope is the thing with feathers’ – poem by Emily Dickinson – performed by Máirín O’Hagan.


“Top of the Morning!”

Colour of a new day - 13th August 2017. Something about DartmoorToday – Sunday 13th. August 2017 – started with an early morning rise.  Not out of my unslept-in-bed you understand – but to the top of Sharpitor (near Leather Tor) on Dartmoor – to see the Perseid Meteor Shower – followed by the biggest, most dazzling light show EVER – the dawn of a FRESH, new day.   With only my son’s mobile phone to hand – I wasn’t fast enough (or alert enough) to capture any falling stars on camera – or in my pocket – but I did manage to make a wish or two before their blazing tails fizzled out like spent fireworks. Aug 13 2017_1225

The grande finale was seeing Sunday rise – as a huge, orange Firebird in the East… 

Aug 13 2017_1255 Firebird.Another waking ‘dream’ – was hearing a hen laying an egg somewhere in the distance.  Her song rose with the morning mist from one of the ancient farmsteads dotted around.  A desire to eat a freshly laid, soft boiled egg – with hot, buttered toast for breakfast – will never be stronger than in that magical – golden moment on top of Sharpitor – or as impossible for that matter! 

These are some other images from this morning…
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Aug 13 2017_1306 Dartmoor pony foal with very unusual black markings. Something about Dartmoor

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“Top of the Morning to you Hawthorn!”   Cold, wet hands…

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and dew sodden boots.  Time for a short, late afternoon snoozles – before I venture out for an evening walk around the block to see the same Sun set in the West…hope my boots have dried out a bit!

Theme for today – another favourite by Amethystium… 

Muggle-Mump ‘goes’ to Burrow Mump!

Friday 4th August 2017 – saw a return to my favourite Somerset ‘Mump’ – Burrow Mump. The Mump rises like a mini Glastonbury Tor above the watery, green Levels.

Muggle Mump goes to Burrow Mump.

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After inching our way closer – the tower of Burrow Mump finally sprang into view above the trees.

Burrow Mump on Friday 4th August 2017 was virtually ‘NO GO’ unless on foot or a bicylce – and even then it would have been a squeeze! We literally inched our way there in every dimension – because all roads leading to the Mump were utterly gridlocked! We found the whole jam quite a giggle but for anyone with an appointment to keep – or an emergency to attend – it must have been a complete and utter nightmare…

We were stuck in this position for about an hour!

We were stuck in this position – on this stretch – for a ‘good’ hour!

With just a ‘couple’ miles to go to the Mump – we were going nowhere fast. The whole ‘event’ just goes to show what happens once today’s traffic is diverted – and spills into smaller roads. Like the Levels in 2014 – the roads around the Mump were almost impassable only this time with vehicles rather than flood water.  I have to say – because time was our own – this modern day phenomenon was something to witness – even funny dare I say it – especially witnessing the antics of some of the other road users! Despite the frustrations – I have to say everyone caught up in it – seemed to keep their cool and for the most part were good-humoured; I think Burrow Mump’s vibes saved the day!  

Pilgrims footsteps to the top of Burrow Mump.

Pilgrim footsteps to the top of Burrow Mump.

Finally, we arrived on the Mump – phew! 

Lines of gridlocked cars as far as the eye can see. Views from the Mump...

Traffic jams as far as the eye can see…

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…and in all directions. Views from the Mump!

Burrow Mump was our island getaway from the Sea of Chaos. Once we reached the top of the hill – all was calm as if a million miles away…

Sanctuary from the modern world. View from the inner sanctum of restorative Burrow Mump.

Sanctuary from the modern world.  View from the inner sanctum of restorative ‘Burrow Mump’…

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Aah peace – perfect peace. Glastonbury Tor is in the distance.

I say ‘perfect peace’ – until my son Archie introduced me to the wonders of ‘Snapchat’!  He wanted me to do a little piece to camera about our experience of driving to the Mump!  What a giggle! I have come to the conclusion that I have the perfect face for distortion!  I did about three or four takes – and morphed into several ‘Muggle-Mump’ characters! Here they are intermingled with my own takes of magical Burrow Mump. I hope you enjoy them all! 

"The Swifts and Swallows are darting over Burrow Mump..."

“The Swifts and Swallows are darting over Burrow Mump…”

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Holy Holey! Detail on a gatepost to the ‘Mump’.

Burrow Mump from under the Willow...

Burrow Mump from under a Somerset Willow…

A fairy ring...

A fairy ring at the foot of the Mump…

Spider's web - doorway to a quieter world.

Spider’s web. Doorway to a quieter world beneath a magical Hawthorn…

Parallel Universe.  Just time and me standing still at Burrow Mump.

Parallel Universe.  Just Time and me standing still at Burrow Mump.

Slowly moving around the trees – around the Mump…

…back towards the car – and ‘home’.  Treasures gathered from around the Mump – including a funny old twisted lump of Ivy that I found lying in the wet grass…

Oh – and not forgetting my pilgrim’s staff which had to be left behind for reasons explained…

'Andersea Wheat'.  A sea of sparkling, waving wheat after the 'flood' - and rain - somewhere along the now empty road in the Somerset parish of Westonzoyland.   A perfect sounding place for a 'Muggle-Mump' to sign off until next time...

‘Andersea Wheat’.  A sea of sparkling, waving wheat after the ‘flood’ – and rain – somewhere along the now empty road in the Somerset parish of Westonzoyland.   A perfect sounding place for a ‘Muggle-Mump’ to zign off until next time…

A Muggle-Mump Mouse from Burrow Mump!

Souvenir of the day.  Not ‘just’ a funny old twisted lump of Ivy but a ‘Muggle-Mump Mouse’ from Burrow Mump!

Oxford Return.

Jul 20 2017_0909 Oxford OxThere is so much to see and do in Oxford that repeat visits are a must; funds allowing of course!  Although the Ashmolean itself is free admission. 

After patting the Great Ox on the nose – Tom and I set off for another ‘wander of wonders’ around the fabulous Ashmolean. I don’t think that an entire year would be long enough to take in all the wonders on display but here are just a few of the treasures that caught my eye this time round…Ashmolean

Elias Ashmole and Joth Tradescant Jnr - Ashmolean Oxford

Detail: The hands that helped create the World’s first public museum – ‘The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology’.

Together with the above handsome portraits of Elias Ashmole and John Tradescant Jnr – here’s my other favourite painting of the day…Jul 20 2017_1031

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Jul 20 2017_1047 Ashmolean Rooftop RestaurantAfter a mind-blowing couple of hours – we were ready to climb the impressive Portland Stone staircase all the way to the top – where we retired to the terrace for afternoon refreshments.  A pot of English Breakfast tea and a Coke – plus chips for two – followed by Eton Mess for afters…Jul 20 2017_1049

Other highlights of our day in Oxford included

A door-to door walk around the portals of The Old Schools Quadrangle of the Bodleian Library…

Let there be Light...The Old Schools Quadrangle of the Bodleian Library

Sir Isaac Newton once said “Let there be Light”…

…and there was!

With another chance to stand in the warm glow of ‘The Light of The World’ inside the cool of Keble College Chapel…

Jul 20 2017_1060 Light of the World - William Holman Hunt - Keble College Oxford

Passing under the sign of the white hart.  Crest of Hertford College upon the ‘Bridge of Sighs’ over New College Lane.

…and more light on our way to the whispering Cloister’s of New College…

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“A leaf in this garden means more than all leaves you will find in paradise!” Lyrics from Golden Apples by Faun.

It was here – I picked up the ‘treasure of the day’ for keeps. ‘Just’ one golden leaf from the carpet of thousands that lay inches deep around the expansive bole of an evergreen Holm Oak – that nowadays is widely recognised as ‘The Harry Potter Tree’…Jul 20 2017_0965The fantastical hogwash of Hogwarts – wasn’t the reason I picked up the leaf though – rather it was because I picked up vibrations of another young man’s footsteps – who once trod this time-worn floor to the Cloisters and to the great tree itself… Jul 20 2017_0946Jul 20 2017_0949…on my return from Oxford – I emailed Yaffle and told him all about our visit to his old college grounds – and I was thrilled to receive his reply – “Much enjoyed your tour of Ox, and yes, the Cloisters and its majestic evergreen are my centre of gravity in that architectural masterpiece.”   Ah, now that’s real Magic!

Motto on the wrought-iron garden gate of New College Oxford. How true.

In the afternoon sunlight – I couldn’t fail to notice the gilded motto on the ornate garden gate of New College Oxford.  ‘Manners Makyth Man’  – how true dear Yaffle x

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Another enduring image of Oxford…

Homeless in Oxford

A homeless man and woman – lying like two spoons with their backs turned to the passing ‘World’ that’s mirrored in the glass of the modern building that sheltered them from the glare of another day.  Despite the droves of more well-heeled passers-by that thronged this main Oxford thoroughfare – their small pile of coppers remained just that.  I have to say I felt somewhat intrusive stopping – but in stopping – I added to their small pile of coppers with something brighter and a little heavier…the couple remained oblivious and undisturbed.  

Walking away – I wondered whether in their waking hours – they ever look up at the dreaming spires of Oxford and dare to dream of a life when they won’t have to sleep rough?  To my way of thinking – Oxford must be a particularly jarring environment if you find yourself ‘down on your uppers’ like this less-fortunate pair of Oxonians who were down to their last pennies as well as their last socks.

(Idiom: down on (one’s) uppers) Having no money; broke. The phrase was originally used to describe people who were so poor that they had worn their shoes down to the uppers (the part of the shoe above the sole).

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Back to where I started with a goodbye pat on the Ox's rump! Oxford - I shall return...

Back to where I (We) started.  An affectionate goodbye pat on the Ox’s rump! Oxford – Ashmolean – I shall return…

My Golden Leaf.

My golden leaf – like the colour of Oxford itself.

Theme for the day – Thursday 20th. July 2017 – ‘Golden Apples’ by Faun.

‘Origen’s Theory of The Universe’ over Blueberries and Breakfast!

Blueberries for breakfast and white roses from Dolton - Christopher's table‘One’ of my most treasured memories from my stay up North – was breakfast time with the Professor. I’d come down to a beautifully laid table – with hot toast in a rack, proper butter in a dish and homemade Marmalade – made by Yaffle himself – plus there was always a bowl of fresh blueberries to dip into over tea ‘n’ toast and conversation…Morning ritual - Yaffle and marmalade on toast

I wish I’d taken a few more videos of the Professor at the breakfast table but alas I didn’t have a phone in hand – in fact I don’t own a mobile phone so I had to rely on Tom’s device – and he wasn’t always up in time for the Breakfast-time Lechur!  And besides the toast would have gone stone cold!

I fondly remember breakfast on the day of my departure…I was treated to a ‘lecture’ with actions and voices – all about Napoleon Bonaparte over tea ‘n’ toast – and blueberries. By this time my cold had developed into full blown flu – and I can remember sitting at the Professor’s table – thinking I really should be capturing this but I just felt too ill – complete with raging temperature – and a five hour journey via rail ahead back to Devon; God my head hurt more at the very thought!  I shall ask Yaffle to retell ‘Napoleon’s Tale’ when next we meet – so that Tom can catch it on camera…  

If I was Director-General at the BBC – I’d give Yaffle his own series – perhaps called the ‘Breakfast Table Lectures’ – or ‘Lechurs’ as Yaffle deliberately misspells! I think my Aunt Sonia summed it up this morning when she emailed me and said “Thank you so much for the tale of such an endearing little mouse, so very sweet and told by The Professor in his mellifluous voice it comes alive again.  Mind you I think he could recite the alphabet and make it sound interesting! Such an erudite man – not stuffy at all and all the more engaging because of it.”  

Here is another treasured video of Professor Yaffle – this time it is “Origen’s Theory of the Universe’… 

PS I’d never heard of Origen let alone his theory before Saturday 20th. May 2017…

Thinking out cloud.

I love that subtle change in the air that denotes the year has turned before June is even out – and because it’s a whiff that can’t be bottled – I took a few photographs to try to capture Autumn’s essence as it pervaded my evening walk – and thoughts – before the rain came in – on Sunday 25th June 2017.Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - weathervaneSunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - weathervane (2)Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - clouds (1)

Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - clouds (2)Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - clouds (5)Sunday 25th June 2017 - evening walk - hedge

The clouds in motion got me thinking of this old favourite by George Michael.