…all my troubles seemed so far away I as I walked the fields and woods and docks.

DSC_0013Yesterday the wind and the rain gave way to a softer day and I walked from the village through the woods, up to the castle and down through to the town 3 miles away. The fallen trees and limbs from the storms are now split firewood drying under cover and only round stumps and nubs remain. This Scots pine reveals its growth rings and I count a hundred and fifty of them since the seeds were planted there overlooking the green Welsh fields and the Menai straits beyond and below. 30” across, it seems so little now for so long a standing. As I entered the woods I detoured from my more well-worn path into the wilder reaches few people tread nowadays. Poachers and those paddling a coracle are pretty much from an age past and gone, but as I skirt the river my mind flashes back to snares and woodsmen in dense pockets of wildness, lifting their rabbits for dinner and retrieving hares from their long-legged dogs. Up on the mountains they still chase the hare this way. Defying the law and keeping themselves to themselves. It’s a away of life for some.

DSC_0003As I walk I gather some leaves and cones to draw in my journal. DSC_0026I reflect on the redwood 2×4 I showed two days ago that had 150 years of growth in 2 3/4” and think then of the scots pine I just counted the rings of and think of the density one grew in rather than the freestanding cluster here where I live. DSC_0070Life contrasts these things but we walk past clicking buttons with our thumbs and no longer consider them locally important in our different worlds of international mass. Someone coined the phrase, “going local.” in the past three years or so. They spoke of doing things more locally. It was a politician of course. What it means is that we will now make things happen more locally now that we have failed globally and the word has grown to be another political cliche. Politicians seem able to do that and get away with it using public funding to do it. Going global was a buzz a few years ago and social media stops its anonymity somewhat. If you ever read the book The Artisan of Ipswich, (by Robert Tarule) local craftsmen had local responsibility to local townspeople and their accountability meant they must be honest in their trade and their trading with the local life. Of all the modern books I enjoy I think I enjoyed reading and owning this one up amongst my top ten reads. Buy a copy, I think you will enjoy it thoroughly.

DSC_0013At this time of year the first flowers are the snowdrops clustered en masse six inches from the ground. The gentle winds jostle them back and forth against the rigid rock of the stone castle walls as a backdrop. I stop and touch the hanging ellipse that hangs like a porcelain lamp shade. The water droplets split from the petal tips and I catch the dripping with my eye in just a momentary glimpse. I can see why people, writers, fantasize about things like this. It does have a sort of magical serenity and purity about  it.

DSC_0030DSC_0029As darkness closed in and the evening light changed the view, I arrived at Penrhyn docks in time to see the tide retreat gently and the shore birds gathered now in large clusters on the banks to start their dipping and bobbing from their long stilt legs to probe the mud. Oyster catchers and Curlews seem always present on high tide and sit tight to the banks knowing that soon their food source will satisfy their gut and survival is sustained.

A microlight traverses a few hundred feet overhead but somehow it doesn’t invade.

DSC_0038Lambing has begun and the farmers scurry from field to field trying to keep up with the equally scurrying sheep and offspring. I stop to watch and feel as though I am intruding their space as they cluster in an attentive huddle beyond the steel fencing and fifty yards of field the other side. This too has that sort of magical serenity and purity about  it too. You can’t make it. It defies scientific analysis and the invasion of interrogation. That’s what I like about nature and the natural things surrounding me when I walk. I can do nothing to create it. It’s been done. What ever I do can only ruin it. I just have to accept it and I do.


  1. John Clarke on 20 January 2014 at 1:58 pm

    The haunting cry of the Curlew in Spring and Summer and the lambs frisking around are two of my favourite things here in Dovedale. I really enjoy reading how passionately you love where you live and work. It is truly beautiful place for sure.

  2. handguitar on 20 January 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Lovely post! I wonder why that tree stump in the picture with your foot has the two distinctive colours. Is the darker wood on the inside the heartwood?

    • Paul Sellers on 20 January 2014 at 6:19 pm

      Abundant growth in the first fifty years was consistent, so, from around 1860 it would seem conditions stimulating expansive growth led to fast girth increase. Around 1910, growth slowed for the following hundred years, so, since the beginning of the last century the growth pattern within the fibres shows changing weather patterns and conditions that led to much greater density and much slower growth. Comparing this to other newly cut tree stems and more accurate examination will help me to evaluate what took place if I can find archival data at Bangor University Archives.

      • handguitar on 20 January 2014 at 8:55 pm

        Amazing to see how the effects are so striking on the growth of the wood. Could another factor to consider be the prevalence of trees around this tree (i.e. shade from other, faster growing trees, slowing down growth of this tree)?

        • Paul Sellers on 20 January 2014 at 9:04 pm

          That is a contributing factor in any considerations but these fields have been there since the Castle was built and the roads were formed next to them so in this case it’s not a factor.

  3. george glover on 20 January 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Living my dream….what would you suggest to write in a journal

  4. Steve Massie on 20 January 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Paul your area sure looks beautiful with the landscaped fields, mountains, and the sea. And I would love to be able to work in a shop all day like what you have.


    • Paul Sellers on 20 January 2014 at 10:54 pm

      I am very spoiled..

  5. Scott Smith on 20 January 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks for taking pictures of the beautiful area you live in. I’m sure most of us will never get to see that area of the world. Those views are really something.

  6. Richard on 21 January 2014 at 5:48 am

    Thanks Paul, I needed that today.

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