Holdgate: ‘The Castle of a Man called Helgot’…

Holdgate: ‘The Castle of a Man called Helgot’…

I submitted my thesis a few weeks ago and I miss my daily journeys into the murk and dark corners of the 12th century Welsh Marches. So, on feeling the need to escape for a few hours, away from Covid, Brexit and my woodsman husband’s looming redundancy, myself and Dan saddled up and journeyed over The Hill. It was a clear and sunny morning in late October and we headed north in search of a glimpse of the medieval past….

Read More Read More

Ghosts in the Landscape…Romans, Normans and a Georgian Woodsman

Ghosts in the Landscape…Romans, Normans and a Georgian Woodsman

I wrote the following ‘short’ for the Folklore Society Newsletter some time ago. It is about the old mott and bailey castle in Brinklow, a village in Warwickshire near to where I sent some of my childhood. Many of us heard tales as children concerning the local landscape: secret passages, fiddlers lost in underground caves and old women roaming the hills. Brinklow ‘tump’ is a huge mound right next to an old lane. As we drove by with my grandma…

Read More Read More

‘Tis merry in the hall, where beards wag all’…traditions of harvest home

‘Tis merry in the hall, where beards wag all’…traditions of harvest home

Now, there came three men out of Kent, my boys, For to plough for wheat and rye, And they made a vow and a solemn vow John Barleycorn must die. ~ Trad. Version sung by Fred Jordan, Shropshire farmworker and singer Harvest time! Once a huge event in rural communities, this was the culmination of the farming year with people coming together to bring in the barley, rye and other crops. When all was done they were rewarded for their…

Read More Read More

He Sings a Song in May…

He Sings a Song in May…

From time to time I collaborate with my friends, artist Hannah Willow and storyteller, Phillip Holmes, to produce workshops celebrating British folklore and legends . Alas, much of this year’s program has been cancelled but previous workshops, held at Avebury and Tintern in Wales, have focused on lore related to corvids and the element of ‘air’. Both included birds as messengers and portents and migratory birds were especially significant, suddenly arriving and leaving later as the year rolls towards winter…

Read More Read More

A Sense of Place…?

A Sense of Place…?

Strange times. Arguably the most common understatement of the current crisis. I use this expression a lot to summarise my own sense of unreality at this time of lock down. Of course, there are other expressions… The coronavirus outbreak has anchored many of us to our home or the place we ‘live’ in, the place where we must stay, for now. This place is where many of us find new ways to organise our days, to mark and pass the…

Read More Read More

Americana 2: A Tale of New York….

Americana 2: A Tale of New York….

After a few days on the Jersey Shore (see previous blog), we drove back to Newark and caught the train into New York City. This extraordinary city does not, or should not, disappoint. It is hard to define, despite the imprint of colonialism, immigration, opportunity, industrialisation, poverty, politics, and more. It occupies a space neither old or new. New York really is a place of ‘other’. Since my last visit ten years ago, there are many differences: Time Square is…

Read More Read More

Americana 1. The Race of Gentlemen

Americana 1. The Race of Gentlemen

Last month we crossed the ocean to witness a new tradition, The Race of Gentlemen, held every year in Wildwood, New Jersey since 2012. This is Americana at it’s finest! The Race Of Gentlemen or TROG, is held on the East coast on the Jersey Shore under a very fine backdrop of retro America…. Wildwood is where Bill Hayley first performed Rock Around the Clock in 1954 and the town still has examples of over 200 beautiful motels from the…

Read More Read More

Of Swallows & Pilgrims…a walk in the Clettwr Valley

Of Swallows & Pilgrims…a walk in the Clettwr Valley

A sunny morning in early September, a perfect day for walking and gently easing myself back into my ramblings. Thank goodness that my broken leg had healed in time to join the local singer and song collector, Owen Shiers, for a pilgrimage along the beautiful Clettwr Valley in Ceredigion. Owen is founder of Cynefin, http://cynefinmusic.wales/en/home-page , a musical journey of discovery and remembrance of the songs and stories of this beautiful part of west Wales. A Welsh speaker, Owen grew…

Read More Read More

Ringing the changes – the bell of Aberdovey…

Ringing the changes – the bell of Aberdovey…

Many of us have a ‘go to place’ and one of ours is the lovely beach just north of Aberdovey, overlooking the lost Cantre r Gwaelod, the drowned lowland hundred of Cardigan Bay. This huge expanse of land was lost long ago swallowed up by a deluge according to legend and song. As you can see, I have shed the boot and crutch for a stylish stick. We spent a few pleasant hours looking at the horizon, imaging the lost…

Read More Read More

5. Jumping Off…

5. Jumping Off…

This is my first official blog entry, despite lots of notes and intended submissions over the last two or three years. So, I am jumping off into the World of Blog, despite my inept IT skills before more times passes. A major set back a few weeks ago was the fracturing of my fibula in an attempt to rescue some ducklings and their mother for the local wildlife rescue. Hopefully they were able to resolve their problems getting to the…

Read More Read More

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.

Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.

September 2017 It was 5.30am, dark, a chill in the air. I had to force myself out of bed. Dan looked at me in horror as I herded him out into the car in the drizzle and half light (he is not a morning dog). It was either now or wait another year. I have wanted to attend the Horn Dance at Abbots Bromley in the Forest of Needwood for over 30 years. This was the day! The horn dance…

Read More Read More

4. Bandits, mammoths along the Afon Dyfi…..

4. Bandits, mammoths along the Afon Dyfi…..

September 2017 It was our new Barefoot caravan, Mollie’s, maiden voyage and we had driven through pouring rain up into the wet Welsh mountains of Snowdonia to find that the pitch we thought had been reserved for us was no longer available! It was getting dark and folk were coming down off the mountains due to the awful weather and we were feeling dejected and wet. Then the blessed sat-nav took us down a blind lane and I had to…

Read More Read More

error: Content is protected !!