Journal

A new companion

Proudly introducing our new young companion, miss Holly Ci, a beautiful puppy.

Chewing on a cow's ear

Holly chewing on a cow's ear.

Holly came into our lives in late January, brought to us by our friend Eddie who had the pick of the litter, his dog being Holly’s father. We had a few days to decide whether it was a good time to take on such a responsability, but soon enough we realised that this was a really intelligent, quick learning animal that we could train well and would in time become a loyal companion on our travels.  She is called Holly because she loves to chew on the  holly leaves.

For more about Holly and a couple of other new friends, do read on….

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A show of ice and snow

glintings

The snow is melting away, the streams rush full and the ground squelches again. The birds no longer pester us for food as the worst of the cold is over……. for now.

puffy-robbs

Our friend Mr.Robin looking fluffed up

Its been a hard time for everyone, we are sure, and we have received reports of people stranded and roads closed. We’ve had lots of folk write in and ask how we’re coping in all of this cold and snow, so here we’ll show and tell. Read on……

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A House Springs Up

We are staying in beautiful Welsh woodlands, in Radnorshire. We’ve been here for the last 6 weeks. We’re under canvas, with hazel, oak and ash above, preparing for the full onslaught of winter.

autumn3

Autumn

Busy we’ve been, with a home to build, as well as a working camp to house us meantime.

We’ve seen through the end of Autumn, and the leaves fell around us as though they’d never stop. Now, all is down, the sap lowered, vitality all drowsed. Everyone has worked finger to bone, and we’ve come close to exhausted.

ed-will-home-tired

Tired boys

Thankfully, we’ve found good allies in these Welsh hills, such as Annie and Simon, Eddie of Mellowcroft, and Anne of Rhyader. The warmth and dry air of a conventional building can be incredibly restorative, but only for a short while, as all that enclosed space gets stuffy. People in houses seem to get colds, we have noticed, while we outside just get damp and chilly. It’s a trade off, of sorts.

Rest will soon be known, when we’ve gotten all our systems and selves properly aligned for this winter sure to set in deeply soon.

If you’d like to see and hear more, including our first arrival, the growth of camp, our findings with cob, straw-bale insulation, herbal first aid, songs, coppicing, and west Wales, click on reader…

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Settling into a Welsh Woodland Home

Camp has been struck. Our enquiries bore fruit, and our Kentish rest has been left behind. We are settled into the woods in Cymru.

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Under the a-frame. 2 days into the woods

We are near Llandegly Rocks in Radnorshire. We’ll tell more presently. Thankyou to the many people who suggested a good place to stay. We’ve been offered a full variety of woods, huts, yurts, valleys, gardens, hillsides, in spots all over Cymru. Soon, we’ll write a list of all the communities and projects we’ve discovered in asking for a winter home.

Meantime, here is a recap of what’s been going on over the last few weeks…

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Call for Winter Help

winter bless

Hello.

We hope this turning Autumn finds you well.

As the seasons rush on, we all keep pace.

Our path over the last 7 months led us to St David’s, to our great delight. From Canterbury, this counts as a half-pilgrimage to Rome, we were told ( it’s actually double, a Welsh lady assured us).

in St Davids, between rains...

We travelled back from Wales toward the bright lights of  London Town to sing a gig in the South Bank Centre, which went down most well. Microphones were turned off, and all the bright lights kept the audience invisible, so we just chattered and jumped about, having fun. It seemed to work…

Back in Kent, irresistibly drawn to respite, we’re now making various winter preparations. Stockpiles of wool, dried fruit, and tools, are piling up slowly. We have been dyeing clothes with walknut husks, making chutneys and syrups from plums, pears and rosehips. We’ve dried many apples, and gathered pig-weed seeds, nettles, fat-hen seeds, acorns, sea-beet, and other bits. We are trying to be winter-ready.

Our winter plan is to stay in one place, in woodlands, beneath temporary straw shelters to evade the worst of the cold wet. Being still will be a real treat, and will let us learn the skills that cannot be practised while constantly walking. Taking a good rest is a crucial part of  nomadic tradition.

The Fire Seed Bursts Open

Please press More for details of our requests (now long since met, our great thanks to you all)

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Ampfield Woods to Romsey…

group-smiles-

happy boys and girls


Ampfield forest is a fair harbour for our new group of four. Susie’s new tarpaulin home is soon strung up, and after a first night’s classic downpour, in which she enjoys her first night of wet feet, it is swiftly re-strung and tightened.

Read on….

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Farewell Ginger…

We are no longer walking as a group of three. Continuing to walk this strange path is Will and Ed, but no longer are we accompanied by Ginger.

So where did Ginger go, and what is he doing now?

small-3-boys-parting2

fare well, and joy be with you

Well, this walk as a three was always experimental. We did not know how well our group of 3 would work, and to an extent we did not share an entirely common vision. This, of course, was a good thing, for the more perspectives, the more we all can share new outlooks, and enjoy a wider field of sight.

Ed brings to the group his fluency with flickering ideas, his slow ascendance into showmanship, and his dreamy meanderings, inside of which he stands like cloud-built castles.

Will brings his charming ‘hello-manship’, his ability and desire to communicate with all people, and his slow steady holding of plots and plans, and his intent to protect.

Ginger brings his deep resources of craft, his awareness of the environment, his farsightedness and his trust in his ability to shape and adapt the environment around him, for the greater good.

All these qualities (and more!) we all brought walking with us, to share and learn from each other.

But not all groups are destined to remain together. Ginger had less of an impulse to share this journey with the world, while Ed and Will were intentful on the act of outward-communication. This meant that we were, asa group, more and more likely to desire separate existences, and although we loved to walk together, and especially to sing together, the journey had its paths for us all, which we slowly came to realize.

So Ginger applied for an apprenticeship with Mike Abbott, a renowned green woodworker who has done much travelling himself in days not so far gone by.

Ginger initially was writing a formal application, when an email from Mike came through: “I was sitting on the toilet, reading Permaculture magazine, when this page opened in my hands and there you were. No need for the application, just turn up when you can!”

It sort of makes all that work worthwhile, when the rewards are as simple and clear as that.

So Ginger, from Petersfield town centre, bid Ed and Will farewell. A funeral was going on in the town centre at that time, and it too was a confusing affair. People in flash suits were milling about chuckling, drinking and discussing cars.

We too felt the strange pull between sorrow and relief, as the unity we had all been trying so hard to maintain was mercifully broken, so we might all once more re-focus our energies inward along paths of less resistance.

Ginger then walked off, at breakneck pace, to get to Herefordshire in the next few weeks. We heard word of his swift travels through the south, which were dedicated to distance-coverage, and thus punished his feet and back more severely than our three-part walk of slow discovery.

It was a hard parting, but refreshing for us all, and certainly for the best. Will and Ed will continue to take the strange slow path of  outward-showing, while Ginger takes the creative journey of spokes and wheels and chairs and all.

His companionship will be sorely missed, yet we know that he will be skilling-up with his hands all dusty and full of good wood shavings, his heart full of the songs of creation and shaping.

And we will, when the road allows it, meet again and sing as a three with all the high glory we have known and shared.

“So it’s fare thee well, sweet lovely Ginger, ten thousand times fare well…”

small-3-boys-parting3

rising and falling, the sweet sorrow sings

Sustainabilty Centre to Winchester

With Ayla, we walk to Old Winchester Hill, sing in a 300 foot hole, and then stay on St Catherine’s Hill for a few days while singing all over Winchester.
It is a lovely time.
Read more…there’s pretty photos, we promise:
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Petersfield to the Sustainability Centre

A jolly stroll, in which we meet ghosts, and the wizards of Permanent Publications. We learn a few new songs, and feast on food from a bin.

go on, read it up…

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Midhurst to Petersfield, Petersfield, Petersfield…

We walk into Midhurst, sing, and then head off to meet Paul Kingsnorth, the world famous super-writer who did us so proud in the weekend Telegraph.

Then we spend serious time beneath the South Downs, singing for boy scouts, and meeting old friends.

Parting comes soon after, as we three seperate, to come a 2 and a 1.

Read on, reader…

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