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.