Monday, 31 August 2009

Burying The Summer

It has been several weeks since this Blog has been updated and for the two, possibly three, people who seem to read it I will give a quick account o how the past weeks have been spent, because it has not all been Pimms and cucumber sandwiches. I spent much of July wandering around Scargill and Barningham moors. In the far south of the county, overlooking the valley of the river Greta and with (on a clear day) fine views to the Stainmore pass and the Cleveland hills this is an area with some of the most significant and beautiful Bronze Age rock art in the north of England. I’m planning further trips in the autumn when the bracken has died back, both to look for more panels and to continue my walks up the banks of the Greta. A two week family holiday to Lanzarote was rewarded with several lengthy sightings of hoopoe and also the discovery of a large raptor pellet, which on closer investigation was found to contain a lot of rabbit hair. A likely identification seems to be either buzzard or booted eagle, although I guess we’ll never know… August saw me putting the final flourishes to the Hunts & Wars album, which has been a developing and evolving work in progress for several years. The completed version was dispatched to Cold Spring Records in the middle of the month and appears to have met with a thumbs up, a release is being planned as soon as possible with Kevin Yuen of slaving away in his garret on the art and design as I type. Also in August I completed a track titled Star Carr to be included on a double-CD project being put together by Hammer Smashed Jazz ( and conducted an interview with the Italian magazine Ritual, which I will post here in good time for the benefit of all us puny Anglophones. I also have been working on several long essays/articles which have demanded rewrites and edits, including an essay examining Robert E Howard’s tour de force Black Canaan and an essay on the Romano-Celtic river god Condatis – which was very timely seeing as the strong brown god was reawakened with dramatic results in July as the river Wear flooded and reshaped both natural and manmade landscapes. Both pieces will be published here and possibly elsewhere when they are finished. The dog days of August have been weary beneath heavy iron grey skies and in these last hours of summer I look forward to the changes to come. Cooler weather, frosts and mists, fiery colours and the signs of migrating birds crossing the skies above. As if to mark this end a spectacular sexton beetle, Nicophorus Investigator, resplendent in it’s black and orange livery, landed in the garden this afternoon just as the skies darkened to stormy purple and the strong warm wind, dancing ahead of the storm like a herald, began to shake the boughs of the trees. It had come to bury the summer and within minutes of its arrival day was turned to night and the raging rain drove us inside.

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