A sceptic's take on being human – or should that be virtuous?
Oh what a perfect day!
Honestly- this place is so peaceful, notwithstanding the two campers who were loudly proclaiming their dislike because there are no hairdryers. Quite so! People who love this site are not the kind of people who go after hairdryers and spa treatments.
Today we walked down to a local beach and I was on the lookout for medicinal herbs. I could hardly believe how many plants there are growing here with healing properties. I’m fighting off making the list because I’m only at the beginning of a journey and – as ever – I’m loath to claim any expertise at all. But I reconnected with Woundwort, whose crushed leaves smell dreadful, and half a dozen other plants I need to get to know better.
But stars of the show today were the Toadflax growing on the coast path, and above all the kestrel we surprised as it hunted the cliff top.
There is meaning here. Less than 24 hours of R&R and I feel at ease and even the hay fever held off. I’m in a bit of a Gerard Manley Hopkins mood – “I saw this morning, morning’s minion….” etc. Rose Rose it’s all real! Pour the wine!
I've spent my life doing a lot of things, all of them interesting and many of them great fun.
When most people see my CV they probably think I'm making things up because it includes being a rather bad welder and engineering dogsbody, a potter, a groundsman and bus driver. I taught in a prison and in one of those ghastly old mental institutions as an art therapist and I spent ten years as a community artist. I was one of the founding members of Spike Island, which began life as Artspace Bristol. ! wrote a column for Bristol Evening Post (I got sacked three times, in which I take some pride) and I worked in local and network radio and then finally became an Anglican parish priest for 25 years, retiring at 68 when I realised that the institutional church and me were on different paths.
What interests me? It would be easier to list what doesn't, but I love cooking and baking with our home grown ingredients. I'm fascinated by botany and wildlife in general, and botanical illustration. We have a camper van that takes us to the wild places, we love walking, especially in the hills, and we take too many photographs.
But what really animates me is the question "what does it mean to be human?". I've spent my life exploring it in every possible way and the answer is ..... well, today it's sitting in the van in the rain and looking across Ramsey Sound towards Ramsey Island. But it might as easily be digging potatoes or making pickle, singing or finding an orchid or just sitting. But it sure as hell doesn't mean getting a promotion, beasting your co-workers or being obsequious to power, which ensured that my rise to greatness in the Church of England flatlined 30 years ago after about 2 days. But I'm still here and still searching for that elusive sweet spot, and I don't have to please anyone any more.
Over the last 50 or so years we've had a succession of gardens, some more like wildernesses when we were both working full-time, but now we're back in the game with our two allotments in Bath.
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