Sunday, 6 December 2009

November's adventures

As we stepped into Novemeber we decided to have bit of fun. We found some old stuff we had been meaning to do and acquired some new additions. I hope you enjoy our latest adventures.

This is a group of fairy houses we found at the back of our van one morning. They had appeared overnight, like a group of nomads. They enchanted us with their little homes, and made us wonder why they had picked this spot to set up camp on. Well why not, this is exactly what we do, find somewhere nice and stay for a few days, so why can't they? Every morning we would peek outside to see if our neighbours were still about, and wish them well.

Then all of a sudden one morning we saw that they had broken up their camp and departed. I can't say I blame them, as the rains had set in the night before and so the ground they had been using was boggy. A shame they had to go so quickly, we had enjoyed their company.

As the weather was bright we decided to take advantage and have a go at making and firing a rocket. It was a bit disappointing, well look at the size of it? Troy had trouble blowing the rocket any distance. Yes this was a rocket you had to use your breath to make take flight. After a couple of attempts Troy was fed up. I have to say so was I, me lungs ain't what they use to be for blowing rockets into space!

This is our new addition to the family, Talin the border collie pup. He is eight weeks old here. We went to Hastings to pick him up, and he has been a joy and a terror. One forgets what puppies are like, so Troy has had to get use to having a ball of fun, which is into all his bits. He has done well in the van, learning quickly to do his business on the newspaper. I have to say he is a quick learner, and our other dog, Willow is a good teacher. For a Staff she has been a good little mum to him, so I have no worries about his behaviour on our travels.

Now we are staying at my sister's in readiness for the Christmas celebrations, so he is having to learn how to live in a house. With so much space, he's not sure what to do or where to go. There are four dogs in this house now, so it will be all fun.
We are busy making lots of trinkets for the Yule Fayre, and hoping to make a bit of money for Christmas gifts. Otherwise it will be much as normal, but with four dogs to walk, and an extra adult to think about. The van is parked up nearby, and will be hibernating for a while.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

New Year blessings

I can not quite believe it myself, but we are now starting our sixth year in our motor home. I should explain myself here, we set out at the end of October 2004 and spent Samhain in our van. So each Samhain I class as the end of our year, which is in keeping with old ways, as at this time of year everything dies off ready to be re-born in the spring. So communitites celebrated the harvest they had reaped and made ready for the coming winter months.
We have travelled some miles in that time, seeing wonderful sights and meeting such diverse people throughout the British Isles. My son has now just turned ten and has grown an enormous amount in the past five years. His talent for drawing and creating evolves as I write. It is a wonder to see him conjure up a picture in what seems like no time at all. He is also reading fluently and enjoying different books, his favourite are still comic books. Of course super heros are still his real passion, which little boy does not aspire to some hero or another, and the comic books give him art ideas.
He has created quite a few short comic strips involving family and pets. At the moment he is working on a six page comic of 'The League of Extraordinary Dogs'. We await with baited breath. He has a good creative imagination, I'm sure it helps with other learning as he seems to try to picture things in his mind and then find a comparission to help him understand whatever we are discussing. The other day whilst out walking the dogs he started to develop ideas for a story. We were walking through some woods and suddenly he began to laugh. I stopped and looked at him and enquired if he was alright. " Yes I just had an image of a soothsayer I want to put into a story about magic portals in a wood. He is naked except for a tea towel made into pants" He giggled. When we got in he did no more than drew the man in his surroundings. He did look quite funny.
Then he set about writing his story, this is the more difficult part for him. He finds spelling challenging, and ends up having to explain what word he has tried to write. The English language is very difficult, as not all words can be sounded out, and sometimes letters masquared as a different sound. I had not even taken into account this difficultly until Troy started to write. We do spellings, but he stumbles at the sounds of the words. However, he ploughs on, even if only for a short while. He has gone back to the story and added sentences. Like everything else he learns he will get there, but it must be frustrating to have lots of corrections in your writing most of the time. I try not to make a big thing of it, and praise him whole heartedly when he gets the spelling right. We do spelling tests but I try not to make them a chore, don't want to put him off now he's on the road.
I have succesfully re-sealed all the joins in the outside of my van. It was letting in water as the old seal was either non-existent or peeling away. I had that done three years ago, so I can't complain too much. This time I was quoted over a thousand pounds and to move out of my van for two days. Well that was out of the question, as was the price. So I posted on a wildcamp site and got some very helpful suggestions. I invested in two tubes of sealent used on boats and have completed the job in eight hours over two days, whilst still living in my van. As you can probably tell I am very pleased with myself. I have to add that I am also pleased I did a good job as no rain has leaked in.
I am still trying to find a publisher for my book, failing that I would love people to read it and give their honest opinions, but I don't know how to do this either. I am a complete techonovice and find it all a bit difficult. This blog has taken some getting used to and I find putting it all together traumatic. I just can't seem to get pictures in the right place, so anything else is beyond me in computer respects. I am beginning to put together some future works So I also get confused as to where everything should go.
We are having a bit of us time now before yuletide and family time descend, as most of our time this year has been dominated by work and caring for others. Since being back in Canterbury we have cherished our time with family and friends, but delight in the peace and sanctity we call home. Taking the dog out late at night I can truly enjoy the wonder of the unvierse as it sparkles down at us. We are but a mere dot in the expanse of space. Last night as I looked up at Mars I saw a shooting star. They flash across the night sky bursting forth and are gone before you can even make your wish. I have not seen shooting stars since 2007, so I was especially glad to have been out at that precise moment. The night sky was alight with stars, so clear after the storm that had raged through the south east for two days.
I understand why the Americans call their homes on wheels land yachts, as ours swayed to and fro in the winds which danced a merry dance outside. As we sat in our van the wind outside sounded like an old toy Troy had had. It was a long plastic corrugated tube, with an end like a speaking tube. You whirlled it around and it made a noise. It made us chuckle listening to this sound. Our mirth was brought to an abrupt end when we both felt like we were on a see-saw. Not quite 'Wizard of Oz' but nearly I'd say.
Our days now will be filled with wood and walks, books and drawings and of course food and drink. During all this it is important to still the mind and concentrate on walking one step at a time, then look at what surrounds you. You will notice even the smallest detail in the surrounding world, which we so often miss. I look forward to what awaits us in the coming year and know there will be new experiences out there to help us on our way.

Monday, 13 July 2009


Today has been a very creative day for both Troy and myself. He has produced two amazing pieces of art work. They are copied from a book by the illustrator of the Harry Potter books. The Magic of Drawing Cliff Wright. He had a bit of a wobbly and did not think he would be able to reproduce the image in front of him, so together we did the relaxation technique recommended in the book. Once focused he felt fresh and able to proceed without further ado.
I meanwhile sat reading an old Agatha Christie book The 4:50 From Paddington. It has been years since I have read any of her works, and found myself enthralled by the guile of the elderly lady surreptitiously poking about to unravel the truth. I was totally engrossed with this tale of murder and mystery that I was not paying attention to Troy and his drawing. So you can imagine my eyes when they rested upon the end product. I could not believe the maturity captured in the image which gazed back at me. I was so proud of his ability to see an image and then recreate it with so much detail.

The majestic Griffin sitting in deep thought or relaxing was a masterpiece, as far as I am concerned. This is to be a card to the vet who cared for Willow, our dog, over the last two weeks. She was only spayed, so nothing life threatening, but that does not stop you being concerned that who you entrust to do this will be competent and caring. Well at Ancare you can be sure your animals are looked after like they are one of their own. A small friendly vet practice with caring people doing a stirling job. So this card is a thank you for that caring nature and show they are appreciated for being so caring. Sorry bit of ramble there, but I'm sure you get the gist.

I was so amazed I sent a picture to our friend Rima, she gave Troy a lesson on drawing and recommended this book. So Troy wanted her opinion. I think she will be pleased with his progress.
Not long after finishing this picture than Troy takes up pencil again and decides to draw another Griffin. This time he is drawing a picture for a friend who gave him lots of Star Wars Toys. Again this is his way of saying thank you, and I must say I would be more than pleased with one of his artworks, but then I am biased. So Griffin Number Two was produced. This time he is sitting with a cloak wrapped around him, keeping out the cold. He still looks very majestic and more pensive than the other, but I like them both equally. Troy's skill with a pencil changes as he himself grows and develops. He has had no formal training in art, so to speak. Except from the two hours he spent with Rima drawing faces, so his, really is raw talent.

He was very pleased with his work, probably the first time I have not heard him criticise his own work. Which he does most of the time. So his eye must have captured and interpreted the image exactly how he wanted it to look.
I on the other hand am not as able to transpose the image in my mind to the paper, so do not spend that much time drawing. However, I am still creative in other ways. So I made myself new hairbands with feathers on. A very simple project which did not involve too much. Firstly I found the feathers I wanted to use, then bound them with green embroidery thread. This was tied securely then fastened around the hairband. I then put PVA glue on the thread securing it so that it would stay tied and in place on the hairband. I hasten to add the photo was taken before I applied the PVA glue! Then I left them to dry so the glue could harden. Voila I have an original set of hairbands to tie up my plaits.

These types of days invigorate the mind and soul, and later I sat and wrote a piece on ideas just to get some thoughts out of my head. As sometimes they begin to mingle and jumble and I can not think for toffee.
I hope you enjoy these creative items we have conjured up today.
Blessed Be

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Stones a plenty

A Pensive mood in a mystical place of one so young, but this is another of Troy's favourite places to visit. As we drove towards Devizes I asked him where he would like to stop, Avebury or Stonehenge. Without any hesitancy Stonehenge sprang from his lips. So Lunch and a wander was on the agenda when we parked up in the overflow car park at Stonehenge.
First a quick jaunt for Willow who was bursting with energy and a need for the loo. She bounded across the field, dashing at me and the tall grasses before attending to her business.

I took this picture from the door of the van as I was making lunch. They are two of the many barrows which surround the countryside near the stones. Last time we came we walked across to them, but they are mounds which you can not enter. Of course not as they are burial mounds and we should not invade the privacy of the dead.

Once we were fully refreshed we set off to view the great circle as it is now. Of course we took our little dog, as it is a nice walk for her as well as us. However at the pay in kiosk I was told no dogs. `What do you mean, it's outside she can't hurt anything'. I replied aghast. `Health and Safety' Came the response. `Your having a laugh surely' Was all I could muster. `Those are the rules'. That did not satisfy me so I asked to speak to someone in authority, as surely a dog can not be a health and safety hazard in the outdoors. The gentleman hurried off and returned with a lady, who explained recently a dog had bitten a visitor whilst at another site, so they had been told no dogs anywhere. OK I have a reason for the health and safety jargon, why couldn't the man have said this instead of dismissing me. Perhaps all English Heritage workers should be informed of the reason and pacify their paying customers instead of dismissing them as if they are culprits and idiots. So our little dog was sanctioned to the van to await our return from our sojourn.

As English Hertiage members we were lucky not to have to queue too long, as we only need to show our card and we are free to go. As we walk through the underpass we can see the painting of the stones being hauled to their new home. `What if they were not hauled but sung into place' I put to Troy. He laughs `What singing stones' He enquires. Well it could be feasible if you work on the premise that everything resonates at a certain vibrational level. When someone sings high enough they can break a glass. So what if a choir sing together at different levels could this not help levitate things. Especially stones which have vibrations from the organisms they are composed of. This gives him food for thought as we start to come into view of the stones.

`But there are pictures of men hauling stones for the pyramids' He states. `I know but also remember that History is written by the winners, which does not always make it totally correct' I answer. I know he is pondering this conundrum I have posed, so I leave him with it. For nine years old he does well with logical questioning, but I don't want to persuade him, but let him make his own mind up.
As we stand in front of the circle of stones I tell him when I was his age I walked between the stones and touched them. He is aghast how could this be, they are fenced off and no one is allowed near, except on special occasions. `That's so unfair' He bleats. He would love nothing more than to be up close and personal with these gigantic monuments.
In years gone past we could do so much more, but the few spoiled it for the many as is often the case. Today we witnessed it with our little dog, she would no sooner lick you to death than attack anyone but has to be penalised because of an owners lack of responsibility. The stones were in danger of being broken, defaced and the circle disrupted beyond repair. So English Hertiage have saved them for all to see, but in doing so have denied many the opportunity to experience their full force.

It is an amazing piece of architecture created by our ancestors as what no one really knows. This is as close as you get to them, but they still are awe inspiring even to the young.

As we round the circle we come next to the busy A303, that is our way home once we hit the road again. As many people on the road as trundling around this site. There are so many visitors it's a wonder you are allowed to walk on the grass. Sorry the cynic in me takes over every now and again. I personally would have preferred to stop at Avebury, you can wander in and out of the stones which surround the village. The atmosphere there is one of peace and tranquility, rather than a herded walk in a fenced off area.

Then as quickly as we started we are at the end and on our way back to the underpass and into the gift shop. Troy has some money to spend, and finds a stone circle ring. Good choice. I purchase a new T-Shirt for him. This time it is Stonehenge at night. We are creatures of habit, as every time we visit I buy him a new T-Shirt. He was due a new one the other is a bit small now.
Our little dog is pleased we have returned, and we soon set off to complete our journey back to Canterbury.
A lass we have a small hiccup! Between the M20 and M2 we have to pull into a garage as the van is over heating. Poor Troy is beside himself, as there is smoke billowing past his window. If he could have escaped he would have, but not out of his door, no sirree that's to much like asking for trouble. When I pop the bonnet I am amazed to see the water reservoir for the radiator has no cap. It must have blown off, or something. I re-fill it twice, and leave it open to the air whilst I take a trip to the garage shop. I know I won't find a replacement cap, but there might be something I can use. I buy an emergency petrol cap, which is going to be too big, but it has a foam inner circle which I can use. So with some tin foil secured with the foam ring we are set to go again. By the way no one came and asked if I was alright or needed a hand!
We made it safely back, my Heath Robinson contraption worked a treat, staying securely in place, and we didn't over heat again. I thank the powers that be for guiding and protecting me as ever on my many adventures.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

The Glastonbury Experience

I did not expect to find a labyrinth laid out in the church yard of St John The Baptist in Glastonbury. Though why I do not know, as in this town anything goes. Multi faiths co-exist side by side without too much prejudice. You are not judged by what you wear or what you believe. It can be quiet refreshing to come here and be one with all around you. We have been coming to Glastonbury Town since Troy was Two and a Half, (he's nine now), staying a few days or a year depending on our fancy. This time we have been here for a week, catching up on old friends and places. It is only a small town but has a myriad of shops, catering for the tourists mostly. There is fantastic book shop here, where you can pick up some good bargains, along with unusual titles. The locals do not really bat an eye at all the visitors, as it is their main stay of income. There are always things going on at the town hall and assembly rooms, so it can be busy all year round.
As we walk in from the campsite we hardly meet anyone, and even as you approach the high street things seem ghostly quiet. Then as you round into the Market Square it can sometimes be difficult to see the pavement for the throng of feet traversing up and down the town. They are all off to their special destinations to gain that Glastonbury Experience.
This time we walked the Labyrinth and spent time in the Church. The architecture is amazing, beautifully carved pews and special chairs with wooden pegs as joints. There is a Green Man carved into the ceiling along with blues ceilings and stars. Exactly how it should be as one.
I had the feeling three weeks ago that I should learn to draw a Labyrinth, now I know why! I needed to draw it to walk it. It can make you feel heady and in need of some grounding when you come out. Yes even one as open as this can lift your energy.

Later the same day we headed for the Tor. We have walked this so many times, but each time it holds something new. There are two routes to and from the Tor, and usually we use both coming and going. This time we were going to walk, yes the Labyrinth around the Tor to the top, so had to start and finish from the same place. There is a beautiful wooden handrail up the path, especially for my poor old son, who finds this part quiet grueling to say the least. Then through the kissing gate to the outer field and the second kissing gate.

Now where do we start? I have a map a friend gave me, but it's difficult to find the start of the Labyrinth. We pick a part and I become uneasy. I'm not on the right level. Never mind we plod on, then we take off our boots. The earth feels so rich beneath our feet the grass so succulent. On no cow pats. I forgot the cows inhabit this land as well. We must also beware of thistles growing in the grass. Our little dog is enjoying racing on ahead, running through the longer grass. I can't quiet get in the spirit of things, and Troy is beginning to get a bit restless. How long before we get to the top, those sort of comments.
As we come to a concrete path I make a bold decision. Right boots on and upwards along the conventional path that takes us round the south east side.

Sometimes the Tor looks so far away others just above you it can be very disconcerting to the senses. This path looks as though it just disappears into the ground. Troy finds a cork in his pocket which Willow immediately snaps up as a plaything. So the rest of the walk up is concerned with throwing the cork and watching our little dog leap about to chase and catch it. She is having a wail of a time bounding up and down the slopes. Enchanting all those who pass us by.

The sun plays with the colours as we continue on our way, and as we round the hill it suddenly becomes darker and cooler as the sun hides behind the tower on top. We know it is still there as pale light exudes from the sky above, but the rays are not dazzling, sprinkling the ground with glitter, as before.

At the top you can see for miles. To the south east it is mostly farm land and villages, to the south west you can just make out Wells. The smallest City in England. Troy loves it up here you are so free and can imagin your self anywhere. He always says he can see the end of the world. This time he said `if I went right over there it would not be the end of the world'. How his thoughts have grown along with his stature.

A welcome rest and drink after the long haul up, as I busy myslef taking photos round and about. This is where the previous pearl of wisdom was deliberated upon as he sat taking in the surroundings. Willow is still busy rushing here and there, sniffing the grass and chasing her cork.
I still find it strange to find just this tower on the top. No other building or remanants of one are to be seen. It is called St Micheals Tower, but I'm still not sure of the story behind it. Although there is a plaque on the inside with information on. My mind can not absorb the details. Like all history it can be a bit vague.

It was beautiful and cool sitting inside the tower, and I was struck by the light refracting through the window spaces. The rainbow effect through the west facing aperture made me feel warm inside. Then as I looked up I felt as though I was in the bowels of the earth peeking up into the light and my way out. This does not feel as though it was just a tower once upon a time. More like a place of quiet and solitude. Well I feel very at peace whenever I sit in here.

As you look through the sun blots out what is on the other side, and can make you feel like you are stepping into another world. What awaits you as you step through the brilliant light, it can only be of your making. For us it is the descent and the lush colours which await our eyes. We have been followed by a butterfly all the way up and now on the way down. So I took a photo, but you can't really see it. Sorry no zoom, but it was a pretty brown and amber coloured one. I felt honoured by it's company. Once I had it's mug shot it disappeared into the blue yonder.

As we look back it always amazes us how far up we have been. Almost to the sky and back. It is never an ardous journey, more a pleasure to be treading the path of many a pilgrim or local. You meet so many different people at the top, all reveling in the view and atmosphere created up that far.
I find the best time to climb is morning or late afternoon. Some day I will do it just as day breaks, and watch the colours burst forth into the light

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

New adventures

It seems an age since I lasted posted. I have been busy since returning to Canterbury, after my hols in Glencoe. That was just what the Doctor order. A break in the country, peace, tranquility, good friends, good food and lots of space. They all make for a relaxing time when you can take stock of where you are and what your next plans are.
This blog has no pictures I'm afraid, as I really want to tell you a bit about myself and why I am doing what I'm doing. So here goes.
I am a qualified nurse and further education teacher who began to wake up back in 2002. I started to get out and about, camping during term breaks, visiting sites of antiquity like Stonehenge. These tantalised my senses and I began to seek out books around the subject of herbs, megaliths, ecopsychology and the like. This gave me a restless feeling inside, as though something was missing. We began to go camping at weekends as well as holidays, so increasing our time spent in nature. I worked hard, weekdays only, but 8.30 - 5.00 everyday. So to be able to get away from it all was a release in itself. I felt more alive when away from the humdrum of existence, as that is what life for me had become.
I had personal problems, as do most people, which had been shelved somewhere in my head. I had not buried them completely, so they would remind me of their presence every so often and try and entice me to deal with them. A bit like a school bully whose egging for a fight to prove they are stronger than you. I just drowned them in alcohol, not too much to be a problem but enough to stop their wittering. At least when I went camping I didn't need the alcohol. This was neutral territory, where I was living and gaining a bit of freedom to move forward. However, on return to the other world, I would quickly slip back in the fold and behave like a robot.
My son. Troy was coming up for school, and we had wanted a quiet little school where he would not get lost in a crowd. I placed the requests for schools, hoping against odds we would get the right one. I would then be able to carry on in my management role at the local College, with him in pre and after school clubs. What a life I had mapped out for him!
Well we didn't get our choice of school, I was devastated as was he. What would happen now, I had not much faith in the school system, as my daughter had quiet a hard time at school. She is fiercely independent and out spoken, challenging information to understand and clarify what is being taught. We hit many a problem as she traversed through her time in education establishments. I could foresee the same with Troy. At 4 he was already knowledgeable about places we had been, and programmes he watched on the TV. So I had to seriously think about what course of action I was going to take.
One weekend when Troy and I were camping down behind Longleat, I asked him if he would like to do this for ever. 'What camp?' He asked. 'Well sort of yes, in a motor home rather than a tent though'. I replied. 'Wow, like the Wild Thornberrys'. he exclaimed. That was a TV show for kids about a travelling family, both parents were wildlife reporters and Filmer's living in exotic places. I could go with that, anywhere is going to be exotic to a kid that's not where you live right now. So that was that. I had made my decision, it seemed so simple give everything up and move on completely. Get out there in the world and discover what you have forgotten.
It was June and I would leave work in July, so I had to move on my ideas and make them happen. Everything fell into place like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I sold my house to a cash buyer, bought a motor home, downgraded my belongings and set off on the sea of uncertainty.
Now 5 years later we are still here doing the same thing, but not. Yes we are still travelling, but each day brings something different, even if we are in the same place. Not everything is exciting for everyone, so I try to pick the best bits to share. I have not really shared my personal experiences, but hope to get them down in book form at some point, when I have a spare moment and the right place to write. Being in built up areas can sometimes stem the creative juices. Making them stagnant and murky. I am still trying to finish off my first book, which has been in the process since 2006. So you can see I can be a slow mover at times. I have been unsure whether anyone would be interested, and when I have tried to find a publisher for it have been batted off here there and everywhere. I also felt I didn't want everyone to suddenly know me. I am ashamed of this last feeling, as I was feeling very materialistic at the time and my ego had got the better of me. I am now ready to bear it all to anyone who has the inclination to traverse the pages and experience what we did in our first year on the road. However, there is one small snag. I still haven't finished editing it, so not much chance it will be out there before next year now. Again I am ashamed at this as my brother spent time proof reading it for me, and all I have done is put it in a cupboard out of sight. I know these feelings have to be addressed, and I need a good talking to for wasting so much time feeling sorry for my lot.
Well Glencoe did that for me. The mountains, streams and woods rekindled the longing I have to be in the open space, but it also reminded me that there are things I need to do in order to get back there. The book is one of those things, as is working with the tools I have to overcome any thing that crosses my path. I always say 'I am open and deal with things as they arise'. Well I ain't' done that this time, I've whinged and whined like a little kid, thrown my toys out of the pram and then had tantrums. All because I have been in a place I didn't want to be, well I needed to be here to learn that no matter what the problem is we have to face them straight on and tackle them. Otherwise they grow horns and fight back.
So since my return I have been busy getting out and about in between teaching. I have also given a talk on living more in tune with nature, and sold some room sprays which I have developed. I have a more positive outlook on where I am and why I am here and am making the most of it. We will be moving on after my contracts end, so I want to get the best out of everything before we go.
In the meantime, I shall continue to update you on any good adventures we encounter.
Stay young at heart, and wise of mind, live to your full potential and be happy.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Egg Trail

This was the start of
our Quest to find the
clues to find the missing word. If you discovered the word you would be rewarded with an Easter egg. Yum, but only for kids, not big ones though!

As we climb up
beside the mountain stream we enter into woodland, with the majestic pines standing tall and straight. They stand in uniform rows like soldiers on guard, keeping out unwanted visitors. We find them inviting, as are the moss covered mounds which dot the forest floor

As it is such a lovely day we have brought a picnic with us. So we stop at a newly sited picnic table. It stands of the ridge of a hill overlooking the campsite we are staying on. The sun is very warm, enough for us to have our jumpers off. Yes we are in Scotland, and it is that hot!

This fallen pin tree made a good home for Stig, as he shows off his habitat. He is so pleased you have stopped to take a look at his home. Troy loves this side of exploring, as you get to be who you want living how you want. He could have got in underneath as it was quite big, but I really didn't want any more mud caked clothes. So he is standing at his doorway.
This is a beautiful wood, which leads to Glencoe village (as mentioned in the earlier blog) or back to the path we are currently following. We have only a few clues left, but Troy already knows the word is butterfly. That will not stop the search, as we have to follow the trail of red wool tied around trees marking our way.
We are enjoying ourselves to spoil it.

We make it back to the Glencoe Visitors Centre
triumphant in our quest, so all that is left to do is redeem our prize. Troy get an Easter egg, which is gone before you can say Peter Rabbit. So there is no picture to mark his victory. He declined on the face painting, so I made a bid for that treat. As you can see I chose a butterfly, which was the answer to the quest. Troy also received a monkey climbing a palm tree, no not the real thing but a balloon model. Again there is no picture because it slipped my mind. We were both so enthralled with the skill the gentleman inflated and squiggled his balloons into a bouquet of flowers, a teddy bear holding a flower and then Troy's prize. It truly is an art form I have to say. Alsa now the monkey and part of the tree have popped so there will be no picture evidence from us of this skill. I was also remiss in not getting the gentlemans details to let you know more information on him. So please forgive me of this sin on this occassion.
On return to our van there was nothing left to do but finish off the rest of the eggs and chocolate, leaving us happy and bloated.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Watching the Weather

Nature is spectacular if you take the time to notice. I have bee relaxing watching the weather unfold before my eyes. What was mist and rain earlier is now snow and rain. The white snow clouds have obscured the view of the mountains in front of me, as I lie on my bed. When they finally depart having shed their load on the mountain and ground, the tops will be white. Not thick but like a frosting of icing sugar on top of a cake. At ground level we are experiencing rain, but on the high ground it is still cold enough for it to fall as snow. Now that is Majick in it's true form. The wind is gently blowing in from the North-East, bringing cold air temperatures with it to ensure the mountains get their dose of snow before spring unfolds into summer. Only in Scotland can you get all four seasons in one day, nature sharing her power with you allowing you to feel refreshed and alive.
As we drove up from the South of England we were shrouded by fog until we reached the borders, when we were delighted by the greens of spring as she blankets the earth in colour. It did rain, but not for long as we travelled through into the sun, which make the Silver Birch Trees shine silver and purple. This part of the British Isle became our home for a year, or there about, and we always love coming home to the sanctuary of the mountains where you can see the weather approaching. This is not our home, as such, both my son and I were born in the South of England, but we came here when we first set sail in our motor Home. This was the land which breathed fresh life into both of us, him at five and me at forty years old. So it holds a special place in both our hearts, reaching out to us across the miles and calling us back when we are in need of recuperation.
We have come to Glencoe, a place of massacre which draws teh tourist, macabre lot! When the clouds descend it can be moody, but never the same atmosphere two days running. The campsite we are staying at is nestled between the mountains, so we have a panoramic view of their splendour. It appears as though you can just reach out and touch them, but in reality we are small beings at their feet. On a trail from the site is a woodland walk, which will take you to the village if you desire, which contains the ruins of a house where nine people were said to have been murdered in the massacre. It is a sad tale but familiar to this region of the British Isles. The English connived with clans to ensure all of Scotland succumbed to English rule, which happened in many guises until all of Scotland lost her independence and was tamed. It is no wonder they hated the English so much! I have to say we have experineced nothing but kindness in this beautiful land, which still has areas of unspoilt natural beauty just around any corner you care to wander. I felt totaly ignorant when I first learnt the History of this land, never having been taught more than a outline of the terrifying Picts and the determination of Robert the Bruce. This determination showed through across the centuries as the people picked themselves up, learnt new skills and jobs and lived new lives in new places. Life was hard for them but they survived and are now beginning to thrive on tourism educating visitors about their History.
There are tales of ghosts and spirits roaming these glens, and when the mists and clouds roll in you can almost feel the atmosphere alive with otherworldly beings, walking beside you as they continue on their way to lost homes. They remain to remind us of their sacrifices made trying to save their lands and way of life.
The most appealing sight I have seen is just after the rains have stopped and the air begins to dry, out of the trees and mountains smoke rises as if a dragon is breathing. I was told today I am a romantic, perhaps this is a romantic notion but one I am pleased to have. It is also a title I feel honoured to take on, a lot better than some I have been given in the past. I suppose it must be ambience of the surroundings which can bring these flights of fancy to the fore, allowing me to step outside the physical realm into the veil between the worlds. It opens your eyes to what is really there amongst the trees and mountains, beside the tumbling waters and Lochs. They stand by watching and waiting for you to stray into their realm and visit even if only for a while. I didn't have a date to be back down South I could get lost up here for as long as it took. That's how this place can affect you. It's like being lost in the land of the fairy folk, just living and being at one with everything.
So as the rain still falls on the world outside my home, I snuggle in the warm with the knowledge that tomorrow is a new day with new delights to surprise me.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Back to nature

We were lucky to be invited to help start to clear the dog walk at Canterbury Camping and Caravanning Site. It is a nice walk as they go, but very overgrown and unkempt. I know this is not a bad thing, as nature can make a nice spot without human help. However, this has become over grown with brambles and grasses, so a stroll down this path is uninviting to some and you don't get the feel of what is really there.
The East and West Kent Camping and Caravanning Club District Associations had arranged to work on this patch this weekend, and the Site manager invited us to help. We jumped at the chance, yes even Troy was excited about getting involved. I like nothing more than to be out of doors, and to be helping bring more nature back to an idilic spot is so rewarding.
So this was my little patch to clear, very matted with all sorts and no telling what lurks beneath the undergrowth!
So armed with a pair of shears and a rake I set to work. Troy did start to help, but found the shears hard work, then he spotted activity further down the line, so he was off to investigate, shears in hand just in case. Leaving me to continue alone with my little patch to uncover. Even though there were quiet a few of us it was peaceful listening to the birds singing as they watched us beaver away.

I was summoned to marvel at the feets the group Troy had joined, they were by the pond/swamp. This was to be cleared so everyone could see it, and for the wild life to enjoy without becoming embroiled with creepers, brambles and overgrown trees. It is sad to see trees cut down, but these were in need of tretment, most of the trees were dead. So they were cut back to the trunks and the wood used elsewhere.
Troy had worked hard helping in this area, and was talking about the chain saw, no not yet he's far too young for that experience. Don't get me wrong I'm all for learning new skills, but a chain saw, he can just about use a small saw.
It is like a hive of industry everywhere along the dog walk, people are chopping and clearing the mess that has tangled itself up, making it impossible to access anywhere except the main path. It will be lovely once everywhere is open to view, especially for the fauna and flora, who will be delighted with the space to move freely about their habitat.
After breaking for a cup of tea, it's back to work, Troy is off with the others, I am still plodding on with my patch. I want to have something to show for the aches and scratches I will be feeling later. Yes I am, my first finger on the left hand is a bit swollen and stiff, but I'm pursevering, other than that I'm sporting a few scratches. Nothing that a rub of Eucalyptus ointment won't heal.

It's lunch time and this is my progress so far, not bad for a single women eh? That is a plant pot! I had found a plant with the mud still attached to the roots, but didn't expect to find it's pot. Guess the neighbours thought they were safe throwing it over, after all it was waste land. Things will have to change. I also found loads of tin cans, half decomposed milk cartons, it was strange to find these white plastic tops with ghost cartons just hanging on. Bottles, empty of course, people are inconsiderate they could have deposited full ones for the unlikely passer by! Oh yes that fence, but it might not stay up long, I think the brambles were holding it together.

These are the people who have worked together today to make an impression on the wilderness that is the dog walk. Soon it will be a veritable feast of flora and fauna not only for dog walkers to enjoy.

I know this is not that clear, but through the trees the fence is broken giving access to anyone from the Psychiatric Hospital, our neigbours by the way!. A gentleman worked away quietly weaving a new fence out of woods chopped away from trees. Yes recycling is going on even in this environment. Some of course will probably be burnt, but leaving it on the forest floor, Ok it's not really a forest it's a wood, will give the mini beast loads of food and fun playing hide and seek.

Troy has been given this bench, which until this morning was hidden from view, to clean and paint. This is soul project after lunch, which is good as he worked hard this morning, so needs to have an easier task now. He is only 9, and has been working like a teenager. Everyone was shocked at his age at lunch, so I think they are glad he is doing this little job this afternoon. I never think to tell people, as he can manage to interact very well across the ages and will keep up with most on most jobs. So he's cleaning the bench ready to paint it. Unfortunately he's distracted at the moment, as a lady in the Psychiatric Hospital is having a moment of repetition in a very loud way.

This is the finished product, one new bench not quiet ready to sit on as still wet. Troy is also wearing said paint, as usual. He was given gloves, but they were invisible. He has trailed the brush from the tin to the bench and so has nice little splatter marks on this trousers. The paint has run down the brush on the journey and made it to his hands and arms. The stining nettles at the feet of the bench now have black stripes, where he painted the legs, but the bench looks really good. He has done a good job and feels pleased with his accomplishments. Can't be bad, and when he paints he tend to wear more than the object being painted, so why break a habit yet.

This is my achievement, and I am very pleased with the end result, I have left bramble stalks, ready to regrow, as they are a beautiful plant and very good for all sorts of things. Especially if they are blackcurrants! You can now see the real ground, which will allow plants to grow, now the sun can reach it.
We have had a really good day, meeting new people and helping to create a little space for all to enjoy. Thank you for asking us to contribute our skills, however small they are, in your project.

Thursday, 12 March 2009


This is the height of luxury, I have a brand new carpet fitted in my van today and it is lush to walk on. Oh yes I am happy, happy, happy to have got rid of the original one as it has had so many things spilt on it over the last 5 years. You don't want to know what has hit the deck, or been brought in. So now the van is smelling very nice indeed, and looks like a 5 star hotel. Ok not quiet, but I would stay here, oh yes I do!
Troy now has to take his boots off before getting further than just inside the van. Don't know how long that one will last but it's worth a try. He was dead excited about the whole thing, even woke me up to tell me this morning that the event was happening today. He became bored very quickly when he couldn't help, well I mean how many does it take to fit a carpet as big as this?
I have also become the proud owner of a new duvet, one you can't see the daylight through, and last night was like barbados. Can't imagine how I've put up with that old thin thing for so long, but then we adapt. Along with the duvet I brought a new duvet cover and pillow slips, Sorry this must be very mundane for you all reading but it's a big event in our small world. So I now feel like the princess and the pea when I sit on top of my bed, it's so fluffy it makes my bed seem huge.
It feels good to bring new things into your life and although these are small compared to others I chrish them just as much. It seems to shed a new light onto all around, a bit like the countryside at the moment as the buds start to open and show their delicate colours to all who are looking.
As I reflect on the days events I know that we both have entered a new chapter in our lives, having discarded a lot of unwanted and unused items to make way for anything that may come along we need. I have been looking at changing our van as space is becoming a bit short. When we embarked on this journey, Troy was 5 and although we had downsized quiet dramatically we still had a few bits and pieces. Now he is 9 and we were down on living space, thanks to a lot of possesions we had acquired. So it has been very refreshing to go through all our stuff and decide what is necessary, a luxury and never seen the light of day for ages. The later tends to be the items who find themselves in charity shops waiting for their next owner. Very little is thrown away, unless it is broken of course, as we love to browse charity shops ourselves so know our stuff will find a good home.
Troy has grown as well and is a strapping nine year old, who is almost as tall as me, so you can imagin space can be tight. I have decided the next van will be less orthodox and more alternative. I had to have the security of a modern motorhome at the beginning. Well this was a big thing and although it felt right it was still a bit scary, and I didn't fancy breaking down or being totally ostracised and lost. I was already lost as a person, so to be lost with a five year could have been disasterous. I also did not know anyone else who travelled or owned a van, so had no-one to bounce ideas off. He has been a good van, taking us to many places I never even imagined existed. Now I am ready to through off that mantle and own something a little more than just a van, but something that will help us become a bit more self sufficient in every aspect of living. I have no fixed ideas or desires for perfection, as I know I can rememdy most things now, one way or another. So I am open to whatever vehicle comes my way at the right price, then we will have to sell Brian our faithful companion. It does seem a bit hard, but then we do the same with people. Not sell them of course, but come and out of their lives, upgrade them for different people with different outlooks. The important thing is not the sadness of it, but the lessons we learn and take forward into our own lives making them more enoyable every day.
It has been a forceful Full Moon, which makes me more reflective than normal, please excuse the tangents.