I had no idea a simple stroll in the wood could be such a reminder of courage, loss, love, and the value of community. 

“Have you heard about the trees and the carvings”, one local asks. “Trees? What trees?” Before he can answer, the conversation moves on to something else as is want to do when the Mojo team is amassed. A few days later, someone else mentions “the trees” with relation to WWII and U.S. troops. I’m curious, I want to go see them but there is always so much to see and do, will we fit it in?

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Poor Ben... nobody warned him about MojoMeantime. Of course, we didn't know about it either...yet. But thankfully, it didn't stop us from having a Bang Up day leaning how to fly fish with Ben Bangham.  The story of the MoJo crew’s autumn visit to the UK is a tale of the unexpected. The trip took on some wonderful twists and turns as the ‘sisters’ breathed their own brand of the off-beat and the downright eccentric into the trip.

Perhaps the greatest revelation was a quantum one as time and space took on a completely new dimension. It was a concept the MoJo mamas seemed completely at ease with but one that left me briefly dazed and disoriented.

It began on a miserably wet Wednesday morning in October. The rain was coming down in wind-blown sheets but all was still on for a pre-arranged day of fishing.

MoJo were going to learn the arts and skills of fly fishing for trout at a lake close to one of the iconic chalk streams of Wiltshire. They were due to meet the magnificently named instructor Ben Bangham at 9. 30am at Woodborough on the River Avon.

There’d be a walk along the river where the ecology of a trout stream and the wiley ways of the brown trout would be explained. Then casting practice followed by a chance to catch a trout from the beautiful lake.

Nine thirty came and went.

Phone calls followed.

They were about to leave the cottage at Cirencester thirty miles away. Oh! They’d only be an hour late then.

A quick call to Ben. That’ll be fine said the laid back instructor.

Ten thirty came. And went. We were still in a NoMoJoShow situation.

Another call. Yup, definitely, possibly left the cottage now. Faith in that promise was not high.

Another hour passed. No show MoJo and Bangham wore the patient smile of a seasoned fisherman while probably wanting to bang his head on the wall of the fishing hut. No problems, he said, we’ve got all day which was already factually incorrect and two hours behind the passage of the sun.

In the end it was a MiddayMoJo arrival and the fishing experience began with Ben showing heroic courtesy while the sisters muttered stuff about broken hair driers and weather.

And so MoJo Mean Time was conceived and thereafter factored into the schedule.

What about the fishing you may ask? Well Ben weaved his magic showing how the delicate balance of a chalk stream supports the elusive trout. Right on cue a kingfisher flashed past in a fly-by.

Then the MoJo team spent a couple of hours of fun and fascination as they tried to master the skills of casting a line and catching a trout. Oh! And it didn’t stop reigning all day.

MoJo Mean Time - Two and a half hours behind GMT

As we walked up the steep track sunk between two moss covered banks Stephanie and I paused to look at the patchwork of trees and fields stretching across the valley.  

As we walked up the steep track sunk between two moss covered banks Stephanie and I paused to look at the patchwork of trees and fields stretching across the valley.   

We were on a quiet pilgrimage walking through an easterly wind stiff with cold sweeping.  Below us smoke curled from the chimneys of  the quintessentially English village of Ramsbury. In the distance its equally picturesque neighbour, Aldbourne, was hidden in the folds of a hill. 

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Lord it blew. How it blew! 

The gravel hard rain had stopped but the wind was still pushing us here and there as we scurried along the harbour side looking for somewhere to eat. And then the Cornish storm literally pushed us into the doorway of what, at first glance, seemed to be a whitewashed cottage on the quayside. But there was a menu posted in the doorway and, hopeful, we stumbled out of the gale into a hearty welcome. We’d found Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen and we were about to experience an assault on our senses to rival the weather’s blast outside. 

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It’s harvest!! The drone of combines fills the air late into the night and the small village roads are filled with tractors and farm equipment coming and going. There is a general sense of busyness bordering on excitement as people discuss the weather and the condition of the surrounding fields and crops. For a city girl from the states it is all new and I immediately feel caught up with a sense of wonder at the process of it all.

I have grown to love watching the fields as they grown and change. Barley is my favorite with its amber waves blowing in the breeze. It looks like flowing gold as it reflects the afternoon sun.

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Ambyth! Ambyth means “forever” in Welsh. Every now and then, it’s nice to find something that you hope will last forever. 

Take for example, a smooth and complex glass of biodynamically grown and harvested Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend, so delightfully fermented in its terra cotta amphora urns that it just eases its way onto your palate, all suave and sophisticated. Fleeting, yes...but the desire for forever is there. 

That’s my experience of my first taste of one of Ambyth Estates’ vintages. There was something different going on in this wine and I wanted to know what it was. Was it the organic, the biodynamic, the terroir, what??

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