I had an epic 3 days in Rhayader with Toby Hay ,Jim Ghedi and the Gofannon Forge massive Tom and Nick! CARAD is a great venue and the set up worked so well. The sculptures created by Tom and Nick are truly magnificent and it was thrilling to see it all come together considering we had no idea what each other was creating ! The launch night was terrific with fantastic performances from Jim Ghedi ,David Ian Roberts and Toby himself . A great success all round and a privilege to be involved.A special mention to Paul Hay for the may varieties of whisky and Carol Hay for the lovely food and warm welcome.I felt like family from the moment Bear the dog jumped on me. There are lots of photos on the various social media sites .I have around 25 paintings on show until Christmas. I will post a few up occasionally.P lease check out the musicians on Cambrian Records and if you are so inclined support them, they are truly lovely people . Thanks to everyone at CARAD who welcomed me so warmly and to the many people who came to the show.
We awake to a crisp morning and the predicted snow fall is just a covering on the higher ground of Longstone Edge. We head out after lunch towards Buxton on the trail .There is more snow to the North West but we have escaped with only rain.Our walk is brisk and rewarding enhanced by a huge gathering of jackdaws and rooks rising from the fields loudly complaining at each other. They are soon put in their place by a magnificent Raven. His “Kronk” made it clear just who was in charge as he flew west. About 500 starlings joined in the fun.
Later more activity from about 300 gulls also feeding on a recently fertilised field . You kind of wish they would go back to the coast but they are fairly spectacular in the afternoon sun. The final icing on the cake is a close encounter with a Kestrel intent on finding an afternoon snack.
Listening : Toby Hay. Birds ep
As if by magic it is November and suddenly cold. We decide to head over into Staffordshire to explore Tittesworth Reservoir. It is a delightful place, nice and quiet at this time of year. Lots of water birds , cormorants, Lapwings ,grebes to name a few and we are treated to a close up of a magnificent heron on our 5 mile walk. It is a lovely day for the first day of November and driving home we take in fantastic views from the old Mermaid Public House (now sadly holiday accommodation).
Listening : Toby Hay ” birds” ep
A misty morning greets us as we rise but soon the mist takes on a pink glow as the last day of Autumn breaks through. The day is glorious . There is no wind and the turning colour of the trees is breathtaking. Sunset is 4-30pm and is right on time so as the day recedes we head out one last time. Heading for “The Owl Bench” in the dusk we are blessed. Three Little Owls perched on three fence posts silhouetted against the fading light ! Later in the dark we hear them calling across the hidden fields. Farmer John sees us at the bench taking in the stillness.I remark how special tonight is and he agrees and optimistically reminds us that December 21 is not far away! ” It begins to draw out again lad” he grins before driving off. We are left to muse on our attempts to keep in step with the rhythm of nature and not be bound by man’s frenetic calendar. The stillness is tangible now and the atmosphere is that of the mystical “thin times”. Odd sounds in the air, a rooks call, a sheep bleats and a dog barks in the distance. Returning back in the dark the candles left in the garden guide us home .Time to light the fire in the hearth, winter is coming.
Listening George Winston “Autumn”
Out on the edgelands near Minninglow ,a blustery west wind whipped around us . Sunlight on the distant Eastern moors and clouds scudding over our heads. As we turned for home the skies cleared above us and the sun was actually warm. As usual solitary crows passed back and forth and we stopped to watch a large gathering of Rooks squabbling in a field .It was then about 500 starlings rose up unexpectedly before us . Against the sunlight their wings became slivers of silver shining in the air.A magical moment and our first serious murmeration of the Autumn.
Mrs H in her element…
Listening : Francois Couturier ” Nostalghia- Song for Tarkovsky”
One of Van’s great songs begins “On a Golden Autumn Day”. That was today. Still, clear and fresh . We wandered out on a back lane taking in the beauty and the colours on the trees. Only the odd leaf made the journeyto the path from above. We disturbed a couple of Chaffinches in the hedgerow and I was bemoaning the fact that there were hardly any Greenfinches around. Also that the Yellowhammer had disappeared from this lane where a few years ago there were two or three pairs. My biggest sadness is the Lapwing (Peewit or GreenPlover) .There was always a large flock in the fields around us but now just the occasional pair can be seen. Then to my delight in the distance ,as if to confound my sadness, about 20 Lapwings rose from a field about a quarter of a mile away their white markings shining in the afternoon sun. Nature!! Always there with a surprise!!
It’s bright with a nip in the air. We decide on a morning stroll? Choosing one of the “Rivendell Rounds” the name given to the walks we can take from the door. We can hear the sound of trees being felled and about 500 yards from home we find the local farmer has cut down 3 healthy ash trees and has started on the oaks on the opposite side of the road. Heartbroken I watch then feed branches into the shredder reducing a beautiful tree to woodchip in minutes! I feel broken inside! A feeling I just cannot put into words. I could understand if the trees were dangerous or a problem but rooks , squirrels, wood pigeons and tawny owls roost there! I’m sad and angry.
Listening : Spaceship ” fields,churches & rivers”
Today I am out in my favourite wood a mile or so from home .l’ve packed lunch and my painting gear .The need to be away from the madness of the world is overwhelming. I sense a familiar warmth of welcome in the seemingly nondescript woodlands . The trees are whispering in the breeze and more than a few leaves have made the short descent to the ground . No noise. Not even a bird.
I am sat a the trunk of an ivy clad ash tree with small beech saplings nearby . Sunlight dapples the woodland floor! Peace. I paint and leave the small canvases to their fate.
Listening : Pefkin “liminal rites”