Murder in the crows

Hug the tree, feel the knots leave your body.

Hear the wood creak, the wind whistle.

The leaves sway.

Walk on the forest floor,

among long ferns.

The damp, cold moss underfoot.

Shoots of green peeking through,

glimpses of the future spring yet to come.

Feel the mist creeping,

sneaking quietly.

Closing in on you, suffocating you in a blanket of cold.

Deliciously all alone, in the sea of trees.

“Am I the only one here?”,

You say to anyone.


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You’re not by yourself.

The crows call to you.

Their language escaping you.

They cry out, dodging the branches as they dive down,

You look to see them, staring at you.

This is their calm. Not yours.

Suddenly, like a wave of panic,

Squawking, scrapping, feathers and claws.

The grey of the sky smeared now with black.

Murder in the air.


I wanted to write something a little differently today. I am not sure where I was going with it, but the gist of it was about stealing the calm. You walk into a calm and you start taking it when it doesn’t belong to you. It is a poem slash short story. I hope you enjoyed it haha.

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The Maglocunus & Vortipor Stones – Nevern, Wales, UK

Nevern is a small village in the valley of Nevern, east of Newport in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

During August this year we stayed in Nevern with some friends on their plot of land. We stayed for 2 weeks, we had so much fun in on the beach, visting waterfalls, (see the 2 links below)

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But this time, I want to discuss some history of Nevern, and that starts with its church:

Nevern’s Church – St Brynach Church

This church is named after St Brynach of Pembrokeshire, who founded this place of worship here in the 5th century.

The Church (Source)

Inside the church, lays one of the finest Celtic language examples in Britain, dating to the 1st century AD:

The Maglocunus Stone

This is an ancient stone featuring Celtic Ogham script. What is Ogham? Well it is sometimes known as the ‘Celtic tree alphabet’. Monumental Ireland on the post lined to this picture, they say:

“It was designed to write ‘Old Irish’ and can be seen on stone monuments throughout the Country (Ireland), particularly in counties Cork & Kerry. (…) Some scholars believe it dates back to the 1st Century AD – as the language used shows pre-4th Century elements such as the letters q and z which do not appear in Modern Irish.

While all surviving Ogham inscriptions are on stone, it was probably more commonly inscribed on sticks, stakes and trees.

The origins of Ogham are uncertain: according to Irish mythology, it was invented by Ogma, the Irish god of speech, language, eloquence and learning. (…) .

Monumental Ireland.
(Source: Monumental Ireland)

The ancient stone is embedded into the window sill of the south wall of the nave of St Brynach Church.

What is quite interesting is that normally, Inscriptions are mostly peoples’ names and were used to mark ownership, territories and graves. This stone in particular we are talking about is on stone and was originally vertical. It was only turned horizontal so it could be set into the window.

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What does it say?

It is inscribed in Latin “MAGLOCUNI FILI CLUTORI” and in Ogham “maglicunas maqi clutari“, translated as (the stone) of Maglicu, son of Clutarias.

Who are these people? I will be writing another post on this as it gets very interesting. Keep a lookout!

In my research, I kept getting directed back to this book: KING ARTHUR: MAN OR MYTH, written by Tony Sullivan. It is “an investigation of the evidence for King Arthur based on the earliest written sources rather than later myths and legends.”

In this book, Tony writes about the stone in connection to Gildas and then Vortipor, the King of Demetia or modern day Dyfed/Southern Wales who lived approximately AD475-540.

Funnily enough, in Carmarthen, this is a stone dedicated to this king and on this stone are 2 inscriptions, almost identical to the Maglocunnus Stone, in that there is are Latin and Ogham inscriptions.

But why Latin & Ogham? The Romans brought Irish mercenaries across in the late 4th Century for protection from attacks by other Hibernians, (native of Ireland).

After the Romans left, the Irish Deisi (or Déssi) tribe of the County Waterford area ruled the region, hence the Ogham inscription as well as Latin. 

Territory Marker

Remember how I said that these stones were used as markers for territory? Well when this Vortipor Stone was found, it was originally one of a pair of boundary markers for an old track replaced by a new roman road. The Stone was moved and then stood near as stile on the southside of Castell Dwran Churchyard until 1879. There was a meadow next to where it stood and this meadow had evidence of hut-circles. This stone was only 200 meters off the line of the roman road, being used as a marker.

This may have been a continuation of roman customs such as the roadside burial, but also a tradition hinting to the Ogham origins for the inscriptions to be used as a marker for territories. Funny how things go full circle isn’t it?

Sadly, the assumption that the inscriptions on the stone, Voteporigis in the Latin and Votegorigas in ogham, refer to Vortipor, is refuted by modern linguistic analysis, which notes that the missing ‘r’ that is in the name ‘Vortipor’ and not in either of ‘Voteporigis’/’Votegorigas’ is significant, and so the stone must be dedicated to a different person.

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As you can see, I love history and language. I love the way both are intertwined and have an influence on each other. This is only part 1 of this mini series and next time I will be talking about who those 2 people are that were inscribed on the 1st stone I mentioned.

Did you enjoy reading? Please comment if you did!

Colliers Moss Common

This area was once one of the most industrial in the country, now it is a treasured part of St Helens, covered in trees and wildlife. What changed?

Bold Heritage

First of all, what is peat? It is dead compacted moss land. An industry was created in which turf cutters dug trenches to remove the peat which was then built into an array of thousands of pyramids spanning between 3 and 12 feet tall.

In 1955 the NCB, the National Coal Board, completed a £5.5 million investment into Bold Colliery.

The mine that was nearby was one of the most modern pits in all of Lancashire, with 1800 workers.

Sadly, there is such a thing called spoil with mining and this was more often than not just dirt mixed with rock and shale. It was taken by railway and offloaded onto Bold Moss. 23 years worth of this stuff equates to around 9 million tons. It caused massive environmental damage.

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Things started to change in 1978. The artificial hill that was made up of the mine’s sludge and the power station’s ash, reached a maximum height and the dumping stopped.

The Colliery stopped production in ’85 and 5 years after, British Coal agreed to the sell the site in order to restore it.

What had happened to the grounds as a result?

Well, during the 90’s, lots of work was undertaken to help ease the affects of the environmental damage that all those years of dumping had had on the land. Unfortunately, the soil was then very acidic which made it very hard for the plants to regrow.

Machines were used to loosen the soil, and then after lime & fertiliser had been introduced, grass heather and wildflower seeds were planted along with trees.

What is it like now?

The site is now a haven for wildlife and plants. Colonies of Orchids have spread on the common and new species of wildlife is arriving every year.

This is just one example of what is capable if spaces that were once abused, are looked after and restored to what they once were.

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Life Update: Moving to Royal Birkdale

So me and my family have recently moved house, from the dump that St Helens was, and moved to Sunny Southport. It is why my posts haven’t been the most reliable or consistent. We are slowly getting used to it. It is nice to live somewhere where the neighbours will call out good morning to…

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Murder in the crows

Hug the tree, feel the knots leave your body. Hear the wood creak, the wind whistle. The leaves sway. Walk on the forest floor, among long ferns. The damp, cold moss underfoot. Shoots of green peeking through, glimpses of the future spring yet to come. Feel the mist creeping, sneaking quietly. Closing in on you,…

Keep reading

Chicken Makhani

Serves: 4 • Cooking time: 30 mins • Vegetarian alternative: Swap Chicken for Broccli. • What you need: 4 Chicken Thighs 1 tin of Coconut Milk 2 knobbs of butter 1 onion Olive Oil 1 can of chopped tomatoes. Seasoning: 1 Tsp Ground Coriander 1 Tsp Paprika 1 Tsp Cumin 1 Tsp Garlic Powder 1…

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Banana and Apple Smoothie

So, I recently started making this for when I feel I want a smoothie, but I don’t want all the hassle of loads of different ingredients. With this one, you are most likely to have these 3 main ingredients and even if you don’t have the others, it is still tasty and uplifting Ingredients: Main:…

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Cranberry and Raisin Soda Bread

Really easy and went down a treat in my house! It was eaten very quickly haha. This loaf is perfect spread with salty butter accompanied with a cuppa tea. You don’t need to be a pro baker to make this one! Ingredients: 1 1/2 plain flour 2 1/2 cups of bread flour for seedy bread.…

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Lockdown, COVID & Travel.

(Updated information) 16th March 2020. The UK prime minister announces a ban on nonessential travel and contact. On the 26th, the first lockdown commences. Nonessential shops are closed. Students confined to accommodation. Flights are grounded. Shops run out of toilet roll as a result of panic buying. Dolphins return to Blackpool in the North. The…

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Isle of Arran

My best friends family took me on their holiday to the Isle of Arran just before lockdown in the UK. Sadly, we weren’t able to travel all over the Island however we did visit the island’s main town – Brodick. Where is Arran? Isle of Arran is situated in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. Brodick…

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Isle of Man – Cregneash

Cregneash Cregneash is a small village and tourist destination in the south-west part of the Isle of Man, about 1 mi from Port Erin. Most of the village is now part of a living museum run by Manx National Heritage, and overlooks the beautiful blue sea! Cregneash is a living illustration of a farming and…

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The Needles, Isle of Wight

The history of the Isle of Wight dates back to the Iron Age, with much evidence of settlement being discovered through archaeology and ancient structures which still stand today.  The Needles History The Battery This military battery was built in 1861 to 1863, and its purpose was to protect the West end of the Solent…

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Danes Dyke

Danes Dyke is a nature reserve in Yorkshire, known for the wildlife that are here and the fantastic pebble beach. The coastline here is so special it is actually a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest and its seabird colonies mark it as a Special Protection Area. Where does it get its name from? “Danes…

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Steam Railways

We were on holiday on the Isle of Wight not long ago and were taken to a a place called Ryde. Here, they have a fully functional steam railway! The steam railway is only 5 miles long, which is only a small fraction of the once stretched over 55 miles long. How did it all…

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Isle of Arran

My best friends family took me on their holiday to the Isle of Arran just before lockdown in the UK.

Sadly, we weren’t able to travel all over the Island however we did visit the island’s main town – Brodick.

Where is Arran?

Isle of Arran is situated in the Firth of Clyde, Scotland. Brodick is halfway along the east coast of the island, and this village has a population of 621.

Brodick receives the Islands ferries that come across from Ardrossan in Scotland. It doesn’t take ages to travel on this ferry. From what I remember it was roughly 45 mins to an hour. It was a calm crossing when we went but it was incredibly windy.

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828,262 passengers and 202,843 cars travelled on this ferry in 2016

Brodick

Brodick has much economic activity. There are many family-owned business and tourist attractions such as the Auchrannie Spa and Resort, where we stayed.

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Isle of Man – Cregneash

Cregneash

Cregneash is a small village and tourist destination in the south-west part of the Isle of Man, about 1 mi from Port Erin. Most of the village is now part of a living museum run by Manx National Heritage, and overlooks the beautiful blue sea!

Cregneash is a living illustration of a farming and crofting community in the 19th and early 20th century. You can see plough horses, Loghtan sheep, shorthorn cows and Manx cats.

Manx cats?

Manx cats walk all around the little village. “The Manx cat’s lack of tail is the result of a genetic mutation possibly caused by inbreeding among the small population of British Shorthairs on the Isle of Man. The true or ‘rumpy’ Manx has only a small hollow where the tail would have been, although cats with residual tails are born.”ICC

Cregneash opening times:

Open Tuesday – Saturday, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Site closes for the Season on 17 November 2021.


This is one of my favourite tourist attractions on the Isle of Man! I haven’t included a lot here but if you have the opportunity, take it. It will be well worth your trip!

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Fyfonne Waterfalls

I love looking at waterfalls, hearing the sound of the water as it cascades over big rocks, spying the little water boatmen in the calm spots of the river.

We visited an area of South Wales called Fyfonne Waterfalls.

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It was a beautiful sunny day when we all went, and the sun shone through the trees. It was so quiet as we were passing through the forest, feeling the breeze and hearing the chirps of the birds.

Where I live in the North, we have to travel over an hour to enjoy peace and quiet like this, no cars, no screaming children, no dogs barking. So to enjoy peace and serenity like this was bliss.

After we got to the actual waterfall we decided to go off the beaten track and head up stream past the initial waterfall.

It was steep and the natural forest banking was crumbling in parts so you had to be careful, but delving deeper into the forest it felt like we were on an adventure!

It made me feel very happy being there and I miss it already, I cannot wait to go back! If you get to go, please visit!

Thank you for reading!

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Norway 2019 Part 2

(Link to part 1)

“My family and I went on a beautiful cruise to Norway in May 2019. I didn’t keep a journal like I did for our holiday in Italy but I still have the beautiful pictures and experiences to share with you!

We travelled from Newcastle and after travelling for roughly 36 hours and 548 miles, we made it into Norwegian territory. We first visited Bergen.” – Part 1.

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We also visited…

Eidfjord

This small village is located on the shore of the Eid Fjord, an inner branch of the large Hardangerfjorden which connects other villages such as Ulvik and Brimnes.

We were here briefly because we were going to be visiting a cider farm a 35 minute from Eidfjord.

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Hardanger
Juice and Sider Factory – Lekve Gard, Ulvik.

Sider, not a typo but translated form their official website: Hardanger Saft- og Siderfabrikk.

We were given a tour of the place and a taster session alongside a history of making the alcohol and where their ingredients came from.

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A truly amazing bridge…

On the way home we had to drive on the Worlds longest suspension bridge, it has room for both cyclists and pedestrians so no matter which mode of transport you choose, you can still enjoy how beautiful this bridge is.

The bridge is 1380 metres long, which translated to feet is 4527 long.

This bridge connects to the Bu Tunnel which actually has a roundabout within the tunnel, and in total from start to finish the tunnels length equals to 7,510-metre, 24,640 ft, 4.67 miles long.

I never thought I would be writing about a tunnel and bridge before on my blog but here we are haha.

The roundabout was added to the tunnel in 2013, 28 years after the tunnel was originally opened.


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Global Hunger

I had the idea for this post during my July project: Nature and Us. However as I couldn’t get it to fit in I wanted to make it a separate post all together.

Production of food and drink is a multi billionaire business. Eating is a basic human necessity and yet, despite all the food to go around, all of the food produced each year and the food available on the shelves, millions go hungry.

According to the BBC, as of 2020, 700 million people are going hungry. That number is increasing every year.

A meeting was held in 2019 by a branch of the UN and talks were held about food waste what needs to be done to make changes.

Our actions have consequences

The UN Environment Assembly met on the 11th to the 15th of March 2019. If you are interested in learning everything about this meeting, the records are public and posted here: The Fourth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly.

In this meeting, they said “

Deeply concerned that approximately one third of the food produced annually in the world for human consumption, equivalent to some 1.3 billion tonnes and representing an approximate value of 990 billion United States dollars, is lost or wasted, while 821 million people suffer from
undernourishment
.”

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Why is so much food wasted?

Well, many reasons could factor but one answer is it goes off before it is used. Life is busy so when you get home after a long day on your feet you are not in the mood to make food for yourself.

There are recipes out there that can use few ingredients and take no more than 15 mins to make.

Find some of these recipes below:

If we can cut down our waste individually, over time it would make a difference globally.


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