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Waiting for the moon

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After two weeks out of the office, my energy is returning, or so it seems.

There’s a small hill near my house where, as a child, I used to walk the dog. It’s not of any particular size, but to get there you walk through the oldest part of the village, past the remnants of the castle that dominates the river valley. I’ve been meaning to walk back up this hill ever since I came back from China, and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have except that my energy and will to do anything have been so depleted. But, this morning, I went up there, and it was quite magical. Once you get onto the path upwards, slipping and slithering through the mud, you get into a new-growth forest where there was once common land, and sheep grazing. The trees are bare now, of course, but many of them are covered in a vivid green moss; ferns and fungi are everywhere around.

Reaching the top of the hill, the path splits, forming a crossroads. As you stand here, you can see over the treetops and see all along the river valley, from the brooding black hills to the north, and southwards towards the sea. Just next to this is an older tree, with dramatically spreading branches. Someone had left a bunch of brightly-coloured flowers between this tree’s roots. Who knows why? Perhaps there’s a coven active locally.

Retracing my steps, I went along the the riverside towards town. The music of hounds suddenly reached me from above; the local fox hunt were working the fields adjacent to where I’d just been. I could see the hounds following a line into the woods; behind them came the field – 20 or so mounted followers – silhouetted on the skyline for a few moments before vanishing from sight.

All of which is nothing much to do with anything, other than – perhaps – it’s a part of the process of re-connecting with the qi of the land, and of rebuilding my own reserves of qi.

Earlier this evening, I stood in zhan zhuang; I was practising indoors, because that’s what I’m used to doing now, what with the constant rain we’ve had these last months. I was ready to go to bed, to be honest, but I thought I would take a look outside first – and what do you know, it’s cold and clear outside.

So, I wrapped up, turned all the house lights off, and took myself to the bottom of the garden for another session of zhan zhuang. There’s a spot where all streetlights are blocked from my line of sight; there’s still the lo-glo of course, but there’s nothing to be done about that. The sound of traffic from local roads is much heavier than it was when I was younger, but you can tune it out. And so I stood there, the stars clear overhead; the calls of two different types of owl, out on the hunt, were clear, and close. The wind is light, and draws out the presence of branches.

So I finished my session, and came indoors… but then realised that the moon is rising. Soon, I’ll be able to go back outside to that spot, and stand for a while with the moon visible over the rooftop. It’s late; I’m tired; I really should go to bed… but moments like this are rare.

A quiet day

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Spring is definitely on its way, at last. In the last week, we’ve had some very misty mornings followed by cold, bright days. The earth is beginning to warm up; flowers are pushing their way to the light, and trees are beginning to bud.

I’m finally able to breathe a little; the last few weeks have been very, very hard work. I don’t mind working long hours when it’s constructive; I definitely object when it’s to clear up someone else’s mess, with no thanks for it.

Still, this afternoon I got out into the garden. I’ve got two more fruit trees on the way to me for planting – heritage Welsh strains of a damson plum and an ordinary plum – as well as two fragrant climbing roses for hedging.

I managed to get a few minutes with my new shashka – yes, I gave in and bought one! It’ll take a while to get back to the fluency I had in Beijing, and more to get to the standard of the woman in the video I posted, but I’ll get there. This Weaponedge shashka handles very well, I have to say. I suspect I’ll wind up with a second, to train double-handed.

In the late afternoon I walked to a nearby village (the one with the church dedicated to Hilarion). It was a beautiful day, with warm sunshine causing me to sweat as I walked along the Roman road, and through ancient sunken lanes. I had a couple of pints as I read the Times, and then came back the same way, the road illuminated by stars and a waxing moon in the cloudless sky. I found that yiquan’s mo ca bu worked rather better than bagua tang ni bu on the broken ground in the half-light…

Category: Gardening, Wales

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Arts and crafts

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Recently, I’ve been putting my tui na skills to use, treating a relative for sciatica and chronic lumbago. Of course, after only a couple of sessions it’s too soon to see lasting results. Even so, when someone who enters the room bent double in pain, holding on to chairs and tables for support, walks away upright with only a bit of a limp… well, then I really feel I’ve achieved something.

And boy, do I also feel that I’ve been working… It’s physical work, this tui na, and I soon find the perspiration running freely. I’m too stiff as I work; I do need to get into the practice of taiji and qigong again, as I’m using the muscles of my arm too much. Sometimes I get it right, though, and I transfer pressure to the patient without effort, using body weight and core energy.

This comes on top of reading Matthew Crawford’s book, The Case for Working With Your Hands, which I bought a couple of weeks ago. I find it hard to disagree with his thesis that there’s a satisfaction to be gained from using craft skills that is increasingly hard to obtain from the white-collar conceptual mind-work that I was always encouraged to pursue. Certainly, a lot of my work in the higher education sector no longer has the status it once had. Increasingly, the basic teaching of core concepts can frankly be done just as well, or even better, online; the offshoring and/or virtualisation of education provision over the internet can achieve results just as well as a lecture to 350 students. There is another side to education; the widening of horizons, the cultivation of human potential, the development of self-confidence. That’s the aspect that attracted me into the field, not being or wishing to be, a research academic. It’s getting harder and harder to do that though; the changing nature of the industry is bringing bigger and bigger classes, where it’s hard to make individual connections, while fewer and fewer students seem to want anything more than an easy path to a qualification that will help their career. I’m seeing complaints now that it’s unfair to expect the whole curriculum to be revised before exams, or to give them case studies without accompanying answers. Certainly, there isn’t the satisfaction to be had equivalent to taking someone’s pain away because you gave them treatment based on skills you’ve learned the hard way.

I was given a copy of 9000 Needles for Christmas, and I’ve watched it a couple of times now. In brief, it’s a documentary about an American body builder who is paralysed after a stroke. When his insurance runs out, he’s packed off home; his family decide to take him to China, after learning about an acupuncture treatment specifically designed for stroke victims. The documentary was made by the patient’s brother, who naturally enough doesn’t know anything about acupuncture; as a result, it’s a little frustrating that we never learn anything about the principles of the treatment itself. It’s fascinating, though, to see the huge improvements in his condition over a short period of time; it’s also very interesting to see the inner workings of a Chinese TCM hospital (the same one, as I’ve mentioned before, that runs a one-year, English-medium, acupuncture diploma course).

I have a few aches and pains of my own at the moment: a big black bruise on my thigh, and a sore hip. Yes, I went to my first systema class for almost a year last week, and had a great time. This was at Celtic Systema, the school run by Mark Winkler, who’s not long back from six months of training with Vladimir Vasiliev. We worked on breathing, ‘old man walking’, some falling and ground work (hence the sore hip: no mats), and breaking tension chains (hence the bruise on my thigh). All good fun: I’m looking forward to the next class. It was a small group, only four students plus Mark. What was interesting was that Mark and one of the other students speak Welsh, so the three of us spent a lot of the class yn siarad Cymraeg – truly, Celtic Systema!

On the old New Year’s Eve (ie, following the Julian calendar), I went out with the local Mari Lwyd, and not for the first time by any means. It was filmed, so here’s what I mean:

I arrived shortly after this, so I don’t appear in the clip. It’s important to keep traditions alive – and truly alive. It’s a danger that they lose their vitality, become relics that are paraded around reverently, no longer inhabiting their true role in our psyche. The thing is, the Mari Lwyd, traditionally, is a force of chaos, an element of Saturnalia when all roles are turned upside down. Read the folklore, and the Mari runs around, chasing women and making children scream in delighted terror, respecting nobody. Know this, and that mare’s skull is full of a potent personality, waiting for the right bearer through whom it can come alive. Keith Johnstone, in his book Impro, has a lot to say about masks and trance, and the ability of a mask to ‘possess’ its wearer (I’ve put my copy somewhere I can’t find it, else I would quote). Anyway, what I’ve getting to is that I wore the Mari to the next pub we visited and, as someone said to me with a raised eyebrow the next day, I was “in character”. Someone else told me that they laughed until they cried, and the manager gave me a free pint, that’s all I can say…

Right now, I’m working through Bella Merlin’s Stanislavsky Toolkit; there’s an awful lot in there about breathing and movement that can very easily be related to systema, a link I’ve made before…

As they say: never a dull moment…

Hilarion

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This post is just playing around with some ideas; you’ll probably want to skip it if you’re interested in the martial arts etc that I normally write about.

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My hometown developed around a river bridge. Originally, the bridge was part of the main Roman military highway stretching westwards to the Irish Sea. It lay between some important forts, and we know from the archaeological evidence that some elements of Legio II Augusta were present in the first and second centuries AD. The town’s location would have led it to prosper, and we know that there were several major villa estates in the area. The archaeological remains also suggest that the town became a centre for industrial-scale metalworking. Over the centuries of the Roman presence, life became settled, and the legionaries were withdrawn, back to the major camps. Changes in Imperial technology and military requirements eventually led to the classic legions becoming redundant; the focus shifted to mobile, cavalry-based forces.

The river runs through the town, and makes its way in a large curve to the sea a couple of miles away. The river valley is deep and steep, so from the town the sea seems a long way away. It’s not, though, and it actually doesn’t take all that long to reach the estuary by foot. There’s always been a reasonable little harbor at that estuary – at least, until the whole area was reconfigured for major industrial developments in the 20th century.

I very often walk up the remnants of that old Roman highway. It’s been bypassed now by a modern road, and is an overgrown country lane, with an uneven rock surface that’s the remains of the old road core. It rises up to the top of one of the highest local hills, and then continues, arrow-straight. The odd thing is that another little lane leaves it at the hilltop, going at a right angle in the direction of the sea. It arrives at a small village, leading directly to the old manor house, and then straight onwards to the old vicarage – a house sited on the edge of the escarpment, and from where there is a view down along the length of the river valley. From there, you can’t see either the sea or the town, but you can see most of what’s in-between. It’s interesting to note that on old maps this area is named ‘The Cross’. The local church, right next to the manor, is dedicated to Hilarion – rather an uncommon saint.

That side road is very definitely ancient, and has the same kind of surface as the main Roman road. Its straightness is unusual in a country lane. Taken together, that makes me think that it must also be Roman. Why would it be there? Well, we know that by the third century, the Western coast of Britain was suffering from increasingly aggressive raiding from Ireland. Indeed, the Irish began to colonize south-west and north-west Wales. A tower built where the manor house later was would have an excellent view of the sea and that little harbor. It’s the perfect place to have a lookout; if anything was sited, riders could have been sent to warn the town long before raiders made their way up the valley. Would the town have been a target? Of course! It was wealthy and, to the Irish, a source of worked iron and steel would surely have been irresistible. The site of the old vicarage would have been the perfect place to have observe the progress of any raiders, and to launch a mounted attack at the moment of choice. But why the uncommon saint’s name? Why was the site named ‘The Cross’ before it became a vicarage?

A story takes shape in my mind, of my town in the dying days of Roman Britain. We know that there’s no evidence of occupation after the fourth century; the site wasn’t settled again until the Normans arrived. We know that the Irish took the whole area by storm during ‘The Great Conspiracy’: in the latter part of the fourth century, Roman Britain was assaulted from three directions simultaneously as the Irish, the Picts, and the Saxons united to attack this island prize. The Romans were driven back to what is now the south-east of England. With reinforcements from the continent, they eventually reasserted their control over the whole of the province – but what would they have found as they fought their way back into the occupied areas?

I can imagine a dawn when the citizens of my town woke to an ordinary morning. Their town was still prosperous. Life had been undisturbed under Roman rule for centuries. Grandfathers complained that things weren’t as good as during the days of their youth – the currency was increasingly debased, there were more and more new taxes, free men were being forced into serfdom, the Irish raiders seem bolder each year further down the coast while the soldiers were fewer and fewer (especially as more and more generals declared themselves to be the Emperor and marched their armies away to inglorious defeat). But old men always grumble.

Perhaps the first warning they had were the war cries of the raiders who had slipped up the valley from the estuary during the night. Perhaps a rider came galloping down from the lookout tower, who knows? There may have been a small cavalry unit there, who fought until they were overwhelmed or, more likely, most of them had already been called away to deal with trouble elsewhere. Whatever happened, the town couldn’t be saved.

By the end of the day, the town was in flames. Many of the men were dead. Women and children had been carted away to the boats to become slaves, along with valuables, stocks of metal, and livestock.

Some of the survivors banded together in an old Iron Age hillfort, which remained occupied and fortified through the Dark Ages. Others would have fled to the lookout tower and cavalry post in search of safety, and settled within and around its walls. Devastated, ruined, they may have chosen to build a church dedicated to Hilarion, the ascetic saint who was attacked by thieves – thieves who left him alone and even repented of their evil ways for attacking a man so much poorer than themselves, a man who had nothing left for them to take. Surely a fitting patron for the remnants of a prosperous community, who have lost everything, while raiders from the sea remain a constant threat. Such a traumatized group may have raised a stone cross in the old observation post above the valley, praying that this holy symbol might deter the Irish where horses, swords and spears had failed….

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Those who have been reading for a while will see where I’m going with this. All around us, the signs increase to show that our society and economy are under increasing stress – stress that is becoming unsustainable. Peak resources, environmental degradation, climate change, sovereign debt, corruption, and the elevation of special interests… Like the ancient burghers of my hometown, so many of their modern equivalents become gradually inured to the changes, forgetting that, once, it really was better. One day, though, it might all fall apart. That day could be soon. Based on the information available I would put 2014-15 as the key period, as that is when oil production will really start to drop off – which means that the price of EVERYTHING will rocket. That’s when things will get really ugly.

Plan. Be prepared. Be ready.


North Wales (Eryri, the ‘place of eagles’) was great. We stayed at the foot of Snowdon next to a lake, the water of which was so clear and still it was like glass. It reflected perfectly the smudgy purple of the heather on the hills around, the mossy greens and slate grey of the terrain… A small stream gushed and gurgled past our window. It was incredibly peaceful. With all the trips we made to Caernarfon, Beddgelert, Llanberis and so on, I didn’t manage to do quite as much practice as I had hoped but nevertheless got up at six to stand in zhan zhuang next to the lake. It was wonderful; I haven’t felt so cleansed and energized for a long time. My companion (as they say in the restaurant reviews) and I are now wondering how we could pursue our respective careers from Snowdonia….

Speaking of careers and suchlike: I’ve just found out about a one-year course in acupuncture, taught in English at the TCM Hospital of Tianjin. I’m very, very tempted, I have to say… The detailed syllabus is available here (PDF).

On moral and martial virtue

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Right then, back to the nominal topics of this blog.

It’s Monday night and I have a long list of things that I should be doing, but frankly I’m too tired. For the first time in ages, instead, I sat for a session of vipassana: not too successfully, I fear – the monkey mind is very strong at the moment! Never mind, keep going…

This weekend there was a change in the air; everyone could taste the Spring coming. Last Thursday morning, I left for work before dawn; before getting into the car, I took a moment to stand silent, listening to the birdsong build up. The air was very still and full of qi; it made me clap my hands and shout HA for the joy of breathing. As I had a bit of a time margin before I needed to be in the office, I stopped the car as I drove over the moorland towards the city limits, and parked on the side of the road. I’ve often meant to do this, but never actually did it. On this occasion, there was a heavy mist, fragrant with the smell of brine from the nearby sea. In the pre-dawn gloom there was nothing of the views that are there on clear days, but the sense of stillness and space was calming. Soon, it’ll be the end of winter; time for me to buy some hill-walking boots!

Since I last blogged about martial arts, Earle Montaigue has passed on. I gave my condolences to Eli, but of course I don’t know him well, and I never had the chance to meet Earle. I’m saddened by that. I suppose the best anecdote I can give is that I bought a copy of his dim mak book in Singapore. When I moved to Beijing, I lent it to a Shaolin-trained martial artist who was studying dian xue of the Yang taiji style; his comment was that “it wasn’t the real thing”… but he never gave it back, despite being asked!

The last couple of weeks have been super-busy at work, combined with more than a little insomnia. I’ve made it to Eli’s classes; bagua followed by taiji. I’m really getting into this. It’s great to study the two together, which is something I’ve never done before, and I’m really getting my bagua vibe back! Plus it is just great to finally have an English-speaking teacher. I’m getting very excited about neijia again 🙂

On the other hand, I’ve missed the last two systema classes; I’ve been too tired, and basically didn’t trust myself to drive there and back without falling asleep at the wheel (oh, and I needed to work late at the office…). I should be able to make it this week though. There’s also an all-day seminar coming up at the end of this month; I plan to go to that, so I’ll finally get to meet Mark in person!

As for the title of this post… Having had a great time in the last class with Eli, I asked him whether he’d ever seen wulin zhi. It turns out that he hasn’t, so I’ll lend him my copy when I go tomorrow. That has motivated me to watch it again myself; it’s playing as I type (the famous scene with the pole circle is on right now!). As always, I love it – and yet, I feel saddened.

Those of you who know me IRL know why I left Asia, and I still think I did the right thing. And yet… and yet… I keep on being reminded why I originally quit Wales, and why I didn’t think I would return – until suddenly I had to. Hardly anyone has asked me what my life was like in Singapore and China; what I valued, and what I did with my time, or who I knew and why I valued them. It seems to be assumed that it was just a phase, and now I’ve returned to ‘normal’ life.

Not so, though. As I sit here watching wulin zhi, I’m reminded of how much I have internalized the values of wu de. To quote from that link, wu de stands for:

  • Ren: benvolence and mutual love
  • Yi: righteousness, justice, judging with the heart, having friendly feelings
  • Li: respect, rules of conduct, politeness
  • Zhi: knowledge, reason, education and learing
  • Xin: trust, sincerity and openness, to truly believe in something, and also to keep one’s promises, be stable and engaged in things
  • Yong: courage and braveness

I think of some of my teachers, especially of the older generation: Yao Cheng Rong, Zhou Yue Wen, Sun Ru Xian… These are men; men to be admired, men to be respected, men to be emulated. It’s important to me that though I never approached anything like their level, I was at least taken seriously. I find none to match them here; indeed, even today, I found some of the values that they and I hold were mocked by a colleague. Don’t get me wrong; there are other values. In my home town, I more and more feel a part of the community; it’s no small thing to be greeted from all directions by people old and young, from all walks of life, when you walk into a pub. But, and but… when the darkness falls here, Asia calls me.

I won’t be getting on a plane anytime soon, unless it’s for a holiday. Nevertheless, it’s a good thing to be reminded of wu de, and that the values of the jianghu, the values of wulin are more virtuous, and more admirable, than those of the little people I sometimes have to deal with here.

Feel the weight

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I was at a bit of a loose end yesterday. This period between Christmas and New Year is a bit of a dead time, especially when you’re newly-arrived in a country and don’t have strong social networks yet. To be honest, I would have preferred to be working, but the office is closed for the week, and the heating is off, so that wasn’t an option. I also had a bit of an urge to travel deeper into Wales than I have done so far; in my walking around the lanes I’ve felt something of the place, the qi of the land (which is very different to that of China), but I haven’t yet felt the deep connection with the earth which I used to have. Perhaps going inland, closer to the hills, would help re-establish the connection…

So, I headed off on impulse to Y Gelli Gandryll, otherwise known as book-town Haye-on-Wye. Not only would that take me through the Great Forest and the Black Mountain, it would lead me to a town packed full of bookshops… Perfect!

So, off I went. It was a good drive through wild country, with small hamlets huddled amongst the hills. There were some moments of great views, but to my great disappointment there was heavy mist most of the way, so I couldn’t really get a feel for the land. Never mind, it was nice to be travelling through winding hill roads with the steppe music of Hanggai as a soundtrack.

I only bought one book in the end, one for which I’ve had an eye open for some time. I’m dipping into it at the moment, and I’ve already found one quote that I wanted to share:

In talking about muscle relaxation, Tortsov told a story out of his own life: in Rome, in a private house, he had the opportunity of watching an exhibition to test equilibrium, on the part of an American lady who was interested in the restoration of antique sculpture. In gathering up broken pieces and putting them together she tried to reconstitute the original pose of the statue. For this work, she was obliged to make a thorough study of weight in the human body, and to find out, through experiments with her own body, where the centre of gravity lies in any given pose. She acquired a remarkable flair for the quick discovery in herself of those centres which establish equilibrium. On the occasion described, she was pushed, and flung about, caused to stumble, put in what seemed to be untenable positions, but in each case she proved herself able to maintain her balance. Moreover, this lady, with two fingers, was able to upset a rather portly gentleman. This also she had learned through study of centres of weight. She could find the places that threatened the equilibrium of her opponent and overthrow him, without any effort, by pushing him in those spots.

Sounds like a taijiquan manual! In fact, it’s taken from the chapter Relaxation of Muscles, in Constantin Stanislavski’s An Actor Prepares.

It als reminds me of one element we worked on in the one systema class I’ve attended, in which we tried to find points on our partner’s body that would collapse their structure… I am convinced that somewhere in systema’s history one or more stage-trained people contributed insights from the actors’ craft!

OK, enough philosphizing; time to post this, have a quick lunch, and get out to enjoy the winter sunshine at the Worm’s Head

Aflame on one side

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The newest chapter of my life is slowly beginning to unfold. The last couple of months in Beijing were a blur – crazily busy packing and dispatching my things, I was struck down by some kind of bug, and the general lassitude that sometimes affects me when I know it’s all over and I’m just waiting for the next step.

I’ve been in a transition phase until this week, living with my parents while I looked for a place to live, dealing with things like buying a car and getting it MOT’d and taxed, and then starting the new job. It’s been great of course to spend time with my parents , but of course you’re always aware that you’re not in your own home.

Still, it was a good time, when I began to reconnect with the energies of Ynys Prydain, the Island of Britain, once known in ancient days as the Island of the Mighty (in contrast to Ireland, the Island of the Blessed). The holly tree and the apple trees in my parents’ garden alike bore bright red fruit, signifiers of the impending death of the Summer King, the Oak King, and the approach of the Winter. I spent many happy hours up a ladder picking those apples, with bright blue skies above me and the sun warming my back. Those fruit were pressed, their pink-veined flesh yielding many litres of sweet yet slightly tart juice. Mmmm, delicious.

Last weekend I moved into a new rented house, and I’m delighted with it. It’s in an ancient fishing village, and situated on a 45-degree slope. Above is woodland, now a riot of brown, red and orange as the cold winds beat in from the sea. Below is a tidal estuary, where a flat expanse of land is sometimes green and brown land where sheep and wild horses graze, and sometimes it’s just the sea. Above, the great expanse of sky stretches out to the Atlantic and, when it’s clear, there’s the golden light of daytime making me catch my breath and feel glad to be alive; at night the cold, sparkling stars and belt of Orion wheel, impassive and distant. When the clouds roll in, low and dark, the shadows shift and the trees seem to murmur. It’s no surprise, living here, that the Celts of old believed that reality shifted, and what was real one day may slip into the Otherworld the next; the evidence was before their very eyes that the land itself appeared and disappeared. Shifting paradigms, the five elements are very strong here; it should be the perfect place to regather my qi after the stress and un-naturalness of urban life.

And he came his way towards a river valley, and the bounds of the valley were forest, and on either side of the river, level meadows. And one side of the river he could see a flock of white sheep, and on the other side he could see a flock of black sheep. And as one of the white sheep bleated, one of the black sheep would come across, and would be white; and as one of the black sheep bleated, one of the white sheep would come across, and would be black. And he could see a tall tree on the river bank, and the one side of it was burning from its roots to its tip, and the other half with green leaves on it.
“Peredur son of Efrawg” (Jones and Jones, 1989, p. 211), Mabinogion

It’s a big house for one person; I have room for a workout room, and for a meditation space, so training will resume soon.

All of this is in some contrast to the world of work. I have my own office, which is nice; less nice is that it’s stiflingly hot, and I can’t change the temperature. My only option is to open the windows as much as I can – which isn’t much and – now that the autumn gales are arriving – going to get smaller. An interesting feature of the location is that there are lots and lots of magpies around. One of them loves to sit on the windowsill outside, and will sometimes stare in at me, unblinking and unmoving. Yesterday it actually crept in through the open window and perched on top of the server, still staring at me, until I chased it out. It’s a reminder of the other side of the natural world, this cunning intelligence and voracious curiosity, devoid of any pity. I almost said ‘of ethics’, but that isn’t the case; birds are aware of law, justice, and punishment after all, as evidenced by the rooksparliaments that are sometimes witnessed. Still, British folklore says that a single magpie is bad luck, and should be saluted; there may be wisdom in that tradition….

My new commute takes me over a ridge-top common, what Shakespeare might have called “a blasted heath”. The wild ponies graze up here, too, and on Sunday one of them decided to have a rest in the middle of the road, forcing the traffic to slowly work around it….

I have a good feeling about this next stage of life; I have the feeling that I’m being drawn along a path. I don’t know where it’s leading yet, but it feels right.

Category: Miscellaneous, Wales

I know why: A musical interlude


Somewhere on YouTube there must be the full version of this; I’ll keep on looking!

Updated: I found a longer version, and have replaced the first clip I found.

It made a big impact on me at the time: classic Welsh poetry set to a laid-back backing track…

Bu’n farw; bu’n fyw. Oh yeah.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

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Sorry, I’m going to bore you with my holiday snaps. Feel free to skip this one.

Wales

Holly and apple trees

This is not my house

A rare evening without rain

A nice view

Singapore

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From Boat Quay

Singapore River

Bussorah Street