Tag Archives: woods

Life before mobile phones and I pads


Were our summers longer?
In the days when there were no mobile phone or games consoles
As a child I all through the school holidays i would leave the house after rushing breakfast or taking it with me,
Running through the woods with a piece of burnt toast in my hand
Toby my dog at my heel
Heading for the huge oak tree at the top of the hill that held our rope swing.

Huge and beautiful ever changing I loved that tree swinging climbing sitting in it’s branches with a book. When we had rope for a swing and a good strong stick I’d sit with my back pressed against it huge trunk at least five feet wide watching as friends swung out over the high drop where the stream ran below.
Bright pink rhodadendron bushes and spiky Holly would break our fall if we fell.
Red Sandy soil tall green grass bright blue sky.
It wasn’t a massive woodland and it was in the middle of a council estate but it was our paradise I loved it.
When it was my turn I’d grab the thick blue rope and swing as high as I could. Legs strieght out leaning back, long hair blowing in the warm summer breeze and for a few minutes I was free, I was flying.

The stream meandered below we would build dams from large stones and sticks the lads would steal cargo nets off the lorries that would park up on east lancs road
Then they would tie them high up between four trees we would bounce about up there it was more luck than our knot tying skills that prevented us from falling!
Crank caverns we’re a few miles from the estate another favourite place I loved it there I’d often set off with a Terry prachett book a bottle of water and walk the few miles spend the day up there.
The lane to the caverns started between two old farm houses Mrs Hewitt one of our teachers lived in one with her daughter Sally she would wave as I passed by. Behind her house where the horses fields and the most beautiful Chestnut mare I’d stop for a chat feeding her handfuls of lush green grass from my side of the fence she couldn’t quite reach. Her warm breath and soft nuzzle rubbing against my face
If I was lucky enough to have custard cream buiscuits I’d share them too and she would rest her huge head on my shoulder and I’d tell her anything and everything. Dogs and horses were always my confidants.
The next part of the walk was through beautiful golden fields thin strieght path through swaying wheat fields I’d sometimes walk into the field and lie down in a cocoon of earthy smelling golden wheat corn or barley reading my book I never felt alone or afraid.
Often falling asleep book in hand . Thankfully never when the combine was working
The caverns (caves) we’re in a small valley surrounded by a small dence disiduous woodland
Trees so close there was places that where almost darkness then another few steps bright sunlight flooded in. I would try to have one food in dark the other in light. Shady and cool on a hot summers day
It was said that the caves were once connected to a hall in Rainford the next village over the years they had become blocked but I would still venture inside as far as I could go.
Feeling my way along the cold stone graffitied walls.

The energy inside there was palpable.
They fasanated me.
I’d stay as long as possible lighting a small fire as night closed in.

No light pollution the sky on a clear night was light a black stary blanket only the sound of crickets and shuffle of nocturnal creatures hedgehogs foxes Badgers
Earthy smell of fallen leaves and thick grass that seemed to grow moss like that was often my bed.
I always slept well outside.
I’m sure this magical place sparked my absolute love of camping, walking and being outside any chance I have.
If you have ever been woken gently by the dawn chorus around you, you’ll know what I mean.
All this magic I was around eleven years old no one missed me whilst I was gone and I know look on that as a blessing.
I always had my dog and carried a small folding pen knife gifted to me by my Nan.
She gave it to me with a wink and a ‘dont tell your mam.’
I’d pull up a swede or carrots peel and eat vegetables taste amazing when eaten as you pick them .
In the next village Rainford there was a huge field of peas
They are one of nicest sweetest things I’ve ever eaten. I’d walk home with my pockets full.
Do my chores then leave again for another adventure.
I’m so very glad I was a sixty’s child
For life was and continues to be beautiful if you go outside look at the sky walk touch the earth talk to animas connect with guardian trees lie in fields of gold
It’s never too late. What are you waiting for?

A new generation

Come with me on a journey back in time, To a northern rural village the year is 1969. It’s a bright and beautiful summers day.

I shall tell you the story as it was told to me by Lilly

She was seventeen years old. She loved the beautiful meadow and sitting on the banks of the stream dangling her feet into the water I guess I’m a bit of a loner She would say she but she didn’t mind her own company and loved being outdoors wondering through woodlands never caught her with shoes on her feet. Barefoot wind in her hair that was Lilly.

The breeze was warm and gently swaying the willow tree on the opposite bank of the stream it’s was late afternoon but the sun was still up there shining brightly and the sky was cloudless and blue.

I’d been been sitting watching the water running over the smooth pebbles she told me The water seemed to glisten and shine in the sunlight the reflection of the willow stretches across to me I was thinking of Alice stepping through the looking glass into a magical land. You know somewhere better than here? I know I’m a day dreamer she continued but then something caught her eye.

Who’s that? There across she caught her breath rubbed her eyes was it heat shimmer from the water?

there watching her beside the willow tree was something at first glance she couldn’t quite make sense of

She rubbed her eyes and squinted. Then rubbed them again. A being a tall almost bird like being or was it?

Sparkling almost iridescent skin, crystal like. Shimmering like the stream running over the pebbles.

Perhaps I’m seeing things she thought.

It seemed to fade in and out of focus, blend in and out of the surroundings almost camouflaged.

Much taller than Lilly longer arms and fingers, it has wings on her back that seamed to retract she was very beautiful.

Lilly stood up slowly then bravely began to paddle across towards the willow tree.

It didn’t move tilted it’s head slightly watching her approach almost curiously

‘Who are you?’ she asked..? Climbing onto the bank beside her.

The being reached out and placed her fingers on Lilly’s forehead. There was a static like buzz.

Standing together barefoot on that grassy bank

Visions started to flood between them like a fibre optic connection.

Lilly gasped as she saw seven tiny stars a small consolation light years away beautiful star people peaceful tribes healers teachers, landscapes of purple topped mountains, waterfalls lush green valleys huge yew like trees and an aray of beautiful amimals

Lilly sighed and whispered Koraki that’s your name?.

The beautiful being nodded and smiled their energy arced together. Her eyes where the most beautiful shade of green like purest Jade. Lilly felt absence of peace and safety she had never known.

Why are you here Lilly thought. Koraki answered her question yet no words were spoken between them

She was a traveller fearless explorer a bringer of light collecting samples of plants and herbs she had been to earth many times it was not unlike her own planet but our species caused her tribe sadness our primitive behaviour humans killing each other and destroying the planet they live on.

She and others like her had also come here to to plant seeds of hope and enlightenment to help awaken humans to enlighten them to heal and save their beautiful mother planet. A new generation of star children.

As the sun began to set darkness fell.

a huge dark moon in an ink black sky and the stars twinkled like diamonds and Koraki iridescent crystalline skin.

She pointed up to the sky to a small cluster of stars barely visible.

That’s home that where you came from? Asked Lilly.

She sighed, ‘Can I come with you?’

Koraki gently touched her forehead again.

‘No spaceships, these beautiful beings travelled through consciousness in the blink of an eye at the speed of light. Like beautiful iridescent white Ravens

‘She then showed Lilly a vision of herself holding a baby girl a star seed.

‘My child? a star child asked Lilly but how.

They stood opposite each other Koraki held up the palms of her hands the palms seemed to pulse and swirl spiral iridescent pure white shining light.

Lilly held up her hands much smaller against Koraki a ball of lights around them glowed she had never felt such love and hope. Their two worlds where connected the joining of two tribes.

Lilly told me she had slept peacefully on that warm summer’s night under the willow tree by the stream.

She was woken by the warmth of the sun and the babbling of the stream a Raven cawed above her and she thought she heard Koraki whisper she would protect her child and she would indeed see her again.

The following spring the baby girl Koraki had gifted her was born seed of the star people.

Outside the window a raven cawed as my mother Lilly gently cradled my in her arms.

She never lost her love for the outdoors and walking barefoot with the wind in her hair.

She passed all that on to me

She told me stories of Alice through the looking glass but this one of Koraki and my star tribe is my favourite

‘I’m a mountain wondering lover of stories Ravens and all things magical I’m a soul midwife and healer

On a summers day you’ll find me with a book sitting under the willow tree feet dangling in the stream

On a dark moon you will find me barefoot on the mountain crossroads looking up to a tiny constellation of stars

Home.

Meditation or dream?

After my evening talk with my lady I fall into bed asking for the bliss of sleep which has eluded me this week.

I drift off but I’m woken by a tapping on the front door.

I go downstairs followed by Saffie cautiously open the door There before me is my lady Hekate she smiles and steps into my house.

As always I am struck by her beauty and although no words are spoken she tells me to collect what I need from around me.

She opens the door for us to leave. I look around its 3am where are we going?

I pick up my ritual bag and call Saffie we follow Hekate along the tow path catching in with her step her staff on the ground is the only sound of the night, her cloak seems to blow behind her although there is no breeze.

As we reach the top of my street she smiles we are standing on the cross road.

‘Your mountain’ I ask?

‘Yours’ she answers.

We walk the familiar path Saffie and Hekates hound like two shadows walking in step like two shadows before us.

As we reach the mountain she removes the hood of her cloak.

I feel that familiar knot in my belly.

She holds up her torch to the familiar wall of granite she moves the torch points back at the way we have walked together.

No words are spoken but no I don’t want to go back.

She smiles you have all the tools you need my child.

I open my bag take out my robe undress but the robe has gone.

I look at her she smiles ‘Open the gateway you are safe here’

I take out my blade. ‘It isn’t finished.’ I here myself say handing it to her feeling foolish as the words leave my mouth.

She takes it and as the polished copper glints despite the darkness of the new moon the yew handle seems to be transformed into part of her hand.

She holds it out to me and for a second our hand is one.

I feel a bolt of energy surge through me she nods

‘It is finished.’ she says.

‘Do not fear my daughter.’

I draw a line along the wall of granite the width of us both, as we stand before this mighty mountain.

A gateway opens and there is loud roar of water fierce and rapid through the archway a wooden bridge visible spanning over a fierce river below.

She holds up her torch taps her staff and both dogs lie either side of the gateway.

My bag beside her Saffie looks the other way.

I follow my lady across the bridge. she stops as I reach the middle the shadow stops and the bridge seems half light half dark.

We stand there betwixt and between watch the rush of water passing bellow us in the shadows.

The water splashes and rushes on logs and sticks are tossed this way and that.

I breath in and smell the wet earth and leaves but feel safe here on the bridge.

In the faint glow of Hekates torches

Hekate steps into the darkness her torch seems to dim but still she lights my way.

‘What can you hear she asks?’

As we walk deeper into the cave I stand still and listen the water runs down shiny red tinted walls reminding me of blood. With a metallic essence I can taste it in the spray.

‘I hear the rushing of the river mother.’

‘Then quieten it she tells me gently.’

I breath in close my eyes feeling the earth beneath my feet the sound seems to hush.

‘Now what do you hear?’

‘I hear magic the growth of the roots, Journeys of animals and insects of life I hear the earth all around us and I hear your heart beat mother.’

She wraps one side of her cloak around me. ‘Our heartbeat child.’

‘When you call me look within yourself and around yourself land sea and sky we are one I am always here.’

‘The paths you have walked I have always lit but you have always chosen.’

She holds up her torch to a familiar door scratched in the peeling paint is ‘keep out’ in ballpoint pen.

It’s my childhood bedroom door.

She nods the choice is mine I open the door step inside.

I’m not afraid.

Humpy Dumpty beer ad posters still on the wall purple curtains on a droopy wire green carpet I spin around on the tallboy cupboard is my old record player I hear myself laugh AC/DC’ Let there be Rock’ album is on the turntable next to it on the bedside table are a pile of sticks acorns and feathers are just where I had left them.

I walk over to the curtains and pull them open birdsong fills the room the old oak tree outside my bedroom window stands blowing in the breeze like an old friend. I can smell the cut grass and sunshine I see the old gate leading into the woods behind the house where I had climbed trees built dens, read my favourite books escaping to magic lands like disc world and Neverland.

I turn around and there on the bed is my Nan wearing her apron long silver hair tied back shopping bag by her feet my old dogs lady, Toby, and lucky wagging their tails pleased to see me. I catch my breath ‘Nanny!’ I hear myself say and a tear runs down my cheek.

‘I’m not bloody staying’ she says laughing,

I hug her ‘Nanny I’m sorry’ ‘What bloody for now?’ she says wiping my tears.

‘For not being there when you died for not being at your funeral dad wouldn’t let me come. I came to the cemetery stood on the hill I watched from behind the tree.’ I cried again on her apron as I have so many other times.

‘I know you did my girl I was there with you behind that tree.’

We hug for quite some time I’ve missed her everything about her I inhale the essence of her I feel safe.

‘Let me look at you.’ She says.

She holds me away from her and smiles. You can still smell the sunshine and the storms she laughs. I nod.

A hundred beautiful memories flash before me like old photographs ‘What was that?’ I ask.

‘Love’ she answers.

‘You did it my Lass what did I always tell you?’

‘Trust the universe that was love.’

She wiped my face as I hugged my dogs.

As I stand up I’m bigger than my little Nan now.

She picks up her old shopping bag pats my dogs blows me a kiss and they are gone.

Leaving nothing but the pile of sticks acorns and leaves.

I sit on my bed listening to the buzz of summer outside and the heartbeat of me and my lady I can feel everything I whisper.

The door swings open I walk over to my lady and

we leave.

The door seems to melt back into the granite wall leaving no trace that it was ever there.

We walk back to the gateway the path feels less rough and there where we left them across the bridge Saffie and her black companion lay together.

We stand together on the other side the bridge now bathed in mid-day sunlight

She bids me to take note of the river.

It’s meanders slowly and smoothly beneath us.

We cross the bridge side by side.

I pick up my bag and she bids my to close the gateway I trace the edge with my blade. The bridge between the worlds is sealed.

My clothes are gone.

She hands me a cloak I swing it around me she fastens it.

We walk back home she stays by my side until I reach my garden gate by the canal.

Everything looks the same but somehow I know it’s all completely different.

I kneel before her thanking her for this journey this lesson.

She kisses me lightly on my fore head and hands me a small saffron flower she smiles and I watch the billow of her cloak in the sunshine as she walks back to the cross roads.

Thank you my lady I whisper as she turns the corner.

I need a plan.

pexels-photo-38136.jpegPregnant, Id took a sample of urine down to the chemist at the bottom shops. I waited as pensioners came in with prescriptions chatted with each other about the weather and the new pebble dashing the council were putting on the houses. What a bloody mess little pebbles everywhere.

I picked up some nail varnish, it was in the sale fifty pence jet black I put it on the counter and stood rattling the change in my hand.

The assistant came through from the back I reached out with the nail varnish and the change. ‘Positive’ she smiled taking the fifty pence. ‘Do you want it in a bag?’

‘No I stuttered it can go in my pocket’ the huge old cash register rang out. As she dropped the change into the drawer.   Signifying the massive change in my life.

I had to go home and pack. ‘Positive’ she said didn’t she?

I have to pack and find somewhere to live. I’m going to be a Mammy.

This time it will be different.

I walked slowly up the hill and through the woods home. It was March it wasn’t cold but I shivered. The woods were just coming alive again trees and bushes squirrels I sat on a log by the stream.

A million thoughts racing through my head.

I cant let Dad find out

Who should I tell?

Should I tell anyone?

I’d tell Mike we were best mates he’d know what to say.

I walked over towards his house he was half way down his street walking towards me I stood and waited for him to get to me.

“Where you going?” he smiled

“I’m just on my way over to yours to pick up my washing.”

Mikes Mam had died a few years ago and my mam had started doing his washing he was working in Fine fare supermarket instore carpet shop and she made sure his shirts were ironed he had to look the part.

We walked back towards the woods. ‘Come and sit by the big oak for a bit.’ I asked.

‘You okay?’ I didn’t answer and we walked along the path towards the big oak tree,

It was like my huge big forever friend, always there I’d climb up sit in the branches with a book hanging from the branch was the rope swing id fell of more times than I can remember.

Mike grabbed the rope and swung out over the bomb hole.

Jet black hair blowing in the breeze whoo whoo he shouted ‘come on jump on as he swung back towards me.

I grabbed the rope and straddled across his legs holding the rope and tilting my head back to feel the breeze. Closing my eyes. The rope creaked.

Birds song distant sound of a lawn mower I loved it here in the woods I lifted my head looked at Mikes smiling face he didn’t look old enough to have a job such a baby face we’d been friends for years we shared a paper round.

He bought me a gold fish for the pond in mams back garden Dad had joked and said we were now engaged as he’d given me a goldfish.

But Mike had more girl friends than any other lad I knew he was so handsome but he was my friend. Best friend.

‘I’m pregnant’ I heard myself say.

Shit it was out there I’d said it.

I jumped off the swing and he jumped off landing awkwardly beside me.

‘Fuck Boo” He yelled.

I looked at him as he sat on the old log at the top of the bank. I watched the rope swing still sway in the breeze.

‘My bloody ankle’

‘What did you just say, pregnant’?

‘SHHHHH!’

‘There’s only us bloody here fucking hell Boo Your Dad is going to kill you!’

I sat beside him, I felt numb. He was right he’d go spare.

Especially if he knew I’d told someone.

‘Can I feel he looked at me and I felt myself smile as he gently put his hand on my belly.

I laughed ‘nothing to feel yet I think I’m about four months’ ‘But it’s still in there he didn’t move his hand’

I stood up

‘Well what are you going to do?’

‘Have a baby Dad can fuck right off, I’m leaving home so don’t say anything yet.’

‘I’m saying nothing!’ he said with an exaggerated scared look on his face

‘Does anyone else know?

‘No and No I don’t have a plan!’

I need a plan’

“You need a fucking plane ticket he joked”

We walked back to the house and through the back gate Dad was in the back garden sawing wood with a band saw, ‘Alright Mr H?’ Dad grunted and carried on sawing Mike looked at me and did that face again running his finger across his neck. I kicked him as he opened the back door.

Mam was in the living room knitting I put the kettle on and Mam came in fussing around Mike and folding up his washing for him and asking him about his job, I sat by the coal fire waiting for the kettle to boil listening to Mike sweet talk my Mam.

Fuck I really do need a plan now!