The Wind That Shakes the Barley

An old Irish ballad for today’s title as we seem to have had nonstop  wind for a while now! You really notice it on your bike-it is really hard work! I hope to cycle to Monday’s gig because after all I am supposed to be The Story Traveller. I will check the weather forecast!!!!! The only downside of cycling to a gig is all the stuff you cram into your panniers and I can’t take my fedora hat that I often wear for my gigs. Full day tomorrow so just going over my stories for the last time. Last couple of days have been preparation for future gigs.

My sporting week has been mixed. My bowling got a real mauling on Monday night for the first time indoors! Yet Tuesday I watched a really plucky display by my favourite football team -it is now getting tense -it is the Hope that gets you!


Webbed Feet!!!!!!!

I have had so many soakings over the last month either on my bike or doing bird surveys that I have noticed my feet are now webbed! Seriously it does seem to be the wettest Winter ever!

I am entering my busiest time of the year with World Book Day looming. I am visiting quite a few schools all over the country to tell stories, as well as another Two Severn Bores Gig in Bristol at the end of the month (this one is at Folk Tales). The days in schools are full on as I tell stories to every year group as well as a whole school story so it often 8 plus stories to tell during a day. By the end of the month I would have told at least 30 different stories during March. I have to be careful to manage my voice through this time. I have had a good spell writing in the last fortnight but that is going to slow down with the Story Telling with all the preparation etc.

I slipped and slid my way on the slopes near Dursley on Saturday morning to do my last Winter Bird Square Survey. I was exhausted afterwards!

Tonight I am playing indoor cricket maybe to get an early taste of summer?

Birders On The Storm

An appropriate play on words for the Doors classic song for today’s title! Got battered by the wind and rain today on our monthly bird survey. As mentioned in the previous posts birds are unlikely to be out in the open in this weather. Plenty of Curlew on the river, 50+ Snipe, a couple of Stonechats. many Meadow Pipits a few Skylarks, Reed Bunting and a few common hedge birds. No Raptors didn’t expect to see any with the weather. Despite the soaking we do enjoy these mornings out by the River Severn.

Last night we went to a wonderful talk by the T.V. presenter Iolo Williams  on Birds of Prey. He was a superb speaker and was hard hitting on persecution by game keepers across the country. It is dreadful what these big estates do to a wide variety of majestic birds. It seems that laws need tightening up but vested interests prevent this.

North Eastern Sojourn

We headed North with trepidation on Friday as we considered the weather and also the away record of my favourite football team. Our planned stop at the Fairburn Ings  a RSPB reserve was under water. So we moved on to Rievaulx Abbey on the edge of the North York Moors-our breath was taken away by the stunning ruins in a beautiful wooded valley. Saturday saw us visit RSPB Saltholme -an impressive reserve and lovely helpful staff. Obviously the weather made it difficult for any self respecting bird to be out in the open but we were rewarded by great views of a Water Rail and a reed Bunting from the shelter of a Hide. Later I spotted a female Goldeneye.

Saturday afternoon was at Middlesborough Football Club and I know this hard to believe but surprisingly we won! Up the Hatters!!!!!! Now hope is kindled which is dangerous!

Visited Hardwick Hall a National Trust property.

Finally been working on my “Pig the Legend” story set in Gloucester (a time shifting story)- not sure about that title-will work on it!

Watching the News

Last night as we sat down having arrived back home after a great weekend the news came on. Imagine our shock to see my brother’s road in Nantgarw under water with cars floating! It was really quick at 4 in the morning and Faye my niece was in the house who’s first thought was to go round to an elderly neighbour and was just in time. Really proud of her selfless action. Sadly this awful flooding has been replicated all over the country for some people it has been all to frequent.  When will Trump, Morrison and Johnson wake up and start to lead on climate change!

I will blog again tomorrow to talk about stories and our weekend-doesn’t seem appropriate with what I have mentioned above.

Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!!!!!!

The title refers to last night’s football more of that towards the end of the blog!

Had a busy week and have even managed some writing on a story I haven’t touched for a while. Hope to get some more done next week.

Lovely Bird watch with the young people from Charles Dickens Primary School on Tuesday, they got really good at spotting small birds like a Wren. Today I told them stories and they were joined by their friends from nearby Eastington Primary School-these two schools have had a link for several years and it was lovely to see them together.

Yesterday was all go. I took out my pal’s Terry dog Jake for a walk first thing, later met up with old friends (all retired Headteachers) for an enjoyable lunch. Later went to watch the Mighty Hatters  win with an excellent team performance. Yes!!!!!!!!!!Fingers crossed for Saturday’s Northern Sojourn – we are off to watch them!

Even managed to cycle against the wind on Monday really hard climbing into the gale. Today we got a good soaking on our bikes! (I might need to have my head tested after trying riding in this challenging weather!)

Storm Ciara

My goodness what a day!!!!! Everywhere has taken a battering-roads round here are strewn with bits of tree and we have plenty of deep puddles to surf through! Ironically I did venture out to go to cricket nets, I know I should know better! Really a day for being tucked up in the warm!

Talking of battles the Two Severn Bores performed their first “Walking the Tightrope” show on Friday night. Dan the musical half of the duo was struggling with the after effects of flu and had to coax his voice through it. Really impressed with the songs he has written for this show and hope he records them in the near future. Our changeovers went reasonably smoothly so onto Bristol next month. We are looking for other venues to perform so please let us know if you can help. Pictures below are from Friday-the red hair was for my telling of the Warrior Queen!

I won’t mention football very disappointing yesterday!


Two Severn Bores-Kingshill House 7-2-20

Birds before Friday’s reminder! had two very different days on the bird front. Yesterday was my weekly volunteering slot at Wick Court with young people from Orpington (I did visit their school nearly four years ago!) Thoroughly enjoyable day and pleased it was dry, we saw a good many birds but the children enjoyed me showing them a Vole Nest near our Hide. Our Hide is a great success and is now almost two years old.

Today Clare and I went to do one of our Winter Bird survey squares (OS map squares) and once again was well away from home in a place you wouldn’t normally visit. A delightful morning and we had a wonderful view of a Greenfinch at the top of a tree.

Finally last shout for The Two Severn Bores gig on Friday  starting at 7.30 at Kingshill House Dursley. Please join us if you can. Our next one is in Bristol at Folk Tales on the last Wednesday in March.



Forgot to mention we saw this film last week at the wonderful independent cinema at Wotton.

It was certainly an immersive film and highlighted what a futile war the First World War was without being preachy! I was totally gripped and it was no surprise when it won the BAFTA yesterday for best film.

Telling Stories

Had a lovely session on Thursday telling some old favourites at Wick Court to our friends from Surrey Square. Following up with a delightful Sunday at Kingshill House for the start of National Story Telling Week. I enjoyed telling my Pirate Pete story again. I really must get down to tidying up the story for possible publication especially if it had a good illustrator. The whole day at Kingshill was a delight with puppets, a theatre group, story dice making as well as an old bloke telling stories!

Now have to work hard on getting ready for Friday’s Two Severn Bores gig at Kingshill House on Friday. We had to cancel our rehearsal on Friday and we do need to be sure our changeovers between music and stories work properly.

Finally a bit of sport to finish with. Great result earlier in the week by the English Cricket Team really encouraging to see a young team do well. We went to see the Hatters at West Brom yesterday hoping to build on Tuesday’s great result. Sadly we lost but gave a decent account of ourselves and could of done with VAR yesterday and the result may of been different. Having said that I would hate to be in a ground when VAR is being used!