A sceptic's take on being human – or should that be virtuous?
Summer’s not over yet
I haven’t much time to post today, but it’s been a fabulous day with some real highlights. We were up early and went out to the headland to look for field mushrooms but drew a blank until later on when we did a 7 mile walk around the coastline facing Bardsey island, when we picked a hatful for breakfast tomorrow. During the walk we were watching choughs above the cliffs when I spotted what I initially thought was a small flock of carrion crows or rooks, but these were a bit different – certainly different sounds with all sorts of grunting and clicking noises, but the most spectacular giveaway of all was their gift of turning upside down in flight. They were, of course, ravens – magic moment.
During the walk we could clearly see the remains of ancient settlements – this area has been settled for millennia. But there were other treats like Devil’s Bit Scabious, Fleabane and Yarrow all looking as if summer had hardly begun, let alone ended. The hedges are thick with Blackberries which we picked and turned into a crumble later, and there are an abundance of elderberries. Later in the afternoon I rang Menna the crab woman and we drove over and bought four large day-fresh crabs at £3.50 each and turned half of them into a crab linguini withour own tomatoes, garlic and spring onions. Stunning sunset, full moon tonight. Life is good!
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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