Call of the Summer lands

Caught in this stream whilst falling asleep under last night’s “mackerelled moon”. An oddly, out of season, theme which made little sense till the title came at the last.

“Moon and Mackerel Sky Over Woodbridge”
Copyright: Phillip Hirst


“Scythe mown”
Copyright: Scythe Cymru

I thought I heard you call last night.

Maybe it was the moon; full and bright;
shy, flirting, in a dark mackerel sky;
stars playing peek-a-boo amongst
the shoals of silvered clouds.
An ocean sky, yearning to clear,
but not, quite, able.

How I miss the fresh cold of mountain air;
and the silence, absolute on a night like this,
far from Neptune’s incessant sigh,
and bubbling, rolling, salty breath.
Here, only the silence of foxes can catch
the dove’s night song in the far wood.

I thought I heard you call last night.

“Family hay raking” Copyright: Found at

As the sun beat hard the tin barn roof,
I looked down on Summers past:
scent of hay; scorched grass, dry herb, and
hot, stale, sweat on brown parchment skin;
‘shwisht’, the grey sward turned, ‘creak’,
of a strained rake peg, step, twist, push, pull;

repeat: an easy rhythm of sun-beat hours,
stretched between hot sweet tea and
ice-cold lemonade at the ‘home turn’;
peewit cry, curlew warble, crow caws;
a clutch of field mice in the safety of the dyke;
the horseflies: God, the horseflies…

“Hay stack”
Copyright: Flickr User Basil and Tracey Found at kuriositas

I thought I heard you call last night.

You must have been the age I am now,
that Spring: Tiny byre-ridden, and I never could
get the scythe as sharp as you; twist and ‘shwishk’,
four inch, perfect arc, no ‘Mohican’, twist and step;
repeat; till a cow’s worth of soft, new grass is borne
on the back, wrapped in last Summer’s stook cap.

You wouldn’t recognise that prized ley,
now planted to birch, elder and ash:
gone, the sweet ‘timothy’, ‘saxifrage’ and ‘betony’,
gone, the peewit, the curlew, the crow.
Probably best; lost arts: stooking up, combing down,
tying out with a hay-tight knot.

I thought I heard you call last night.

“Bringing home”
Family picture


#1 ‘Stook cap’, traditional topping of a haystack, in SW Scotland at least. Consisted of a large hessian square, tied off with light rope at each corner. The cap was thrown over the top of the stack (‘stook’) and the ropes, pulled tight, tied off to a loop of hay pulled from the bottom of the stack.

Hopefully the rest makes sense in context… 😉

Background: as a child growing up on a farm, we grew around 5 acres of hay each year, mostly with the aid of heavy machinery. Except, that is, about 1/3 of an acre which, apart from the latter years, we wrought by hand. It seemed the perfect mixture of grasses and herbs, and produced the lightest, driest, sweetest smelling hay, pretty much in the county – others may lay claim to such, but the proof is always in the eating!

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How To Make The Most Out Of A Coffee Loyalty Card.

The lure of the loyalty card… and why I no longer have any!! 😀

Some Words That Say What I Think

Like most people, I enjoy buying hot drinks from coffee shops.

However, recently, I have been trying to cut down on the amount of money I am spending on a daily basis.

In an average coffee shop, a medium latte costs around £2.75 which on its own doesn’t seem that expensive.

However, if you buy one latte every day for a year, then it all adds up to an amount that I can’t figure out right now because maths is hard – but it’s probably quite a lot.

Therefore, in an attempt to save a bit of money in coffee shops, I have started using loyalty cards.

Every time I go into a coffee shop and buy a drink, I get a stamp on my loyalty card and, once I have collected six stamps, I am allowed a free coffee as a reward for my unwavering dedication.

I have been…

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Doe, A Deer, A Female Reindeer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas

The deep roots of fables are often surprising, not entirely as we might imagine, and sometimes reveal a “self evident” truth we have somehow become blind to…


Oh wondrous headed doe… Amongst its horns it carries the light of the blessed sun…” Hungarian Christmas Folk Song

Long before Santa charioted his flying steeds across our mythical skies, it was the female reindeer who drew the sleigh of the sun goddess at winter solstice. It was when we “Christianized” the pagan traditions of winter, that the white bearded man i.e. “Father Christmas” was born.


Today it is her beloved image that adorns Christmas cards and Yule decorations – not Rudolph. Because unlike the male reindeer who sheds his antlers in winter, it is the larger and stronger doe, who retains her antlers. And it is she who leads the herds in winter.


So this season, when we gather by the fire to tell children bedtime stories of Santa and his flying reindeer – why not tell the story of the ancient Deer Mother of old? It was she…

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Reining in the kids…

Dearest Children of Horus,

I’m laying the line down here, as it’s difficult to know where else to put it; and, frankly, to leave the current situation to find its natural end is no longer tenable.

You mess with dark forces, you play with the big boys. You mess with dark forces, you can’t just “change your mind” and walk away unscathed. Once you are in, you are in. There is no easy way of removing yourself from that “relationship”. There is a price to pay. A very great price, indeed.

Here is the thing.

When you walk through the worlds, you meet all sorts. When you walk through the worlds, you remain immune to their wiles. When you walk through the worlds, you know their desires, their needs, their fears…

You play with these boys at your own risk. You play with these boys, you risk all. There is nothing I, or anyone, can do to extricate you from the duties and responsibilities you embraced on choosing to skip through these fields. Whatever it was you thought you’d achieve, your ego has deceived you.

Be on notice.

You can send them after me, should you so wish. They know to keep their distance. I can handle the minor irritation that their mosquito like annoyance brings. If they get too familiar, I’ll just release them from all bonds, and show them home.

You send them after my family? Not a good idea. Dark forces do not interest me. They are only following your desire. No. Instead; I’ll come looking for you!

Mark my words.

As easily as I can raise you through the heavens, I can take you to the deepest levels of hell. You obviously don’t know me as well as you think you do: for I would have no qualms in leaving you there.

After all, this was the game you chose to play…

Your ever loving,
Uncle Anubis

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The Adventurer’s Hidden Magic

And now, for something completely different…

Sun in Gemini

“Strike man, strike!”

Those were the last words of Sir Walter Raleigh, spoken to an executioner who was taking his time, at the end of one of the most colourful lives of the whole Elizabethan era. The attitude–not of defiance, but of expediency–typified this adventurer’s life.

Raleigh had charmed Elizabeth I, but failed to do so with her successor, James I of England, who inherited the throne on the death of the childless ‘Virgin Queen’ in 1603. Despite the religious horrors of her early years, Elizabeth was pragmatic about religion, and actively sought to calm the religious stresses that the ‘bloody reign’ of her half-sister, Queen Mary I, had unleashed.

Raleigh was born into a strongly Protestant and well-connected family in Devon. Their lives had been blighted by religious persecution, and the aspiring Raleigh fitted Elizabeth’s cause well. As a young soldier of seventeen, he began a three year period…

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The Eye of The Storm

Beautiful, touching and inspirational in equal measure. Enjoy!

Pilgrim's Way

PathThere are times, I think, when ritual is both too much and not enough. Anyone who practises will probably understand what I mean. The ‘constraints’ of ritual pattern and structure are, on occasion, insufficient to meet the needs of the spirit, and instead one feels a deep and overwhelming need for something simpler…more spontaneous. This past equinox was just one of those occasions.

After yet another tiring day of extreme work-related stress and upset I went for my usual chill out time in the garden with a brew. I found a large stone in the garden which I sat holding and turning over and over in my hand whilst watching the sun begin His western decent. I started to reflect on the week, the month, the season, the year and all those things which have been, the things I’ve not achieved, the reasons why I haven’t achieved them, the things…

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Sugar and Spice and all things nice…

Finding your inner witch…

Chronicles of an Orange-Haired Woman!

Hmm! A broomstick’s all very well and good, but it doesn’t half chafe the gusset area!

Oh! How the ramifications of, and early training in, this little ditty still trip girls and women up!

‘…all things nice…’ Think about it and weep, or grind your teeth, or shriek in an unladylike manner and divest yourself of that ‘nice’ label.

The Scottish Play, in which I am playing a witch (sorry, couldn’t resist!), is bringing up whole washing lines of dark garments, all of which sag sinisterly and resist the pole’s desperate attempt to make them fly in the wind and, thus, disperse some of the damp and dank odour of nastiness!

But, the way I see it, though bloody uncomfortable and, at times, upsetting, this unconventional ‘therapy’ is producing pearls from the rough grit that so annoys your average oyster (an apt image, let me tell you!).

I have…

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