Tag Archives: Bramble Avenue

A garden on a riverbank

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One of the compromises when we bought our new home was the lack of a garden at the back of the house. Previous owners had done their best to bring some colour into the few square feet directly around our home but the brambles and weeds had run amock, strangling the few daffodils that tried to emerge and embedding themselves deep in the stones around the house. There’s a raised lawn on one side of the house but the moles adore it and apart from letting the snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils grow through it and giving it the occasional mow, it’s not what I call a garden. Behind the house is shady, facing north so our riverbank, a short walk down a treacherous slope, is our garden.

The riverbank at the end of Bramble Avenue

The riverbank at the end of Bramble Avenue

While we struggled with no heating, hot water or a bathroom when we arrived in Wales, the riverbank and cutting away the brambles to reveal it, became our sanctuary. DSC_0007It was hard work, two years of it, but when we finally broke through to the end, we were the first people to step on that part of the riverbank for over 20 years.

DSC_0008In some parts, we cut the brambles across the whole width of the bank but in the middle section, we created Bramble Avenue, leaving the natural habitat for the wildlife.

One day I felt an urge to cut a new path down to the river, to the right of a beautiful old tree. We uncovered a magical beach in the bend in the river. Even in the coldest weather, it’s a beautiful spot. DSC_1222 DSC_0046

It’s a great place to write, drum and contact the spirits of the land.

Last weekend, we planted more willow. We tried with willow from Essex, donated by a friend but we waited too long to put it in. We planted some last year but have yet to see any signs of growth so, we’ve planted the new willow in between, hoping it will encourage the other! DSC_0128DSC_0129DSC_0130The ground is boggy on this part of the riverbank so the new willow, which is already sprouting, should really take off.

The plan is to create a covered path to the beach and a dome beside Pan’s Grotto, which will have access through to the end of the riverbank. With the sun still shining, my partner trekked back to the house for tea and sustenance while I attacked brambles with my trusty secateurs. We adjourned to our shelter on the river bank. DSC_0132

Bluebell leaves are gushing from the dead leaves all along the riverbank. The red kites have returned to the same nest they hatched a chick in last year and they’re calling as they circle overhead. The kingfisher whizzes past our noses as we drink our tea, adding a splash of jewel to the muted tones of the riverbank. Robin sits on the handle of my barrow, checking my work and waiting for the nuts he knows are in my pocket. That’s what I call a garden.

 

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One year on….missing you

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Approaching the end of the pagan year, it’s time to look back at both achievements and disappointments. Where have I been? Who came with me? Could I have handled that better? What did I learn? How have I grown from these experiences?

In November 2014 I launched a new book, the first of a new series, The Standing Stone books.

Standing Stone Home For Christmas Cover drop shadowMy eldest son came to visit at the Midwinter Solstice. DSC_1200

I danced my feet off with my fabulous ladies of Tribal Unity Wales…we even danced for the eclipse! 17005_1637467316511758_8560746038090504212_n11705339_1637467806511709_6336127877735496573_n11875606_10153165243553867_114847764_o11012386_10153650985507802_1147847422645631772_nOur little house finally has a roof!11150930_1600818576843299_7145038719453612890_n

I worked hard clearing to the end of Bramble Avenue, along our riverbank DSC_000811947900_1654664588125364_5441217376693406600_o(1)Tribal Unity came from Essex to visit and we danced on our outdoor stage

On the beach with my home girls

On the beach with my home girls

I introduced juicing into my diet and changed the balance of vegetables on my plate DSC_1436and published another book!DSC_1413

But my strongest feeling about this year is missing those I love. I’ve missed my children, a constant pain in my heart that though appeased a little by phone calls is only alleviated once I hold them in my arms. I’ve missed my friends, women who have loved and supported me through the best and worst of times. But most of all, I’ve missed my mum and dad. While mum was alive, my promise to dad to look after her kept him alive for me but now they are both gone, I grieve for them both. All year I’ve carried the pain of their loss, silently held within me, only let out in great gulping sobs and screams when I’m alone or the odd persistent tear I cannot restrain.

As the wheel of the year turns, moving us on towards winter, I must let go. My ritual on the riverbank tomorrow night will help me move forward, helping me leave the negative behind while I spend the winter months with my thoughts, working through emotions and emerging anew in the spring.

Samhein blessings xx

Red moon over the sycamore tree

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After grey, gloomy summer days, I looked inward for the sunshine and inspiration to move forward.

DSC_0002Out on our land, I am grateful that our baby apple trees are weighed down with an abundant harvest. Though I’d hoped to have our vegetable patch cleared and ready this year, I’m grateful to kind friends who have shared their produce and supplemented our meals. I’ve worked hard on Bramble Avenue. DSC_0007DSC_0008Metres of brambles have been cleared and a Pan grotto discovered as I worked two hours each morning. The sun came out to bless me. 11947900_1654664588125364_5441217376693406600_o(1)Lack of progress on the house renovations was also dragging me down so I ‘reclaimed’ a wooden unit from the kitchen and began sorting through folders and paperwork. Attempting to live and work in a small space is made easier when files are at hand. DSC_0009I’ve sorted dance folders and Wales folders but still have my writing to organise but one large plastic box has been removed from our bedroom, helping to clear the clutter.

I made a birthday cake DSC_0014

and welcomed my daughter and her boyfriend to Wales for a week. It was a chilly start to their holiday DSC_0017but the sun tried to come out DSC_0021and nothing could dampen my joy of spending a whole week with my daughter. DSC_0022I even managed a paddle. 12027079_1657883417803481_2711620859863796780_o

I donated clothes and toiletries to help the refugees and a van load gathered at our local health food shop, joined the Aberystwyth convoy.

This morning we were up at 2am to watch the moon. It was clear and cold on our hill top and I watched in awe as the milky way bathed the sky above our house in a swathe of infinite stars. Hugging my tea mug I watched the eclipse, the light of the moon disappearing until it was colour washed in red. The giant disc hung above the sycamore tree.

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Watching the moon, I reaffirmed my place in this amazing universe and recognised the path I have chosen to be the correct one for me. If you struggle with depression, as I do, have a look at my non-fiction book Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles for 101 ideas to help stimulate focus in your life, thinking of others and our world as we each live our different life path. There are meditations, recipes and stories from my own experience which I hope will help you.

http://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=la_B007VZ1P06_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1354202723&sr=1-5http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wendy-Woos-Year-Pocketful-ebook/dp/B00AAVPXVU/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1354202865&sr=1-3

 

I still have work to do before the winter solstice but the endeavours I have begun have moved me forward. Full moon blessings to you all. Love and light xx

Renovating our 18thC Welsh farmhouse and byre

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We’ve called a halt to work upstairs under the new thatch as the sun is shining and outdoor jobs take preference.

11150930_1600818576843299_7145038719453612890_nThe river bank has been tidied. We’ve fished a wheel and debris from the river and had a good burn up so now Mike, my partner, can get the ride on mower from one end to the other. DSC_1414I’ve been busy with my trusty secateurs in Bramble Avenue and on the path down to our little ‘beach. The bluebells were far more abundant this year after we removed a few very low branches, allowing the sunlight in to more of the land.

We’ve paid for a man and his digger to aid with the next part of the byre reconstruction so this week, we are making clom..clay, sand, straw and cow poo. DSC_1418DSC_1419DSC_1420DSC_1421We’re desperate to make a liveable home here in mid Wales but the realities of living on a building site make life difficult, especially in this warm weather with a pile of steaming clom by the front door! (It is now double covered in thick plastic and old tyres so the smell is less noticeable!)

Unfortunately, the digger has broken so work is on hold but we hope to have enough clom for the byre and to finish the sides of the house by the weekend. Sadly, the pathway to the river is only just started but, hopefully, we will soon have a track we can walk or drive down on which we will line with our tree saplings and begin working back down the slope as coppice.

I missed the local farmers baling the hay in our field this year as I was working but the intricate ballet they perform with their machines is worth a watch, if you get a chance. Wales to 21st June 2014 016

Thanks for following our adventure in Wales…do look back at other posts to see how far we have come.