New books in The Mill

This is just to let you know that the latest books have arrived at Solva Woollen Mill, well ahead of schedule. Rather than keep them until the book launch we have decided to release them into the wild. So, if you can come to the mill on 19th August do come. I will be celebrating the launch of One Cheetah, One Cherry, The Newborn Child and The Quiet Music. Karin Celestine will also be there, with friends.

If you can’t come you can still order signed copies from the mill, who also have my latest calendar and jigsaws, and more.

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In September I will be in Number Seven, Dulverton and also New Brewery Arts, Cirencester. Check the events page for more.

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I, π.

I, π, live by the sea. Coloured like the sunshine, golden rocks and lichen, honey, that is what I am, I, π.

I, π, was born on a farm on the side of a hill, a long way away, but now I live by the sea. This is where I walk.

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And I, π, have friends and of all of the friends that I have Ivy the teacup wolfhound is the best. And Ivy shows me how to climb rocks, how to help Hannah do yoga, and tells me jokes about seaweed.

This is my one small life, and i intend to use it well.

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White Cat, Red Cat, Big Dog, Small.

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Early morning walking, past Glyn’s where holiday residents snooze. And soon there’s a call and Elmo is coming too, and in the farm yard The White Cat waits. So we, red cat, White Cat, big dog, small, walk up the track to the top of the hill, where we find swallows that skim so low their wings almost brush my ears.

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Over by Maes y Mynydd the heather blushes the land to a rich purple.

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We sat for a while in the morning sunshine at the top of the hill and the air was full with swallows and chough, and the sun so very warm.

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The grass is long and as we walk butterflies and moths rise from our footfalls like ashes from a fire.

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On the way back the lane to Jan and John’s is filled with thistledown and goldfinch and the intricate architecture of plants.

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Home now. Dogs asleep. Cats curled in warm places, watching, dreaming. Time to work.

Yesterday Robert MacFarlane’s Raven landed on my desk. Wonderful words.

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Evening walkings.

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We walked to  the top of the hill, Ivy, π and the curious pack. The air was so clear. We talked of our dogs, now gone, for we have known each other for longer than the lifetimes of dogs. Beadie, Rassay, Skye, Bella, Floss, Weasel, Pitta. Gone now. And we have the second generation rag taggle pack of curious misfits. Fly, Woodie, Gypsey Blue, Belle, Ivy, π.

From the top of the hill it was so clear we could see Ireland, and North Wales. Meanwhile Ffion was out on the water having had a day with dolphins and Rissos dolphins. And supper was a chaotic affair as the pride joined the pack. But eventually π’s batteries ran down and quite and calm came with that, and Elmo made a nest on the Eelhound.friends2

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Next day was hard work. Trying to meet deadline and juggle posting things and, well, life. But after completing a piece of work I decided to walk the big dog, little dog to the top of the hill again.

Up the green lane, once more a tunnel where small birds tangle through trees and brambles.

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Beautiful golden light.

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At the hilltop Ivy found wild water for drinking, scents for following, and π found the same, and rocks for scrambling and I found heather-scent and peace of mind.2dogs wildpup2

And raven pellets.ravenpellet wildpup

Through the sheep field with both dogs on leads, for neither are to be trusted, then the rabbit field where Ivy ran like the wind and π tumbled through clover and long grass, and then down Jan’s green lane, home.lanehome

There were thistles and thisledown and small birds aplenty, toadflax and curiously beautiful plants.thistle toadflax greenbeauty

Home with a tired pup and frustrated hound needing a good run…… and now?

More work.

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Big dog, little dog

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I had thought to walk to the top of the hill, in the evening sunshine, still warm. And the dogs came too, and larry and Robin. The grass is so green from rainfall at night and the clover scents the air.

Ivy ran fast and π ran too, bounding through the green and full of the wonder of smells all new.bunnies

And Ivy let her sit close, just for a moment. And the sky was big and dappled with cloud.

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At the top of the hill more scents, and then…. oh no…. Ivy caught wind, of a young red fox and was off.

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Off and away and over the hill and would she come back? No. Not Ivy. I didn’t know what it was at first, but whistled and called and then heard a barking, excited, yipping. And there in the bracken the tip of Ivy’s tail and something gone to ground. Wading through the bracken I thought of the irony of snake bite as I was painting adders. And then I saw it. Almost grown, a young fox. And away they shot again, through the undergrowth, out onto the path and away and away and as fast as could be, leaving me, standing.

Robin took Larry and The π puppy home while I followed slowly on my two legs. But they were long gone and I could only hope that she would stop and come back, not get bitten by adders, not run into and through the sheep fields. I whistled and called and remembered the time she had chased deer and came back, had chased hare and come back. Get up high, to get a better view. Whistled and called. And then I heard her collar, and then I saw her, limping and walking like someone so shattered, she fell to the ground, panting, panting. Unbloodied. Good. The fox had won.

 

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I let her rest a short while then walked to the hill top to get signal, call Robin, let him know she was safe, then we walked home and Ivy so shattered she sat a few times.  Elmo met us at Glyn’s house.

Such a beautiful fox. Such a beautiful walk, apart from the worry.

I’d gone out to find something for a piece of work I am working on, for The Lost Words. I’d found something else, and an idea for a painting.

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And now I have two tired dogs, one big, one small, sleeping closer together each day. Ivy and the π.

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Words of Welcome

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This was what I saw first. Max Porter’s words of welcome. They are part of a project called #WordsofWelcome run by Reg Meuross.

It made me think.

How would I welcome someone? I hope it would be with an open heart.

As a child I was taught to fear strangers, including people from other lands. As a teenager I learned curiosity, about the lives of others.
As an adult I have learned there are no ‘others’, we are all just people, and that I have so much to learn from people from this land, from other lands, from all cultures.
And now what I fear is hatred.

What would I say? What would my words of welcome be?

I hope I would say, welcome, would you like a drink? Are you thirsty? Hungry? Can I get you something to drink, something to eat?

I hope I would not be too curious to know their story, for fear of what retelling it, reliving it, might bring back to mind. And yet I would want to hear, because I am curious.

And I hope that if they did not know English, the only verbal language I am able to speak, I could find a way to communicate through images, gestures, and maybe I could learn some of their words as they too learn mine. And maybe we could share food, and I could cook for them and they in turn could cook for me and I could learn new tastes.

And stories, always stories. For I have so much to learn.

Amir Darwish has shown me something of what Aleppo was through his poetry. His poem, Where I come from, should be heard by everyone.

And maybe one day, when there is peace, I could travel to the land where they were born, if they chose to return, and receive a welcome from them there. For as Warsan Shire says, “No one leaves home, unless home is the mouth of a shark”.

 

And what started with Max Porter’s words led me, via Amir Darwish to here: a place of stories. And still my words of welcome sound so frail.

This land is big enough to share, so that all people can find a place of safety.

Please share. And send out words of welcome into the world.

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An open letter to The Labour Party

Dear PLP,

I would like to register my displeasure at the way the new leadership election was first forced and then the method with which those who can vote has been decided.

The suggestion that only those who became party members before Jan 12th suggests there is fear in the ranks of the party. When I joinedthe party, 17th January, it was given to me to understand that as a party member I had the right to vote in any forthcoming elections when Jeremy Corbyn chose to stand down. I wonder at the legality of altering this contract at a later date.

Surely ALL members have the right to vote?

Also, before I registered to vote I paid £3 in order to be eligible. You see, for years I had seen the Labour party led away from the direction that sang to my heart, away from a socialist and just society. I had watched the party that I had grown up to respect drag my country into an unjust, possibly illegal war. I had seen election promises like bringing an end to factory farming, improving animal welfare fade like mist on a hot day. For years I felt disenfranchised. I could not vote Tory, nor Liberal. The Green Party had some policies that appealed but Labour had been where my heart lay, until Tony Blair led that party in a direction that was against so much I believed in.

Jeremy Corbyn gave me hope that I could be included once again in the democratic system of government by which we run our country. The first time I heard him speak it was astonishing. He spoke from the heart, not in sound bites. Now I had someone I could vote for. I think many ordinary people like me felt the same, hence the groundswell of support and people signing up to the party.

By doing what you have done to our choice of leadership you turn against us all.

I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am in how the Party have behaved. As to the accusations of bullying, it feels as if we are suffering from passive aggressive tantrums from people too juvenile to engage in debate.

You’ve let your party leader down, you’ve let your supporters down, and you have most of all let your country down at a time of chaos.

And what have you left us with?

Theresa May.

With scant respect,

Jackie Morris

jackie@jackiemorris.co.uk

www.facebook.com/TheHouseofGoldenDreams

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Honey π

Up early to take Hannah to the railway station so she could travel to the north of Scotland Ivy and I made a slow journey to Hay on Wye. We travelled by chapters of Barkskin, escaping in time to the forests of Canada with the help and transportive words of Annie Proulx.

Early, we drove, out from Hay and up a steep narrow road to a place where the road ran through a farm and past a chapel. Here we parked, Ivy and me and we went for a walk to the high hill top and the world stretched away from our feet with a  beautiful view. We walked, past lime, and hazel, holly and ivy, willow, ash, mountain ash and oak. Down below a beautiful house sat on the hillside. This was where we were going.

Bella died at the beginning of this year. We had been together for 16 years. I will write about that when I can, not now. I don’t want to face that now, don’t have to face that. But a few weeks ago, having decided not to get another dog I saw that some pups had been born. I asked if one could be mine. The answer was yes.

So we went to the house on the hill, where the boys let the dogs run out into the garden and I watched for a while, and ate cake and drank tea in the sunshine, then left with a small and golden bundle of beauty.

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She doesn’t fill a hole that Bella left. Nothing can. It’s ok to grieve, for as long as it takes, for as long as you want, for as long as you do. And life does go on and the past becomes a bundle of memories.

It’s a big world out there for a small puppy.

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So maybe Big Dog, Little Dog will be a book, and maybe Ivy will stop growling at Honey π, the dog with the longest name in the world ( 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789259036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727036575959195309218611738193261179310511854807446237996274956735188575272489122793818301194912983367336244065664308602139494639522473719070217986094370277053921717629317675238467481846766940513200056812714526356082778577134275778960917363717872146844090122495343014654958537105079227968925892354201995611212902196086403441815981362977477130996051870721134999999837297804995105973173281609631859502445945534690830264252230825334468503526193118817101000313783875288658753320838142061717766914730359825349042875546873115956286388235378759375195778185778053217122680661300192787661119590921642019…) π for short.

I guess that’s what happens when you do a book about numbers.

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Bella, who was kind to kittens. Elmo, who is pictured above ignoring the π

 

 

 

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Heartwood

I wrote a short story to go with an image I had painted for The Woodland Trust.

The story is set in a real place, a beautiful place, near Dulverton.

You can find the story here,

download the eBook of the story here.

Please feel free to share.

Most of the illustrations used with the story are from The Wild Swans.

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A rock and a hard place

When you feel that you are stuck between a rock and a hard place, when you feel out of step with how many in your country think and feel, because even though you know that the EU wasn’t perfect it is a work in progress, and being in may well have been better than being out, and you feel your heart sinking, what do you do? Take to the water, step outside, spend time in the other world, look at the rock, the hard place, and see beauty.

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The human world is so wrapped up in itself. Out in the wild world this becomes obvious. Politics seems to be about money these days, not about democracy, and the EU referendum, well…..it seems to have done nothing but reveal that politicians lie and there are massive divisions in our many cultures, between young and old, between colours and creeds, religion and class. I can’t help but feel this leaves our young people dancing between a rock and a hard place.

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Out on the water, away from the land there are other cultures. Seals and auks, and rivers of sheerwaters skimming the sea. The life out here is rich and true and this is the best anti-depressant I know of. And the arrogance of humans who think they rule the world, have ownership of all of this becomes real.

Politics is a sham, money is an abstract concept which has become a god for many. We need a new way of being, and living. It’s a small world. I don’t think it is safe in the hands of these men, for we are sailing in a ship of fools if we allow them control.

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Time to rest my head in paint. I have work to do. Hoping to inspire a new generation to understand that we are a part of nature, nature is a part of us, all life is equal.

Thanks Falcon Boats, for another great trip. You are awesome.

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