Wednesday, 19 October 2016


I looked down only to find the moon had fallen from the stars and was now just lying there in the grass. I think it called to me, that's how I found it; I've always loved the moon, enjoyed moonlit walks and felt its pull on me. Down here it didn't look so big, that said, it was still quite beautiful. I'll check the sky tonight to see if it has returned to its celestial station.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016


Mushroom season has been an odd one this year, some have been coming along well, some appearing intermittently, others only just appearing in any numbers now.  Oysters and Ceps, although not about in large quantities (on my roam, at least), have been fairly consistent, Chanterelles and Parasols have been relatively common, and Hedgehogs are only just appearing. A mixed season. Today I saw psillies for the first time in moderate numbers, no doubt I'll be coming across groups of youth, some with tubs of magic mushrooms and others with their mixed bags of tiny mushrooms, some which may give them a gippy tummy, though frequently none of which will give them their desired effect. Bless.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Pigs doing their thing

They're here! The pigs are out to pannage. This group were wandering about the wooded environs of Red Rise Brook (which as I suggested yesterday were back to normal, all the flood waters gone and the gravel bed of the brook exposed in places), and there was plenty for them to forage for. They were quite a friendly bunch, more interested in us than anything. I wish we hadn't sanitised our countryside, it's one of the aspects of re-wilding which most appeals to me, the idea of reintroducing once common, now absent wildlife.  Yeah, I know it would cause problems initially, but we'd get over it, we'd adapt. Other countries retain wild animals, some dangerous, and they get by. It's a real joy seeing the pigs out, if you're lucky, you'll spot pigs, ponies, cows and deer, all mingling together. I did. I say 'if you're lucky', as I've only seen that twice, it was cool, though.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Wet Woodland

Yesterday I walked through these woods and they were bone dry, I crossed the Red Rise Brook with ease, gravel shoving in many places, today though after a just little rain, the stream exceeds the boundaries of its banks and it's woodland fringe is wet woodland. It's a testament to the effectiveness of the restoration project, as a few years ago this water would have been whisked out of the forest by the straightened dredged streams and drains, now the land hold the water and slowly releases it. If the rain holds off I'm sure it'll be back to normal tomorrow. It makes you think though, the forest can become problematic to traverse very quickly, I'd imagine centuries ago the forest would have been a wild and forbidding place in wet season, impossible for those who didn't know it to travel through, and awkward for those who did. Still beautiful though.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Look at my nut sack!

Shame on you! It's not that sort of blog. No, the sack of nuts I was referring to, is this sack of Sweet Chestnuts. It's a mixed season, some trees good, some not so, even on individual trees there's quite a range in size. But the good sized ones are shop sized, though why people would buy an easily forage-able resource is beyond me. It was a seasonal tradition to go out Chestnut collecting when I was young. How disenfranchised we've become as a people from nature and her cycles and bounty. Anyway, I've postulated that the larger nuts are to be found around and just beyond the canopy's fringe. I reckon it's because they're big, when the case hits the ground they bounce out. It's not a 100% rule, but I'd say 70% of the good sized nuts I found fitted my hypothesis.  If you want some, get out there soon, the woodland folk are going through them at a pace, around some trees all there was to be found were gnawed shells.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Mudeford sunset

Glorious, man, just plain glorious.

Monday, 10 October 2016

The fall begins

The fall begins, as nature disposes of last seasons fashions, opting instead for nudity. Where a fallen bough lays across Red Rise Brook, fallen leafs have gathered blanketing the stream. You'd get a moist surprise kicking through these autumn leafs.

Sunday, 9 October 2016


After last years poor acorn crop, it's good to see many of the Oaks sporting fair sized fruits and plenty of them. I've noticed though, I've not seen the pigs out at pannage yet. Pannage started nearly a month ago (12th September), and traditionally I've seen pigs snuffling about the Oak stands of Red Rise, both sides of the brook by now.  Maybe they're hiding from us, that said, they'll often chase you about....which is fun. 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Kangaroo Moon @ The Square and Compass 8.10.16

I was asked when I last saw Kangaroo Moon, and I reckoned it must've been 20 years ago! But, na, man, that's far too long, I must have seen them more recently than that. Anyways, whenever, I had been looking forward to tonight’s gig; great band in a great local(ish) venue, why wouldn't I be. The venue was The Square and Compass in Worth Matravers, a beautiful pub that we've visited more times than I can remember over the years, for pints whilst out walking, usually, and of course, their wonderful cider festival.  Now,  the Square and Compass is not the most expansive of establishments and the small room where the band were to perform soon filled with both people and anticipation. 

This evening Kangaroo Moon were Elliet Mackrell on fiddle (is calling it a fiddle wrong? should I say violin?), David Williams on loads of things with strings and other stuff, Gem Quinn on drums and of course, Mark Robson on keyboards, dijurido and vocals. I say 'this evening Kangaroo Moon were' as the band has a lot of associated musicians who perform when and where needed. I don't know how you'd adequately describe Kangaroo Moon's music, it defies labelling. I could write a long list of 'they're a bit...', but I'd never be sure I'd finished it, so I'm going to label them organic (I know, even though I just said they defied labelling). Organic feels right, they're music's deep, rich, wholesome, full bodied and filled with a myriad of intense and piquant flavours.  I dig that! 

With the room filled and the band prepared, the music began. Humorously, the music did begin although with no vocals, until Robson tapping his mic, then pulling its cable through his hands ended up holding the jack end in his hand, funny bugger.   From the get go the music was a rousing (you can help being roused when a fiddle is afoot) blend of what I'd described as traditional, contemporary and exotic sounds. I wasn't the only one to marvel at the depth and quality of sound produced by the band, all such fantastic musicians. There's something about Kangaroo Moon's music which is warm and engaging, I think it's their blend of traditional instruments and rhythms which touches your soul, as if ancestral memories within are awoken by timeless sounds. Don't misunderstand me, I'm not suggesting they're some sort of tired folk re-enactment, no sir, Kangaroo Moon do what a decent folky (apologies, lazy label) band should do, they invigorate the traditional, infusing it with contemporary sounds and feeling, keeping it fresh, evolving and most importantly alive.  Each track, and they were all gems, allowed each individual band member to shine: Mackrell's fiddle playing was beautifully poetic one moment and the next it was unleashed at a blistering pace, I love the fiddle, it's an instrument which to to heart; David Williams was crazy good, man, I don't know the names of all the stringed instruments he played, but certainly was a master of them and he also had a selection of musical 'things' laid out next to him which he used to great effect; Quinn drummed to perfection, lovely rhythm, I reckon drumming to this style of music must be really difficult, the many changes tempo in each track, Quinn made it look easy; and then there was Mr Robson multitasking, one hand on keys, the other twiddling things, whilst simultaneously blowing through a the dijurido, mad stuff, Robson has a lovely voice, warm and real. Together, well, you can imagine how good it sounded, on which note, for a small room the sound was great.

After several marvellous tracks, as is common place these days, there was an interlude for refreshments, at which point Gem Quinn disappeared out of the window, well, it was the quickest and easiest way out of the crowded room. The room soon thinned though with the exodus to the bar; now, I say bar, it's more a doorway, if you've not visited The Square and Compass, do ere'sso, it has character by the bucket, has a lovely atmosphere, sports a museum (yeah, a museum!), serves top notch scran and the staff are friendly and welcoming. Not sold? Check your pulse. I took the opportunity during the intermission to purchase the bands new album 'The way it is', check it out, it's great, I recognised several of the tracks from the evening. Anyways, interlude over, band and punters refreshed, it was time for some more, and damn fine it was too.  The band finished with a rousing rendition of the old English folk ballard 'Matty Groves', performed to perfection. I, along with the assembled, could have listened to plenty more. Bravo!

What a great night, a big thanks to the band and to The Square and Compass for putting them on. I'm hoping they pass this way again soon.

Swange Protection Camp

It's amazing what a group of folk, many of whom didn't know each other, can get achieved in pursuit of a cause they all think worthy. Today we spent the day at the Swanage Protection Camp in Purbeck, building a pallet shelter for the on site protectors. By sunset most of the structure was complete, four walls, wooden floor and a board roof, all ready to be clad in tarps. It was an uplifting experience. 

Here's a link to the protection camp page, if you can and if you want to, please show them what ever support you can and that their actions to protect this beautiful environment are appreciated. If you pass that way you could pop in and show them your support in person, I know you'd be welcomed. 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Natures palette

Every evening she gives us a unique sunset to enjoy, each beautiful. Then sometimes, sometimes, she gives us something like this, far out!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

A Cep

Ceps are about in the forest in growing numbers, though I didn't pick any, so didn't enjoy them in a breakfast omelette, nor in my miso soup, nor with noodles, no I didn't do any of those things. #obey

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Protect Purbeck!

To me Purbeck is a magical landscape through which ancient voices echo, I hold it special, sacred. Purbeck is a rare and beautiful natural jewel, World Heritage Site and geological wonder, which for the most part has avoided the destruction of modern times. Now though it's under threat from oil prospectors, who plan to start exploratory drilling in the coming months. And, even though there is plenty of local opposition, and the continued pursuit of fossil fuels can only lead to accelerated climate change, those greedy hollow-men who stand to profit, wish to continue down that dark road and spoil our land. An exploration licence has been granted and the prospecting defilers plan to move in soon. In light of which a protection camp has been set up to what can be done to defend this beautiful land from desecration. 

Below is a link to the protection camp page, if you can and if you want to, please show them what ever support you can and that their actions to protect this beautiful environment are appreciated. If you pass that way you could pop in nd show them your support in person, I'm sure they'd like that. Thank you. 

Swanage Protection Camp

Friday, 30 September 2016

The Cary Grace Band and Music of the Andys @ The King Arthur, Glastonbury 30.9.2016 (part 2)

Well, the Music of the Andy's had done a superb job in warming up the audiences musical receptors, which were now crackling wildly, and a nicely packed room waited with excited anticipation for tonight’s headline act, the fantastic Cary Grace Band. If you've not heard of Cary Grace, that's something you really need to address, as you're missing out on some top sounds. The Cary Grace Band are a five piece: Cary Grace on guitar and analogue synth, Victoria Reyes on keyboards and other things, Andy Budge on bass, David Payne on drums and Owain Hutchings on lead guitar (although the band has seen additional temporary members such as Steffe Sharpstrings, Graham Clarke and John Garden in the past).   

From the out set their performance was right on the money, each track masterfully delivered, each band member playing their part to perfection. Andy Budge provided some rich and full bass lines, and did so with gusto, really belting it out at points, whilst looking as cool as a cucumber throughout. Whilst David Payne's such a powerful drummer and so blistering was his drumming this evening, I watched as the bands logo on his base drum literally blow off in pieces. Get in there! Combined, Payne and Budge made creating a strong rhythm section look effortless and did so with finesse, creating some mighty tight rhythms. Then there was Owain Hutchings on guitar, who last time I saw the band had shared guitar duty, tonight though as solo lead guitarist I think we saw more of his skills and, man, he shone. Owain delivered some far out and nicely performed noodling in a psych rock stylee and looked like he was having a lot of fun doing it too. Now, I do love keyboards (I know I've mentioned this before), and Victoria Reyes again delivered a solid performance on keys, but not just that, she also gifted us with some great oboe (or at least I think it was an oboe, to get technical it was a blowy thing) action, lending some lovely jazz flavours to some numbers. Victoria also has a lovely voice, which she used to good effect, when she joined Cary on the harmonies, which were beautiful. Oh, and then there's Cary Grace herself. Cary has such a great vocal style and range, and she can hold a note clearly and cleanly for what appears an age.  Tonight her voice was on top form and sounded fantastic, and as with when I saw her previously, her whole performance was transfixing; mesmerizing, man, Cary really has a powerful stage presence. I've come to the conclusion that playing synth must be incredibly complicated and mentally taxing, as synth players always look so serious, that said, there are a lot of buttons, knobs and slidey things to contend with. Tonight Cary's studiousness clearly paid off as she created some sumptuous musical textures, old school synth sounds are just so much richer, man. The band were firing on all cylinders and it sounded out of this world! I loved it, we all loved it. Tonight’s performance was different from the last time we saw the band. I thought tonight’s set felt and sounded heavier, with a far rockier aspect. Hey, that's no complaint, it was a slap up feast of psychedelic rock flavours and the audience were lapping it up, showing their appreciation with rapturous applause between tracks. By the end we'd all feasted like musical Mr Creosotes, that said, we could have still fitted in a waffer thin number, though sadly with only a minute left before the music polices curfew, it was not to be. The band, all smiles, appeared to have had a great time too. They'd played some great tracks from across Cary's catalogue tonight and a few masterful covers, original interpretations of some classics, I especially enjoyed their rendition of Bowie's 'Bitch Queen' (which I understand is released on an upcoming fruits de mer records release). I know, I say it often, but when you're absorbed in great music you want it to go on and on, though as is the way, all too quickly the gig was over. But just...Wow! What a great performance. A band of first class musicians, each expert in their art/s, who together tonight created pure magic in Avalon. Cheers y'all.  

I was also lucky enough to pick up a copy of The Uffculme Variations, Cary Grace's live set from this years Kozfest (which I was gutted to have missed), where the band (minus Owain Hutchings), was joined by the legendary Steffe Sharpstrings and Graham Clarke. I can't wait to get my ears round that. 

A big thanks to The Music of the Andy's and The Cary Grace Band for such brilliant performances, and thanks to The King Arthur for putting them on. Finally, I mustn't forget to note that, yet again, the sound at the King Arthur was spot on. Well played, dudes!

The Cary Grace Band and Music of the Andys @ The King Arthur, Glastonbury 30.9.2016 (part 1)

Through England’s green and pleasant land we wended our way to Avalon and that magical edifice of fine beverages, good people and sublime music..... the Arthur. I love the Arthur, such a great venue. Tonight we'd been drawn by two incredibly groovy bands: The Cary Grace Band supported by The Music of the Andys.

We'd arrived in Glastonbury in good time, which afforded us the opportunity for a drink before the gig and to soak up the atmosphere; we always meet nice people in the Arthur, real people, interesting people. So, we'd no sooner sat down when we were joined by a incredibly smiley woman, who proceed to communicate with us through exaggerated facial and hand gestures, all interspersed with the occasional incoherent mumble before finally, still beaming, proudly stated, 'Frome!', 'literally, from Frome!'. Later we learned her name was Annie, and she was literally, from Frome. Annie was a sweetie, yeah, she was caned, pinched sips of our drinks, spilling some on us, but she was a gentle soul and it was a pleasure to spend time with her.  Soon though it was time to leave Annie 'literally from Frome', and enter the musical world of the Andys. 

Music of the Andys are a two piece: Andy Roger on keys, synths and all things buttony and Andy Burrows on guitar. And, man, do they create a sweet sound or what! We'd seen them in Bournemouth only a couple of weeks previously and  were blown away. We couldn't believe our luck that they were supporting The Cary Grace Band. How best describe the Music of the Andys? Well, they're a bit like this.... Tonight Andy Roger again looked studious as he moved between innumerable keyed and buttoned devices, pushing this, flicking that and twiddling t'other, like some mad musical professor. But, man, did he create some magic, as from his devices he birthed a multitude of spiralling musical galaxies before turning them into atmospheric fractal soundscapes you could immerse yourself in. Pure bliss, you couldn't help but smile.  No wonder he looked studious though, it must be mental, he has more buttons than a pearly king; I wouldn't know where to start. Now, Andy Burrows, there's a fella who knows how to make the most of a guitar, his fingers blurred up, down and across the fretboard, performing some top shelf noodling. But that's not all, Andy (B) didn't just play the guitar, he turned it into something else, tapping it, stroking it, doing whatever was required to achieve the sound desired. And, man, did it work, he gave Andy Roger's swirling soundscapes focus and direction with some of the most excellent and understated guitar work you'll see, making it look easy.  Together they took us via floaty hypnotic drone and noodle on a journey through their tripped out and trancey musical imaginations. Or as Andy Roger described it.....Andient, and he'd know. Nice! It was far out, man, and the audience showed their approval with hearty applause. Both the Andy's too, appeared to have had a good time, having a laugh and a bit of banter. At one point getting a bit punk rock when Andy (B) appeared to spit his plectrum at a Andy (R), oi oi! It's always nice to see performers enjoying themselves. All too soon though, it was over. I for one could have listened to more, their music is so engaging and immersive and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that. A top set, from a top band on what was shaping up to be a top evening. I can't recommend enough that you get and see them, I guarantee you wont be disappointed. To sample their magic, check out 'the goose of perception' on their bandcamp page. Big up the Andy's!

Now, you'd be right to think that that would be a top night on it's own, which it would, but they were the support.  Next was: The Cary Grace Band.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Knotgrass moth caterpillar

A Knotgrass moth caterpillar (Acronicta rumicis).

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

No picking!

So the new signs are going up in the forest proclaiming the forestry commissions latest edict prohibiting mushroom picking.....ANYWHERE! Of course, with the exception of foray leaders, who can apply for a permit. Just as I thought. So, you can profit from leading expensive middle class fungi forays, with no doubt the forestry commission taking their cut, though not individually pick for the pot. I imagine 'fungi forays' will increase. It would appear that rather than prohibiting picking on environmental grounds, the forestry commission have merely monetized the activity. A common practice these days. I've never seen the mythical commercial pickers (I'm sure they exist, though not on the scale suggested), I have though seen a huge increase in the number of 'pay for' forays advertised and an increase in the number of seasonal newspaper pieces proliferating the false claims of how profitable mushroom picking is, saying where and when to pick, in fact fuelling the increase in collecting, which they then print articles railing against. I've seen no problem and I've been picking for 30 years, each year I see more mushrooms left gone over, than have been picked, and a fungi community which appear healthy and flourishing. No, there's no problem. The whole ban is baseless and follows a emerging pattern of control being placed on traditional free foraging activities, only to replace them with 'pay for' activities.  It's common capitalist practice. I saw it with free festivals in the early 80's, apparently they had to be banned as they were so terrible, though were quickly replaced with pay festivals which have considerably more issues and problems. The difference? Corporate/private interest could profit.  Monetization is the name of the game, if you want be and act like humans have acted for ever, gathering together or gathering stuff, anything that feels natural and right, you're going to have to pay.  Or abstain from acting naturally, and restrict yourself to the matrix. I say...... BOLLOCKS! 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Here come the rains again

Here come the rains again and with them the parasols. Which is apt. The forest is getting wetter, slowly, and as it does so the mushrooms begin to pop up all over the place. Parasols (Macrolepiota procera) can be spotted from quite a distance, their tall form and plate sized cap make them one of the most imposing of mushrooms. They're also very tasty, cut into wedges, seasoned, dipped into batter a fried. 

Monday, 26 September 2016


I'd thought that all the apple trees over the common had failed this year, all suffering from disease or bugs, with what few fruits setting dropping early. I was wrong though. The myriad of paths which cross the common are fluid and have changed over the years, some abandoned for what ever reason, neglected and forgotten, whilst others are created. Along one of these forgotten paths one apple tree has flourished, laden with good sized fruits. The recent weather has beaten down the chest high bracken and I could get through to it. I'd totally forgotten about this tree, a tree I used to pass most days and had gathered apples from on countless occasions. The skin of the apples is tough and a bit tedious to eat, though the flesh beneath is lovely. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Akala - 10 Years of

This arrived this morning, 10 Years of Akala, a three coloured vinyl collection celebrating as the title suggests 10 years, all tracks suggested by fans.  And, after giving it listen, I have to say it's a really good and representative selection.

Friday, 23 September 2016


The Ceps (Boletus edulis) are beginning to show. Well, it is cep-tember after all.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Signs of a Heron

I've mentioned recently the misinformation around the forests bog woodland restoration project, the higher stewardship project partly funded by the EU, and how far from being destructive it is in fact encouraging diversity and has seen previously rarely seen forest visitors becoming more frequent. I mentioned commonly seeing Egrets along restored forest streams, which I don't remember seeing in the past and more, larger fish. Today I saw more evidence of the growing fecundity of the restored forests streams and the re-wilding of their environs...Heron (Ardea cinerea) footprints in the stream side mud.  A sure sign that the forests streams are well stocked and have developing fish populations. Long may it continue.


So, second harvest is upon us, a moment of balance and an opportunity to reap the rewards of seeds previously sown. The equinox is met with a dramatic sunrise, more cloud than sun, apt in light of what's to come as we enter the darker, more turbulent, portion of the year. I hope your harvests are bountiful. Mabon blessings y'all

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Natural shelter

Out in the forest looking for mushrooms (not to collect and eat of course, just to see how they were doing) I came across this toppled conifer. The way the tree had toppled and the way the moss had remained attached to the roots had created a natural shelter, which I think with a little adaptation would make an interesting overnight camping spot (of course, that is if camping were allowed in the forest). I reckon 2 people could be comfortably accommodated.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

It came from outer space!

Nature is magnificently weird, the smallest or most simple things are so often some of the most beautiful, intricately formed and coloured. Take this Sea Anemone nestled and exposed in a rock crevice just above the low tide mark, its colours were intense, almost luminescent. Far out. 


One of the up sides of climate change and the erratic weather it manifests is the possibility of a summers day at any time of the year, which is nice. Of course, that's my attempt at irony. Although, the day was quite spiffing. The sky was blue, and for the most part cloud free, the sun though waning still showed its power, the air was warm and still, the sea was calm and Mupe Bay on the Purbeck coast was sublime.  Enthusiasm led us to the summit of Bindon Hill in record time, where upon the full majesty of the Jurassic coast was laid out before us, a visual feast. Near the high point of Cockpit Head a sign proclaims 'Danger Cliff', no shit! The decent from the head to the bay is a steep mix of chalky single track and irregular steps, and better taken gentle lolloping gait, although it takes it out of your legs and does required fluid movements as well as complete concentration, you do descend and reach the bottom quickly. 

The bays beach is pebbly and drops off into deep water almost as soon as you enter the water. Though it's not the beach today, no, it's around the headland to the rocky cove known as Bacon Hole, with its limestone stack, rocks and ledges.  The tide was out, exposing the ledges, creating rock pools and allowing access to some of the large intertidal rocks.  It was beautiful, and as previously mentioned, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was high summer. The water looked inviting, and I thought, had I brought board-shorts I'd have gone for a swim. Then I thought, I've got a micro towel in my bag, and there was no one about, so what the hey. A skinny dip it was. It's amazing, the removal of that last garment is in some strange way liberating and freeing. Weird. The sea was warm, 18 degrees I heard later from a diving friend, though although warm it was still refreshing physically and spiritually, floating in natures beauty. It wasn't long ago that I'd have never dreamed of doing that, though now, I can't imagine missing the opportunity to swim. Once refreshed and dressed we continued around Bacon Hole, past the smugglers cave with its secluded little room and up onto the Portland freestone slabs (over hung by towering and seemingly fragile cliff) which protrude at 45 degrees out into the sea.  From here we had great views back across the stack and rocks. I've been here numerous times, today I was scared. The further slab, usually a clean surface, was covered in loose which had fallen from the cliff face. Enough to say, we didn't stay long. 

After a clamber around the slabs from a while we tracked back around Bacon Hole, over the ledges and back to the coastal path. The last picture is taken from the cliff top above Bacon Head, where the views eastwards across the bay and along the distant rocky Jurassic coastline were magnificent. Another fantastic walk through a magical landscape and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Saturday, 17 September 2016


More edible mushrooms are appearing in the forest, not in great quantities mind, though certainly on the increase. Today’s notables were some Hedgehogs (Hydnum repandum) and Cow Boletes (Suillus bovinus).  Even in light of recent rain, the forest remains quite dry. 

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Music of the Andys @ Chaplins 15.9.16

Not a poncho or pan pipe in sight, music of the Andes my arse! Of course I'm joking, although virtually everybody I'd mentioned the Music of the Andys gig to looked at me puzzled, thinking I was talking about an upcoming Peruvian pan flute band performance. Well, I wasn't. Music of the Andys are Andy Roger (recently of Here and Now) on synth/keyboards, Andy Burrows on guitar and Andrew Shackleton doing projections/visuals. I'd heard a couple of tracks on their bandcamp page and liked what I heard. Though, tonight’s performance was really something else.  A mind melting blend of flowing synth soundscapes, hypnotic trancey repetitive rhythms, all interwoven with some magical guitar noodling. They rocked!
The venue was Chaplins/The Cellar Bar in Boscombe, a small venue for sure, but with a big heart and a really great atmosphere and sound. The type of venue we desperately need and need to support. Up on the diminutive stage, Andy Roger looked intensely studious as he fiddled with knobs, jangled keys and pushed this and that, it must be quite a feat, all that going on. I've noticed synth players always look so focused, but as Mr Roger proved tonight, all that studious work can really pay off. Then there's Andy Burrows who has a great guitar style and really worked his instrument, his fingers a blur at some points as he worked every inch of the fretboard. Together they created musical magic. Man, I really was blown away by the quality of tonight’s musical fare. I was expecting good, but what we were served was something else, several notches higher than just 'good'.  The Andys created a richly textured and immersive sound, a big tight sound which filled the room, which for just two guys was good going. Quality stuff. Behind them Andrew Shackletons overlaid groovy visuals unquestioningly added to and complimented the musical soundscapes. All round a top evenings musical entertainment, although too too short.

The Andys next musical outing will be on the 30th supporting Cary Grace at the King Arthur in Glastonbury, for sure a gig not to be missed.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Another sunset

Another glorious sunset from our current autumn hues colour pallet. Beautiful. I stood on the path through the common watching in wonder, when an old guy walked by and we struck up a conversation, both waxing lyrically about the natural spectacle before us. Well, it was more me (shocking I know) enthusiastically rambling nonsense interspersed with the overuse of the phrase 'man' and the poor old guy, I think,  humouring me. It was really far out though, man!  

Hold on they're coming.

The seasons have changed and autumn's here, slowly the reign of the fungi takes hold in the forest. It's still quite dry though, but the mushrooms are beginning to show themselves. Of course there are certain mushrooms the forager particularly looks out for, and of course top of that list are the boletes, and top of the bolete list is the Cep (Boletus edulis). I've not seen any of them yet, though today I did come across a few Orange Birch bolete (Leccinum versipelle), which to me are always a good indication that the Ceps will soon be with us. I say Orange Birch bolete, though there are a few in the Leccinum family that look very similar, all edible, though several not worthwhile. Here's hoping for a good season.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Old forest boundary

An old forest boundary bank.

Dewy cobwebs

Loving these dewy morning walks through the forest and I'm constantly amazed and dazzled by the quantity of cobwebs there are strewn from every conceivable place throughout the forest. It poses questions as to how many spiders there are in the forest, how much silk can one produce or do the work together and how do they create some of the spans which appear to defy possibility?  It's easy to get lost in wonder, absorbed in the beauty of their work, so much effort gone into creations so ephemeral and transient. Lovely.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Fall

No, not the band, the season. I like the term 'Fall' to describe autumn, it's very apt. Out in the forest the first signs of autumns coming fall are beginning to show, as pockets of colour drained leaves appear on the forest trees. Only pockets at present, mind, but when they turn they turn and the forest will take on a fleeting golden hue. Then the actual fall, leaving the forests stands bare. A lovely time of year in the forest. 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Forest sunset

As we returned from an evening walk in the forest it was uncertain as to whether the sunset would reach its potential; you never can be sure. Then at the last minute, boom, colour flooded the clouds as the last rays of the sun danced their goodbyes. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Stream of clouds

A stream of water filled clouds flow below the rising autumn moon.

Last light

As the sun sets, the last light falls across Red Rise Shade and the forests day shift clocks off as the night crew come on. The deer have disappeared, the all cows laid down, the ponies corralled, the is canopy quiet and calm floods the forest.A nice time to be out.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016


If there's one thing that gets right up my nose (that's clearly misleading as plenty of stuff gets up my nose, some would say I'm a moaning bastard), it's ignorant selfish fuckwits who can carry stuff out into the forest or the coast or wherever, and then once they've had their fun, just leave it. I just don't get it! They've obviously come out the forest because it's beautiful, they've carried stuff out to the forest when it's full and yet they find impossible to carry their empties home and leave said beautiful spot soiled, they can't even bury the shit they leave behind. What's that all about? I can't get my head around the paradoxes.  Ignorance rules Britannia.

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Morning mobile meditation

Early morning sun dappled walks amongst the dew covered holms and deciduous stands do wonders to lift ones spirits. The forest doesn’t judge you. In the relative wilds and the natural quiet your worries dissipate, even if only temporarily, carried off on waves of calm.  You feel connected, part of.  You feel the knot unravel. You feel peace. Walking is like doing mobile meditation. It's nice to stop and sit awhile too, really take it all in, soak it up. Of course, too often you go back to the same old shit, but you go back that little bit better equipped to handle it. It was a lovely walk this morning.

Pearly dewdrops

Pearly dewdrops hang like jewels from the myriad of webs which cloak the early morning forest.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Mushroom season

As autumn falls so fungi's reign begins. It's still early in the season, and it's still quite dry, but the frequency with which you see mushrooms is slowly increasing. Some of those mushrooms are edible favourites. Today I saw Beefsteak (Fistulina hepatica), nearing the end of its season some Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) and the often present Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus).  Commercial picking has long been forbidden in the forest, although collecting for personal consumption up to 1.5kg has been permitted. I say permitted as the Forestry Commission have just announced that mushroom picking has been banned throughout the forest, full stop. What nonsense, based on little scientific evidence, in fact, the evidence suggests that picking helps fungi communities, or at least has no negative effects. Also, there are a couple of thousand types of mushroom in the forest and of those only a tiny handful are collected to eat. The other reason they say, are these mythical hoards of organized pickers sweeping the forest, well they may, although in 30 years of forest foraging I've never seen them, or evidence of them. This ban follows a worrying trend, such as some local councils bans on collecting wild berries. Foraging is our human right, wild food is just that, wild and therefore in my mind at least free. Few even forage anyway, and the seasonal increase sometimes seen in the forest is driven by the media harking on about how much fungi is worth, encouraging people to collect, the same media that then runs angry stories about too many people collecting mushrooms.  As I say, I've been collecting mushrooms for years, you have good years and not so good and in both I always see countless mushrooms go uncollected. Stop publicising mushroom collecting as a profitable activity, stop creating and fuelling the problem, and see the numbers of those picking drop back to just those who are into it for the right reason and pick responsibly. Anyway, I can't see it being enforceable, if the can't stop the hoards (oh, that's right, they can't because they're bloody mythical), then how are they going to stop the responsible individual.  And more to the point, why bother? What's the real agenda here?