Claws for the Weekend:Departure

Today I leave the delights of oop norf  behind me for darn sarf. Which translates as I am leaving Manchester to go down to London again for a few days.

Something tells me those southerners have been tipped off.

photo (28)

Alas this time there is no Neolithic exhibition for me to get lost in wonder, but going back almost as far, I am meeting up with an old school pal while I am down there. Exorcising old memories and creating new ones.

I don’t get back until Monday, so until then have a great weekend Jackdaw spotters.

See you on the flip side.

Fright Fest. I Shouldn’t Laugh…….

I like to think that I have a sense of humour, but when it comes to what makes me laugh not everything tickles. I don’t really go for stand-up, and cannot listen to more than a couple of jokes without my laughter becoming forced.

What really cracks me up though are wind ups, pranks, over-reactions, and (non-injurious) mishaps. Just everyday people in everyday situations doing something fantastically funny.

There are wind-ups though, and then there are potential heart attack wind-ups.

This first video here is from Japan. Now you and I, switched on, level headed people that we are, know full well that dinosaurs became extinct millions of years ago.  But when you are put on the spot, and you don’t have the luxury of time to use your reason…..

If you thought that was a little too close to flatlining, the Brazilians went one better with the good old ghost girl in the elevator trick :

Yes it was cruel, potentially harmful, and genuinely terrifying for those unfortunate people who will never ride an elevator again. It is maybe a step too far to provide entertainment for the likes of you and I, safely sat in our homes and in the know.

And did I laugh?

You bet.

 

Both videos from YouTube.

 

Shamanic September

September already. How soon the seasons pass.

Harvest time, fruits of the earth. Our spirits warm with the russet colours outside. I took the dog for a run over the fields this morning. Wind-frenzied trees could not dislodge raucous crows, shy jays, and their more cocksure magpie cousins. Though these are the early days, there is definitely a sense of being on the cusp of autumn.

Soon we will see the squirrels working overtime among the toadstools and wild flowers, the martins, swallows and other migrants gathering to make the long journey back to African shores.

Much to my wife’s distress, daddy long legs seem to be everywhere. One got in as I went out with the dog (again) last night, as my better half was busy preparing a meal for the next day. I said “Don’t harm it, I will catch it when I get back in”. 

On my return she said, apologetically, “I’m sorry I had to kill it-it was ferocious”.

Lions. Tigers. Sharks. Daddy long legs. Ferocious.

I’ve always been an outdoor person. I’ve always been moved by nature, the landscape, and the elements. Maybe that is what gave me a poetic voice, and an early sense of spirituality. I guess I am just one small step away from being a pagan. The appeal of Celtic and Native American spirituality. Perhaps this is where they can find common ground with Christianity-the idea of the goodness of creation, shot through with spirit. The whole of nature ablaze and alive and sacred.

My favourite place is Orkney. The sky there is vast and all encompassing, the sea wild and hungry and raging on all sides. There is something different there about the light, changing as it does above the ancient ancestors, long entombed in chambered darkness. When I haven’t visited for a while, I begin to get my Orkney Itch.

Some of my earliest memories involve my reaction to the elements and the outdoors. I can recall being very young, in a park in Heywood. My grandfather pushing me in a swing, and around 100 metres away there was a huge tree, swaying from side to creaking side in a gale. I loved it.Today I still love to get outside on windy days. As a postman I once did my round in 100 mph winds. It was fantastic.

Another memory is of my Dad walking me to school as a four year old Reception pupil. Dressed in a fur-lined parka coat and a leather satchel over my shoulder, I was fascinated by the dew that clung to every blade of morning grass as we cut across the fields. The sheen of diamonds and the cut of the fresh air.

Not long into my school life I caught chicken pox, and had to stay off school. As morning phased into afternoon, I remember being knelt on the couch, watching the heavy rain beat against the window, trickles racing each other down to the sill. Soon we moved house, and a new primary school beckoned. Being new, and initially friendless, in the inner mirror of my mind I can still see myself stood on the edge of the playground at playtime, watching a gull glide effortlessly above on a current of air, drifting over our fields of triumph. These are the fields that I now walk with my dog, the school having been demolished, the site now given to wilderness.

Being reclaimed.

I stood recently on that very same spot, thirty years later. Guess what? There was a gull-drifting above me. I watched it for a while. Joining up the dots.

It was as a pupil of this school that I first walked in woodland. The teacher that took us was called Miss Ambler-Ambler the Rambler.  Being in deep woods, far from any concrete path or road, in that complete stillness,had an inner effect on me. I felt it in a juvenile, inarticulated way. From that day I have walked coasts and forests and mountains and river ways. I experience it still in an almost shamanic way, without the trance bit. Pretentious though that sounds.

Of all the seasons-and I love them all, my favourite is winter, in all its transformative beauty. The iron earth and starry nights.

And my favourite half of the year begins with autumn.

And autumn begins with September.

The first inward-turning month. As the nights grow longer, and rain hammers against the doors in an attempt to seek entry, it is the perfect time for reading, writing, and pampering our interior selves.

It is the time to quietly withdraw and conserve our energy by lamplight and fireside.

Oh and did I mention-it is also the time that the kids go back to school 🙂