New venture

This week saw me opening a shop on Etsy to sell the things I make. It is called HerbWand and at present only has a few items which I have been able to download pictures of. I am hoping that this will help to reach a wider audience. At the moment I have only put it to ship to he UK, as I am not sure of postage to other countries, and can’t seem to find out what this might cost me.
I have tried to add photo’s to this blog so that I can share with you he kind of things I create. I have been crafting for the past eight years, mostly selling at craft and other such fairs that come up where ever I may be in the British Isles. Now I would very much like to expand and take things a step further, so thought an online shop might be a good outlet to get my crafts seen at least. I have made a Facebook profile for HerbWand Crafts, and now have many friends, but no one seems to want to buy and have come to a dead end with that avenue. I was recommended Etsy and have created a space there and wait to see what happens.
As with all new venture I an fully aware that promotion is the key, but financially I have real limits to what I can do.
Next weekend we will be down in Kent at Summer Loving Festival with the stall, which I am really looking forward to.
Also this week I found a publisher in Cambridge who is looking for new authors, so i have sent the first three chapters of my book Travels Through The Seasons, which covers the first year on the road and how I came to make such a life changing decision.
I am endeavouring to reach a wider audience with everything I do, as although how I live is not to everyone’s taste it at least gives people an idea on how they can enrich their own lives.
So it is onward as upwards with all that I do.

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Time in the country

Having spent a long time be the sea, it has been nice to have the option of staying in the country. I am often asked would I like to live in a house? At the moment I can not think of anything worse than being housebound, stuck in one place inside four walls with maybe a small garden. Also I think my dogs might become as stir crazy as I would, as they are use to going out in different landscapes every day. For my dogs this is an ideal life, as they get to investigate different terrains; woods, fields, meadows and beaches a plenty.
I would find this a very restricting lifestyle now, as for the last ten years both my son and I have had the freedom to roam amongst different communities in different parts of the British Isles. We are at present in Kent, which has beautiful countryside and was once known as the garden of England. Over the years it has become more built up, with more people moving to the south of England, for many different reasons. If you venture out of the cities you will find small community villages, giving you the peace and quiet that the concrete jungles deny you.
It is lovely to wake up in the mornings to the sound of bird song, and the fresh country air, yes this could include manure but then you must expect this when you are in farming country. It always astounds me at how much lower the stars are at night in the countryside. On a clear night when you are star gazing just look up and see how close you are to the stars. Last night as I stood outside and watched the sun set, I still had that urge to try and each out for the stars which where much closer to the horizon than when i was at Coast. This has to do with light pollution, as it distorts the colour of the sky making it much lighter and making the stars less bright.
With this tableau at my finger tips why would I want to return to a life dominated by consumerism.
I live on a tight budget but am always abundant in everything, as I only ever buy what I need now. I try not to use too much disel, so when parked up I try to walk where I need to go even if it is to do my shopping. Again I only ever buy the foods I need as any more than that will go to waste, and society in general wastes so much these day. We live in a disposable time when everything we buy is not made to last, so is it better to buy old than new? I was always taught “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it”. So it amazes that we are using our new found technological skills to make cheaper and less long term items. Surely this new technology should be put to better uses like making more environmentally safe ways of fuelling our vehicles and our homes, whatever type we live in. That is another reason I like my lifestyle. I am off grid for electricity and gas, however, I still have to fill my van with diesel
which is probably one of the less environmentally friendly fuels. Oh to have the world in such a state that we are much more concerned with these problems than making more and more money, which only benefits those who already have vast amounts.
Until that time I will continue to gently step through the landscape, using what nature has always intended for us to use to ensure it does not disappear.

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Wanderings

I must apologise for my absence from blogging but I have been away and off the grid for a while. This is the only problem with the life I lead, but it leads to interesting places and people, which is always a good thing for the soul.
Where have I been? Well I have been to Suffolk for a friends big gathering, which was a lovely experience on all levels. I met some new friends and old ones, found a new stone circle made from old stones which were very talkative, and spent time interacting with each of them as my dogs wandered happily around with me and a new friend. After the party and most of the people had left I stayed on with a few others and went dog walking in the local estate which has various footpaths. On one occasion we found a deer antler, which looks like a scoop, nestled beneath a big fir tree. Such a lucky find, but not surprising as deer roam the estate quiet freely, as I and my dogs discovered one morning. We each stood and appraised each other from a distance caught up in a spell of silence and wonder, and then went our separate ways. Very magical moment indeed.
Later that week I found the other antler, as I knew there would be another, under he same tree but around the other side. It now sits on the dashboard of my van when parked up, it is such a thing of beauty I am not sure yet what I will do with it.
Then it was on to a Pow Wow in Surrey, where I set up my stall to trade my unusual crafts. I make different items from things I find or am given, transforming them into earrings, necklaces, fans, hair clips and various other trinkets and trappings. It was set in a secluded area of farmland, where many people gather to dance, sing and play music the Native American way. Close by there is also a western town named Deadwood, which I never actually explored but my son did. He said it was interesting. Again we met up with many of the people we had met at the gathering in Suffolk, so in a way it was an extension of the weekend before.
It was very refreshing to be off grid, away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities, and live a very simple life for a couple of weeks. My ideal way of living I must say.
Now we are back in civilisation, as I call it, and have caught up with other friends. Firstly we met up with my daughter, her partner and new son, so that was very exciting meeting my grandson for the first time. They live in Belfast now and had come over to England to visit.
This weekend it is Solstice and we are at a dear friends in Wingham, Kent, where we spend each solstice partying until the sun comes up, well nearly anyways.
If any of you are interested in the crafts I make you can check them out on HerbWand Crafts at Facebook, where I put up pictures of my latest creations.
My only message to everyone is keep your life simple, buy only what you need and pass on what you don’t. Take time to look at all that surrounds you, and stop to watch, listen and smell the wonders of this beautiful world we live on and share.
Blessed Be

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To the Fair

22nd February 2014

we are back in Folkestone, overlooking the English Channel from further up the coast. We left Southampton Thursday amid wind and rain, stopping at Maresfield East Sussex. A beautiful little place, so quiet with lush green recreation grounds in front of us, but with a lovely unkempt bit of countryside right next to it ideal for dog walking. 

A beautiful crisp night with crystal looking stars twinkling in the dark ocean of the sky. As we settled for the night an owl greeted us with a goodnight. So lovely to hear the night birds and animals as they set about their business.

yesterday heralded a golden sunrise, bathing the landscape with a pale glow, making the frost sparkle as it thawed. There was still a chill to the air as the sun slowly made its ascent, by time we had eaten our breakfast the van was beginning to warm from the heat of the sun.

It was wonderful driving along the coast to Rye, a very quaint old smugglers town and then a Cinque Port. We stopped to look at the old church at Brooklands, it is curious as it has its steeple on the ground. When I was a child my father told me it was said that the devil threw the steeple to the ground to stop the people going in the church, so they just built a new door and left the steeple where it was as a reminder of their defiance.

The sunset over Folkestone last night finished the day perfectly. It was captivating watching the glimmering water of the sea splashing against the shore. Do you know when I was first on the road I hated begin near the sea, I felt afraid in case it swamped the camp site and we were stuck in water. Now I wild camp, sometimes within a stones throw of the beach. I am no longer afraid, but I am respectful and go with the weather as to how close to be. My recent trip to Southampton has given me time, space and the elements to work with becoming more aware of my surroundings and how to utilise them. I feel I have had a very enlightening time which will improve my lifestyle no end.

Tomorrow I shall be at Kennington WI hall near Ashford Kent, with my stall of handmade items amongst a great group of people.

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Beautiful sunset

18th February 2014

Well the storm came and went, but not before raging across the country again. This was a very angry storm which three everything it had ion it’s arsenal at us that it could. Most of us were lucky but we should not forget any who were and are affected, plus those who volunteered there time and help in whatever way they could.

today I have spent a beautiful afternoon overlooking the sea, the surrounding port and works, the Isle of Wight and the families, walkers and nature at peace. There is a breeze but it is warmer than it has been.

The sunset was glorious, giving everything a pale yellow glimmer. Two ferries crossed as one headed out to the Isle of Wight and the other back to port, whilst of to the right a couple of yatchs skip across the sea. At that moment there was peace and colour, not a sound, how glad I am to live this life, every day I am thankful for being able to share space with whatever fauna is out there. 

The remainder of the sunset was blocked out by a big black cloud which sent big heavy rain drops down as it travelled across to the East. Never mind the purple and light pink outside the cloud bank tell me the sun set in style. 

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Whatever the weather

14th February 2014

A beautiful starry night giving perfect conditions to bask in the silvery glow of the moon as she came into her first night of fullness. Everything felt calm and peaceful as she bathed the land in an otherworldly light. Beside her, highlighting her glow, shone Jupiter. This sort of experience always makes me think of how small a particle I am in the greater scheme of things, but how much a part of it all I am.

I am so thankful every day that I am safe,warm, not hungry and happy with my life. This recent decision to be more mobile and revisit friends has opened my eyes more and reminded me why I set out in 2004. I have been exposed to the news, you may laugh bit I have not watched the news for so long. I am shocked at the extremely slow response to the flooding. By time Somerset levels flooding became major news that area was already under water, with homes and farms at risk.

Then in the blink of an eye the Thames has flooded and the focus is moved and Somerset is abandoned by the media. Please do not misunderstand me here, I feel everywhere is as important, I just don’t think our so called Government do. Every problem has a solution and the sad fact is preventative works could have been in place. You can not tell me that with all the high technology at their finger tips the powers that be did not have advance warning, or realise from previous floods this country had a drainage problem.

I have also been encouraged to see the Great British community spirit, the involvement of the armed forces with civil defences, and all other groups who have come together in this time of crisis. The biggest disappointment I think is that the Government can not pull all the stops out to ensure everyone affected will be cared for once the waters receed. 

I was also glad so see the Princes William and Harry helping their local community, and especially as one of them challenged a reporter to down his pen and pad and help out as well. This the country needs to see as there is no confidence in the Government and we need something to have some faith in. 

All this is challenging everyone to pull on their own resources and call on old methods to bring back some balance to living more in conjunction with the land and nature. the main thing is to be safe, warm and has enough food and support.

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Shelter in the woods

13th February 2014

We are back in the safety of the woods near Hamble Common, such a lovely secluded place which at the moment is not frequented much. I am learning more and more about being more self sufficient and using what is left behind when the winds attack old trees.

First thing this morning the dogs and I took a leisurely stroll through the common and stopped to look at the peace and quiet of the sea at the mariner. It probably is not the sea but being a land lubber I am unsure if the difference. Whilst contemplating I watched an Egret lift off and land in a small grassy isle across from me and was reminded this is a time of patience and self resilience but that everything will come to fruition for me. I was glad I had tarried and taken in my surroundings.

Later I was out collecting fallen branches for my friends log fire when we saw a Lapwing, These are beautiful birds which tend to winter in this country, especially in coastal areas. This brought back a memory of a few years ago when we rescued a damaged Lapwing and then later my son sat and drew one from memory. Reminding me of how lucky we have been since we first started this journey back in 2004.

No matter how hard times get we should always cherish the moments which give us a window into another way of being. These are priceless and can teach us a wealth of knowledge in how to live in harmony with the land and all it’s flora and fauna.

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