Thank you for visiting my page.
MoonBrook Cottage was originally a small artisan project created to showcase my interest in spinning, dyeing natural fibres and my love of bees. The name comes from the brook at the bottom of the garden of the cottage where I live with my husband, my dog Dan and two cats, a ‘core’ group of chickens and a goose called Agatha. Our beehives are nearby under some old walnut trees and the slopes of one of the Shropshire Hills we affectionately call ‘The Hill’.
Interest in Tales and Traditions:
As a child I was immersed in old tales and traditions. By my teens I was interested in herbalism influenced by my grandfather. He had been influenced by his father who had worked with horses using herbs to treat and cure their maladies. Eventually I realised it was the lore and stories concerning the plants and flowers that really captured me leading to a lifelong passion seeking out local lore and traditions.
I once travelled frequently spending time in many different places including Zimbabwe, Japan, North America and the Arctic Circle. In many places I witnessed examples of tales and traditions that have survived finding their place in history and culture. This has sometimes been at a very high price. Maybe it is a subsequence of such sacrifices that many customs and stories are remembered and celebrated. The Islands Of Britain have an equal legacy, not always acknowledged and sometimes ridiculed by the populace.
I am especially interested in how people and the landscape shape the format and delivery of traditions. For me it is important that their representation is holistic, not based solely on the musings and imaginings of a romantic past. That said, 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.
I left working for the NHS several years ago now spending my time researching and writing about certain aspects of the past. I studied the concept of the ‘Otherworld’ with Cardiff University and have recently completed an MA in Celtic Studies at UWTSD. I have a special interest in the transmission and context of tales in the medieval period especially the 12th century. My thesis concerned the twelfth-century Welsh Marches and the writings of the cleric, Walter Map. For now I will continue to write and delve into dark corners, searching for lost villages, patterns on the landscape, holloways and storylines, sifting through the flotsam and jetsam of the past found on page and in field ( I love to spend time field walking, searching for old middens and gleaning the river banks…)
I also facilitate and co-present workshops throughout Britain with the creative folklore team, ‘Face in the Trees‘ with the artist Hannah Willow and Phil Holmes. We have been been fortunate to work with some wonderful guests at these workshops including stain glass artist Tamsin Abbott, archeologist Richard Osgood (Digging for Britain, Operation Nightingale) and singer and activist, Sam Lee.
Some time 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 and many can 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.