'I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out 'til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.' John Muir

I've seen the top of Everest (from a long way off), smelled the breath of a whale (from way too close) and lived on a boat in Greece (for a few years), but I continue to experience some of my most precious moments right outside my backdoor.

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Sunday, 21 July 2013


There’s magic afoot in my village......

My hands are blue but not because I’m cold.

I proudly peg my beautiful (well, I think so) creations on the line strung out between the birch trees.  They drip drip alongside, vests, sheets, pillow cases, skeins of wool and squares of material  all dyed the indigo blue of a late night summer sky just before the first stars appear.  But each piece has a unique pattern, swirls of white, tiny neat squares, straight lines, zigzags, little round circles and these patterns were created by MAGIC!

Marietta welcomes eight of us to her Indigo Dyeing Workshop run by NEW Wildlife at Rhydymwyn with a promise that we’ll each take home something unique at the end of the day.  We ogle at her fabric samples printed with intricate patterns and look at the array of pegs, rubber bands, string and even a bag of dried chick peas and I for one doubt that I’ll transform my plain white t-shirts into something so blue and beautiful.
She makes up two buckets of dye and demonstrates how we can create patterns on our fabric, then we begin – pleating, pegging, tying, scrunching, wrapping.  We become more creative as we get into it and wrap pine cones, pebbles and even the puzzling chick peas into our fabric.

Chick Pea patterns

Outside in the sunshine, with bees buzzing, a woodpecker pic-pic-ing and swathes of yellow loostrife lighting up the outside workspace, we squat before the buckets of dye and dip our pegged, paper clipped and chickpea-ed items into the liquid.  After 5 minutes we lift them out.  They are yellowy-green but - ‘hey presto’, as soon as the air hits them, magic occurs and they turn indigo before our amazed eyes.  More magic happens when we remove the string, pegs, pine cones, etc to reveal beautiful patterns.

Watching our creations flutter in the warm breeze I think; Harry Potter couldn’t have done better on his first day at Hogwarts.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

World Listening Day

Today is World Listening Day.  The talk on the radio is of 'acoustic ecology and of going on a 'sound walk.'  We should care more about the way the world sounds.  Those high powered hand driers in most public loos make a lot of people jittery apparently.  Some people like the satisfying clunk of a car door, there's even a man who loves the sound of cars driving over cattle grids so much that he's made a CD called 'Cattle Grids of Dartmoor.'

On may way to the dentist I notice how I tune out the traffic sounds and only respond and look to the sky when I hear a shock of screaming swifts, a dozen swirling over my head.  They'll leave soon.  I'll miss that stop-me-in-my-tracks-sound. 

In the dentist waiting room there's the ubiquitous and unwelcome radio, 'Sisters are Doing it for Themselves.'  I suppose it masks the sinister buzz of a machine coming from surgery number 1.

I visited Cemlyn Bay Sandwich Tern colony on Anglesey last week with Dad.  Now there's a sound to revel in.  A real wilderness noise. I lay on pebbles made round by battering seas, closed my eyes and let the harsh 'kirrik' cries of a couple of thousand nesting birds pierce my ear drums.