To the Rescue... Pino's!

It was the last day of my December Mojo Mission in the U.K. I was driving on the M4 in the late afternoon, making my way towards Heathrow airport for my journey back home to the states. The sky was darkened by a storm, the wind was whipping, and rain was slashing down as my windshield wipers struggled to keep up.  I had left the Marlborough area in plenty of time, joking as I did that something always went a little haywire so this time I was ready for it. So far all was going smoothly and if it continued to do so, I would be settled in the airport with time to get some work done before boarding my plane.

Singing to the music, I did as the SatNav instructed and took the exit that would lead to the M25 (all of which I am familiar with now, but hadn’t the faintest idea of then) came around the sweeping onramp, picked up speed, changed lanes to get a better handle on forward momentum when, BAM! The loudest sound I’d ever heard occurred, it was instantly followed by a skidding wobble.

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My Iron Heart

"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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Have a Care at Caerleon

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.

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The Alchemical Forge

The MojoMakers had been in the UK for about a week and were only just drying out from two days of English rain when we set off for the tiny village of Buscot.  Their first drenching had been on a day’s fly fishing tuition; the second, and the heavier of the two, was on a foraging expedition in the beautiful Savernake Forest. So the opportunity to visit a blacksmith’s forge promised to be a warmer and drier adventure by far.  Everyone was excited. I’d arranged the visit through my youngest son Morgan who had qualified as a smith in June after three years at the UK’s National School of Blacksmithing.

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Strolling Through Stroud

I’ve never been mistaken for a singer before. Most people seem to know instinctively that I’m chronically unable to hold a note.

And so you could have knocked me down with a feather when someone in a coffee shop mistook Stephanie and I for a singing duo supposed to be playing at a local venue that night.  

Not us I said.

But you two look like the picture and your moustache is the same as the one on the promo material, we were told

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Harvest Begins...

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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A Walk in the Ramsbury Wood

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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