I spent all of yesterday in Great Torrington in north Devon. The good people of Torrington, and arts company Wolf and Water, are holding a festival to celebrate the Reverend Keble Martin, sometime vicar of the parish and author of The Concise British Flora in Colour. This groundbreaking book was published in 1965, and had pride of place on my…Continue reading Weeds and wonders
More of the Devon coast to coast walk today. In early summer, Devon is bursting with greenery and birdsong and life of all kinds. We are truly blessed to live in such an abundant part of the world. Everything out there has its own story. The baby bird, just fledged, a tiny scrap of belligerent life, vulnerable on the forest path. The wild…Continue reading Rich connections
What is a ‘folk tale?’ When does modern become traditional, and anecdote become received wisdom? For my book Botanical Tales, I’ve been researching the traditional folk tales recorded from many different parts of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, looking for stories where wild plants and trees play a central role, and relating these stories back to the folklore of plants and…Continue reading Plant folklore, plant folk tales
British folk tales are a big part of life for me right now. Any spare moment I have, I’m working on my book ‘Botanical Tales.’ There’s a lot of stories now, and yet new ones keep on appearing. Listening is as important as writing: to go with the inspirations that regularly turn up as part of the research, to follow those stories…Continue reading Fairy confessions
It’s the Spring Equinox, the time of equal day and night, that will tip over into the summer months and warmer times. It’s meant to be a time of balance, equilibrium, and calm. Allegedly. Looking around me, I see very few people in a state of balance. Over the last few weeks, I have been drawn to the fact that most…Continue reading Direction of travel
Stories will find you, stories that fit the energy of the time. Or is it the other way around? As part of South Devon Storytellers we have been working through the Norse myths, transforming the self-consciously sparkly Totnes into a world of ice, gods, giants and mountains. On Monday I told stories of Loki: the Father of Lies, the Shape Shifter,…Continue reading A river of hope?
I started the Devon coast to coast (Two Moors Way) walk today, as a little project to tackle through the year. We started on Wembury beach, and made our way through the muddy countryside of south Devon, and the occasional snow shower, towards the southern edge of Dartmoor. Some way to go on that yet… It’s easy, in February, to…Continue reading Attention to detail
Welcome to my blog. The first post is all about … Giants. Ah, giants. Clumsy, not very bright, slightly thuggish, ham-handed, hairy brutes, with gruff voices and violent tendencies. They’re slain by valiant knights in shining armour, to win castles and ladies and that kind of thing. Right? The old tales from the British Isles hold traces of a different…Continue reading Who left all those rocks lying around?