It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog, the last time was about five years ago when I challenged myself to write for one hundred days to keep my thoughts flying, my life is pretty different now, perhaps only in subtle ways, but to write every day seems like an impossible dream!
What’s it all for anyway? I’ve had to think about this question a great deal to get started in any way at this writing malarky, I don’t just mean what is blog writing all for either, I think I also mean Life, the Universe and Everything, to which of course the answer is forty-two and indeed the question is rather aptly six times nine (it’s quite surprising the number of people who don’t bother to do the maths! a rather fantastic allegory for life, or at least my life!). I’m pretty certain that every truly good piece of writing begins with a reference to the late great Douglas Adams, or at least it should.
What relevance does Douglas Adams have to this article? Well that remains to be seen. I suppose I should introduce myself, my name is Dora, that’s the name I was born to and I’m sticking with it, which is rather unusual in two ways (that I know of); number one Nobody, that’s right, nobody in the UK is called Dora anymore (excepting a few- really there’s no need to correct me) occasionally I’ll meet someone who will tell me that their grandmother was called Dora but she’s dead now. Number two, I live in Glastonbury and I can’t tell you how many people here reject their birth names in favour of something more avant garde, spiritual or akin to who they really are.
Dora, my name means Gift of God! Nothing much to live up to there then.
I am in forty-two (!) and I live in a very busy and noisy household. We have six children, my eldest daughter who is nineteen has left home already and is somewhere in Europe having a fantastic time, Phew! My next daughter is just finishing school and will be dancing from dawn until dusk for the next couple of years, and we are home educating the rest of the bunch whilst juggling work and sleep, really there is not much sleep happening lately, but that’s just fine!
We live in the busy metropolis of Glastonbury, also known as the Ancient Isle of Avalon, meaning “land of apples”, not to be confused with the Glastonbury Festival; a rather modest annual music festival held at a farm just down the road. Glastonbury is a VERY unusual place, it is the home of many of the legends of King Arthur (of the Round Table), it is and has been a place of religious pilgrimage for centuries, there is a plethora of spiritual views represented in the town, and most of the shops sell crystal singing bowls, aura purification mist and tarot cards, don’t get me wrong I’m not knocking it by any means, it’s really worth a visit. You can get a fantastic massage, have a shamanic healing session or a haircut just about anywhere, (strange seeing that there are so many long haired men) but you can’t buy a pair of socks and there is no greengrocer!
It is absolutely ordinary in Glastonbury to see somebody at the shops barefoot in a Onesie, or to see a horned god being carried down the high street on a throne surrounded by Vikings; you really would have a job to think up something outrageous enough to attract more than a cursory glance here! Normal For Glastonbury is a fantastic blog if you would like to know more about the rather extraordinary town of Glastonbury and its people, or if you just enjoy a good read!
My partner Dan and I love Glastonbury for the people, the Musicians, the Artists and the Craftspeople. Dan and I are lucky enough to share our love for music, I have been passionate about folk music since I was a little girl, my first exposure to it was my mother playing the likes of Steeleye Span and Joan Baez, and subsequently in my late teens I spent a few years living in Southern Ireland singing songs and playing on the streets and in the pubs. Dan and I met when he joined my old band Forcenra as the Bodhran player (a round Irish drum held upright in one hand and played with a stick in the other).
Dan and I sing together, we sing sea shanties and folk songs in harmony, he usually carries the melody and I sing the harmony, we love to sing together and our younger children often join in especially when we sing sea shanties. Music is a major part of my day (or it should be! When there’s not too much laundry) when I am not singing I am often to be found playing the fiddle, I like to learn new tunes and practise them around the house, while I play with my kids or trip over Lego (even worse to tread on with a fiddle in your hand!).
When the kids are asleep I can really let my hair down and play my beautiful guitar, my youngest daughter (she’s three) cannot stand me playing the guitar and singing, she can just about bear one or the other, but I guess that when I do the two together I am transported so far away that she finds it necessary to stop me by ANY MEANS that she can think of, which to give her credit, is often rather imaginative but certainly isn’t safe for me or my guitar, and I am childish enough to get stroppy at having my fun curtailed halfway through a song, so it’s better and saner all round to give her a couple more years of my undivided attention!
I love to sing, did I already mention that I LOVE TO SING? I love to sing, there I said it again, as if it needs saying, after all this is the first blog post of a self confessed singer songwriter. I’d like to blow my own trumpet about this too, but I chose the fiddle quite early on and the trumpet doesn’t really strike me as being a folky instrument. I love to sing. I like to think that when I sing fully and wholeheartedly that something rather special happens, I’m not sure what that thing exactly is, but it feels something akin to the feeling I get when my babies do a spontaneous belly laugh, or when I dive into the sea and swim underwater with my eyes open and see fishes swimming away, or when I get to watch a beautiful sunset. Whatever it is I want more of it and know that it lies somewhere between my heart and the sun.
When I am not playing music or parenting, I help my beloved with his main passion, the Ancestors Artisans, I run our Etsy shop Ancestors Artisans where you can buy his beautiful craftwork.
Dan is a wonderfully creative craftsman, he makes beautiful things from antler, wood, stone, bone, and leather, such as wands, bags, quivers and pouches, pendants and staffs. He also organises educational talks and courses which reflect his passion for the Viking and Anglo Saxon times, ancient British crafts like hand spinning wool, wood carving, fire craft, wild food gathering, tracking and other wild crafts. Find out more on our Ancestors Artisans Craftwork and Commissions Facebook page.
Dan can usually be found in his workshop making beautiful creations, and often listening to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, ha! Another Douglas Adams reference, this truly is a piece of creative writing. He makes pendants with eight thousand year old bog oak, wild wood pipes from hand gathered willow, hazel and ash, designing beautiful leather bags and I suspect humming and staring out the window at the rather lovely sunset visible from his well appointed work room. He does all of this utterly uniquely, or perhaps normal for Glastonbury, dressed as a Viking! Dan’s love of the Wild and the history of our Ancient Isle of Albion fuel his creations.
Dan and I share a great love for all things Wild, our love for nature fills our work, through my songs the waves crash, wolves howl, the sun shines, the stars twinkle and wild Spirits warm our hearts. Dan’s workshop is overflowing with the Wild World, sticks and stones, feathers and bones, there is a use for everything and a reverence for what is, what lives and what has been.