Saturday, 27 April 2013

To Baldly go where no Druid has gone before

There is something very appealing about a balding man right? Right? Right? After all, I myself have a bald patch solar panel for a sex machine... why is my wife falling around in hysterics now? What did I say? Honestly, you can't trust a woman witch to allow you any dignity at all.
Anyway, as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted by the snorting and cackling of my good lady wife, there is something very appealing about a balding man...or so I'm told.

Which is why I had a go at these two. 

Don't let anyone tell you I was just being lazy and not bothering to do hair because that's just not true. Honest. Would I lie to you?




Besides if I don't do hair, I have to do ears, and believe me, they are fiddly little blighters.

I've actually really enjoyed carving these two distinguished gentlemen, and I'm much happier with their faces. I learn something new every time, but then that's what's fun about carving -and indeed life- we learn, and adapt, as we go along.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hibernation of the Human Kind

Winter has been long this year. Spring has tentatively reared its head some days only to retreat again from the wind and rain and frost. Thankfully there was no snow here, and my old bones are very grateful for that. The birds outside my window sing of promise and new life, and the frogspawn in the tiny garden pond hints at a warming I've seldom felt, yet so many of the signs of winter's end are late this year.
The lighter nights have brought little warmth, and the chill cloak that wrapped around my shoulders with the November mists has not been shaken off. The quiet days, the dark days, the cold days, have lingered long and all around me folk are awaking from slumber all bemused. Like a bear rising to find deep snows and no food, the human spirit is starving for the want of spring.
We humans have a hibernation of sorts. There is no retreat from the daily grind as we exist protected from the cold by our heated homes, and no shortage of food as supermarkets stock their shelves day and night, but the dark still draws us in. We retreat from the world in thousands of tiny ways, often without even knowing it. Those of us in tune with the tides of life use that slow time, the still time, to rest, to think, to dream. Winter is a time for thought, not action; it is a time for recuperation ready for regeneration; it is a time to draw within and be still. 
Which is great...until every fibre of your being is screaming 'Is it spring yet?' but you still have to scrape frost off your windscreen in the mornings, or wade through snowdrifts to get to the corner shop, or still have your central heating turned up well past the Vernal Equinox.
My mind is feeling that wake up call, that urge to create, to do stuff, to get out there; my body, on the other hand, still wants to hide under the duvet and wait for the sun.

Friday, 8 February 2013


I'm running out of wood!!!!! The supply stacked in the corner of my work room is dwindling, it constists more now of spindly sticks than stout staffs and that is worrying. Very worrying.
I am at my happiest when the corners of my workshop are filled to over flowing and although I may curse and complain when I'm pushed for space and it's all getting in my way, I get a perculiar pleasure from just knowing it is there, from sorting it, stacking it, arranging it, planning what I might be able to do with it. It makes me very nervous when there isn't very much of it there.
Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem, my little witch and I would plan a few days exploring the woods, scrambling through the undergrowth (ok, she would be scrambling through the undergrowth as I sit watching from a convienient log, directing the search. My scrambling days are over I'm afraid, my hips and back and shoulder protest loudly at the merest mention of scrambling anywhere!) But there is a problem. The incessant rain that seemed to fall last year, almost from beginning to end, has left the woods sodden, the wood rotten and useless.
It would be easier, perhaps, if I were prepared to cut from living trees but I won't do that. It's a matter of principle, I will only take wood from the forest floor, freely given. I know there are those among you who perhaps prefer the energies of wood taken from a living tree for their wand and staff and it's a matter of personal preferance obviously, but myself I simply cannot justify cutting down something that should be living, especially not when I'm creating something for others to use, cutting living wood for ritual tools requires building a relationship with the tree, something better suited for personal tools. Having said that however, I don't think it would do me much good if I did. The very trees themselves are soggy it seems, the local woods are full of oak and beech that quite literally are oozing water. Even if the wood were not rotten, the drying process would take an eternity.
The coastal areas around here are the worst, but even inland areas of well drained high ground seem to be suffering. I worry for the future of our woodlands and forests. This blurring of seasons we seem to be experiencing is taking it's toll. Unseasonally warm winters and soggy summers of recent years, and spring and autumn days which don't seem to know if they are coming or going are taking their toll. Our landscape is changing, slowly, almost imperceptably, but it's changing.
I holding out hope for a warm, dry summer this year. Maybe that will go someway to redress the balance.
In the meantime, if anyone knows of a dry wood supply.... 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Of Bread and Breakers and Beginnings

January has been long and hard and I'm glad it is behind me. It has been cold and tough. It has been a challenge. My health has been poor, our finances have been low and it has been cold...did I mention that? It's been bloody freezing in fact, and I hate being cold. My aching bones protest more violently as each year passes and I feel less inclined to fight it. The urge to withdraw is strong, to simply gather in and huddle up and forget the outside world exists at all. Cocoa and hot water bottles are my preferred companions at times like this and that makes me feel old and weary as the world whirls around me without me in it.
The leaden grey skies weighed heavy throughout January and inspiration seemed hard to come by. Even my workroom seemed a cold and uninviting place, but I wonder, maybe this is natural through the grey months of the year? We put so much focus on January as a time of fresh starts and new beginnings and yet this is an unnatural, artificial and enforced start dictated by the calendar rather than the season. A series of days and numbers, collected together and forced upon us, manipulating our lives, our focus, our patterns. If we were to take away the calendar what would we do? If we threw all those days and months and numbers up in the air and said forget them, they're not important, what would happen? Would we fall apart, unable to keep in step or would we settle into a more natural pattern, one that fits with the rhythms of our bodies and the cycles of the earth?
We set our lives by that 'magical' first day, first month, and wipe the slate clean of all that has gone before, filling ourselves with false hope and irrational expectations when, in reality, nothing has changed. It's just another day, just another month. We force ourselves into fresh starts, new diets, new challenges, at a time when perhaps we should be drawing in and resting, recovering, recharging... and preparing for the fresh starts still to come.
Far better, I think, to be still through the dark, to keep warm through the bitter cold. To wait, to watch, to think, to plan, to build strength ready for the coming of spring and launch all those new plans at a time of growth.
January, for me, was a time to snuggle up and enjoy those simple home comforts of love and soup and homemade bread (something my wife excels at)
Fresh from the oven
Soda Bread
and I am more than happy to eat as much as she can make. There is joy to be had from a warm, buttered, golden loaf on a cold, grey day. It is pleasure beyond measure.
And on those rare days I ventured out, I soaked up the beauty of the wild coast to feed my soul,
Wild Cornish Coast
Waves Crashing onto Cornwall
drawing in energy ready for the turning of the seasons and new beginnings and a return to work.
Blessed Imbolc.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Rolling with the Season

There have been storms here in my little corner of the world, wild frenzied winds have ripped through the valleys and torn trees from the sodden earth. The nights have been filled with howling and the battering of tattered rain against our windows, with drafts finding every crack and crevice, billowing out the drapes and sending shivers down my spine. The deluge that has fallen from the skies in a seemingly endless pattern through these dark days of winter, has drowned the already sodden land. Water has gushed in torrents and streams where it has never run before, roads and footpaths and gardens and fields have sprouted random rivers that rush and race down hill towards the sea, sometimes clear, sometimes muddy brown like the churned up river below.
My lady and I live high on a hill and so we are not threatened by the floods which have devastated so many people's festive plans right across the country, not just here in Cornwall, but the threat of landslides is a worrying one, there have already been several in our area. Our flat is not the sturdiest of buildings and I do wonder what is going on down in the foundations as more and more of our steeply sloping gardens are washed away. And yet despite that, I am grateful I have a roof over my head, that we have warm shelter from the wind and the rain. These are the things we should all be thankful for at this time of year.
I am well known for my 'dislike' of Christmas. My family affectionately (I hope!) call me Granddad Grinch! It's a reputation I have polished and honed to perfection and I "bah humbug" with relish but if the truth be known, and I'm letting you in on a little known secret here, it's not actually Christmas that I hate. I hate the commercialism and over-indulgence, and the fact that I can't turn on my radio from mid-November without hearing Last Christmas or some other such drivel. I hate that the whole pantomime seems to start earlier and earlier every year, and the tired old 'whose holiday is it anyway?' arguments come rolling out. I hate that people spend money they haven't got on people they don't really like and eat way too much, not because they are actually enjoying it, but just because it's there.
But.... and if you tell anyone I said this I shall deny it...
 I love that warm, comfortable feeling of closing the doors once the family has been visited and presents delivered, and the shopping has been done and settling in to watch my Witch drag in half a ton of greenery to decorate the fireplace for the Winter Solstice, celebrating not only the festival itself but the anniversary of the night we got together 14 years ago now.
We never actually have a tree. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that's because we are pagan and have some sort of aversion to a Christmas tree. You wouldn't believe how many Christians go to great lengths to explain the pagan origins of a Christmas tree to us! As if we didn't know ;) The real reason we don't have a tree is it's our own little tradition. It started when we first moved down to London and were living in a bedsit, we didn't have the money or the room for a tree but my lovely wife was not to be thwarted. She raided the walls of the tower block we were living in for ivy to swag across the fireplace and then strung the fairy lights and tinsel through that before hanging baubles from the leaves.
 Who needs a tree when you have a bit of imagination. We've done it every year since and always will. We wouldn't have it any other way.
And then I love the smells that start to come from the kitchen as the true magic of the season happens and a handful of the most basic ingredients become delicious, aromatic treats to assault my nostrils and delight my taste buds. I know my witch is never happier than when she's mixing something up in her kitchen and as long as she is happy to cook for me, I will be more than happy to eat. When we first met she insisted 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach'. I think she may have been right. The glorious meal of Roast Duck that came out of her kitchen on Christmas day made me one very happy man. Especially when instead of Christmas pudding (I'm not a fan of Christmas pudding) it was followed by this. All home made. Yes, I think the way to this Druid's heart may well be through his stomach!
I wouldn't want you to think I've done nothing but sit here and eat however. Tempting as that has been, I have made it into my work room on occasion over the festive period and I have several projects on the go, not to mention the multitude of ideas swirling around in my head ready for when I swing into action really get my finger out in the New Year.
Here's a little taster to be going on with... he's just a 'work in progress' at the moment and the batteries have run out on the camera so I can't show you any more until we've got that sorted, but what do you think?

The picture quality isn't fantastic, but hopefully I'll be able to get some better shots of him when he's finished. He's my most adventurous to date, I think, and I'm particularly fond of his nose!

Well, I hope you all had a wonderful Solstice/Yule/Christmas/Winter Holiday and I'd just like to leave you with this...
Let this be a warning to you all.
NEVER keep a witch from her sparklies!
My wife swore her revenge when I jokingly (I was joking, honest!) made her walk through the Christmas department of a local store with my hands over her eyes way back in November when she wanted to ooohh and aaarrh over the sparkly, twinkly things. It provided much amusement to everyone in there at the time (OK, all the men, I think the women may have been on her side) and, eventually, it provided much amusement for my little Witch. This is not a dignified way for a Druid to spend the Solstice!!!
Never let it be said that I don't have a sense of humour. She certainly does! Oh how she laughed, especially when she plugged me in!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Making Sense of the Obvious

I'm dyslexic and sometimes that means that no matter how well written something is, it just doesn't make sense to me. To my utter frustration carefully crafted sentences are no more than a jumble of words and letters on a page. I will read and re-read those words trying to wring the meaning and the import from them through repetition; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't I'll try to convince myself I'm just over tired and I'll try again when I've had some sleep, and again its a ploy that works only sometimes. I hate that my mind trips me up this way, and the harder I try to make sense of something the harder it becomes to understand it.
My wife is a wordsmith, she crafts and hones the language in a way I could only dream of. She weaves magic with words and I am envious, not jealous -jealousy is a destructive thing- but envious certainly. Sometimes I will read something aloud to her and say 'does that make sense to you?' Sometimes it does and I curse my dyslexic mind, others she will say with infuriatingly calm reason that I should read the next line or two and it will probably make things clear. I find that hard to do. I want  need to make each little part make sense before I move on to the next. She will just smile and say 'sometimes it's not meant to. You need the next bit.' I know she's right, but it isn't in my nature.
It is for that reason that I have been struggling these past twelve month with messages of a more spiritual nature. I was trying to make sense of each tiny part, and in some respects I did, but there was a yawning chasm of understanding and I could not make that leap to full comprehension.
Whenever we venture over to Dartmoor we pay a visit to The Tree. My wife clambers like a squirrel up a low bank to stand with her hands upon his ageing bark soaking up the wisdom he imparts in return for her companionship and removing rubbish from a hollow in his trunk left by uncaring travellers. I sit, lazily it would seem, in the car and say 'ask him xyz for me please'. I wasn't being lazy though, there were reasons. Sometimes - no- often, his messages for me made little sense. They were cryptic to say the least and frequently resembled nothing more than gobbledygook. How was I supposed to make sense of that! Occasionally irritation would bubble to the surface and my wife would look at me in confusion because it had all seemed rather clear to her, and with the same implacable calm when faced with my literary frustrations, would suggest that maybe I didn't have the full picture yet.
Sometimes things aren't meant to be easy. They may be obvious to others, they may even should be obvious to us, but sometimes there is a process that needs to be followed, sometimes the working out is as important as the knowing. Sometimes we need that extra bit of information, we need to read the next line. Sometimes we need a kick up the proverbial backside before things can begin to make sense.
The last time we visited The Tree everything finally fell into place. The information had been there, jumbled, but it had been there and the events of the previous few days and long talks with my lovely wife, and confirmation from within our ancient friend pulled together strands that had previously been tangled and the path became clear. I can no longer ignore the message from this Dartmoor tree.
We have a pilgrimage to make.

Monday, 19 November 2012

In the Druid's Domain

There aren't many people I let into my work room. Mainly because it's chaos, organised chaos, but to most people's eyes, chaos all the same. It looks a mess, there is no denying that and no, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, the walls are pink. I did intend to rectify that but in all honesty it doesn't matter what it looks like, it's what it feels like that matters and there is a sense of calm and creativity that seeps out of the very walls and floor and I am at my happiest in here.

You can tell that by the inane grin!
It doesn't matter how tired I am or how ill I feel, just stepping in there for a few minutes, lighting a candle and incense, making my devotions and rearranging my tools is enough to make me feel better and set off a spiral of inspiration. I try not to work when I'm ill, that's when I make mistakes and cut things off that I shouldn't have - not such a problem when it's part of my latest project that ends up lying on the floor, but more of a problem when it's part of me! I'm already missing part of a finger from my apprentice days (a run in with an industrial bed plainer, which took the top third off in slices - you aren't squeamish are you?) and I'd really rather hang on to the rest. Besides, my lovely little witch complains when I bleed on the carpet!
That isn't blood on the wall behind me by the way, just in case you were wondering. I've been known to slice into myself occasionally but nothing that drastic! That's the damage caused from staining the cursed wardrobe earlier this year. I still can't look at that damn thing without shuddering. It was a pig of job, and to think I used to enjoy restoring furniture.


My workshop is a hodge podge creation built from bits and pieces I've collected from all over the place. My work bench is built from the remains of our old bed and a kitchen worktop rescued from going into landfill. It might not look pretty but its solid and the perfect height for me. An old bathroom cabinet has been re-purposed for storing things I need to keep away from dust (although I really should get rid of the mirror- sometimes I look up and scare myself half to death!)

I avoid power tools where ever possible, almost everything I create is made entirely by hand, just me, my knife, a bit of sandpaper and the chisels my lovely wife surprised me with (I think she thought there was less chance of me slicing chunks out of myself with those!). Perhaps the most vital item of my kit though is my mp3. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, would be possible without my music.
And tea, don't forget the tea.


Sunday, 21 October 2012


Inspiration comes from many places, often the most unexpected. Sometimes it's like a bolt from the blue, others it's more subtle than that. The trick is to recognise it when it comes knocking at your door. How many brilliant ideas have never materialised because we have been too busy, too distracted, to pay attention to the things that make that spark?

So where does your inspiration come from? What gets your creative juices flowing? What inspires you to get out of bed in the morning rather than snuggling down under the duvet and pretending the world's gone AWOL for a while?

There have been a few things over the last few months that have really grabbed my attention, that have made me think outside the box and want to go that extra mile. Some of them have been really simple, just a beautiful day, a special place...
Rainbow over the Hurlers Stone Circle
Other times it has been encountering great talent,

Monday, 3 September 2012

In the Still of the Night

I'm sure it must drive my wife crazy, it even drives me crazy sometimes, but I don't sleep. At least I don't sleep at night when most normal people seek their beds. Working nights for most of my adult life has taken its toll on my body clock. I have tried to change it. I've spoken to doctors and taken sleeping tablets, I've read self help guides, I've tried herbal remedies, over the counter medicines and old wives tales but to no avail. Nothing seems to work, I'm a night owl and it seems there is nothing I can do about it. It's not a situation I'm particularly happy with but, despite the inconvenience  of running on a different timetable to everyone else I know, it has its plus points.

I do drag myself out of bed during daylight hours, I try to function in the 9-5 world (OK, maybe noon-5 is more accurate) but it is when dusk creeps up that I come alive. That is when I truly start to function. As others are winding down my brain kicks up a gear. As others drink their cocoa I feel an excitement stir. As others slumber, I go to work.

I do my best work at night. The cool, dark hours are when I get my best ideas. I find my inspiration in the moon and the stars, I hear whispered suggestions in the silence, I see wonders in the shadows. It is at night that my creativity knows no bounds. In daylight I question and doubt, but at night I find a confidence, my true self, and I give it flight. Nothing is impossible, nothing too challenging, nothing beyond my reach. Maybe it is because of this that I find it so hard to sleep. My mind is too busy dreaming to actually dream.

The day for me is for the mundane, the errands, the chores, the practical necessities of life but as the sun sets, as the light dims, as the still of the night descends the world comes alive with possibilities and imaginings, a creative light goes on and in the still shadows, I work. And then when dawn comes calling, when bird song fills the sky and the daylight world begins to stir, I seek my bed. My wife smiles sleepily and indulgently as I wake her with my ideas, my sketches, my wild plans, and all content at a good night's work, sleep overtakes me.

So spare a thought for a sleeping druid as you drink your morning coffee. I may look lazy to those who don't know but I just put in a 16 hour day night.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Fox and his Companions

It began with a fox. I've always had an affinity with foxes, there is something about them that I can't resist. Maybe it's their curious nature and stubborn determination? Maybe it's their resourcefulness or that playful streak? Whatever it is, there is a charm about them that grabs me every time.

Many years ago when I worked as a security guard I 'befriended' a family of foxes who had their den under a trailer parked over on the far side of the car park. Anyone who has ever worked in security will know that a 12 hour night shift can be interminably long and that you take companionship where ever you can find it. I've yet to meet a night security guard who hasn't, at some point in his career, become very attached to one or more species of the local wildlife. I loved that family of foxes and I have fond memories of watching a young cub trying to drag the carcass of a duck (the remains of my Christmas dinner), much larger than itself, back across the car park to the den. They developed a wary acceptance of me and would even, if I left my supper on the floor and kept very still, creep into my office to steal the stew my lovely witch had prepared for me. When the father was run over, and later when the rest of the family was wiped out by an exterminator who had put poisons down to clear a deserted factory of pigeons, I was devastated.
So you can understand, when I finally plucked up the courage to try carving an animal, why I wanted to carve a fox. I've had the idea for a fox spirit staff in my head for months now and I did intend for that to be my first animal staff, but the wood said differently. I've learnt to listen to the wood and for some reason the thick fir branch I had put aside for Fox Spirit didn't want to be a fox. Or rather not only a fox. And so my first Animal Totem Staff came into creation.
wolf carving
There is a wolf,
a badger and a dove,
hand carved badger

dove and ivy carving

 A hare and an eagle,
moon gazing hare
carved eagle on staff

and of course, it wouldn't have been complete without a fox
fox carving
Animal Totem Staff

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A Rose By Any Other Name

Summer has seen little of me this year. I have spent my days holed up in my little incense clouded workroom, carving, experimenting, pushing myself through and beyond the bad days, the good days, and the days when I wonder if I should just throw in the towel and go back to the nine to five world that guarantees a wage packet at the end of the week. Wondering is not the same as doing, however, and even when times are tough the challenge fires me and I know that now I have returned to the wood I could never walk away again.
I love the feeling of discovery when I find a new way of tackling a problem. I love the sense of anticipation when I pick up a branch and wonder at the spirit within. I love the endless possibilities, the song of the sap, the call of the forest, I love pushing myself beyond what I think I'm capable of. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but even when it doesn't it is illuminating. A light goes on, the embers burn and I seek the  Phoenix, rising from the ashes of failure.
No longer do I feel frustrated when things don't work out, when my ideas simply won't translate to the wood. I feel my way through it more now. I worry less about how it will look and more about how it will feel. One slender piece of birch sat in the corner calling to me for months and yet I ignored it. It was too narrow, too spindly, to make a good staff I thought and yet it's paleness intrigued me. Cool and ethereal like the Moon Goddess herself...
Spirit of the Blue Rose
Slender, delicate, beautiful. It cried out for a strong, yet gentle image. It demanded contrast and complexity. It commanded those feminine qualities of intrigue and promise, of passion and poise.
Never before have I sweat so much. Never before have I been so overwhelmed. Never before have I felt so much emotion.
She knew the beauty she possessed, the soft romance, the fierce strength,  and she made me work for it, heart and soul.
It was with some regret I completed the blue rose. I wanted to linger a while, drinking in the promise of her scent, the sharpness of her thorns, but everything has its time and it was time to move on...

My Lady and the Rose
Blue Rose Staff

Monday, 25 June 2012

I, Druid

Life as a Druid has many rewards. Some are obvious, some are hidden, some you don't realise until it's too late

I didn't plan to become a Druid. I didn't wake up one morning in the certain knowledge I'd found my path, or even with the desire to look into it. I was looking for something, that much is true. Somewhere out there in this great universe there had to be answers, I knew that even before I was sure what the questions were, and I looked for those elusive answers everywhere I could. I was looking for peace, I think, something to fill the spaces in between my everyday existence and I wandered, lonely, through the crowds in a seemingly fruitless search.
I was looking for something which could make sense of my past, make tangible the present and lend a guiding light to my future...
... and I found it unexpectedly one day, in the basement of a bookshop, when a strange old man in a dirty mac sidled up to me and asked 'have you seen the lights?'
I edged away and shook my head and wondered at my infallible ability to always attract nutters, but it was under his steady gaze that I realised at last what he meant, and that I had indeed seen lights, hovering infuriatingly at the edge of my vision. Maybe he wasn't a nutter after all...or maybe I was.
That man became my teacher, and more than teacher to me. He showed me the heart of darkness and the way to the stars, he opened my heart and eyes and soul to wonders I had never imagined. He made me think and question, always. He was harsh and kind and too beautiful a soul for this world. I watched him open his door to strangers in need, I saw him draw serenity around him in the face of adversity. He was quick and clever and gentle. He was cantankerous and difficult and he made me work harder than I have ever worked. He taught me that I can hide from anyone but myself, lie to anyone but myself, and that the past will always catch you no matter how fast you run. He made me face my fears, discover myself, he showed me my future.
All this he did for me and yet I barely knew him. Of his life before I had only hints. I knew only that he was Druid; of the old ways, bound by no one, he walked his road alone. I was not his first pupil but I was his last and I miss him still. I always will. It will be fifteen years in October since he left this mundane world behind and journeyed on and I still ache at the loneliness he left behind, I still yearn for his wisdom, and still fume that he was taken before my training was complete, and yet in many ways I know he is still with me, still guiding me, still kicking me up the arse when I don't work hard enough!
Trylionn, this mighty man, this Druid, left a legacy of life. He taught me how to find the sun, and learn from the dawn. He taught me to listen to my heart and feel its beat in the earth around me, he taught me to be still, to hope, to find, to live, to see beauty where others see none, to extend the hand of friendship, to help others, to offer hospitality even when I have nothing, to share, to love, to dare to be who I am.
These are the duties and responsibilities of a Druid. These are the rewards. Thanks to him this is the road I walk.

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Druid, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Hi, remember me? It's been a while hasn't it?

The last few months have been a roller coaster of highs and lows, twists and turns that have kept me off balance, busy, exhausted, shell shocked and downright knackered.

I had an operation on my shoulder which, as it turns out, was not as successful as first thought. I had a wondrous few pain free weeks of being able to enjoy normal movement. You know the sort of thing, pulling a t-shirt over my head, picking up a mug of tea, the things we all take for granted until we can't do them, and then slowly it began to return. I'd reach out and find my cursed arm would only go so far without making me scream. Damn! I have to admit I probably overdid it right at the start, the absolute joy of being able to move without yelling out in pain ran away with me a bit and I did develop a habit of flapping my arms about like a demented duck just because I could....

Hand carved staff
It hasn't stopped me working on my staffs though, I've kept at it while I could and when I couldn't I've been busy sketching out new designs. I went through a phase of heads; Kings, Druids, Warriors, and I have to admit I became quite fond of some of them, each had his own distinct character and I enjoyed drawing that out, finding the spirit dwelling deep withing the bough. I fancy having a go at animals now though, I thought maybe a fox, although my witch wants a frog. Trust her to be awkward. 

Everything was ticking along quite nicely until my wife decided to buy a wardrobe. Well, OK, we decided to buy a wardrobe but if I say it was all her idea I've got someone to blame for the destruction of my workroom. Seriously, its absolutely devastated. How can one wardrobe do so much damage? I think I've mentioned before that my work room is in fact our small, spare bedroom, so it doesn't really take much for it to look in a state, but I keep it pretty much alright. It might look chaotic to some eyes but its my chaos, and I know where everything is. Enter shabby 1960's wardrobe.

The wardrobe from hell, Beelzebub's closet.

We rarely buy furniture new, preferring the character of second hand, older items. Character! This hadn't got character, it had a personality defect, psychotic tendencies in fact! And it was out to get me. You think I'm joking don't you? Trust me, I'm not. What should have been a simple act of stripping it down and re-staining became well... have you ever watched groundhog day? I stripped that thing again, and again and again. And it still doesn't look right, but its in the bedroom so I'm only likely to see it when I'm half asleep and its dark. You wouldn't believe how close I came to taking it outside and setting fire to it! It's killed my trusty belt sander and covered my room in an inch of dust, its drunk almost every drop of stain I owned, broken blades and screwdrivers and robbed me of my sanity.

Oh, no wait. My sanity ran for the hills years ago.

My work room is currently closed for renovation which my shoulder is very grateful for. Maybe this is the Lady's way of saying 'slow down', or maybe its just her way of saying 'DON'T BUY ANOTHER BLOODY WARDROBE!'. I can take a hint. The next time my lovely witch says 'that'd look lovely once you've stripped it down' I'm going to say DO IT YOUR BLOODY SELF!

I can hear you laughing. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I'll do it all over again next time she asks. Oh really? Will I?

Oh alright then.

But only because I love her.

And because sometimes, even after all these years, she can still surprise me.

My wild and wonderful witch is running next year's London Marathon in memory of my grandson, who sadly was born too soon last month, to raise money for Tommy's. Please take a look at her blog, Every Step For Dillon.

Dillon's time in this world was all to brief but his spirit, and his memory, live on.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Out of the Dust

I have been a bit lazy recently when it comes to blogging but I have still been busy. I may be a stranger to my laptop but my workroom and I are bosom buddies. My poor wife thinks she has been abandoned for my dusty mistress, but when the wood calls I am helpless to refuse.

Many an hour has been spent slowly turning a branch in my hands, lost in the intricate patterns of the grain. Many a day has disappeared in the blink of an eye as the spirit of the wood has slowly emerged and a pile of bark and shavings has appeared around my feet.

Clouds of sawdust and incense have diffused the light as I work. Flickering candles have danced to the music of the plane and saw and blade. Magic has been made.

And finally I have emerged from the dust to find that spring has crept across the landscape and the heady, intoxicating, sweet scent of green is returning to the land.

It was on a mist shrouded afternoon that we headed for the moors to renew our spirits and feed our souls.

And to take a few photo's, of course.  I even managed to persuade my lovely witch to model a few of them for me.
Hand Carved Staff
Hand Carved Druid Staff
My first attempt at carving a head. He's not quite right, technically speaking, but I like his character and I learnt so much from him.

A Witch, the moors, and a staff of twisted willow

Twisted Willow Staff with Carved Head
Weather Magic
Don't Mess with A Witch!

So now you know what I've been up to while I haven't been blogging.