Taking a leap of faith…

In indigenous cultures nature is full of meaning and symbolism. We can learn from this and follow our own intuition using nature as a guide. Using nature for reflection is a useful tool.

Recently on my allotment we found a very docile grasshopper. We were able to get close up and inspect him / her and the wonderful markings.

As is usual for me, I became intrigued with grasshoppers and crickets (and the differences between them) if you want to know more follow this link. It certainly gave me plenty of inspiration for my field notes.

Whilst researching I also came across a fun page on animal totems and spiritual connections. Apparently if you encounter a cricket you can expect good fortune and you should decide whether to take a leap of faith. It is also representative of finding your true voice.

Having spent some wonderful days delving into books, writing poetry and working on prose for my PhD recently, I will take this as a sign that I am on the right track!

When life gives you lemons…

Life at Base Camp is certainly never boring. I am in total admiration at the younger members of our team – being able to adjust last minute to changing plans amidst the chaos of covid.

This week I was meant to be at home working while my Scots’ man took the children back to Scotland for a ‘wee holiday‘ and a catch up with the clan.

On Saturday we got a message to say a close friend of my son’s had tested positive on a flow test for covid, as had his sister and they were waiting on full test results. This meant my son couldn’t risk travelling to Scotland as it seemed likely the tests would come back positive . We decided my daughter and husband should still go on their adventure and my son would stay home and isolate while I worked. A text message arrived today, twenty minutes before my husband and daughter were due to set off, to say the covid test for my son’s friend was actually negative, even though his sister’s had come back positive.

What do you do!?

Quick family meeting – can we pack a bag in twenty minutes etc etc. The whole of base camp’s heads were fried! Twenty minutes later we decided to stick to the second plan, as everyone had adjusted to the changes, so we put hubby and daughter on a train. My son (now not in isolation) revised his plans – and organised a week with his friends. So my son and I spent a day chilling in Base Camp then went exploring at the River Nidd and Knaresborough this evening, we even found a paddling pool hidden in the park that runs around the castle.

I’m lucky that we like to go with the flow here,

My Dad has a motto ‘Fear the Worst’ and then anything that happens that is better than the worst is a bonus! I think you call that Stoicism!

Hope that your holiday plans aren’t all topsy turvy too. Although it isn’t the week of catching up with work and research that I was expecting it’s certainly lovely having some gorgeous quality time with my son 🙂

Late night allotmenting…

I completed my second set of courses for the Field Studies Council this evening. I’ve hugely enjoyed creating the courses and teaching. Visiting the allotment was the perfect wind down after a lovely online session.

The pond is teaming with tiny frogs, everything is lush and full of life.

Linden blossom and honey suckle scent marked our path. Roses trailed over the plot borders.

I think I will sleep well tonight 🙂

I’m looking forward to running the two courses again in the Autumn term. If you are interested in joining, you can find more out about them here:

*Exploring Nature Writing

*Developing Nature Writing

Both courses are run virtually. Students download and complete course tasks which are followed up by a 40 minute zoom at the end of each week. They will be running again during September and October 2021.

Find of the week… The Mint Moth

I was actually looking for frogs (for the children to inspect), when I stumbled over two of these stunning moths resting on the oregano in the allotment herb border.

About the size of a five pence piece , they are absolutely beautiful. Wings the colour of red velvet cake with lemon yellow splashes. The tips of the wings fading to light feathers.

I love the contrast of colours against the gem green of the plant. Just beautiful ❤️

My daughter and I made moth inspired paintings after seeing them. It really helped me to appreciate the fine markings, I especially love the zebra stripes running across the main body.

Moths and butterflies are definitely the fashionistas of the natural world. Always such amazing patterns and colours.

A journey I can not take.

Often blogs give the impression of a rosy, perfect life. We post only the edited things we want people to see. A magazine imprint of our lives.

Sometimes it is important to know that behind the scenes we are all human, we all have challenges and ups and downs.

This week my sister relapsed in mental health and was admitted to hospital. This has been a heart breaking journey, and one where I have had to realise I can support but I can not rescue. Like a traveller on a foreign shore, I am sending her love and support from a distance until a time when I am able to reach her in person and give her the biggest hug.

I am posting flowers daily on my social media so that at some point she will know that she is in my thoughts every day. Mental health is hard on so many levels. Devastating for the individual experiencing it, devastating for the family left behind. My heart goes out to anyone reading this with lived experience of mental health and anyone supporting or caring for someone in this situation. A big shout out also to all the health professionals helping in very stretched services.

For any other siblings in a similar situation: Rethink run a fantastic Sibling Network you can find here.

The River Nidd Gorge…

This weeks adventure from Base Camp was to The River Nidd Gorge. Shallow enough for river swimming and quiet enough to hear nothing but bird song and rushing water.

We like to go in the early evening when the day walkers are returning home. I love the way the evening light filters through the trees. This week it was misty when we arrived adding an ethereal feel to the valley.

For more info about the Nidd Gorge click here.

This mornings adventure…creative writing inspiration.

There’s nothing like a car boot as inspiration to create a story. A rich resource for creativity and writing prompts, although I find myself pondering human life and our detachment from the natural world. If only we realised how transient life is, our attachment to ‘stuff’ is quite strange.

The verges on the way home to base camp were where I found the real treasures.

Find of the week… Song Thrush / Mistle Thrush / Blackbird?

This week we found a nest in the lean to against our shed. On peeking in I thought at it was a Mistle Thrush, but on further investigation I think we may have a blackbirds nest (also a type of thrush).. This got me researching the difference between the – Blackbird, Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush and also discovering that they can cross breed.

Here is a poem I created from my findings!

Mistle Thrush

Mistle Splashed

Throstle

Sound Spilling

In undulating notes

And stops.

Storm Cock

Wing Tipped

Lightning bodied

Warbler.

Fiercly guarding

Jewelled Berries

Throaty Rattle

Hedgrow

Warning.

Wednesday’s Trend…

Today was the second to last creative writing course that I will be running for St Nicks in York.

A bitter sweet day this is where my writing journey began six years ago and where I have worked with such an inspiring and lovely group of people.

I’m leaving to give more time to my independent freelance writing and PhD, but I will certainly miss it. This morning our creative writing tasks reflected the experience of writing at St Nicks. One of my lovely participants wrote that coming every week is his ‘Wednesday Trend’ to be in nature. I love those words.

Going forward I am going to continue the Wednesday Trend of connection with nature – taking a break from studying and writing to connect with the natural world.

The class will continue to run and will be hosted by my amazing colleague / friend Griselda who is also an artist and writer, so York friends please do get in touch with St Nicks if you are interested in joining them.

Here are some beautiful pics from St Nicks this morning… take care! Em 🙂

Hermit Crabs – a new favourite!

A couple of weekends ago we travelled to Fife and spent some time along the rocky shores of the villages along the Fife Coastline.

My youngest child adores rock pooling and her absolute obsession was to find a hermit crab. Luckily, there were many! Imagine her surprise when this little fellow ( I have no idea the gender of this little crab) thought he was about to be eaten and shot out of his shell to make an escape back to the rock pool!

Don’t worry we placed him back where we found him and the crab slipped right back inside the shell. We were really surprised at the long soft tail of the crab – I’ve since discovered that hermit crabs are more closely related to lobsters than crabs. There is a great article here

A final gorgeous note. I once read somewhere that larger hermit crabs often have a sea anemone attached to their shell. The anemone feeds off the debris from the crab’s meals and in return protects the little crab from predators. When the hermit crab moves shell the anemone will move to the new shell too! Buddies for life ❤️ A quick google search brought another article up all about this – for anyone intrigued click here.