“Marlburius Anno Domini 1994
Many sunsets have passed since I took the road to the magic valley to visit the shepherd and his missus who abide there. They took me in, fed me, wined me until I did succumb to the land of dreams. On the morrow they took me to their flock and we did administer unto them (messy business this) though we were much assisted by all the many shepherd dogs. We then did eat and water again. However we did not succumb to sleep (not this time) as we had to go gather wood for the winter fires and for table tops (dangerous business this). We did then return to the shepherd’s hut (some hut) and took ale, enjoyed more food and merriment until we did retire to our mangers (some mangers these). Before sunrise on the morrow the shepherd and his missus waved me goodbye and I took the long windy road down the magic valley, crossed the wide river and returned to reality.
Perhaps it was all a dream after all?” Stevie.
Thank you letter written by a childhood friend after a visit to the farm which named our valley The Magic Valley.
We have been living in the Magic Valley for 32 years and we have grown to love it, introducing it over the years to so many family and friends, sharing in the simple goodness of this place. Through this I am hoping to share the wonderings and goings on from this wonderful place with my friends and family, if any of them are remotely interested, (and maybe some future friends too!) whatever, I enjoy the writing and find it cathartic. The historic things I write about will be as I remember them, they will be my truth, and though others who shared a moment may remember it differently, I hope any drifts off into fantasy won’t be either too frequent or too drastic, or cause too much irritation or correction!
We came west from Wiltshire, fleeing the rise and rise of the M4 corridor, to this quiet, peaceful place, knowing nothing about farming, but determined to have a go, and on a small and amateur scale, we have learnt so much about living in harmony with nature, with all the creatures who arrived long before us, both two and four legged, and maybe it will be good to share.
Also, I think I will put on this site the pieces of Beccy’s writing that I have found that for one reason or another were not meant for or did not get used for her book Skybound, bits that I think she would like me to share. She was such a wonderful writer and I feel her everyday, sitting on my shoulder. Since I have been writing for this, our Welsh Fox Terrier Gizmo seems to have taken over my brain……..much of what I write comes from her, but I usually put that into the heading for the sake of clarity!! Forgive such silliness…………..please……..
As we speak we are battling with a water supply problem as our springs on the mountain appear to have dried up for the first time in living memory. After those ten days when we were snowed in this spring, we thought the aquifers would have had enough in them to allow for that long dry spell this summer. But obviously not! We are making plans for the future, and for now hauling buckets up to the house to flush the loos.
We are also building a beautiful shepherds hut with the plan to set up a something to honour our daughter Rebecca who died exactly two years ago. It won’t happen for some time yet, but planning it is very pleasing. The hut is painted and partially constructed, but rain today has stopped play and the roof will have to wait. Sadly, the muscles ( in the form of our lovely nieces) have to leave today to head back to their own lives, which will leave The chippie and me to do it alone…..and I have a nasty feeling that it will involve ladders…..