I wrote and uploaded the first version of mountain back in February, it’s had a few outings at the Tafarn Bach open mic and jam sessions now and has grown to fit its skin. Song writing and playing / singing is an interesting, organic phenomena in that respect – how a song will evolve over time, bed itself down into its tune, words will change, melody will be tweaked, eventually it all settles down but sometimes no two versions are ever the same.
You have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered…
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for your leader.
This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.
And I say, see who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey come to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word ’struggle’ from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We’ve been quietly renovating our little welsh cottage for the last few months, drinking water from a spring, rainwater from the sky, gas from a bottle, electricity from the sun. Situated right on the roadside we have few passers-by and little reason to read or listen to the media. We’ve been repointing the inside of the little cottage, hoping one day to move on from the caravan parked up outside.
It’s a tedious job, sitting or standing in the cold, dark interior, wearing a head torch and staring at the same square metre of wall whilst the rain falls gently or gusts vigorously in that way only welsh rain can. Rake out the old mortar, or mud in some places, brush the wall down, brush the dust out, sweep up, sweep out, mix mortar, press mortar by the kilo into the gaps in the wall. Slowly working our way through our joint collection of CDs played on an old ‘jog proof’ personal cd player plugged into the tiniest un-powered speakers. Exploring our separate pasts in the music we each choose, from Fields of the Nephilim ‘Last exit for the lost’, those tragic pre-grunge days of Temple of the dog’s ‘Hunger Strike’ “I don’t mind stealing bread from the mouths of decadence, but I can’t feed on the powerless when my cup’s already overfilled”.
This week snatches of the media caution us that we should prepare, going out for our regular shop we find toilet roll aisles are still empty, baked beans are still out of stock and we can only buy 2 cartons of oat milk while the lady next to us has 6 litres of cows milk. Over the road to the garden centre and there seems to be a rush on for compost and see potatoes, we stock up on first earlies, a bag of main crop that have started chitting already, compost for the seed trays and head back with ten more tubs of lime putty from the builders yard.
Back to the re-pointing and we came to ‘The Lark Descending’, not put to one side but played three times over. ‘Albion’ – “Albion I’m homesick now though I live in the town I was born”, reminiscing of the festival gigs where we watched people get up and walk out when Chris Wood came on. Even at his level there are people that don’t like him, don’t like his music, don’t like his songs or don’t like his message. still Those moments we savour, that we are all different and yet all the same. We vow not to take it personally next time it happens to us.
Lime mortar is a magical thing, one part hydrated lime putty to three parts coarse sand is all you need to make this ‘old-fashioned’ version of cement. Add half a part of horse hair and it becomes base coat plaster, use water and lime putty and it becomes paint – whitewash. Put it in an airtight bucket and it’ll keep indefinitely as it only ‘goes off’ when exposed to the air.
This week we have mostly been re-pointing, this involves scraping out the mortar joints with a hoof-pick and then brushing down the wall and the joints ready to accept the mortar.
A lot of the joints in the bottom half of the wall appear to be mortared with mud – was the work of tree roots or rodents or a reaction to the rain coming in from the leaking roof? Strangely it was a work of fiction that answered this question rather than the old building reference books we had been looking for the answers in:
When their tender was accepted it was he who superintended the work and schemed how to scamp it, where possible, using mud where mortar was specified, mortar where there ought to have been cement…
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – Robert Tressall
Sometimes re-pointing turns into re-building where we find stones loose or missing or, as in this case, whole sections of wall loose. what happened to the mortar? Did it wash out from years of rain or damp? Did someone else rake it all out years ago but never get around to re-pointing it?
January and the last of the willow is ready for harvesting. The magic of willow coppicing is that it will grow back again just as vigorously next year. Coppicing all the stems off a stump will give you willow for weaving, these will all grow back again and more in a year’s time. Here I am cutting off all but two or three stems / whips which will encourage the tree to put all its growth into the remaining stems. At between one to three metres growth a year these quickly become trunks and can be harvested for firewood in five to seven years. And then the magic still doesn’t stop, the bottom 10cm of the coppiced stems can be pushed into the ground where they will take root and become new trees, and the older trees when cut for firewood will shoot out 5 to 20 new stems and the whole process starts again.
Once I’ve finished coppicing, I’m then cutting off all the lateral branches to encourage growth upwards instead of outwards. Finally I push a bunch of the cut off whips back into the ground around these willows which will hopefully take root and expand the bio-fuel supply in future years.
”The soundtrack is a Pony Folk acoustic cover of an old electric Dogs D’Amour track ‘She Put It In Her Arm’. It only has three chords repeated throughout Em, C and D but the lines are short and the the timing of each chord is critical and It still catches me out sometimes. Ok, a lot.” ~ Pony Folk