There was a red kite that landed in a tree as we drove back to the house on Saturday evening; there is always the feeling that there is meaning to these encounters beyond the simple joy of seeing these beautiful birds… and three landings in a day felt special. There were two more kites over the house next morning as we prepared to head down to my son’s to tackle the smoothie issue. I managed to catch some of the distant silhouettes that always look so much smaller and further away than the birds actually are.
We were tired and there was work to do, so Sunday was largely spent indoors, designing covers, wrestling with files and doing a little research. We had been looking at some of the old shots of the red kites that document their involvement in our journey as we have explored and written together. We discussed the possibility of including some of them in the books, looked up the various British birds of prey and I had shown my companion an archaeological reconstruction of an ancient site in Wales that looks very like a hawk; we decided a trip to Wales was definitely on the agenda one of these days.
A series of keening cries took me to the door as two more kites flew very low over the garden. “Quick!” I breathed, as they crested the rooftop. My companion joined me… as seven red kites wheeled and played together in the air above the house! We watched in utter delight. We have seen more together in places where they were being fed, and nine on that very first weekend on ‘Hawk Hill’… but to simply see them at play like this over my garden was incredible. Both of us were beaming. I grabbed the camera… I managed to get five black specks together in one frame… little use as a photo, perfect as a memory. But for once I had also managed to capture something more and when the photos were uploaded I was fair bouncing. Not only that, but I found another shot in the files I hadn’t realised I had. They may not be perfect as photos, but they are fabulous moments to cherish of the great birds caught in flight.
They were not quite the final gift of the weekend though… as we drove to the station there was a sparrowhawk hovering over a field, kites soaring over an ancient earthwork and yet another kite perched on a telegraph pole. It had been a weekend of gifted wings.
Portal Tombs as Portals
by Alfred John Prufrock
Note on Celtic Saints:
These ancient savants seem of an entirely different cast to their Roman Catholic successors.
Like the Bards of old they travel the land far and wide, taking their entourage with them, seeming reluctant to ever settle…
St Samson, though born in Wales of ‘royal stock’, enjoys legendary status on Caldey, in Ireland, Cornwall and Brittany!
These places are all centres of stone.
The official hagiographies of the saints often seek to conceal much more than they reveal.
One charming account has both Samson and Arthur, as children, playing together in their eponymous Dolmen.
The notion of St Samson as Itinerant Pendragon is greatly appealing…
… Don laid aside Prufrock’s monograph and looked to the heavens, “Jeez,” he said, and then, “Wen!”
“I’ve been thinking, we may be due for a wander in Wales.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” said Wen, “but what persuaded you?”
“Something I read.”
Lands of Exile:
KITH ‘N’ KIN
Stuart France & Sue Vincent
The Beeley Stone, ‘liberated’ from the churchyard at Bakewell, stands proudly in the centre of its village green once more. While the locals enjoy the fruits of its restoration, Ben, who had led the daring raid against authority, still languishes in jail.
Don and Wen, arrested and released without explanation in Ireland, now plot an erratic course through the wild places of Wales, while Jaw-Dark and Kraas, seeking the legendary stone of Fergus Mac Roy, have been separated in the most uncanny of circumstances…
As the darkness closes around them, the Black Shade haunts the moors above Beeley and, in the shadowy rooms of the old tower, an ancient and even stranger story begins to unfold…
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