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Five things I learnt from Spellbound

On Saturday I went to the Spellbound exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.  The tag line for the exhibition is ‘Magic, ritual and witchcraft’ and it certainly covers all of those areas but it also looks more deeply at what it means to ‘think magically’. I originally wrote this post as a kind of … Continue reading Five things I learnt from Spellbound

Summer Solstice – Celebrating Light

In the Northern hemisphere the summer solstice occurs on Thursday 21st June  this year when the sun will be at its furthest point north in its annual cycle around the Earth. In the UK, that will actually be at 11:07. It’s the time of the longest day and the shortest night but it’s also one … Continue reading Summer Solstice – Celebrating Light

Secrets of the Green Man

If you’ve read my novel, Beltane then you’ll know the Green Man is a key character in the book.  If you’ve not read it then I’m afraid I can’t really say much more than that without a spoiler alert but if you’ve seen the book cover you can probably guess that a Green Man features … Continue reading Secrets of the Green Man

Winter Solstice – the Return of Light

The winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night in the northern hemisphere. This year it falls on Thursday 21st December.  It’s also known as Yule or Midwinter.  The word ‘solstice’ means ‘sun stands still’ although that doesn’t actually happen.  The winter solstice marks the dying of the old year with the way being … Continue reading Winter Solstice – the Return of Light

Of Saints & Pilgrims: A Journey to St. David’s

Pope Calixtus II declared that two pilgrimages to St. David’s were equal to one to Rome.  If he’d travelled, like I did, by the tiny stopping train that trundles through the Welsh marshes and then for hours along the South Wales Coast I think he might have revised that to a one:one ratio. St. David’s … Continue reading Of Saints & Pilgrims: A Journey to St. David’s

Five things I’ve learnt about writing from reading Dorothy Dunnett #IDDD

Back in April this year, my friend Lucy recommended the Lymond Chronicles to me.  I’d been moaning to her about how hard it is to plot a series of books and she recommended that I learn from the expert and read Dorothy Dunnett.  I went home, downloaded Game of Kings to my Kindle and started … Continue reading Five things I’ve learnt about writing from reading Dorothy Dunnett #IDDD

Samhain – the Celtic New Year

Autumn is the time of year when the earth’s energies are waning, when the harvest is gathered in and winter is round the corner.  For the Celts each new day started in darkness at sunset and similarly their new year begins in the period of greatest darkness before the winter solstice. For them, Samhain was … Continue reading Samhain – the Celtic New Year

Celebrating autumn

Is it just me or does the run up to Christmas seemed to have started even earlier this year?  It was mid-September when I saw the first Christmas books released and Christmas gifts appearing in the shops.  It’s as if the world’s forgotten there’s a whole season in between. A season that’s particularly lovely and … Continue reading Celebrating autumn

Stopping to take stock

For the past few years I’ve had what people call a ‘portfolio career’. As well as writing, I’m a consultant, an external examiner and a creative writing tutor.  That takes a lot of swapping of hats and this week has been particularly hectic.  Monday morning saw me at an important meeting in York, Monday afternoon … Continue reading Stopping to take stock

Going Back to Find Something New

I’ve been coming to Glastonbury (the town not the festival, as I’ve explained a lot in the past few weeks) every year or so since I started writing Beltane six years ago.  It’s become a kind of spiritual second home and I love it for its quirkiness, its willingness to embrace the alternative and the … Continue reading Going Back to Find Something New