Wednesday, April 29, 2009

spring; over the hills

After a long winter the sun makes a sudden brief appearance and the trees cast shadows which move quickly across the hills.

Up on monkey island near the withered hand the bluebells are coming out again. There are many different apects of the woods around the hills here but only some small stretches of proper woodland remain, the rest having been replaced with conifers and suchlike. Monkey Island is only a few hundred yards long but seems bigger as the terrain is steep and boggy or tangled so it can be slow going up here, but slowing down is good and stopping is even better sometimes.

The walk is up and out of town and the fuss and busyness of it all drop away so all that remains are the birds singing and the other natural sounds. The town feels a long way away from here but it isn't really. Up here it is good to see the spring sun doing its work.

These particular shadows are quite a rare event as usually the sun is only this strong when the leaves are already fully open, so these bare branch shadows would not normally be seen.

Here are the first bluebells. There are not too many flowers yet but in a week or two they will all be there to see.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

a new green man

Thanks very much to a keen eyed Brian Kennedy for passing this striking image on to me. As he says it looks very much the green man. At first I thought it odd that it was taken indoors but then I realised that most of the green man images that I know of are indoors in churches, so maybe it's not that odd after all. It is a striking and slightly disturbing image and as such fits in splendidly with the green man. Thanks Brian.

It comes from Ultra Dialectics Format Magazine Urban Art which is linked in the title.

Some of the mice here were slightly unhappy that they didn't get to see the proper sequence of the rising of the moon from the sea, so I might even go back and have another go at it for them so that they can see to their satisfaction that small stripe of red that appears on the horizon when it occurs. Something to look forward to for sure.
And thatnks again to Brian for sending me this giant green hand from an album cover which is taken from
As usual I am getting way behind the movement of the seasons with my photo's but I will have a look through the enormous pile and get some up soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Captain Mission. The Amazing True Story of an Anarchist Pirate

Here are some photo's which are completely unrelated to the following pirate story. Spring is here and with it birdsong and green things coming up everywhere. A keen eyed observer spotted the very first bluebell in the woods the other day, and here is a photo of it for you.

I first read the story of Captain Mission in the preface to Cities of the Red Night by William Burroughs and was unsure whether the book that he refers to actually existed, but it does.

Captain Mission was French and was quite normal until he met a wayward priest and got to talking. He was up around the coast here chasing ships back in the 1690s. Daniel Defoe wrote about him in a book about pirates, but here are the bare bones of the story of an alternative present that didn't quite happen and a search for freedom about one hundred years before the french revolution.

Here is a quote form Under the Black Flag by Don C. Seitz:

Captain Mission was one of the forbears of the French Revolution. He was one hundred years in advance of his time, for his career was based upon an initial desire to better adjust the affairs of mankind, which ended as is quite usual in the more liberal adjustment of his own fortunes. It is related how Captain Mission, having led his ship to victory against an English man-of-war, called a meeting of the crew. Those who wished to follow him he would welcome and treat as brothers; those who did not would be safely set ashore. One and all embraced the New Freedom. Some were for hoisting the Black Flag at once but Mission demurred, saying that they were not pirates but liberty lovers, fighting for equal rights against all nations subject to the tyranny of government, and bespoke a white flag as the more fitting emblem. The ship’s money was put in a chest to be used as common property. Clothes were now distributed to all in need and the republic of the sea was in full operation.

Mission bespoke them to live in strict harmony among themselves; that a misplaced society would adjudge them still as pirates. Self-preservation, therefore, and not a cruel disposition, compelled them to declare war on all nations who should close their ports to them. “I declare such war and at the same time recommend to you a humane and generous behavior towards your prisoners, which will appear by so much more the effects of a noble soul as we are satisfied we should not meet the same treatment should our ill fortune or want of courage give us up to their mercy…” The Nieustadt of Amsterdam was made prize, giving up two thousand pounds and gold dust and seventeen slaves. The slaves were added to the crew and clothed in the Dutchman’s spare garments; Mission made an address denouncing slavery, holding that men who sold others like beasts proved their religion to be no more than a grimace as no man had power of liberty over another…

Mission explored the Madagascar coast and found a bay ten leagues north of Diego-Suarez. It was resolved to establish here the shore quarters of the Republic — erect a town, build docks, and have a place they might call their own. The colony was called Libertatia and was placed under Articles drawn up by Captain Mission. The Articles state, among other things: all decisions with regard to the colony to be submitted to vote by the colonists; the abolition of slavery for any reason including debt; the abolition of the death penalty; and freedom to follow any religious beliefs or practices without sanction or molestation.

Captain Mission’s colony, which numbered about three hundred was wiped out by a surprise attack from the natives, and Captain Mission was killed shortly afterwards in a sea battle. There were other such colonies in the West Indies and in Central and South America, but they were not able to maintain themselves since they were not sufficiently populous to withstand attack. Had they been able to do so, the history of the world could have been altered. Imagine a number of such fortified positions all through South America and the West Indies, stretching from Africa and Madagascar and Malaya and the East Indies, all offering refuge to fugitives from slavery and oppression: “Come to us and live under the Articles.”