“Save our magnificent meadows” video

Terrific video by Costwold AONB “Magnificent Meadows” project, starring our very own local conservation officer Eleanor Reast. She’s a bit diffident about the film career, which is just as well: saving our meadows is way more important.


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Building the Kelston Barn: a chorus for eight voices

first  voice 

Ice broke this land to life,
this humpbacked hill,
water split it open
and drank the light,
wind blew these trees
out of kilter, their lanky limbs
boxing like love-struck hares.

second voice

The land stretched out
like a dog at the hearth and said,
Here you may build your barn,
enclose this piece of world
to be a haven on this broken hill,
nourished by the view, the skies, the stars,
the ever-changing light a sanctuary,
a safe place for travelling souls.

third voice

Though rain may lean its grief against your walls,
though storm may crash against your sacred space,
and folded clouds smear darkness through the gloom,
you will be graced by sunshine here,
cold sun on the silver days
in this nest of stone.

fourth voice

Here will be windows open to the sky,
here will be space to watch the drifting clouds,
here there will be time
to listen,
to stand in the rain and look towards the sea,
to share your hopes,
to grow your fellowship,
to kindle spirit brighter than a fire,
to share your memories.
Here you will be free
to travel beyond yourselves.

fifth voice

We do not work the land.
Earth called us here
as it called our ancestors,
men with the will to work,
masons, labourers,
the six-fingered carpenter
between them finding out
the alchemy of stone,
the bones of timber.
Something pulls us,
something draws us in.
Wind-scoured and weathered,
lifting by stages to the rising sun
in this tree-gifted place,
evolving against the backcloth of the sky,
a beauty grows itself.

sixth voice

I was drawn a pilgrim to this place.
Lost voices spoke.
Lost wisdom came to me.
I was alone, but I was not alone.
I felt no fear.
I was held.  I was sustained.

seventh voice

Apart and yet a part,
mortar and mortal,
wood, wit, unstained stone.
As the barley loves the blade,
as the wheat longs for the scythe,
to turn promise into purpose
I want to walk the path into the fire,
to be so consumed,
to be so changed.

eighth voice

All who come with shadows as well as stones,
whose lives are locked in anger and in grief,
all who bear heavy weight,
all who fear the failing of the light,
all who seek to breathe a clearer air,
who ask time to pardon them,
all who long to speak and to be heard,
all who have fallen, all who carry dreams
are welcome.

A Poem for Performance created by Sue Boyle, Claire Coleman, Darren Evans, Jill Field, Louise Green, Tanya Guildford, Charlie Hancock, Meretta Hart, Margaret Heath, William Heath, Caroline Heaton, Radha Housden, Rosie Jackson, Andrew Lawrence, Michael Loveday, Helen Mumford, Ras Nyah, Ann Preston, Tekla Selassie, Phillip Shepherd, Tessa Strickland, Liban Suleiman, Eliot Warwick, and Conor Whelan on Sunday 17th September 2017. Photo by Matt Prosser, selected by Sue Boyle. Part of the Bathscape Walking Festival funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (with thanks to B&NES and 12 other Bathscape partners).

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Kelston Records: three events coming up at the Old Barn

Three Kelston Records events coming up at the Old Barn on Kelston Roundhill:

Sat 7 Oct: Eyebrow; Kolophon: a duo of duets with video art by Kathy Hinde. Eyebrow is the duet of Pete Judge (trumpet) and Paul Wigens (drums). Kolophon is the duet of Agathe Max (violin) and Drew Morgan (cello). Doors 1900; tickets here.

Sat 28 Oct: Barrow&Bradley live at the Old Barn. Barrow&Bradley is a traditional-music-infused improvising duo from Bristol. Paul Bradley plays guitar alongside Fiona Barrow, a classically trained violinist who, by her own admission, “defected to the other side”. Doors 1900; tickets here

Sat 11 Nov Harmonium: a candlelit Remembrance Day performance by 26 female singers. The composition, an ongoing collaboration between Norfolk’s Sian Croose and Bath’s Su Hart is an experiment in wordless vocal sound, created by layering voices using interlocking rhythms and harmonies. Doors 1900: tickets here

Hot soup and local organic cheeses from the Bath Soft Cheese company served, also local beer and cider.

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Calling all twitchers: bird life on Kelston Roundhill

One thing we don’t know well is the bird life on the Roundhill. So we’re grateful to environmentalist David Goode for sending us this list of birds he observed during the Quaker day of quiet.

House Martin
Green Woodpecker
and possibly Tree Sparrow

We could hear the deep croaks of ravens , the twittering of swallows and song of robins as we sat in the barn.

Very glad to hear anytime from any bird-watchers with other species spotted, or any bird photos.

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“Walking into Words” Bathscape writing workshop with Sue Boyle

Today Tessa Strickland and Sue Boyle organised a “Walking into Words” writing workshop up at the Old Barn. It was part of B&NES’ trial Heritage Lottery funded “Bathscape” programme to celebrate the landscape around the World Heritage City. The writing workshop was designed to bring a cultural dimension to the Bathscape Walking Festival.

A very diverse group of 20 people came, supplemented by three passing walkers who were invited in to join us. We first developed our own words based on the landscape and where we were, and heard a series of inspiring poems. We walked in the landscape, then worked in groups of four to develop a shared piece about the landscape. This seemed to work extraordinarily well.

In our group some had alrady fluently expressed a range of metaphors and images; others expressed deep and powerful feelings the landscape had evoked, concerned with being detached from sacred land, suffering bereavement or the slave trade legacy.

It was a moving and beautiful occasion, wonderfully organised and executed. Thanks to Sue, Tessa and all who made its happen. Sue is just accumulating and working over the words from the day; some of that will be published here in due course.

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Barrow’s Style: the overgrown hedgerow

Many years of benign neglect have made the hedgerow in Barrow’s Style fascinating. Cut and laid hedge has grown to the size of mature trees; saplings have knotted themselves into each other. Ivy thicker than a young tree has merged with its host. Here are some pictures from the north east corner taken today.

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Kelston Roundhill from Saltford, by Rick Crowley

From pictures of Saltford by Rick Crowley,  via Pictures of England


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