Like a bee collecting honey, this summer I’ll be collecting stories again.
Malcolm Green invited me to Northumbria, to something called Dreaming the Land, where a group of walkers would walk to Hill forts, Bronze Age and Iron age settlements and get nearer to the land up there. I was dreading it a bit. Imagining a group of hearty wind-blown archaeologists who would be off on the far horizon before I had got my boots properly laced up.

We met up in a field beside Holy Island. Nigel, Chris and James had set up a couple of bell tents and were in full swing making tea and preparing our first meal. As they did that, people put up their tents and I looked for a place for the hammock. There were no trees here on the wind-swept open land, just some scrubby hawthorn hedges. I crossed an electric fence to investigate a telegraph pole and got a shock on my thigh. It gave me a little leap in the air but happily no-one noticed. Nowhere to hang the hammock already on the first night? Then I found this spot with two bolts on the old barn.



Drinking tea and eating Nigel’s home-made flapjacks we introduced ourselves. The party was varied, including an archeologist, (more were to join), a geologist, quite a few storytellers, a furniture maker, a radio journalist, a permaculturalist, a musician and a dry stone waller.

When Nigel provided me with a small step ladder to climb into the hammock I realised the extent of luxury on this trip. Chris said that alternatively several of the men would be happy to make a human pyramid so that I could step on their backs.

Next morning those who wanted could meet at 6.30 for a meditation. I had a great sleep, and waking early I peeped over the edge of the hammock. Two large hares were facing eachother in the field beside me. They seemed to be boxing or dancing. Then suddenly they stopped and turned, facing the newly risen sun. They stood as still as stone. For a long time.

A great wave of gratitude flooded over me.

3 thoughts on “Dreaming the Land

  1. Lovely. I know the area really well, lived not far from there for 6 years. The hares..lovely? Are you back in Oslo this summer?

  2. Thats fantastic to know that you know this area well. There is no mobile phone signal for large areas in this kingdom. I am going on from here to India Legendhunting for 6 weeks so not home for ages.

  3. Re Zaphod…I have been a member of UKIP since 1997, with a culope of breaks in membership, when I became fed up with the infighting… One thing I can tell you is that you are right about your BNP lite gybe, although not in the case of Nigel Farage (nor me for that matter)… He is a (small c) conservative libertarian through and through, and he his rightly fairly intolerant of the history of infighting… much of which has been caused by Tory moles and plants… so fearful are they of the UKIP threat. Indeed we have just witnessed one… namely the tory stooge DCB flouncing off after his take-over bid failed.The message from UKIP, which our Nige is starting to concentrate on is to be fairly lite on policy, but heavy on the anti EU mantra, and the direct democracy theme.There is a welcome in the party for people of all strands of political viewpoints from the extreme left, the fascist left, through to the libertarian right, as I think it is becoming clear now (particularly with Nige’s new found tough approach to the leadership) that this is the common enemy (rather than the common market) and that direct democracy is the universal cure.

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