Bah Humbug! A Festive Immersion in Bath.

Bath Christmas Market Saturday 9th December 2017 (6)

Globe light all a-whizz at The Bath Christmas Market – or a symbol of a bubble about to burst?

Within its safety ring of steel and concrete blockades – Bath’s Christmas Market on Saturday 9th December 2017 – was a-fizz with festive fare and fun – but not for all…

Bath Christmas Market

Bath’s street angels in yellow jackets.

I couldn’t help thinking to myself, whilst I shuffled and dodged in-between the merry masses – how on earth can our planet go on sustaining so many people, including lil ole me and my two? As a microcosm – Bath seemed to me to be near bursting point – a victim of its own success perhaps? My Christmas-loving eldest son who lives in Bath and commutes to Bristol daily – EVEN commented how he was looking forward to the roads getting back to relative normality once all the little wooden chalets were packed away ‘under the Abbey stairs’ for another year.  

Bath Christmas Market

The direct look on the ashen face of this ten foot tall, wraith-like angel outside the Abbey’s main door seemed to bore into my mind…

Bath Christmas Market

“You are all doomed!” I heard her say.  She was actually a brilliant actress from a theatre company (Unfortunately I don’t know which theatre company?)  she was very obliging, and friendly – and posed beautifully for the shot.

On a brighter, sparklier note – the Christmas lights of Bath lifted my spirits no end – and none shone more brightly than my son’s own beautiful tree…

Bath Christmas Market

A heartwarming sight.  My son’s ten-footer all beautifully decorated by himself and his two flat-mates, whilst in the foreground his laundered school shirts neatly hung out to dry – in preparation for Monday’s start again…

Bath Christmas Market

‘The Heart of Bath’ at the end of the penultimate day for this years Christmas Market for 2017.

I didn’t really buy anything at the Christmas Market – although I still managed to spend too much – on various causes and things to eat – and a sprig of Bath home-grown Mistletoe!  One keepsake that I did buy was a cd from a busker – his voice rose above the madding crowd. It happens when I go to Bath – that there always seems to be a sound rather than a thing that I take home as a soundtrack of the ‘day’ – and this night it was the voice of brilliant blues musician – ‘The Journey-Man’.

Dan the Man - The Voice. Bath Christmas Market

Dan the Man – The Voice.

An essential purchase; two metres of finest velvet purple ribbon from a shop that’s a feast for the eyes at any time of year…

V V Rouleaux -The 'Ribbon Shop' Bath Christmas Market

Highly recommended – V V Rouleaux – Bath’s beautiful ribbon emporium at the top of the hill.

My last stop was ‘The Circus’ to stand in the magic ring of five mature Plane Trees that reach as high – even higher – than the grand houses that encircle their breathing space.  It was the perfect place to wish upon a ‘star’…  

Bath Christmas Market

Star of Wonder.  The last living leaf resiliently hanging-on in the chillest of December winds.

Bath Christmas Market

Glow-in-the-dark Plane leaf. (No special settings or enhancements – just auto flash – and some olde Yuletide magic!)

The Mad Librarian Bath.

A Christmas wish come true! A much wanted scarce edition from ‘The Mad Librarian’ Bath. Not bought on the night – but on Tuesday 12th. December 2017 via the wonder of the Internet. I’d been wishing for a copy of this book all year – thank you Circus Trees!

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez for ‘The Feast of The Glastonbury Pie’!

Greenman. Dave Greenway - Glastonbury's Town Crier own

Glastonbury’s own jolly Greenman!  “Oyez, Oyez, Oyez – it’s Dave Greenway!”  Glastonbury’s Town Crier about to make a public announcement outside St. John’s Church – Saturday 9th December 2017.

Once upon a time, whilst sampling the delights and delicacies of Glastonbury – my sons noticed some rather special pasties in the baker’s shop window labelled as ‘Glastonbury Pasties’.  Curious—and hungry, my eldest son went inside and queried what it was that made the difference between the filling of a ‘Glastonbury Pasty’ and that of the traditional Cornish variety? The girl serving behind the counter, imparted in a rich Bristolian accent, that the filling of a ‘Glastonbury Pasty’ was “er…beef, er…onions, and potatoes.” and with no more er—ing – left it at that with a sweet smile! Rather nonplussed by the lack of any mention of any other ingredients – secret or otherwise – my son bought two yummy cakes instead – and rejoined myself and younger son who were waiting outside with bated breath for the great demystification of what makes a regular pasty a ‘Glastonbury Pasty’! Needless to say the incident of ‘The Glastonbury Pasty’ has become an amusing—and affectionately recounted anecdote – repeated by elder son in his best Brizzle accent every-time we pass the baker’s window – on our numerous trips to our favourite Zummerset town!  

The 'Glastonbury Pie' ready for serving on Sunday 10th December 2017.

The ‘Glastonbury Pie’ ready for serving on Sunday 10th December 2017 with a GERT LUSH dollop of Morrison’s Best Extra Thick Jersey Cream!

Inspired by ‘The Legend of The Glastonbury Pasty’ – I made my own vegetarian variation in the shape of a heart-shaped ‘Glastonbury Pie’. Made with some half-rotten windfalls I’d gathered from the Avalon Orchard – at the foot of Glastonbury Tor – on Saturday 9th December 2017…

Er magic apple...

Putting my finger – or fingers on Glastonbury’s secret ingredient.

‘The Glastonbury Pie’ is filled with one-hundred percent er…apples (Avalon Apples) plus a bit of er…sugar – plus an odd clove or two… 

'The Glastonbury Pie' ready for the oven.

Then sprinkled with fairy-dust (more sugar) and decorated with a sprig of festive Mistletoe – or Mizzletoe! ‘The Glastonbury Pie’ ready for the oven.

Of course it goes without saying that anything and everything ‘Glastonbury’ has one secret, indefinable ingredient – or essence – that it’s impossible to give an exact name to – so I simply call ‘it’ – ‘MAGIC’.

Glastonbury Tor.

Dreamy Glastonbury Tor aglow in Dusky Pink. Late-afternoon 9-12-2017.

Culinary perfection.

Culinary perfection…

Here are the other magic ingredients that went into the making of Sunday’s feast…

Witness the miracle of 'The Holy Thorn' blossoming on a grey, bitterly cold, winter's day - at St. John's Church, Glastonbury.

Witnessing the miracle of ‘The Holy Thorn’ blossoming on a grey, bitterly cold, winter’s day – at St. John’s Church, Glastonbury.

Poppy Appeal - Remembrance.

Stopping by the memorial of poppy wreaths for ‘The Fallen’ outside St. John’s Church. And lighting a candle inside the church in memory of my late father who bravely fought in the War – and against the illness that ended his life on the 6th January 2017.  The apples that I gathered (and stewed) from the Avalon Orchard at the same time last year – gave my Father strength in his last days. X

Absorb some Light and Colour through Olde Glass...

Absorbing some Light and Colour through Olde Glass…

'The Light.' Detail from the Sanctuary Window of St. John's Church

Detail from The South Sanctuary Window – ‘The Arms of Joseph of Arimathea’  inside The Church of St John the Baptist, Glastonbury.

Behold the 'Holy Grail'. Ewer. Legends of King Arthur. Glastonbury

Adding a dash of Arthurian Legend.  Is this ewer or vessel – a depiction of the actual ‘Holy Grail’?

And a flurry of snow! A handmade tree decoration inside St. John's.

And a little flurry of snow! A sparkling, handmade tree decoration inside St. John’s that caught my eye…


….reminiscent of Dartmoor’s snow-topped tors on the way up.

 'Star Child' Glastonbury

Adding a touch of sensory spice.  A visit to my favourite Glastonbury Emporium-Mmmmmmm, ‘Star Child’ for some delicious incense to smoke us – not ‘The Pie’!

Marveling at the Wonders of Mother Nature...

Outside and In.  Marveling at Mother Nature’s Wonders…my most heaven-sent hour of the trip.


This ‘shell of an apple’ looked for all the World like a Pomegranate.  It was a beautiful sculpture to hold – and to behold.

And gathering...

Gathering and Carrying…

Washing and Wishing...if only Jessie (my horse) was still here - she'd have eaten all the peelings - rotten bits and all!

Washing and Wishing…if only Jessie (my horse) was still here – she’d have eaten all the peelings – rotten bits and all!

And enough for seconds!

‘December’s Harvest’.  Enough for seconds over the festive period!

Bath Christmas Market - Glastonbury Tor

And blowing a kiss over a Winter’s hedge…

Above – “Good-bye until next time…” Glastonbury’s own magnetic Tor snapped through the car window as we set-off on our merry way to the ‘Bath Christmas Market’ – arriving at nightfall. To be continued…
Archie at the wheel through the snow. Saturday 9th December 2017

Paths and Shafts of Light.

The sound of shuffling feet and excitement as the procession of Light begins...

A spectator afoot the glittering pavement…

Torchlight Procession (1) 4th November 2017

…as the annual procession of light and sound wends its merry way through a Devon village.  4th. November 2017.

Here in Devon – November heralds that time of year when torchlight processions take to the streets – as local people come out in a show of togetherness and time-honoured tradition – to shake a fist at the quickening nights and long, cold Winter months ahead…Torch - Hatherleigh Carnival procession.

St James Iddesleigh (shadow) 4th November 2017

One of my simple remedies to combat the enveloping darkness – is to go in search of shafts of light through multicoloured glass…

The Church of St James - Iddesleigh.

With a visit to the Church of St James – Iddesleigh.  Saturday – 4th. November 2017.

On a cold day like yesterday – the temperature inside was almost as invigorating as it was outside – yet the atmosphere was warm still with the memory of all those that have worshipped at St James for centuries to the present day – it was like they had all just popped out!

Everything was immaculate, gleaming – loved. St James Iddesleigh (Bible) 4th November 2017

The lamp post on the corner of St James.

The ‘Narnia’ lamp post on the corner of St James.

St. James stands in an enviable position – upon a windswept corner plot that looks towards Dartmoor in the distance. Its position alone makes it a favourite place to visit – but nevermore memorable than on this blowy November afternoon; low Sun through old glass is magical.

The Dartmoor Window - St James Iddesleigh.

The Dartmoor Window – St James Iddesleigh.

For me – St James’ leading light is a stained glass window to the right of the altar – which is after William Holman Hunt’s ‘The Light of the World’. 

A stained glass window after my favourite painting...

A stained glass window after my favourite painting…

The original painting in Keble College Chapel - Oxford.

Adoration of the original painting in Keble College Chapel – Oxford.

Leading Light...

The colours of 'The Light of the World' warming cold stone.

The colours of ‘The Light of the World’ warming cold stone.

Their beauty, intricacy and everlasting clarity and depth of colour – spaketh volumes above the internal silence of the church…St James Iddesleigh (Stained Glass Window 1) 4th November 2017

St James Iddesleigh (Stained Glass Window 3) 4th November 2017

St James Iddesleigh (altar window detail) 4th November 2017St James Iddesleigh (Stained Glass Window 4) 4th November 2017St James Iddesleigh (Stained Glass Window 5) 4th November 2017

Under three hares,,,

Under three hares…

View through the keyhole...

Through the keyhole…

...over timeworn cobbles...

Over timeworn cobbles…

and the arched 'window'. The glory of the great outdoors from the porch of St. James.

Back out through the porch – and down a step into the Glory of the Great Outdoors.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Better to light a candle than curse the darkness."

“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

Down A Deep, Dark, Devon Lane.

Down a deep, dark, Devon lane (2)Before first consciousness – I think I must have imbibed an affinity with places off the beaten track – and horses.  More than half-a-century on – I wouldn’t describe myself as traditionally horsey – because really it was just one horse I was ever truly, deeply, mad about. 

The house where I was born. The staddle stones are still there to this day.

The house where I was born. The granite staddle stones are still there to this day – no wonder I have a thing about toadstools too!

My birthplace was Pensilva near Bodmin Moor – in a house reputedly haunted by a benevolent ghost called, Squire Pollard.  My mother once saw him through the gaps in the old oak floorboards upstairs – he was sitting in the parlour below – drinking ale and puffing on a clay pipe.  Another strange account was a dream my mother had before she ever stepped foot in the house.  She dreamt of the exact door to the room that I was born in – only in her dream she saw the words ‘Morte Bar’ inscribed on the door.  No wonder I was often referred to as a changeling child – especially as I was willful by nature with a tendency to scowl a lot! 

At night wild ponies came down from the moor – and whinnied and galloped about just beyond the bottom of our garden.  In the sixties – Pensilva was an isolated place to bring up a young family especially in contrast to Sussex where my parents and older siblings had moved from.  Needless to say – my Mother always felt unease about the house where I was born – and it wasn’t long before they upped sticks again – and moved to Devon – the place where I grew up and have lived ever since.  

Many, many years on – I realised my dream of owning my own horse – a ‘Dales’ called Wath Jewel – or Jessie for short.  wath-jewel-jessie-something-about-dartmoor

Even though she’s long gone to horsey heaven – I often dream that we hack out together.  It’s a wonderful ‘experience’ to awake from – like having all the fun of owning a horse but without the expense or hard work that goes into looking after a horse – not that Jessie was ever – EVER hard work – she was a complete joy and I still miss her warm breath and gentle ways. I even dream that I can smell her – that sweet cocktail of sweat and leather – and hay.  Not surprisingly there are lots of places roundabout that bring back memories of our jaunts together – old haunts that we revisit in my dreams like it was yesterday – all bar one that is. 

Only a few days ago – whilst enjoying a night ramble – I suddenly had an urge to take a series of photographs of an entrance to a road ‘unsuitable for motors’ that we used to ride up – gallop up – at full pelt to the high ridge…Down a deep, dark Devon Lane (1)I’ve passed this lane entrance many times ‘since’ but never have I had the want to photograph it – because all the pictures of that bright, springlike afternoon are in my head – not able to be shared here or anywhere – because they don’t exist in photographic form. They wouldn’t be appropriate anyway – too graphic. jessie-tacked-up-and-ready-to-go-something-about-dartmoor

The relationship that developed between us was something special. Jessie was a living, breathing Black Beauty – definitely more human than horse. Some might say that’s putting an anthropomorphic spin on things – but it is true.  I trusted her with every fibre of my being – I never had cause to wear a hat when out on her – and besides I enjoyed the wind in my hair as much as she did. We understood each others thoughts – and communicated freely.  I can’t really put into words how one actually talks ‘horse’ – but we were on the same frequency from day one.

On a long rein, I’d often let her take me for a ride…

On the 25th February 1998 – she took me to the road ‘unsuitable for motors’ – a forgotten ‘road’ off the beaten track. We’d been there on other occasions – to enjoy the freedom of a good gallop up its zig-zag course.  Jessie, when given the choice – usually preferred to go on a more leisurely outing where she could stop and nibble at the Devon hedgerows and graze the grass verges; ours was an easy-going relationship – where her enjoyment was of equal importance.  On this particular day – she was on a mission – she didn’t even try to snatch a mouthful from the hedge.  Jessie when she wanted to – could go like the wind – and after an exhilarating gallop up the length of the track – we soon reached the plateau at the far end – a good place to ‘pull’ on the brakes before rejoining the metalled road.   

Unusually – an ‘abandoned’ white car was facing us at the top of the lane.  Slowly moving towards it – I became aware that a person was sitting inside – most likely enjoying an afternoon nap in the life-affirming sunshine. Suddenly I felt intrusive.  In ‘slow-motion’ – over a distance of a hundred yards or so –  I gradually perceived that the occupant – a women with her mouth and eyes wide open – was not sleeping – but dead.  There was no immediacy for me to respond – she had visibly been inside her sun-drenched car too long; there was no need to dismount. Calmly and without stopping we walked-on by – relieved that life-saving intervention was not necessary – there was nothing to be done other than to raise an ‘alarm’ in the nearby sleepy hamlet.  It was only as I glanced back – seeing the ‘paraphernalia’ attached to the exhaust of the car – that I realised that the person had taken their own life.  What I saw that day – never touched me – due to my absolute belief in the protective power of Iron – Jessie’s four shoes had formed a barrier between us.  A barrier between us and the ground – the car on the ground – and her inside it. Iron Horseshoe.

Her estranged husband – a farmer and part-time gravedigger – was supposed to find her when he checked his sheep that morning – but he never did check his sheep that day – because he had a funeral to attend and he’d been running late…

The ‘paraphernalia’ attached to the exhaust of the car had been ‘borrowed’ from the milking parlour to use in a final act of imploded anger – and revenge – over her disputed share of the farm and land. The cows were milked – but the sheep fended for themselves that morning – and probably for the rest of the day that unravelled. 

The one image I retain – are her hands – forever stuck at ‘ten to two’ on the steering wheel – in a determined grip of self-will. Coincidentally about the time of day that we found her. I understand that she took her own life in the night – before the morning – before that fateful afternoon.  

It's okay that occasionally I find myself turning into that lane again - galloping up to the ridge to where there's a white car parked at the side...

It’s okay that occasionally I find myself turning into that lane again – galloping up to the ridge – to where there’s a white car parked at the side…

…but never – EVER – when I’m dreaming. 

Posted on 31-X-2017 - All Hallows Eve. A time to remember the dead.

Posted on 31-X-2017 – All Hallows’ Eve – a date to remember the Dead.  (A chocolate Halloween treat from Sandfords Bakery in Great Torrington!)

A Deep, Dark Devon Lane (1) JPG

The veil between the Living and the Dead is wafer-thin – or ‘Morte Bar’ as I’ve come to realise it.

Nature’s Give and Take.

Under a Tulip tree - Bath Canal - late Summer 2011.

Under a Tulip tree – Bath Canal – late Summer 2011.

My eldest son has enjoyed his first half-term after starting school again…

He is 24 years old and a trainee teacher. He never did return home after University – the day I dropped him off at the halls of residence was the day he left home.  The 25th of September 2011 was a scorcher – in more ways than one. Golden like the city of Bath itself – that in my mind is a place that’s forever bathed in Light – and Love.  After a rushed good-bye – I ventured into the city centre with my youngest son – to look for ‘something’ I could hold onto – to remember the day.  I didn’t know what I was looking for – but I didn’t find it in any of the shop windows.

Instead of a thing – I followed a ‘ting’ that I’d heard above the busy throng of Sunday shoppers. My souvenir of the day was a soundtrack played by these guys who were busking that day. Danny Cudd and Markus Johannson – together they are ‘Hang Massive’ – and my soundtrack of the day was – is – ‘Once Again’.

Play it once again – and again – and again… 

And now – whenever I hear ‘ting ting’ – I’m immediately transported back to that far-off golden day – that’s still as intense in my mind as sunlight streaming through a Tulip tree.

One of several golden images of a place - a day.

One of several golden images of a place – a day.

* * * * * * * * * * *

My boys taking in the rays at Baggy Point - North Devon Coast. 27-X-2017

My boys taking in the rays at Baggy Point – North Devon Coast. 27-X-2017

This half-term I have enjoyed a golden day out with my boys to Baggy Point on the North Devon Coast.  An unhurried walk up to the Point from Croyde – passing some old Whale bones on the way – and back.

All that remains of a large whale that was washed up on Croyde beach in 1915.  This moving relic of the Sea is firmly anchored at the side of the path that leads to the Point.

All that remains of a large whale that was washed up on Croyde beach in 1915.  This moving relic of the Sea is firmly anchored at the side of the path that leads to the Point.

The whale bones were preserved at the side of the path by the Hyde family – for the benefit of ALL visitors.  They gave the Bones – and Baggy Point – to the National Trust in 1939.  I thought – cor wouldn’t I just love to have it in my bone collection!!! 

Moving on – and to The Point – I saw something else in the grass that was acquirable – just – and not for my bone collection but my stone collection.  A beautiful Witch’s Heart lying on the edge of a slope that dropped away to the sea…  

Witch's Heart at Baggy Point.

Witch’s Heart at Baggy Point.

My eldest son gallantly volunteered to pick it up for me – as it was placed a lot more precariously than it looks in this photo – a bit of a cliff hanger in fact!  

Cliff Hanger!Witch's Heart from Baggy Point - North Devon. (1) 27-X-2017JPG


I love the way the Witch’s Heart fits my hand – and my hand fits the Witch’s Heart.  

Witch's Heart


Baggy Point - 27th. October 2017 (2) - Something about Dartmoor

And so another half-term passes into Golden Light…

Sun and Sea off Baggy Point - 27-X-2017

Sun and Sea off Baggy Point – 27-X-2017

* * * * * * * * * * *

“Nature’s Give and Take” a post inspired by a Soundtrack, a Whale, a Witch’s Heart, a line from a Poem – all of a Poem – and my grown-up, eldest son – Archie.  Archie holding razor shell

Graduation day. Bath Royal Crescent.

Walking Away – Cecil Day Lewis

It is eighteen years ago, almost to the day –
A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled – since I watched you play
Your first game of football, then, like a satellite
Wrenched from its orbit, go drifting away

Behind a scatter of boys. I can see
You walking away from me towards the school
With the pathos of a half-fledged thing set free
Into a wilderness, the gait of one
Who finds no path where the path should be.

That hesitant figure, eddying away
Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem,
Has something I never quite grasp to convey
About nature’s give-and-take – the small, the scorching
Ordeals which fire one’s irresolute clay.

I have had worse partings, but none that so
Gnaws at my mind still. Perhaps it is roughly
Saying what God alone could perfectly show –
How selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go. 

(Written by Cecil Day Lewis for his eldest son – Sean.)

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.

 * * * * * * * * * * 

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

Bricks and Mortar – and Ties that bind.  27-X-2017. 

Glen's chimney.

Now that all the scaffold has been taken down – and the dust and debris of the old chimney has been swept up and removed – I have a fancy that Dad comes and sits to the right of the pot.   I see him with long, tapered wings like his namesake – against a clear, blue sky.

Or when I go out to the green recycle bin at the end of our yard to dump something whilst preparing an evening meal.  I turn around to comeback in – and suddenly – there he is again – up there closer to the stars than me.  It’s funny how a chimney can be such a comfort!

“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…