From this base, as the fancy takes us, we go mudhopping. This singular activity might, to the casual observer, appear as rambling, hiking, or simply going for a walk. Given our approach to the pursuit is is all of these things and none of them. Mudhopping shows no respect for the usual conventions regarding the above pastimes, our feet ever eager to take us off the beaten track. This inability to resist exploring had taken us through brambles and over barbed wire. On the occasions when we became lost we found ourselves.
On one memorable occasion we climbed up a very steep hill, through some thick clay mud at it's base. It was raining steadily and the higher we climbed the harder this was driven by a keen wind. At the top we made our way across some fields to a hillfort, upon which cattle were grazing. We entered the field by the same gate that the livestock had used - this much was clear by the large number of cowpats in our path. And each of these still wet cowpats had the imprint of a small wellie in it's centre- a child out for a walk had made a point of stepping on every single one ! This carefree attitude to the great outdoors put our mud spattered boots and clothes to shame.
The Avebury paintings: we only intended to put photographs to go with the writing on this blog, but we may also put paintings on from time to time. The two included here (The Maiden and Circle Dance) are a result of our wanderings around Avebury, Wiltshire. People from all over the world visit this place, each for their own reasons. Some simply because it is an organised coach trip to a "place of interest" while, at the other extreme, some are drawn to the stones through feeling a deep spiritual connection to them. In between these two ends of the spectrum lie the many other folk whose purposes are wide ranging. If there is one aspect that seems to unite them all it is the incredibly good atmosphere that permeates the circles at Avebury:- everybody goes away feeling happy. The inspiration behind these paintings was a wish to capture the playful essence that makes Avebury so.
Always we have found inspiration, mainly because mudhopping is a good way to clear the mind. Added to this are the obvious benefits of fresh air and exercise, but the great advantage in it is the never knowing what we will encounter. With no signs or maps to follow a day can be full of the unexpected. In it's way this is a perfect exercise for creative minds.
Finally, as we go into 2009, the mudhoppers resolutions:
Be less scared of bulls. Let's face it, bulls get very bad press. Us yelping "Shit, it's a fuckin' bull!" and running away when we encountered one in a field was not, on reflection, much help at all.
Be more scared of sheep. Poor little buggers, they are so timid and run away from us for no reason whatsoever. Perhaps by us running away from them for a change will instil a sense of bravado in them. Who knows, if everybody was to join in with us on this then pretty soon the sheep will be swaggering around like so many woolly John Waynes.