Hare And Raptor Country

14 November 2017 // Place

Words and pictures: Ben Myers

For the past five years I’ve been coming to the Lammermuir Hills, the vast rolling stretch of heathered uplands between Berwick and Edinburgh. Often at autumn, when the leaves turn and fall and the clock is wound back an hour. In winter it becomes a different place.

Here is hunting country. Working land. A place of grouse and rabbits and salmon. Hares the size of dogs lurk in remote pine plantations so densely grown their carpets rarely see rain. Raptors circle over the lonely burns that carve a notch through the open plains. Buzzards, kestrels. Kites. Merlins.

Gamekeepers police the moors and estates for the landowners who make good money off grouse shoots. Though Scotland has the ‘right to roam’ law, it is different to my home in the Pennines, where wanderers are invited onto the best marked routes. There are no walkers here, just miles of emptiness and the occasional flash of sunlight on the binoculars of a far-distant watching gamekeeper, the growl of his quad bike engine. (more…)

And No Light Shall Falter: a poem by Nick Power

13 November 2017 // Poetry

I will make you a pallet-bed
cardboard and eiderdown
for your return
I will allay joint pain with diazepam
scored from a man in a clamping yard
I will lurk about the hospital until
you are released

when you are free
I will run between the gables of every building
illuminating them with fire
part rainclouds with roped
ploughblades
to let the new sun through

I will bring a thousand beams to your dulled eyes
and no light shall falter
and no light shall falter

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Nick’s collections Small Town Chase, Holy Nowhere, and the newly released Caravan are available to buy here.

Nick Power on Caught by the River/on Twitter

Thankful Villages Vol. 2 #11

12 November 2017 // Thankful Villages

Darren Hayman is back, with a second volume of songs resulting from his Thankful Villages project. The eleventh village is Maplebeck, Nottinghamshire.

Maplebeck, Nottinghamshire – Thankful Village #29 from Darren Hayman on Vimeo.

I have visited Maplebeck four times now. It has become a centrepiece of the project for me, and is the village where I know the most people and have possibly made friends.

On our first trip, we visited Claudine in the Beehive pub, and her 15-year-old cat. We talked for a long time about the history of the pub and the old landlord who used to let his pig drink the last of the beer barrels at the end of the night. (more…)

A Rain Walk

11 November 2017 // Walking //Weather

Marcel Krueger passes up a Sunday lie-in in favour a walk in the rain

The rain washes the dirt into the gutters, and it swells streams into rivers, rivers into powerful things. – Neil Gaiman, Down to a Sunless Sea

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Rain obscures the things we take for granted. When deliberately out in it on a Sunday morning, the walker turns away from his compatriots snug on sofas sipping tea under blankets or still in a warm bed with a hangover, happy that the weather is soothing their throbbing heads. They will probably have a full fry-up for breakfast, if they leave the bed at all.

As I venture into the rain, the smell of fried eggs and sausages is wafting over from one of the houses on Point Road. The rain streaks along the street and into my eyes and beard, pattering against my rain jacket. It is a misty yet strong rain coming in from the sea and the river at the end of the road – what the Scots call haar, and the Irish ceobhrán. There are one or two cars splashing by, and no other pedestrians at all. (more…)

Now playing

10 November 2017 // Music

This beauty. Taken from the album First Light, released December 2017 through The state51 Conspiracy. It’s a killer.
Pre-order details can be found here.