Bohemian Mojo had heard there’d been a political uprising in Frome (pronounced Froom) which claims to be Britain’s first sustainable town, so we went to find out what had happened. To be honest I’ve by-passed Frome many times over the past decade. Memories of my last visit to the town made me avoid it. Dilapidation, boarded-up shops and an air of social stagnation were the lasting impressions. No getting away from it, Frome used to be a town waiting for the next bit of bad news.  

Well what came next was a remarkable transformation ending in a revolution so the past decade has seen Frome turned from a depressing failure into a switched-on, culture packed community. 

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We ventured out into the landscape winding our way to Wales through intermittent spats of rain and wind followed by moments of bright blue cloud dotted skies. The day was a perfect illustration of what I call the ‘in-between’ times, the liminal. That place in time and space where everything overlaps and there is a momentary but perceptible ambiguity of boundary; an invigorating mix of weather; hinting at spring while also reminding of winter.

We were headed to a place called Caerleon, which apparently means “Fortress of the Legions” in Welsh. Caerleon is an important archeological site, riddled with layers upon layers of human history; a point which only truly dawned on me once we arrived and I saw how beautifully the community and landscape merged and grew, up, around, and out of the varying relics of the past.  
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Okay, maybe it wasn’t the lion that was roaring...maybe it was me; roaring with absolute pleasure after an amazingly Mojo experience at the Red Lion Freehouse in East Chisenbury.

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gatebarrowmodA chill autumn day and the Mojo team were walking up a valley into the chalk downlands that lies between the town of Marlborough and the famous Stone Circle at Avebury four miles away.  

In the West of England such valleys are often called combs (pronounced cooms) a word derived from the Celts.  They are generally steep sided, meandering affairs created thousands of years ago by Ice Age glaciers or their melt waters.

In the summer they are carpeted with all manner of wild flowers; harebells, bee orchids, yellow rattle and cowslips to name a few. A myriad butterflies feed off the flowers while skylarks sing in their thrilling elevator flight.

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"Of the four elements, air, earth, water, and fire; man stole only one from the gods. Fire. And with it, man forged his will upon the world." ~Anonymous

We first visited Tom Southerndon at Buscot Forge in October with our initial Mojo launch. I have always had a fascination with fire and the application of heat, perhaps because I am a fireman’s daughter? Ultimately, I am most curious, as a foodie, to understand the various ways that heat is used to enhance our palates and our lives. Who better to help me understand more about this versatile element than a blacksmith? Say no more, Alun was on it and quickly arranged for the Mojo team to head to Tom’s forge.  The experience was more than we could have anticipated. As Tom expertly stoked the forge fire, explaining each step in the process, I felt something happening deep within my being. Something stirred that I couldn’t quite identify. The fire whooshed, the flame danced to life, and the first clear bell of the hammer on the anvil woke some primal awareness in my soul. For a moment, completely without explanation, tears sprang to my eyes. I was hooked!

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The thought of breaking a journey on the British motorway system isn’t an enthralling one. In fact it can cause quite a few people to blow a gasket. The reason for that is a phenomenon called the Motorway Service Area. The UK highway network is dotted with Motorway Services and they are regulated by law because drivers need places where they can break-up long journeys a drink and a hot meal.

It’s argued Services are needed to keep motorists safe to drive. All well and good but whenever I visit one of these roadside malls I’m amazed how dreary these roadside malls can be; despite all the bright lights and hoarding. If only there were something more possible???

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