Monthly Archives: November 2020

Back to Llandudno…

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“The Great Orme, it seems, hasn’t quite finished with us, yet.”

“So it would appear.”

“There is a walk…”

“Not more walking.”

“…Which can be driven.”

“Let’s do that, then.”

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“You see faces?”

“Yes, I see faces.”

“Then you are possessed. You are a believer, born again, and yet you see faces so you are possessed.”

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“Possessed by what precisely?”

“The Spirit of Animism.”

“Oh, good!”

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Stairways of the mind…

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“There are a lot of ugly looking lions in Portmeirion.”

We shrink from wondering whether or not one of them is devouring the Buddha’s missing right forearm.

“And lots of steps.”

“Number Six spends a lot of time in the village running up and down steps.”

Run up one set of steps in Portmeirion and a Mansion becomes a Two-up-Two-down.

Run down another and one is accosted by a plaster-cast-christ declaiming on a balcony from which depends a black sheep.

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“Soft clothes?”

“Perspective. One is spatial, the other, intellectual.”

“Clever that.”

Here, the ridiculous jostles with the sublime to unfeasibly pleasing effect.

“It’s nothing more than a clutter and jumble of odds and sods, lovingly reassembled into, well, something, uncluttered and well ordered.”

“Much like memories, perhaps.”

“Or what memory makes of experience.”

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In the corner of that courtyard there, a manicured tree sprouts in-front of a doorway.

Or rather, a doorway, which leads nowhere, has been constructed behind a tree which is then kept manicured.

Its the perfect place in which to reconsider one’s cardinal points and be reminded of one’s priorities.

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Trial by Fire and Water…

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It was five years ago that we last attended and actually got to see the  Fire Festival.

On that day too the rain had poured steadily all day and many a lake-like puddle lay in wait for us on the  road into the heart of the West Yorkshire hills.

What is it about playing out at night?

Cold wind and black trees are not supposed to be friendly or inspire comfort…

As a child playing with friends we quite naturally want to ‘stay out as long as possible’.

The loss of light brings with it a frisson of excitement attendant on the haziest of notions that ‘anything might happen’ and this vague possibility is only enhanced by the bone white disk of the moon as it skids like a grinning skull through the night sky.

In later years how many of us get to spend much time outside in the dark?

There were no lights alongside the canal tow path.

The water in the puddles though still glistened and shone reflecting a cloud filled sky… and led to mobile phones pressed into action as torches.

The last time there had been unknown others with us taking the short cut to the dancing ground and the banking, lending security to our muddy madness which had left the crowds and the concrete in our wake as we walked into dark silence.

Unknown others who tonight  were conspicuously absent.

Many years ago the procession itself had trod this path until somebody had fallen into the canal.

Would the tow still be clear?

Memory, playing tricks challenges us with an alternative route through the trees.

A more sensible route, less fraught with possible risk and danger.

In the daylight such descriptions would be ridiculous.

In the daylight no unseen horrors lurk in the shadows.

The sign had promised a five minute walk yet it seemed much longer, and yet, not quite long enough, before the gurgle of water announced our arrival at the bridge and a certain memory…

A train of  compartmentalised light thundered overhead.

We were almost there.

Flimsy paper lanterns swung like beheaded ghouls in the trees as we approached our destination.

The first sign of civilised life.

A fire danced on the hillside left and dark figures hopped and warmed their hands around the flames.

Away in the distance, the steady beat of drums and pipes sounded as the procession made its slow progress to the top of the banking.

They would be here soon…

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Given III…

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“The problem with ‘religious art’ is that whenever you start to enthuse about it people put you down as ‘God Squad’.”

“And then impose their own conception of ‘God’ on you.”

“Which is usually a hideously naive one.”

“I’d be happier with ‘Spirit Squad’.”

“‘The spirit moves where it listeth’.”

“And cannot be tied down by any religious organisation.”

“Saint Michael isn’t a particularly Christain saint, he has his origin in Hebraic magic as an archangel.”

“The notion of sanctifiying an already holy entity is a curious one. Sanctification would normally only be appropriate for a human being.”

“It’s what might be termed an unholy error of hubris, perhaps, and has for it’s champion the ‘Vox populi’.”

“Which in itself is no bad thing.”

“It is not, though, the only mistake people make. They continually objectify when they should subjectify.”

“And they continually subjectify when they should objectify.”

“The depiction of Saint Michael subduing a dragon does not actually refer to any future or past time ‘out there’, but to an inner state which can be achieved by any and all. When it is achieved the ‘out there’ becomes irreversibly changed, for the better.”

“Which might even be described as something of a revelation.”

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Annus Tumulus – Tomb of the Year…

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‘Well almost…quite loosely speaking.’

‘Very loosely speaking.’

‘And no, it’s not a new quiz show. And nor are there any prizes. A tumulus is an artificial mound.’

‘And a natural mound is what?’

‘One that isn’t man made.’

‘Has it anything to do with tummies?’

‘Possibly… Not.’

‘Oh!’

‘Six tombs in one week isn’t half bad though. We’ll  be getting a reputation for morbidity.’

‘And on the seventh day…’

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‘On that day once, somebody quite famous said that if the ruins of Ancient Greece weren’t ruined no one would pay them much heed…’

‘The notion of being ‘quite famous’ tickles me. Like bragging about having once seen the Pope in order to ‘prove’ your spirituality.’

‘ …I sometimes feel exactly the same about our tombs.’

‘A lot depends on whether or not they’ve been opened…’

‘Ah, but the Gates of Pluto must never be unlocked, Little Grub.’

‘Why ever not?’

‘Because within those subterranean halls, dwell a people of dreams.’

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‘…East Kennet long barrow being a case in point.’

‘And it also depends upon whether the field in which they are situated happens to be navigable or not.’

‘I’d go and lie on East Kennet long barrow if we could get up to it.’

‘Well, maybe we can…’

‘East Kennet long barrow in the sun is a pleasing prospect.’

‘Mounds, artificial or otherwise, though especially tumuli, make pretty good viewing platforms too.’

‘Platforms for viewing what?’

‘Platforms for viewing the stars.’

‘The idea of East Kennet long barrow under the moon I like, possibly, even more than the prospect of sunshine…’

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‘Those three ‘Monstrous Mamas’ though, don’t look much like they belong to the rest of the monument.’

‘They were put there quite a bit earlier and were originally covered by earth.’

‘In fact, the recumbent looks vaguely Arbor Low-ish.’

‘More than vaguely, it could have been transported there from Arbor Low.’

‘Or it could have made its own way…’

‘Oh, don’t start that again.’

‘They still don’t know how the Blue Stones got from the mountains of Cymru to the lowlands of Stonehenge.’

‘They are, though, fairly certain that they didn’t get there under their own steam.’

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‘No, no, no… movement by steam came much, much later.’

‘…It’s the Cap-Stone presumably, or at least, part of it. How about volition, if you’re not happy with steam?’

‘Volition, I like. They have will these stones?’

‘One can probably wish on them to good effect… Propulsion?’

‘One can almost certainly wish upon them, to good or ill effect more than likely and something undoubtedly propelled them but what?’

‘…It is so frustrating not to know.’

‘It is frustrating.’

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‘The recumbent resembles a land mass…

An island of rock in a sea of grass.’

‘The Calf of Man?’

‘Part of a larger map we now no longer possess.’

‘Would it have bridged or spanned the gap in the uprights?’

‘Possibly, or does it represent an internal organ…’

‘Like an exhumed liver from a body we no longer recognise.’

‘A field of hearts.

The lungs of the earth.’

‘No, the lungs of the earth are trees…

…are forests.’

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‘Did the fall split it?’

‘Did the fall split the stones at Arbor Low…?’

‘Did the stones at Arbor Low ever fall?’

‘…Running Elk didn’t seem to think so.’

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‘So what does it say to us now?’

‘What, as it is?’

‘Yeah, just as it is, in all its decrepit, pock-marked, mysterious magnificence.’

‘Denuded of its earth covering, it speaks very forcibly of the vertical and of the horizontal.

Both are separated allowing for ingress and egress.

The one, in and out, the other, up and down.’

‘So, put them together and what have you got?’

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‘A three dimensional portal…’

‘But a portal to where…?’

‘…To wherever you like.’

‘If you please, I would quite like to move from Salisbury plain to Preseli…’

‘Oh, bravo Little Grub, bravo!’

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Mister Fox and the Demon Dogs…

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Something untoward is about to happen

on the edge of Langsett Forest…

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The Langsett Foxes have their Fire Festival

usurped by a Pack of Hellish looking Hounds…

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And you think Charles James Fox will be okay with that? …

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fox demon dogs collage

Bone-white winter gleams in the moonlight. Silent shadows hunt in the night…. The Hunter’s Moon sails above dark hills, caught in the empty fingers of the treetops. A mysterious company gathers to kindle the flames of the dance; arcane patterns of fire woven in the blackness to the beat of the drums. Silent as ghosts in the darkness, others follow their trail, lurking in the night to watch… and wait… seeking their chance to usurp the forest throne… Old Fox wanes with the fading year, his fur touched by the silver of frost. Can he hold his realm against the ghostly challenge of the Demon Dogs? Yet all is not lost. They have seen it in the smoke… three magicians use their arts to breathe life into the spirit of Fox…

demon dogs cover front.do

A  Graphic Novel from France and Vincent

featuring the elusive Mister Fox.

Available on Amazon UK, Amazon US and worldwide.

For more details of Mister Fox, visit his earth…

The Celebration of Mister Fox: more and less…

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…More, because our Foxes are one-third Man

And also less, because our Foxes are one-third Man.

Huh?

Man’s individuality makes them more yet,

By its very nature,

That individuality has to be less than whole.

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Unlike Animals all the species of Man,

And there are many, can be traced back to one common ancestor,

And they have named her Lucy, which means ‘light’…

‘We did too, see Foxes,’ objects my Companion, ‘proper ones!’

Well, quite…

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The Celebration of Mister Fox: bestial cluster…

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Bear and Wolf,

And Dog and Fox are all closely related.

It is tempting to imagine a common ancestor;

Bigger than Wolf but smaller than Bear.

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But the official line has something

Much less rapacious originally slink down from the trees.

To replace what?

The Dinosaurs whose more agile brethren had taken to the air.

I wonder what Linnaeus would make of the Mister Fox procession,

As it snakes its way through the alleys and walkways

Of the Saturday night revelers, encouraging all to join its wake.

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“We saw Foxes!” says my companion.

Well, yes and no…

We saw something less

And something more than Foxes…

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