Thank you for visiting my page.
MoonBrook Cottage was the name of a small artisan project created to showcase my interest in spinning, dyeing natural fibres and my love of bees. Its name comes from the brook at the bottom of the garden of the cottage where I live with my husband, hedgelayer Chris, dog Dan and two cats, a ‘core’ group of chickens and a goose called Agatha. Our beehives are nearby under old walnut trees on the slopes of one of the Shropshire Hills we affectionately call ‘The Hill’.
Interest in Tales and Traditions:
Like many of my generation, as a child I was immersed in old tales and traditions. In my teens my grandfather encouraged my interest in herbalism, himself influenced by his father, George. George was a waggoner who used herbs to treat and cure the maladies of his charges, keeping secret the ‘tools’ of his trade. Eventually I realised it was the lore and stories about the plants and flowers that really captivated me. This has led to a lifelong passion seeking out folk history, the lives of the common people and their traditions.
I used to love travelling, moving on and about in different places including Zimbabwe, Japan, North America, the Arctic Circle and Europe. Everywhere I encountered various and diverse tales and traditions: the kabuki in Japan, Americana on the Jersey Shore, Easter Sunday on the Greek Isle of Zante, dancers in the Shona villages of Zimbabwe, Sami storytellers on the frozen ice of Sweden. Each was celebrated with passion and vibrancy, communities coming together to dance, sing, tell stories, even mourn. We have our own rich legacy here on the Islands of Britain. Often they are ignored by the majority; sometimes ridiculed or misunderstood by those who should know better. Many survive in various incarnations enacted and performed with vigor and enthusiasm. Some are mainstream and more are quietly observed in hidden corners.
I have long been curious about our ‘sense of place’ within the landscape: how our environment may shape the format and delivery of traditions and how we may respond to the world around us. I do not claim to be an expert in any of this; it is a passion and one I hope to do justice to in clarity and enthusiasm.
Since leaving the NHS several years ago I have been so very busy!
I have studied the concept of the ‘Otherworld’ with Cardiff University and in 2020 completed an MA in Celtic Studies at UWTSD (my thesis examined the Welsh writings of the twelfth-century cleric, Walter Map and their impact on later folklore).
Before the arrival of COVID 19 I facilitated and co-presented creative workshops on folklore with the artist Hannah Willow and Phil Holmes working with some amazing people including stain glass artist Tamsin Abbott, archaeologist Richard Osgood (Digging for Britain, Operation Nightingale), Mari Lwyd specialists John and Sue Exton, Wiltshire Museum, Bard and poet Jackie Juno and singer and activist, Sam Lee.
I record and write about medieval graffiti, walk the green lanes and holloways of the hills where I live and continue to study and write about the uncanny Welsh Marches. This is a liminal landscape which shifts and changes with the seasons, a perfect place for field walking, searching old middens and gleaning the river banks. I delve into dark corners and dive down rabbit holes chasing the past, searching the patterns on the landscape for holloways and storylines, sifting through the flotsam and jetsam of the past. Often the rabbit hole may lead to a dead end but the chase can be glorious!
I have appeared on local radio and Countryfile with the BBC. I am a member of the Folklore Society and write for various webpages and folklore note for authors including https://www.celestineandthehare.com . I am currently working on my own book about the tales and landscape of Herefordshire/Shropshire Marches.
A while ago I started recording some of my fields trips (I organise and process better in blog form ). These are usually from my trips around the Welsh Marches with my collie, Dan. Some may be found on these pages.
So welcome! Please do contact me (contact page) if you want any references or further information. I hope you find something of interest here.