From York’s Medieval building Barley Hall I bring you – The Nosegay Blog (My first ever blog)

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We are safe here at Barley Hall, my nosegays will stop you turning purple, and my visitors will keep me informed. Fore-armed is fore-warned and I sought to defend my position with knowledge. There was little need, for every visitor had something to impart. lyndsey and bruniYes I did have plenty to say at the start of my summer holiday stint but this was nothing to the array of facts and anecdotes. Soon I was passing along the wisdom of one to another and I will gather here some of the best of this.wizard

Some of my newly gained knowledge is debatable; this does not mean it is necessarily untrue, just that there will be debate. The very room I am in has become a convoluted topic. Refer to the notice boards for what is perhaps the definitive answer even though many in the discussion would disagree. Even the name, “No, it is not a parlour” – A solar; sit in there in the sunlight and treat this place as a retreat. A place to craft for joy, a place to make all which is beautiful: here you can write and some say learn.

jewelsA few have disagreed that the parlour was a place to receive visitors. Although another interjected that one visitor would be invited in here among the family; the tutor – here we would learn our letters and our lessons. Rhetoric, logic and astronomy are among the topics which would be enabled by this. nasaBut nay, this was not the reception say many who contributed to this on-going discussion. The way in was the proving point of this camp of thought. You entered via the stairs; from there you would be in Lord Snawsell’s bed chamber. Here in, it has been read, was his office and softer furnishings.

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Me at Murton Park Viking Village, York (Photo by Andraea)

So therefore this is where he would meet with you. The logic of this is in the access and the fact you would feel you had been welcomed whilst at the same time you would be aware that by being in his realm he retained power. There is logic in the aspect of access too it is argued; from there to get to the parlour one would have to go through Lady Joan’s personal chambers and then get in the way of the busy journeyman all down the long hall.

Not cb 03everything I hear, as I say, is definitely right and some things I hear are definitely wrong.

Barley Hall is loved, many revisit, many discuss, many compliment and recommend, but not all feel this way it seems. A passing hen party definitely didn’t like the look. As I was returning from a visit to DIG my way into the alley was blocked. I stood back to allow the party-wear ladies to leave the alley and they stopped suddenly. Looking up the street, “Oh we’ve been this way” – “We’ve been here before” – “We’ve been up there” – “We’ve been up there” – “We don’t want to go that way again” – “We’ve been this way”. Eventually they turned back and I had a path ahead of me, a slow path.

Barley-Hall window view

The view in the window (minus the peacock)

As they noticed the large window into the hall for the first time there were sounds of disapproval from one of these revellers. “Oh dear, I wouldn’t want to go in there” – “And I wouldn’t want to eat that” – “No, it looks awful in there” – “Ancient!” – “It’s like a museum”

Although most people are entranced by the peacock upon the table, the hen party in search of a meal and another drink were not the only ones to not fancy eating a bird which had been cooked and then repacked in its raw skin. “Never do that” visitors inform me, “Never mix cooked and raw”. “They certainly hadn’t heard of health and safety!”

Nosegays keep us safe, or at least perfumed. Gay meaning ornament back in the day; they were about the smell. Many report on the vast amounts of information on the medicinal, spiritual and nutritional uses of herbs; that is not a major concern when it comes to nasal orientated ornaments. It is all about the smell, the logic I am instructed, is that if the smell carried the disease you didn’t want it up your nose. The miasma must be refused access and to follow logic, if your nose was full of sweet smells then how could the horrid miasma get in! So visitors tell me it was not just about masking the smell, it was about keeping you safe.

If you wanted to be really safe, what better than a plague doctor mask. Fill that with herbs and strap it on. While you were feeling ultra-safe as a result of this constant experience of the sweet and beautiful you might want to go all out and get yourself a job.

plague doc 01 close up

thats me that is

Plague doctors are in demand it seems. An explanation of this which was given to me was that all the doctors were gone – in one way or another. It was a well-paid job I am told – while it lasted.

Not much in the way of skills was needed, according to some, all you needed was a stick, a big stick. With your mask on off you go, and prod people. Then all you had to do was tell them whether they are going to live or die (if in doubt go for the die option). The strange thing is, whatever the answer, they would thank you. I considered these offerings and discussed with other visitors. It is not so strange when you think, as I was asked to do, on the history of medicine. Throughout Europe ‘knowing’ was often more important than helping. ‘How long will they be?’ – ‘Will it be quick?’ – ‘Have you anything to make it easier?’ Another suggested this was still the main focus in many tribal cultures around the world.

pegs 01

These ‘sticks’ are actually hand-made tent pegs found in the woodpile at Gudvangen, (Photo by Tove Gulbrandsen), put you could prod with them

I decided there and then, that once all my visitors had made a nosegay I was off to get a stick; the income would be most welcome – while it lasted.As not everyone wants a nosegay I will be here a while yet. Not that they are to be sniffed at, if you see what I mean. Much a sniffing and a pondering has there been.

me quirky

Thats me sniffing that is, honest

Deciding of what aroma, of what herb one is holding a bowl of. Lavender is spotted by most, thyme only by a few and lemon balm by only one chap. Rosemary is spotted on sight by most, although one or two, including a rosemary grower, thought it was pine. The one which is most evocative is actually a flower rather than a herb as such. Some love it, most are reminded, reminded of something. A Greek flower which is gathered as a healing tea, camomile, just flowers, childhood memories, the bottom cupboard next to the pans; we were taken places. I was put off this bowl for quite a while when a girl said it smelt of hamster bedding. This smell was removed for me a little later by the power of suggestion; a lady said it made her think of her grandfather’s pipe tobacco. Now, whenever I hold the marigold bowlMarigold_AAS_1989_Golden_Gate in front of me I am transported back to my childhood and the hint of sweetness within a heady aroma which would erupt into the room when granddad opened his pouch to stock up his pipe with baccie.

So far there are no reports of the plague coming to me from my visitors. No one has been spotted to be turning purple, well except for Mr Purple himself, but he is upon his bicycle platform out of the way anyway. bike theif 08 14The next edition will feature live frogs, alternative universes and elephants tusks among many other oddities of conversation. Remember when recalling this blog so far, it is all absolutely true – that people have told me these things.

Your tales and opinions can be added into the mix for discussion too. Be in touch.

Adrian

Here is the link to the exciting second half…. Nosegay Blog Too

For bookings and enquiries please visit www.adrianspendlow.co.uk

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On indoctrination…

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On indoctrination…

God stole my friend away

He used Elspeth to take her

I knew I had lost her

As soon as she met her

The change in her; immediate

Slowly turning to terrible

I regret bitterly that day

Drugged with the word of joy

To becoming withdrawn

To become paranoid

Embittered with the mission

Conversion

Or damnation

If you can get any conversation

It is embroiled with suspicion

Every little thing I say:

An internal investigation

Closure of mind is palpable

From a list of the unacceptable

Elements of my interests

Judged internally as

The work of the devil

God took my friend away

This thing, of evil reeks

I no longer believe her

That it is god who speaks

AS

Click here to view OldMan 01 – Lizards from Space

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Click here to view OldMan 06 – Back When I Was Abducted

Click here to view OldMan 07 – Pickles from the Polish store

Click here to view OldMan 08 – Socks and Slippers

Click here to view OldMan 09 –  Fame At Last It Beckons

Click here to view OldMan 10 – Battle of Hastings Revisited

Click here to view OldMan 11 – This time it’s personal

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God’s Bless Ya! 01 – Skadi – Ragnarok Mythology Festival, Jelling, Denmark

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God’s Bless Ya! 01 – Skadi  – Ragnarok Mythology Festival, Jelling, Denmark

rag poster

Skadi

As part of our show featuring myself with Alda and Sigrun Bjork Olafsdottir and our stunning models we present costume, music, song and story for a Goddess experience.

Here are poems inspired by Skadi the huntress goddess followed by my narration for the cat walk and the beautiful Skadi costume designed by Sigrun is elegantly shown for us by our talented model displaying for you to the unique magic of Alda’s composition.

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Skadi 01Follow Her Way

Thrymheim – storm-home

Huntress Skadi

Beyond loveless lava flows

Where ice burns

Beyond the burning blue crevasses

See her icy fury

Pale eyes growing cold in rage

Vengeance upon murderers

Stars of the father

look upon the just and fair

Be safe with Skadi

for as long as there is night

Her kind wildness in your heart

skadi side

Skadi 02Finding The Warmth

Let love of winter lands

Bring firm cool flesh

Breasts and belly proud and smooth

By the cold

Yes fresh is best

All the better to fire the pulse of man

The beat of the heart

The firmness

The stand of the man

To find and join at last

With the inner secret warmth

Let flow the icy breath of ecstasy

ice cities -01coloured

Skadi 03Free Will’s Arrow

Goddess of the victim

Bringer of justice

Rights of the underdog

Huntress protection

Skadi will make you strong again

Watch for the buck’s run

Or the burst of icy waters

The stag’s breath

Be quick of eye; back on target

Laugh with all your heart

A giantess among women

The stars shine especially for you

Go where you will;

Free to love

Or free to love life alone

As and when it suits

The huntress in your heart

 

Skadiskadi model

Beware, for here walks Goddess Skadi, wild huntress of the far north. Beyond the blue crevasses, far over highest mountains, far beyond the loveless lava-flows, there is her abode; where stones crack, there stands her towering halls upon dark rock heights. Here she oversees the winter. Looking across the worlds of men and gods and darker beings. She sees you. She watches, ready, so beware, Skadi: judging the harsh, the cruel and the killer. She is your guardian dear victim, if you have been painfully treated you can call her spirit to you. You, yes you, she is here for you today. For she would stand against gods. Let her father’s eyes the stars look down upon you from the blissful dark.

Snow-dweller of cool firm flesh she has an inner secret warmth that she would share if you have the heart to be as free as her, yet how she loves, let old man Njord of the noisy sea dare to climb with her above the scree and ice crags, his beautiful feet clad in woven shoe, and he will find a young heart within him when he lays with her. Yes, she has joined with the oldest element of fertility, the ruler of the very winds, the tides; his currents flow as young as ever now. He brought her bounty and she brings bounty too.

Be swift of eye when she is with you, watch the buck’s dash and let your arrow fly. Let men wish for your darts of command so they may be with you for just one night. Let the toxic sharks dangle on your hook with forlorn hope, that they may be reeled in to breath the ice-cold air of redemption. You who brings in the wild goodness and embraces the gleam of low light that shines through the sheets of blue and yellow and silver ice. Let tall battlements be nothing of obstacle to those who know what is fair and just, for strong will be the icy rage if your Skadi-heart is not listen to with expected respect. Stand and face gods and Giants you follower of Skadi you.

Brave tall peaks of the impossible with her beside you for she brought laughter from the gods for all the worlds to be giants of reckless joy.

We are thankful now. For your wildness, for your beauty, for your joy, for your strength of heart and keen arrow. Skadi, we thank you, thank you Skadi.

 

Thank you

Adrianme

ice-queen-on-tower

And here is my Poem of the Goddesses, I have blogged it before but as it covers all the Viking Goddesses and the empowerment they bring you I thought it was worth you having a look see here. Besides, it just might give an insight into the future for Sigrun of just how much sewing she will be doing as our show grows and grows!

 

Goddesses of the Norse Mythology

Blessing the Goddess; Blessing the Earth

Experience again your Viking rebirth

Battle for love; believe in Freyja

Dive naked through waterfalls, Brinhild is here

As Amma will harvest and all will grow,

So Lin will serve; all beauty to show

Be old yet young be gathered by Berchta

Gently remember who you are through Snotra

Let Lofn be stirring your belief in romance

Be not forbidden feel Sjofn’s advance

Syn will defend you: Gefion make pure

Sunlight dances on water for the eyes of Saga

Birth be powerful; be proudful as Rind

Fly high with Sun; dance on the wind

Gna washes us clean; Audumla feeds

Fulla will fill, bringing forth all your needs

Jorth is at one with you, ever aware

Skuld, Urd, Verdani: your self is laid bare

Sif brings us gold; the sun on the corn

Nanna’s womanly peace gives joy reborn

Nurture regardless Angraboda

Be the mother of Gods; be as Bestla

Stronger than Thor, learn Glima with Elli

The power of Eir for healing and mercy

Nerthus has berthed us be at one in the world

Be guarded Sinmorano no wounding unfurled

As mighty as Thrud you are Thorsdottir

Rule your own soul, the power of Skirnir

Var fills our heart to make oaths of love

For Vor nothing is hidden within or above

Gleam with a beauty for Menglad will heal

Rise again with Gulveig to truly feel

Nine Mothers rise over us, take us away

Feel as strongly as Ran does; be free to say

Walk the plains with Ida you animal spirit

Be mother as Mothir as moments befit

Sygin forever brings freedom from pain

View the future with Groa; tomorrow is plain

These are the Goddesses bringing rebirth

Fjorgyn’s children – Mother Earth

These are the Goddesses bring rebirth

Fjorgyn’s children – Mother Earth

 

 

Opening Ceremony 2016 Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Norway; Live!

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Opening Ceremony 2016 Viking Valley, Gudvangen, Norwaytitle box squashed

Welcome, welcome, you are all welcome. So good to see you all gathered here for the opening ceremony of this the 14th Viking Market here in Gudvangen Viking Valley.parade 02

You are safe here, welcome; you can relax and enjoy yourself, even though you will be spending the day among huge, hairy, heavily armed Vikings.stage combo.jpg

barrelWe are glad to have you here eating our food, drinking our mead, looking at our stalls.

stall 02

oski small

Yes welcome, so relax you will be safe here – it is when we visit you that you need to worry.

“And we won’t be emailing, there will be no polite email asking if it is OK to visit. We will suddenly be there but you will know straight away. You will be well aware we are among you.”

poster norge

This is a very special place; there is something magical about this valley. Everyone says so. You begin to feel the effect of being here straight away.

These Vikings here, as soon as they step off the ship they calm down, which is unusual I assure you. All the time they are here they are friendly, easy-going and peaceful – well most of the time.

me solo 02Look at me. When I am at home I am a wild, dangerous, rampaging mad thing.

“Me too.”georg

You will enjoy yourselves! Do you hear what I say, and can you see the shine of sharpness along the edge of my axe. You will enjoy yourselves!axe.jpg

Besides, we have many things on our stalls which we want you to buy. We have been to many lands and learnt many skills; old, well-tried, traditional skills. potWe will enjoy showing you; try not to be nervous when you generously show your appreciation.

Yes, we have sailed to many nations. ship headWe have landed on a wide range of shores, seen people of many types – and robbed them, traded with them, I mean traded with them, yes, traded.

“Can we ask where you are all from?”

“Spain.” “Poland.” “Canada.” “Ireland.”

“Ah, those are the places we robbed.”

That’s where we got all these things we are selling.

“Hey, stall holders, lower your prices.”stall 01

Yes visitors we will sell your things back to you quite cheaply.

“And you will be safe here. Adrian remind them how welcome they will be, and how safe.”

Yes, yes, safe, yes. We have sworn an oath, an oath. We wanted to reassure you so we oathed an oath, and when a Viking makes an oath they make an oath and the oath that they oath is an unbreakable oath which we have oathed; an oath is an oath is an oath. Let it be known that we have oathed.me solo.jpg

“What is an oath?”

A promise; and a promise is a promise and…

“Don’t start that again.”story rc 07 j pic

No, right, of course, but we did; there is a ritual and a belief. To make that oath the first thing you have to do is – spit in a barrel.barrel

“Spit?”

Well we skipped that bit.

“Yes well we are selling lemonade and mead to you. So we thought it best not to spit in the barrels. Or talk about it even…”

No sorry. No spitting. The barrels are fine!

A promise is a promise though, and it has to be kept. We worry about where we will go when we die.

serpent tower.jpgOath-breakers have to walk through a river of gushing ice. This ice is formed into axes, spears and knives – then, you step out – to be kept in a tower made of living serpents. Bitten and sprayed with burning poison for ever and ever and ever and ever.

Or until Ragnarok; the end of the world.

“So we keep our promises; enjoy.”

If, you enjoy hearing of the old mythos – watch out for the ravens…

ravensA shadow will flicker over you. As you look up, the second raven will fly in from the world waters, by you see the third raven it will be too late. There it will be upon the mast of an incoming ship; a ship so terrible you will quake at the sight of it. The Vikings are coming, and they are no ordinary Vikings. These are Njardar. Njardar Vikingslag.warriors

We are coming to you and charging onto your land. Hear the roar. See the gleam. A huge army of huge warriors are upon you. These are the best (the Mayor of Aurland himself said that we were second in exports and visitors and soon to become first, so it must be true). It is like the sky itself is filled, and they wait, with weapons high, only for a command to charge. Step forward the chieftain; Olafr Reydarsson. When he speaks we listen. He is big! Very big!

bigWell, his beard is big anyway. He will give the command; the word and we will all, roaring, act upon that word.

The word is…

“Welcome; you are all welcome to come and visit us in Gudvangen. Everyone is welcome, except those who do not make others welcome. Come visit.”

And so they do, in their thousands, from all over the world.tents drawing

We have had a battle though, a long, hard fought battle – a battle to build.

As you step though those gates into the fourteenth Viking Gathering here at Gudvangen you step back into the past. Now. The long battle is over. harbour.jpgNow. As you step through these gates you are stepping into our future.

By the fifteenth Viking Gathering there will be a Viking Town. It is a two year project with the first row of Viking houses ready by May – I have put my name down for one of these already.hut

Here is the first of the timber being delivered now…timber

You will be able to take part in the Glima wrestling…glimawrestling

With hardly any risk to yourself….dead

Hear Galda upon the holy hill…galda.jpg

Learn leathers skills with Hamish, or buy his bags from Anabelle…leather.jpg

lady shaga.jpgVisit Lady Chaga…

Be warned; slavers are in the area and you are at risk…slaver.jpg

And it is no use complaining, we know that now. male slave one.jpg

But no, no, no, do not worry, as we have promised, you are completely safe here, well, until six o’clock. Once the market closes at six all promises are off!

“Oaths”

Don’t spit when you speak!

Oaths. Off.

Vikings will become Vikings again.

group 02You will be greatly at risk – unless you buy a tunic and a pair of boots and stay here.

Then you will be welcome.

“Welcome.”

Before we actually open the market and get on with selling you your treasures back, there is one rather tricky thing which must be dealt with.

“Don’t tell them Adrian.”

No, we must.

“There is a rumour.”

A terrible rumour.kurs group

“It has been whispered over and over as people come through the gate.”

We are now going to deal with that rumour.

“People have been saying that they have heard that a group of tourists with plastic wrist bands came here to visit and were never seen again.”

Never.

“Never.”

Never

“It is true!”

Never seen again!

They bought Viking outfits and became part of this marvellous experience.mal.jpg

“Now we must warn you.”

This may happen to you.

story one mp 01a.jpg“This valley is such a wonderful, unique place that once you have visited you never wish to leave. Many choose to stay and be here forever.”

group 01

This we must warn you of.

“But there is a greater risk, a great and terrible sadness and yearning which may come upon.”

Yes.

“If you do choose to leave here you will regret it forever.”me solo flipped.jpg

You will always feel that you are not where you belong and will feel terribly, terribly sad that you did not choose to stay.

guilty coloured.jpg

“Terribly, terribly sad.”

“Now, finally, we welcome you with one piece of explanation about what you might expect here, here is the secret – it is all about love.”elf table

“We will be opening the market again tomorrow.”opening flipped

And this worries me greatly.

“I will be wearing my helmet. It was a wonderful gift to me and is an accurate reconstruction of a Viking age helmet.”helmet.jpg

And why does it have a figure of a boar on the top?

“This is to signify that I command a team of specialist warriors.”

What kind of warriors?

“Berserkers.”

And you are wearing it tomorrow? This worries me greatly. I have pledged to always stand by your side. To dress appropriately and be there in the way that you need me whatever you ask of me. What does a Berserker wear?

“A small fur collar.”

And that’s it!

“Yes.”

Right I will have to get my outfit ready then.

“It worries me as well, I don’t think I will be standing next to you tomorrow.”

(“And if you blog about it tomorrow Adrian, do not do a drawing.”)fight

Thinking about it, I will make a great berserker. If you put all the fighters and all the wrestlers in the field ready I will be able to beat the lot of them, I will clear the field.

If I come screaming across to them wearing nothing but my berserker outfit they will scatter. I will see off the lot of them.

They will run.berserker me

“So will I!” “Enjoy yourselves today, because tomorrow is berserker day.”

We now declare the Viking Market open!opening

“This is a marvellous experience, with Vikings and visitors from all around the world, none of the differences you might notice elsewhere matter at all here, all beliefs, all life styles are for elsewhere; here everyone gets along and shares the wonder which is Gudvangen.”

So it is spoken by Olafr (Georg) and this is the world.

parade 03.jpgnaming

Naming Ceremony photos and footage

Aurland Photography

2015 Opening Speech (more moving)

Skaldic Pieces

Future Skaldic Plans

To Become a King

The Reclamation of Love

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I don’t do art, draw, or paint; I create images to compliment a poem or a story. This one says, ‘Read my poem; be inspired to love’

The Reclamation of Love

I think I’ve found love

and this time it is going to last

It came on fast

It let me know it is here to stay

This love has spoken of forever

Coming to me in a moment

In the petals of a flower

The seven hour scenery

Had many

Only one leapt out at me

This is a love of everybody

A love of me

Sadness told me

Lost love loses everything

Letting the feelings of failure

Come flooding

Forgetting enthusiasm

A trap of remembering

Saying

Never again

Never never again.

Never, be reliant on being,

of being better,

because of someone

Then, while thinking of others

of knowing

of helping

of contributing

I saw this one simple thing

Love is for experiencing

of living within

In the petals

of a passing flower

In that blessed glance

I rejoin the glorious dance

The song

The song I shall sing

Is

Love,

is in everythingfoxglove love

………………….Adrian Spendlowfoxglove

The Easter Tales

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p hall

Preston Hall, Yarm

I was thrilled to be asked along to Preston Hall and Gardens in Yarm near Stockton to tell stories around the theme of spring and easter, managed to mix new stories with a few of my rarer ones and of course some of my better known ones too.

(And the songs of Odin and the words of Jesus too)

(then Vikings in prayer followed by the hatching of a baby chick – see pic below)

I think my favourite moment was when a lad of about 12 insisted he was a doctor so he could be the one to assist the chick in being born from its egg.

easter resized

The things we do

And so the words seemed to echo around the hill,
“As I have loved you, so must you love one and other.”
“Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.”
“All my commandments are summed up in this single command: You must love your neighbour as yourself.”
“Be meek and gentle and the world shall be yours.”

ana cross

Artwork by Ana Maus

p hall

You enjoyed this now read my fun travelogue

Try my very popular news blog There Are Such Things As Elves

Shambles

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Shambles

shambles 03

I don’t know why we do the things that we do.

There is a happenstance to our choices. We do the wrong things sometimes. We hope things will be better. All I know is, I dont know how to draw.

Today I did this.

Destiny leads us where we go, (sometimes).

I am two weeks late with an invoice.

There are a pile of letters requesting books and CDs.

I haven’t looked at my travel details or even worked out if I can get there tomorrow. A room full of blind children are waiting for me to encapture them with stories. (I will probably come up with the right thing).

The things you wish for are inside you I think. So many times I find that the thing which I do is the thing which is needed in the end. The universe and all that.

For you who doubt, I say this, I will report back in a month or so and see if what I did today led to anything fulfilling (what earned me money I mean).

I do know that the few wise words of a couple of friends led me to ‘waste’ my day doing what I just done.

(Do you think the museum will wait for the invoice btw?)

And that I have intrigued a couple of real good freinds with my ‘cheat’.

I do not draw.

I am not an artist.

Today I went on a journey.

Where will it lead?

Here are the steps I made today.

I havent paid the rent (as yet) I wonder what you did today…

shambles 03

Shambles

swans

swans 03 flipped

swans final

grey swans

See I said I  couldn’t draw

grey swans flipped

Grey Swans – facing the other way

black swans

Black Swans

wild hunt 01

The Wild Hunt

shambles 03

Life is this – Shambles

With thanks especially to Zena and Gramey

Poem for a Freind

Now try my Haunted House blog