Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Squishy November days in The Enchanted Village

It's a squishy kind of day here in The Enchanted Village.

The rain wafts in sheets across the fields. And the trees on faraway Bluebell Hill roar as if their branch-lungs might burst.

Cow tracks become rivulets, with water charging down the hill to meet the stream far, far in the distance, each droplet declaring the last one there is a sissy.

Wellington boots are a must. And this is not the time of year to discover you're got a leak. Wellies just ain't what they used to be.

Rainy mist covers the village where the workmen's vans jostle for space as the days of their owners are spent building, renovating, plumbing and scaffolding.

Yesterday, the cattle moved through the Lush Places village square to pastures new. It was a fair old feat, this, the farming family providing an escort at the front, back and sides of this skittish procession.

"What you doing up there? shouted the patriarch from his 4x4 as I struggled to open the upstairs window to take a picture.

"I wouldn't have missed this for the world," I said. He drove on, probably thinking that as I was looking from a bedroom window I'd just got up.

But I'm up early-ish these days, taking the dog out for her morning exercise, come rain or come shine. Even with a flashing torch, though, and a high-vis tabard, the speeding cars still do their best to run me over, careering through the surface water as if they're on a splashing theme park ride.

It's now nearly ten o'clock - time for a morning cuppa - and the sky is still as dark as a bag.  It's not just Christmas I'm looking forward to. Roll on the Winter Solstice.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Of sunsets, membrillo, Brexit and Star Wars: November in Dorset

The skies are darkening but there has to be hope on the horizon. There just has to be.

In Dorset as elsewhere, November brings the beautiful sunsets of October along for the ride.

At Portland Bill, the clouds gather around the lighthouse, a beacon in a darkening world. Brexit is breaking apart, which it was always going to do. The only sure thing is that the sun will come up in the morning. Probably.

Away from it all, from the television, radio and social media, there is such gorgeous beauty. I love it.

Down at the Bay, the lights are on to announce the arrival of a new cafe bar, Rise.

It looks very tempting, as does the Bull Hotel courtyard this time of year.

Cut quinces sit like an art installation on my kitchen worktop.

The resulting membrillo from a recipe by my old colleague and friend Liz Crow, the Baking Bird, is just divine.

There's lots going on locally, for those who want it. I shall be booking tickets for this.

I enjoyed Bridport Literary Festival immensely.

And the Bridport Big Band in the Lush Places Village Hall.

In amongst all the chaos, there are reasons to be cheerful. This Sunday, I shall be going to the Royal Albert Hall with Number One Son to see Star Wars: A New Hope live in concert for the first time in the UK.

The Force will be with you. Always.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

A rainy morning in Dorset

Halfway up the hill, the heavens open. 

Should I stay or should I go? Should I walk back home or climb up to the summit of Bluebell Hill as planned?

It's a field-and-a-bit to the shelter of the wood beyond the time portal gate. It's half-past seven in the morning and Mr Grigg is doing a shift at the community shop. He won't be back until ten o'clock.

I stand in the middle of the field in the pouring rain and think to myself, well, I can't get any wetter. The rain has soaked through the shoulders of my coat and is running down the inside of my sleeves. I've got a hole in my left boot, despite having bought them only about six months ago. I don't have much luck with wellies. They don't make them like they used to.

I figure I'm going to get as wet going down the hill as if I go up so I plod on through the mud and aim for the gate.

Arty shoots on ahead, looking for pheasants to torment, and I trudge on regardless, my woolly hat pulled down over my head like Benny from Crossroads.

The beech trees are a-rustling and swaying and the birds have stopped singing. Arty comes laughing around me, looking for treats now that she's come to the whistle. We do a circuit of the hill, me marching like a Roman, and then back down again now the rain has cleared.

Partway down, the rain revisits us. It's relentless and totally disregards my already sodden state.

On the road, the cars don't even slow down, slooshing up the surface water to give us another soaking. Thanks.

Back home, Arty is zipped into her microfibre doggy bag while I have a warm shower.

And so my day begins.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Thursday, 1 November 2018

A walk on All Souls Day

There's not a soul to be seen up on the hill on All Souls Day.

It's a fine November morning here on Bluebell Hill, with the leaves in the trees rustling louder and louder and transforming into a mighty roar.

The chain on the gate goes clink, clink, clink as the ravens caw and circle overhead. The dog disturbs a pheasant which takes off with a mechanical screech into the woods.

Grey skies, but I can see the sea on the distant horizon.

There is an old hollow beech tree up here with its own cold tub for the fairies to bathe in as part of their morning and nightly rituals.

There's a swing with a view, mushy brown leaves scattered on the grass. There are penny buns here if you know where to look, and magic mushrooms a-plenty.

Back through the time portal gateway and a new day is dawning.

Down below, the village wakes as, on All Souls Day, I pause for a few moments to think of the souls of the people I have loved. They mingle around the trees, swooping and swirling.

You can feel it here. This place, experienced alone, is special.

And here is a fallen tree - beech again, I think - chopped up in rounds and destined for winter fireplaces. I stop to count the rings in one of the slices, a privilege in a hectic world.

There are exactly one hundred.

The dog and I walk through the gate, clean off our muddy feet in the stream and head for home.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

A horror film for Halloween

On Halloween, I head out under the cover of darkness, a tub of sweets by the front door for young trick or treaters on the prowl with their ...