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"a man is a success if he gets up in the morning ,goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do" Bob Dylan.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

almost the end of the year.

December is always a hard month. We work long hours and our days are often extremely intense with the volume of demand from customers. The snow this year presented a different set of difficulties. Just trying to move around and keep warm seemed to exact every ounce of energy. The added complication of -15 temperatures and burst pipes just an added burden. The final insult being an invasion of cold and coughs just after Christmas leaving us weak and fed up. Wasn't Christmas supposed to be about peace, joy and the gift of life?
During this time Elrick of the Clay and Mattaeus visited from Finland . The cold and snow didn't seem to worry them at all!! Discussions for a return visit to Pori next summer were fruitful!
As the year draws to a close here are a couple of lists.
Favourite Books 2010:
Rob Young               "Electric Eden"
"Best of Charles Delint"
Barbara Kingsolver  "The Lacuna"
Ann Kelly                 "The Light at St. Ives"
Sean Wilentz            "Bob Dylan in America"

Favourite Albums 2010:
Telling the Bees        "English Arcanum"
Bob Dylan                "Witmark Demos"
Worm Ourouboros
For a Minor Reflection "holdum att ad Oreidu"
Ralph Towner           "Chiascuro"

Finally my most recent finished works. "Minninglow 1" and "2"!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

time travel.

Its a cold ,wet and windy morning in mid - november. The perfect day for another sojourn into the soul of the Peak District. This time a return trip to Minninglow . The wind is high pushing us along the trail and up the short incline to the Ancient Site. A quick rainstorm powered by the gale forces us under the wall for a few moments .I look over into Staffordshire it is stormy on the horizon we can hardly stand upright yet this is so exhilarating. We laugh and shout under our hoods. The view is immense. A day like this takes some beating. Sky, land, time, space....
The ancient burial chambers and stones greet us .They have been battered by the wild elements of this moorland for thousands of years- signposts to long distant relations who inhabited the land . I guess we are just another couple of visitors from another time.
Another short storm so we shelter by the beech trees grinning joyfully  glad we came. The wind hustles the rain clouds away to the south and the sun appears and we again wonder about the past....and the future.

As we wandered away in the sunlight I mused about our ancestors. Did they have more wisdom than we give them credit for? Certainly this place testifies to a connection with the earth, the sky and the land and their place. Also a connection with the unseen lands hidden beyond our vision. Maybe we could learn something from time travel? Why would they bother with ritual , why was it important to mark time and place?What did they know?
What markers will we leave for future time travellers , what will future generations learn about us. What will our legacy be?

Saturday, 30 October 2010


"its been a hard days night"

Just come to the end of a solid 20 day stretch of work which has been a great deal of fun . There was still time to take a trip to Manchester for "Way to Blue" a Nick Drake Tribute concert with Sue, Nicky and Maja. A lovely evening. I was able to provide the local constabulary with a negative breath test after popping to Sheffield to see the amazing "Telling the Bees" at the Grapes . We are now preparing for a gig we are hosting with Nice Cafe on 3rd November . The Phantom Sweetheart Tour with Nicholas Stevenson, Charlie Jobson , Oliver Wilde  and Nicky Crewe doing some spoken word. I will also be exhibiting some new work .
Last night was incredible at the Office pub Upperthorpe."Wet Nuns", "Avida Dollars "and "Violet May". What an amazing Halloween Special. The outfits were fantastic , the atmosphere incredibly punk rock and the music raw loud and messy. You dont get many nights like that. Lovely people partying at the end of the world.No scensters just good honest fun and a load of zombie cool! LEFT MY CAMERA AT HOME !! (Just a shame) "Sky Parade "were on the same night!
reading :  "SHINDIG MAGAZINE" and "SHINDIG ANNUAL vol 1,2, 3.
listening:   " THE WITMARK DEMOS" Bob Dylan (on repeat)

Friday, 1 October 2010

more from Aberdaron

on the road with "Low Horizons"

Haunts of Ancient Peace.

"Its an interesting church, you should have a look". So after wandering along the lonely beach stopping to take some photos and doing a little sketching I meandered into the small well kept churchyard that overlooked the beach and the turning tide. The clear blue September sky, untroubled by any errant cloud, reflected on the sea. The odd tern rasped a message to his friend as they scudded past on some business errand. The door handle on the Church door had a little arrow pointing up to help you enter. Gently turning the handle as indicated I stepped inside.

Nothing previously had prepared me for the breathtaking experience of entering St. Hywyn's Church Aberdaron.

Totally unaware of the Church's history the first impression was of "Presence" . Similar to entering the wardrobe in C.S. Lewis's book I seemed to have slipped between worlds. Stillness , Presence, Welcoming .Having had my senses stunned I found a seat . This place was , what Van Morrison sang about on his 1980 recording, a "Haunt of Ancient Peace".

After sitting still for some time I slowly became aware of the fabric of the place. The white paint on the walls was peeling away in places ,sunlight from the windows illuminated the ancient minimal feel yet gave the sense of being "home", spacious , silent. On the low table in front of me was a small bowl with a rose, a vase of fresh flowers , a votive candle and a small iconic cross. In an alcove a simple driftwood cross. Flowers. Most of the pews had been removed , which gave a lovely open feel , and as I wandered around the building I discovered an expression of faith that resonated deeply in my soul. Two simple altars surrounded by flowers, the wonderful Cairn of beach pebbles with prayers and messages. Banners and kneelers handmade reflecting the wonders of nature, the universe and the Mystery. Did I mention flowers? A bunch of grapes on the main altar was a masterstroke. Simplicity, beauty ,reverence,pilgrimage and a feeling of belonging in the universe , playful yet holy . A "thin place " where heaven and earth collide and ,if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you find one foot in each place and its hard to leave. Everything is here , all the elements that speak of

creation , the wonder , the mystery and the beauty of eternity.

Only later did I realise that the poet and minister R.S. Thomas lived here and that Aberdaron has been a place of pilgrimage for 1500 years ! By accident ,here in the almost forgotton West, I found one of the Gates of Heaven.

I purchased a copy of Thomas's poems , sat in the churchyard in the sun, the Altantic ocean ebbing and flowing before me, and turned the page.....