Inspirations

Planet Earth 3 is coming to Devon!

I’d like to meet this slimy  toad3-edit  gentleman next year

Or this raisin grey-seal-pup-edit eyed cutey flopped out on a rock

If we’re near an estuary we’ll probably see curlew

Or this stone-curlew could be hiding on Dawlish Warren

I’m hoping we’ll see more european-shag speeding across Lyme Bay. And one day this magnificent chap will come soaring and swooping common_buzzard over the cliffs on the Downs again.

If we’re anywhere near Maidencombe these vulnerable little SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA are awaiting to delight and disarm the senses.

There are bound to be many  barrel-jellyfish jelly swelling the shores come summer.

A flypast by a squadron of mute-swans-flying-by-at-dawn-edit would be most thrilling.

If this were ever to happen up above us starling-murmuration we’d be hopping about like Chris Packbum on ecstasy.

If we got near enough to see a wild one of these deer-in-mystical-woods I could die elated.

Staying in the wood we might see this _83879330_c0180868-stag_beetles_fighting-spl

Rigging up a lightbox in the back garden could reveal this emperor_moth beauty. The one marvel I’d like to witness more than anything is more of these light-filled  dragonflies-laying-eggs

metamorphosing before our very eyes – to take our breath away.

‘I heard the blackbird sing. I have lived’

‘I heard the blackbird sing. I have lived’.

So wrote Henning Mankell. He was keeping a cancer diary of what would be his last year on earth. Read this final farewell published on The Guardian in January this year. He’d already died (October 2015)

It got me thinking what I might write to say I’d lived.

So I’ve come up with these few pithy sentences. Meant to be humorously, and not too seriously, saying truthful things about the last couple of years I’ve lived, and shared my life, with Miss Hazel Brown.

I picked those autumn berries. I have lived.
I chucked away my telly. I have lived.
I worked when necessary. I have lived.
I never had a penny. I have lived.
I was made for not making merry. I have lived.
I chugged along rock steady. I have lived.

I wasn’t rude like Geoffrey. I have lived.
I hoola hooped so many. I have lived.
I hogged down pud aplenty. I have lived.
I smelt the unmade coffee. I have lived.
I bloodied every bleddy. I have lived.
I charged up ever ready. I have lived.
I wasn’t wildly hairy. I have lived.

I flew with a golden faerie. I have lived.
I mooned around her belly. I have lived.
I split her swollen cherry. I have lived.
I made her tremor very. I have lived
I flickered with her gently. I have lived.

I exquisited so heavenly. I have lived.

I cherish every memory. I have lived.

To be continued……

Words & Reflections: Ian Nisbet

Dartmoor Stones

dartmoor-stones-edit

Granite…grey.
Quartz pitted
Lichened by light

Stone rows.
Circles and cup marks
Cairns on Cut Hill
Cists at Drizzlecombe

Who were they, these people of stone?

Into a 21st century dawn, tumbled
Bracelets, baskets and beads…!
Her goods for the ever-life
Leaving behind … her fears..tears..?
The stone people live on.
We are they.

Drawing & Poem: Hazel Brown

Dragonflies mating in Tessier Gardens

Finally, what we’d been waiting for arrived – the sun!

So now we can get over to that little pond, for sure enough, here they are, flying about.

Dragonflies. Red Darters. Dozens of them. Flitting around like helicopters.

Males looking for females. And when they find females they are locking the ladies in.

Into a heart. Grabbing the girls around the neck and joining them fast to their ‘ovipositors’; then aggressively yanking these hapless females around the pond, dipping and dunking them into the water, trying to get them to deposit their eggs (holding fast, so as to prevent other likely lads shunting their sperm in)

I was only hoping to see one or two again, to supplement the fleeting footage I’d got yesterday afternoon with a bit more fleeting footage – of the beating of wings hovered over the lily pads in the pond.

But I got much much more! This was being extraordinary. I was totally transfixed, as locked on to the whole spectacle as the males were locked on to their females. It was intensely absorbing, exhilarating. I shot about 55 minutes of vid clips, of which this film is just the merest 4 minutes.

We were made up me and Haze. We’d just witnessed, and experienced, and shared, yet another Gold Medal Moment together!

Words & Vid : Ian Nisbet

Curlews on the Teign Estuary

Exactly a week ago tonight we were camping out on the Teign Estuary.
We’ve got the tent up, climbed in.
And then the something magical happens.

The sound of a bird’s baleful burbling across the silent water. Which then turns into a high pitched melancholy flutey wail.
Then sounds of other night birds waking up. Owls hooting. Wading birds wading about.
I have to get the camera recording all this magical moon music. It’s wonderful.

It’s a curlew that’s what that is. Calling for a mate possibly. And possibly its mate is curlew calling back from somewhere over there.
These curlews flute and flootle across the echoey estuary far and wide.
They’ve taken over, captured this estuary.
Their pervasive presence dominates the soundscape.
Dominates the inside of our tent, the inside of our heads.

All night long I have to keep picking up the camera to record their plaintive callings.
And an odd owl or two hoots off from away in the trees on the left side bank.

This is what we wanted, what we hoped for; but could never have expected.
Something to surprise the wonder out of us.

A solo curlew concerto, with supporting birdy wind ensemble.

Ring on the Hill

On Sunday afternoon we’ve climbed up to an enclosed ring of trees above Berry Pomeroy.

The inspiration for Hazels Giant on the Hill painting (from many moons ago).

We’re trying to find out what this ring of trees is called, and what it might have been. An ancient settlement or hill fort perhaps.

That ewe was packed with wool; could hardly walk, needs a haircut – sharpish!

‘I would like to watch you sleeping’

Haze heard this poem of Margaret Attwoods read a couple of Sundays ago on radio 4 (a programme called ‘Something Understood’) She was so taken with it she wrote it out for me. I asked her to illustrate the right hand side of it. Which she’s done with some bindy Celtic scrolls.

Beautiful! Both the poem, and Haze’s illustrative version of it.

Illustrated poem edit

Poem: Margaret Attwood; Calligraphy and Illustration: Hazel Brown