The Antidote

The other day I took the above photo of river, warm autumn woodland colours and stone cottage. Tamsin & I were discussing how the peaceful natural perspective gained from living in such a spot might help as an antidote to solve many of the human world’s problems. And so I was inspired to write this poem …

The Antidote

So, you were told there’d be pearls at the gates;
And ye believed in streets paved with gold.
All welcome, there’s no knowledge of hate;
Every body free, from hunger & cold.

Politicians & preachers, all principled & pious.
They’ll steer & they’ll serve;
No crooked corruption is ever observed.
All equal in eyes, without bias.

Your role, your requirement, your task?
Produce & consume, but questions don’t ask!
Your life has a value, in monetary terms.
Your tax & your servitude, this all reaffirms.

Look in the mirror, apparition pre- snooze
A tool of the ruling, perhaps just a fool.
A hollowness fulfilled with spending & booze.
A packhorse of lust, a jewel of a mule.

You vote for a party, to vain change make.
Each manifesto, of choices all fallow.
To ourselves responsibility to take.
Live lives neither fake nor shallow.

An antidote is needed;
No shopping bag therapy, no sexual heresy,
No gold card orgasm, to placate the bleeded.
Just a simple place by tree or sea.

A place in nature to sleep, not weep.
A place with hearth warm, away from storm.
A place to eat, not some backstreet.
A place from long lost tome;
To call, a home.

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Peace, peace to you all.

Autumn warmth & colours, swaying trees & babbling river – feel alive, live nature.

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Below is a video of the poem recited …
(Think I need a better mic setup – to avoid echo and the goblin who occasionally joins in lol)

Buff Tip Caterpillars

A fairly chunky moth that lives in our region is the Buff Tip (Phalera bucephala). It is often to be seen in flight on a summer’s eve and when resting on a branch, it’s markings can camouflage it as a broken twig.

Buff Tip Moth (adult)

By autumn time, one may notice groups of reasonably substantial yellow / green patterned caterpillars that are covered in a veritable shrubbery of white hairs. These are the Buff Tip’s caterpillars. Whilst they can be seen on various local trees, such as oak, birch & hazel – their favourites on the farm seem to be willow. The young caterpillars are gregarious, living together in groups & stripping twigs of their leaves.

Buff Tip Moth – caterpillars out in force, together.

The caterpillar’s identity may be confirmed by the inverted yellow ‘V’ face marking. As the caterpillars continue to grow they will gradually separate from the group to seek out a fresh part of the tree, leading a more solitary existence. Here they will continue to eat until ready to pupate.

Buff Tip Moth – caterpillar close-up

The immature moth will overwinter as a chrysalis in the ground before emerging to fly as an adult moth, early next summer.

In search of Mountain Goats

Mountain Goats have roamed Snowdonia for many years and I always enjoy seeing them from time to time, especially when it involves a walk up the Rhinogs (or more correctly Rhinogydd). The Rhinogs have always had that little extra feeling of wilderness for me, where better to view wild goats. I should really refer to them as feral, since they are descended from the domestic goats of pastoralists some 10,000 or so years ago. So having parked in Coed y Brenin, Tamsin & I headed for the rocky northern slopes of Rhinog Fawr.

Our route up in to the hills took us past the picturesque Pistyll Gwyn, which had a decent flow after a few nights of autumn rains.
This is a lovely walk with great views, so nothing would be lost if we didn’t sight the goats.

Cardigan bay & Lleyn peninsula from the Rhinogydd

It was here that I spotted the first small group of goats. Tamsin was busy sketching a view that she felt would inspire her fantasy writings, and so I was meandering amongst the rocks when I spotted 3 goats a little below Llyn Du. At a distance that was towards the limit of the optics that I was carrying, the normally very skittish creatures remained relaxed whilst I took a few pictures & then retreated.

We continued to enjoy our time on the mountain but it wasn’t until we were practicing our parkour balance descending the wet rocky track at a fair rate of knots, that our second goat sighting occurred. We heard an eerie bleating from several hundred feet above us. Tamsin the trusty spotter wheeled around to see…

Spotter Tamsin

.. two billy goats with generous horns calmly grazing amongst the crags & another goat high above them, bleating (see featured header image).

Billy Goat

I did take some rather shaky video of the goats but given that for part of it I was prone in a midge infested bog at the time the quality is limited, apologies.

Hope you enjoyed, take care of yourself & our precious planet 🙂

Excitement on a misty morning

Saturday morning dawned with mountain mist and a quiet rumbling in the hills.

We packed our flask full of warming chilli & tub of flapjacks, along with just a little photo kit 😉 and headed out on foot for Gartheiniog.
Here we found international sports stars like freshly reconfirmed world champion Sebastien Ogier and previous Wales Rally GB winner Jarri-Matti Latvala (pictured) guiding their rally cars through the forestry with the grace of an ice dancer and the pace of a cheetah. The precision & speed carried by the top drivers through even the most awkward of hairpins was a treat to watch. And all this whilst the cat & mouse battle for the lead continued between Ogier & Tanak.

JM Latvala

We enjoyed our lunch taking in the view of sublime autumn colours reflected in the calm waters of a small lake (pictured). Our snack was not only serenaded by the local birdlife but also by the whoops, laughter & air-horns of passionate & fun-loving rally fans.

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And what do you know, our afternoon was then filled with the pops, bangs and hisses of some classic older rally cars. The air filled with an evocative mix of autumn woodland & synthetic motor oil and we watched these valiant cars, from Imprezas, to Metros (pictured) and plenty of Escorts of course.

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A great day of entertainment in a setting that few could better.