Welcome to Harvest Moon, a place where the creatures and landscapes of my imagination take form and meet the world. Nestled in beneath the wild craggy tors of Dartmoor inspiration comes on chilly winds from moonlit landscapes of other realms which share this rugged, ancient land of gorse and granite. Living here I sometimes feel on a bridge between worlds and ages as the land speaks from spluttering streams and wind-beaten tors, telling stories of folk and beast, but only in snatches before the endings are whipped away down the valley with the broad river and out to sea. So here I will share these stories and characters and they can dwell in your own imagination, continuing their stories with infinite outcomes. This is how they live, enjoy them!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

meeting Twiglet...

 Yesterday I had the great honor of meeting Twiglet. Twiglet is over-wintering at Prickly Ball Farm in South Devon along with many other hedgehogs and native animals who have had a spot of bother and been taken in to recover. The farm used to take in only hedgehogs, hence the name, but has just opened an array of new buildings to accomodate all manor of creatures and has become the Devon Wildlife hospital. The new hospital was opened by Hugh Warwick, hedgehog expert and author of the wonderful book 'A Prickly Affair' all about our humble spiny friend, who made the important point that wildlife hospitals do not function to interfere with nature, but to attempt to address the problems caused by human behaviour which does so much damage. Animals are admitted having had run-ins with every sort of man made object from a car to an elastic band, and the staff do what they can to save them and release them as soon as possible.
As well as the charming Twiglet we met a young badger, a tailless weasel, a sleeping dormouse all rolled into a ball, two sleeping tawny owls, some noisy robin chicks with mouths agape and many others. It is wonderful to get so close to our native wildlife, to see the colour and texture of their fur and feathers and wonder at the large sparkling eyes that look back at us with equal curiosity....its a shame when it occurs in a hospital ward, but great to know that they are on their way to recovery and will soon be back where they belong.

fish & ice-cream...

As I lie in the warm glow of the afternoon sun, feeling the cold dampness of the spring earth beneath me, I hear the familiar echoing call of a gull riding the thermals in the deep blue above me. Their call speaks of the vastness of the sky and the ocean and transports me to the seaside of my childhood in Hampshire; catching the gooey drips from my ice-cream cone and tasting the salt of the sea on my fingers. I hear the tingling of rigging cables against aluminium masts; the flapping of faded bunting in pub gardens and the smell of fish and chips drifting from the promenade. Sitting on the harbour wall swinging my flip-flops above the deep green water I would stare out at the unending briney landscape, past the dinghies and the cargo ships to the hazy horizon. Contemplating the distances and depths my eyes are suddenly pulled upwards by the insistant cries of herring gulls. I look up to see them, wings outstretched and wedge feet dangling from their rounded bodies. They seemed to bob about in the sky as though they were on the water....a hypnotic dance on invisible currents...captivated, I am off guard....there goes my ice-cream...then my flip flops....they work in teams, sea gulls.

Monday, 7 March 2011

The on-going adventures of the Hedglings...

The Hedglings were born on a sunny, crisp spring morning, much like this one, back in the days when I was a farm hand living in North Devon on my converted green bus. As described in my previous post, I feel that people and hedgehogs have a special friendship, and our little friends are so full of character and curiosity that  many writers have woven them into tall tales and silly stories. My hedglings are a group of young hedgehogs exploring their world with excitement, bafflement and no shortage of mischief. The three prickly stars of the stories came very clearly to me along with their caring and protective mother and sage old grandfather. On their journies they meet moles, squirrels, mushrooms and the occasional lesser seen woodland creatures such as brownies and imps. I am still developing the stories and the illustrations and enjoying seeing them evolve and grow. Here the hedglings have snuck away by the light of the moon to find a fairy ring of colourful treasures....they wonder how tasty they might be, but these are not for eating, someone is guarding them for a much higher purpose.