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Three Cane Whale – film night live at the Old Barn

Three Cane Whale performed live at the Old Barn 9 May to films made specially for them by several award-winning film makers. For more events follow KelstonRecords.co.uk

Before the gig the band and guests wandered up to the Clump, while others tucked into local beer, cider and cheese from the farm.

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Energy on Kelston Roundhill

Keslton Roundhill faces south and west. Winds fresh from the Atlantic blast up the hill, shivering and shredding the exposed little clump of trees at the top. The barn shutters have been blown clean off twice.

The Old Barn is off grid. People increasingly use it for serious and memorable occasions – meetings, wakes, weddings. They need lights, to boil a kettle or wash up. Power is provided by a trusty generator which chugs away in the next field and runs a pump to fill water troughs for cattle. None of us wants to be on duty facing the bride’s Mum the day it fails.

The site is an obvious candidate for renewables.

AFAICT we’re not even able to apply for permission to site a windmill. National policy on this seems to have been written by a committee made up of BP and Esso climate change denialists. You can only apply for permission to erect a windmill if you’re in an area specifically designated for it in an approved neighborhood plan. The Kafkaesque twist is that there is no neighborhood plan for Kelston, and no-one’s about to write one.

Siting a 27kw diesel generator for farm use in a field in an AONB, part of the green belt seems to treated as entirely normal. The water inspector even insists that if anyone on site so much as flushes a loo the generator must be running to drive the expensive and high-maintenance electric water purifying system. (Air pollution must be a different department at the Council).

We hear that batteries are getting better and cheaper (Tesla, Ikea and others).

So the search is on for a solution to provide enough energy at all times to pump and clean the water, to provide light, sound for gigs and to boil kettles. Perhaps (given the copious wind and light) to do electric heating too for basins and showers. And to do this silently, with no smell, and treading more lightly on the planet.

We’re looking at solar, and also whether new smaller European windmills that fit on fence posts might come in under de minimis rules. There’s also masses of rain at times and a big slope, but no reliable stream.

I just ordered @ChrisGoodall2‘s book Switch (HT . Now looking for the right ideas and products; open to ideas & suggestions.


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Matt’s illustrations to go with the poem assembled by Sue

On Saturday 24 March Sue Boyle is leading a Kelston-themed poetry session at BRSLI. Matt Prosser put together these images to go with it.

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Roundhill from Primrose Hill March 2018

after the mini-beast from the East, March 2018. Taken from just under Beckford’s Tower.

and with sledders:


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Only with love: gentle care in death (workshop Sun 29 Apr)

Claire Turnham, founder of OWL (“Only with love”) Family-Led  Home Funerals, is offering a one-day workshop at Kelston Old Barn for individuals, health professionals and community groups who wish to offer support to families around the time of death. Claire will:

  • share her personal & professional experiences as a death carer & educator, home funeral guide and independent funeral celebrant;
  • discuss the possibilities that are available to families who wish to  care for their loved ones either in hospices or at home;
  • demonstrate how to prepare the body of a loved one naturally for burial and cremation and how to dress the body in a shroud;
  • facilitate an open forum on the ways in which we can change death care, both individually and as communities, to better honour the person who has died and their surviving loved ones.

Kelston Barn at dusk August Bank Holiday Monday 2017: photo by Paul Clarke


Claire is the UK-based Founder of Only with Love and Chair of the Home Funeral Network, dedicated to empowering and guiding families to tenderly take care of their own. Claire is recognised internationally as a leading Home Funeral Guide, Advocate, Celebrant and Natural Death Carer & Educator.


  • £95.00/person, payable on booking. Includes tea/coffee & refreshments. Contributions to a shared lunch welcome.
  • 24 places only (two at concessionary price for low-income applicants).
  • To book email Tessa Strickland: tessa@challiscombe.com
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Helpful wintery pointer: coffee, cheese and a warm pint this way

Just what you need on a wintery day: a new sign helps walkers find their way down Cullimore’s Lane to the Old Crown pub, and Bath Soft Cheese cafe and shop in Kelston village. Thanks to Ed for making the sign, to team Padfield for erecting it and to passing jogger Gareth Stubbings for the photo. 

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Robert MacFarlane’s word of the day – “numinous”

The author Robert MacFarlane today asks:

have you had experiences of landscape/nature you would characterise as “numinous”? What/where were they, & what was the nature of the nūmen?

He shares a “word of the day” via Twitter, and his word for today is “numinous” – revealing the presence of the divine; giving rise to a feeling of spiritual transcendence, especially in nature or art (from Latin nūmen – divinity, divine power).

Isn’t this what people ultimately seek when they go to remote natural places? The foothills of such an experience are perhaps being deeply refreshed by a walk or profoundly moved by a view. But it goes way beyond that.

 At Sue Boyle’s writing workshop we heard the profoundly moving raw experience of a recently bereaved woman who had been transfixed sitting on Kelston Roundhill looking out toward Bristol and Wales: engaged, transformed, unable to move for hours while processing her bereavement. We tried to evoke something of her experience in our input to the work; a sensitive whiff of it survives in the shared poem (text here).   She described it as compelling, neither loving nor frightening, relentless. If we were being analytical we would have called her experience numinous. Our original input is below.

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