Myth & Moor (and Tilly) update

Catskin by Arthur Rackham

I'm heading off on a mythic journey this week, exploring the folk songs, folk tales, and folk spirit of Dartmoor with Sam Lee, Chris Salisbury, Charlotte Pulver and other good folks. I'll be offline and out of reach for the duration, but I'll tell you more about it when I get back.

Tilly, meanwhile, is still on the mend; and although she's a lot better and brighter, it's hard for me to leave her. (It's always hard, but especially now.) She'll be here at home, looked after (and terribly spoiled, no doubt) by family members. I'll miss my little black shadow.

Myth & Moor will return on Tuesday, 20 July. Have a good week, everyone.

Mice (from Thumbelina) by Charles Robinson

Art by Arthur Rackham (1867-1939) and Charles Robinson (1870-1937).

Myth & Moor (and Tilly) update


I'm afraid there's no post this morning. Tilly is having health problems, so I'm off to the vet again...and then giving her a gentle walk for being such a good brave girl. Please send healing thoughts to our sweet old hound. Myth & Moor will be back tomorrow.

Update on Friday: We're still dealing with tests, etc. with Tilly. She had a difficult night last night, and I admit we're worried. I'll be back as soon as I can be -- and I'll post news when I have it, as I know there's a lot of love for Tilly out there. We all appreciate it very much.

Update on Saturday: Good news. The first batch of Tilly's tests are back and the results are much better than we feared. She does, alas, have at least one new health problem (alongside her other long-term condition), but with medication and care it, too, can be managed. We're awaiting the results of further tests, but feeling real hope of getting Tilly through this. This morning she was able to get up without help, and even managed the jump up to her blanket on the sofa with only a little assistance. That's real progress from yesterday. She's still shaky, and shaken, and wants us close, but she's definitely looking better. 

Update on Sunday: Tilly has regained her sense of humour, which is a very good sign. (That's a chew bone hanging from her mouth like tusk in the photo below.) After days of shivery misery, it so good to see her spirits lifting! What a plucky little soul she is.

Update on Tuesday: She managed a very short walk this morning. She's still wobbly on her feet and tires out pretty quick -- but she was so happy to be in the good green world that she was smiling the entire time.

Thank you again for your good wishes.


Illustration from a book in the Royal Library. Artist unknown.

Art: An illustration from a Victorian-era book in the Royal Library. Artist unlisted.

What's your story?

path 1

I'm out of the office again today, attending to some medical matters. It's nothing new, don't worry -- just the same health issues I've dealt with for many years now and the same old story. 

path 2

"What’s your story?" asks Rebecca Solnit (in The Faraway Nearby). "It’s all in the telling. Stories are compasses and architecture; we navigate by them, we build our sanctuaries and our prisons out of them, and to be without a story is to be lost in the vastness of a world that spreads in all directions like arctic tundra or sea ice....

"We think we tell stories, but stories often tell us, tell us to love or hate, to see or be seen. Often, too often, stories saddle us, ride us, whip us onward, tell us what to do, and we do it without questioning. The task of learning to be free requires learning to hear them, to question them, to pause and hear silence, to name them, and then become a story-teller."

path 3

The hound and I will be back in the studio, back in the hills, and back to Myth & Moor tomorrow. Telling stories.

path 4

Rebecca Solnit & Mary Oliver

The passage above is from The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit (Granta, 2013), which I highly recommend. The poem in the picture captions is from Dog Songs by Mary Oliver (Penguin, 2013). All rights reserved by the authors.

Myth & Moor update

Ivy, beech, and bluebells

Hound and bluebells

It's another three-day holiday weekend here in the UK, and the Bumblehill Studio will be closed through Monday. Myth & Moor will resume on Tuesday, June 1st.

I hope the last days of "the pleasant month of May" are enchanting for you all. 

Moss and bluebells

Tilly, moss, and bluebells

Music above: "The Pleasant Month of May," a traditional song performed by Jackie Oates, from her third album, Hyperboreans (2009).

Myth & Moor update

Woodland gate 2

For the next two weeks, until the end of May, I plan to re-publish some older Myth & Moor posts. This is the reason why:

Due to the UK's Covid lockdowns, we've seen our daughter only once since the pandemic began -- and for a close-knit family, this long year of communicating by Zoom has been rather hard on us all. Now she's back home with us for couple of weeks since the lockdown restrictions eased yesterday. Tilly's transcendent joy upon her arrival was a magical thing to behold.

Drawing by John BattenI'll be off-line quite a bit for the rest of the month, making the most of our time with Victoria -- including working together on an art project which we will unveil just as soon as it's ready. But rather than put Myth & Moor on hiatus, I'll re-republish some popular older posts  about the folklore of Devon's wildflowers (which I get a lot of requests for at this time of year), sprinkled with some quick reading recommendations (so that there's some new material for you too).

Once again, many thanks to all of you who carry the conversation forward in your comments below each post, which I appreciate so much (especially the poetry). I read it all with great pleasure every evening, even if I don't often have the "spoons" at day's end to respond. And to those who don't comment but show up here day-after-day and month-after-month nonetheless, thank you for being part of this community too. Your interest in books and art and myth and the other things I rattle on about here is what keeps me going.

Hound and roots

The drawing above is by John D. Batten, from Joseph Jacob's More Celtic Fairy Tales. Batten was born here in Devon (in Plymouth) in 1860.