I said to the Great Wise Owl who stood at the gate of ‘Shedland’:
“Give me owl vision that I may see in the darkness.” And the Owl replied:
“Go forth into the darkness and flap your arms——as beating wings.
That shall be to you better than sight and safer than on foot, lest you should trip on a tree stump or fallen branch!”
So I flapped, and finding I could magically fly, swooped silently into the blackness. Tu-whit, tu-whoooooooooo…
Adapted from ‘The Gate of The Year’ by Minnie Louise Haskins.
Owl Sanctuary. Even by day – light only filters in at the edge.
My film of Shedland’s owls in complete velvety blackness, interrupted only by the sound of silence. (The owlsong starts slowly towards the middle!)
My daily and nightly inspiration.
I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
It seems pointless trying to keep the glass clean on my wood-burner door when it blackens again so quickly——especially during these long cold Winter months when it’s in daily use. And why anyway – when the bundles of kindling that I’ve gathered daily on my walks – have etched a beautiful skeletal Phoenix for me in the blackened glass.
‘The Phoenix In The Glass’
6th. January 2018.
My dear old Dad passed away one year ago today – on the 6th January 2017 at precisely 10:50 am. Today I enjoyed a trip down memory lane with a visit to his favourite town – Okehampton, followed by a bracing walk around his favourite park, Simmons Park, with my son, Tom – his grandson.
In memorium. A walk around Simmons Park, Okehampton – to enjoy Winter’s flowers and the rush of the East Okement in full flow.
A visit to Okehampton is never complete without a rummage around my favourite charity shop – ‘The Fairplace Church’ in the Arcade. It’s a charming, rather old-fashioned type of Charity Shop – quite unique. I’ve been going in there for years – on occasions with Dad. Or he’d wait patiently outside for me to appear with a lovely bargain – such as today’s timely find.
The original in Keble College Oxford – 20th June 2017.
Imagine my delight today of all days – seeing my favourite painting hanging in the ‘Fairplace’ at the top of the stairs…for sale for a very fair price indeed…
‘The Light of the World’ for £4 only – BARGAIN.
Of course the ‘Light’ came home with me even though I have numerous copies already around my house – I can never have enough ‘Light’ on my walls especially in light of something my father said—or rather didn’t say during his last night. It was his reaction when I asked him who it was that was standing in the corner of his low-lit room that will forever enlighten any sad thoughts I have of his passing from this world to the next.
I couldn’t see anyone there but there was such a strong presence in the room – I pressed my father for an answer. Names of family that had gone on met with little or no response – so I asked him whether it was ‘the man in the picture’. Suddenly – he opened his eyes wide and nodded his head firmly towards the invisible figure – but it was his tight lips that confirmed what I’d asked, especially as he could hardly speak come the end. Suddenly he’d recognised the stranger waiting in the wings to collect him come morning light. In that unforgettable moment of recognition my father looked like he was going to cry——with elation.
From what I could tell from the face reflected in the picture glass today – I reacted much the same.
The Time. The Place. The Light. (Only image ‘Title’ can be edited – and image ‘location’ can be edited to ‘no location’ to keep location secret – but the Date and Time are set in stone!)
Dad I’ll never forget your face…or ‘that face’ – in the quiet hours of the 6th. January 2017. X
2018 has two blue moons coming up in the first quarter – one is rare – hence the saying ‘Once in a Blue Moon’ but a double is supernumerary—superlunary——MOOOONTASTIC!
‘Blue Moon’ double dates – 31st. January 2018 – and again on the 31st. March 2018.
Watching the Supermoon rise over Shedland – 1st January 2018 – an auspicious start to the New Year…
Full Circle Moon.
and next phase…
Well, I’ve enjoyed my last walk of December, in fact the Old Year – and I’m delighted to report that my ‘secret’ Champion Wild Campion is still in the pink on New Year’s Eve 2017.
December’s pink stars come out in the dark.
This seemingly fragile yet determined flower has continued to blossom through the foulest of Winter weather – gale-force winds, snow, frozen rain, heavy rain – even flashes of lightning earlier this evening! And though the days are short and chilly – it miraculously keeps on flowering…
Windswept Wild Campions flowering in the dark in a secret location on New Year’s Eve 2017.
‘In the pink’ December’s bravest flower.
Happy New Year X
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Friday 5th December 2018.
“The Grass withereth, the Flower fadeth, but the Word of God shall stand for ever.” My last Ebay acquisition of 2017 and first ‘through the door’ 2018.
Just as the beautiful hand-painted words concealed behind olde glass prophesieth – my miraculous Champion Wild Campion is withering and fading too.
At 21:27 on the 4th of January 2018 – just one tattered flower remaineth…
Touching magic while it lasteth.
A Boxing Day TRIP – to experience the ‘Festival of Light’ at Longleat, Wiltshire.
On what was possibly the wettest day of the festive season – 26th December 2017. Someone’s inside-out umbrella abandoned in a bin. I didn’t have an umbrella – or a coat and got soaked through – but it didn’t matter…
The heavy rain couldn’t hope to dampen MY spirits because through my eyes – it only enhanced the LIGHT more – by reflecting it in the lakes of puddles.
At fifty-odd – I was suddenly a girl again; like Alice stepping through the looking glass into childhood’s world of magic and make-believe. Longleat had been transformed into a giant pop-up book of all the classic, best-loved Grimm’s fairy tales – laid flat for everyone to wander through. These are just some of MY HIGH-LIGHTS…
Touching MAGIC and MAGIC touching me. The wall of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle…
Despite ice-cold hands and fingers that had lost their ability to function properly – I determined to make a short film in the thorny enclosure that encircled Sleeping Beauty’s Castle… To capture the MAGIC forever – and to especially record the beautiful hypnotic but ‘nameless’ soundtrack of the ‘moment’ that played continuously on a loop…
The buffeting wind, biting rain and intermittent roars of a huge fire-breathing dragon over my shoulder – were all part of it. I felt like I was under some sort of enchantment – frozen by time – and elements. The ‘moment’ lasted longer than the fifty-nine seconds recorded, I’m certain of that – maybe even a hundred years…
Meantime, my two rain-soaked sons retreated into ‘Costa’ – seemingly with everybody else – it was chock-a-block! Not my scene at all – everything and everybody was steaming like the contents of the huge plastic cups on offer – YUK!
Eventually – I retreated into the comfort of an Edwardian Christmas in the main House – where I warmed my frozen hands on the hearth in the Great Hall. Again, I was transported to another time, another place -another century. No photography allowed in the house – but I did sneak one last shot of the unforgettable ‘Festival of Fairy Tale Lights’ through the misted, listed window. A FANTASTIC ALL-ROUND TRIP.
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My special Christmas Mistletoe scarf drying out on the dash on the two hour journey back to Devon – thank god for the heated seats!
Completely COLOUR-FAST hand-blocked pure silk scarves and other beautiful hand-printed things available here.
Happiness is being stuck in my son’s luxury car in heavy traffic inside the ‘Big Cat’ enclosure at Longleat on Boxing Day – with an ‘unopened’ tin of M&S shortbread biscuits close at hand! The rain dribbling down my firmly shut side-window – obscured almost all hope of seeing anything furry moving through the trees – apart from a huge tiger – WOW!
Stuck at a box junction.
The only other furry thing in full view all the time – was my ‘lovey’ hot water bottle dumped on the dash!I didn’t need my cuddlesome comforter with the luxury of a heated, leather car seat! We were very content despite being stuck on the Longleat ‘dual-carriageway’ for an indeterminable length of time. Although, I think they are going to have to consider turning it into a three-lane carriageway eventually – then four and counting – until one day there’ll be no room left for the big puddicats to roam – sounds like the real World on the other side of the high fence! We were happily entertained in our cosy cocoon listening to ‘Heart’, munching a whole tinful of bickies between three – and ‘People Watching’! It was like feeding time at the zoo – only us humans were the captives. Entering ‘Wolf Wood’ we observed a whole tube of ‘Pringles’ being wolfed down not by a wolf – but by a trapped occupant in a ‘passing’ stationary car; we undertook them! Thank god no one needed to use the ‘facilities’ – especially post-Christmas dinner!!!
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Moving swiftly on but in reverse…
Warning: Low Flying Bananas…
We’d earlier enjoyed a couple laps around the Monkey circuit. The monkeys are the stars of Longleat – they are so endearing and so naturally funny – that seeing any other wildlife has to be a bonus…the ancient trees around the park are pretty awesome and spectacular too.
Ah so cute – and so wet! I wanted to open the window and let ‘Monkey-Paws’ in the warm – I didn’t though!!!!
After a thoroughly entertaining drive-thru safari – we got to see some amazing wildlife on foot – a whole host of animals that came out after dark. Bears, owls, deer, wolves – in fact a whole ark-full complete with flood water!
P.S. Oh yes – and we got to see a herd of resting Zebra!
Continues in part two…
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Some happy monkey vibes from Coldplay…
A Christmas Eve walk in ‘Shedland’ – 24th December 2017.
The above green ‘phenomenon’ is a photograph taken at a very special doorway. The ‘yule log’and the green shaft of LIGHT mark the threshold into ‘Shedland’ – ‘my’ magic wood where I found three cast Red Deer antlers – a ‘pair’ in 2016 and one earlier this year in mid-April. It is the first time I have ventured into the wood since the end of the shed-hunting season in late Spring. Today’s ramble was my Christmas Eve treat to gather a few sprigs of Holly and listen to the chorus of birdsong at dusk. I snapped two magnificent—beneficent stags through the trees, but in dimsy light my camera couldn’t hope to capture them – not even their beautiful white-tipped antlers which were huge! Can’t wait for Spring…
Just seeing the stags and being in their majestic presence was magic enough for me; they made my walk – my Christmas Eve. When I came home – I uploaded my stag-less shots – and ‘something’ thrilled me!I just love it when ‘I’ pick up something magical and inexplicable – it’s as thrilling as picking up a huge cast antler itself!
Shedland at home time…
Take one wholesale-sized square box of freshly cut Mistletoe, two up-cycled hanging baskets (tie together) place on a rusty old wrought iron plant stand – fill with said Mistletoe – add a string of battery-operated lights – place in a cool window…
and simply switch on!
Thank you once again – To ‘KissMe Mistletoe’ for delivering a beautiful big box brimming with super-springy sprigs of Worcestershire’s finest Mistletoe – it arrived bang-on-time today – 22nd December 2017.
Mmmmmmistletoe! It’s just so beautifully peppery to press one’s nose into when freshly cut.
I LOVE my present to me!