May has always been my favourite month and I’m sure it’s no coincidence that its beginning is marked with celebrations dating back to the dawn of time – steeped in folklore, mythology and paganism.

Many people have occasion to mark particular days of the year. My most important is the full moon in May (16th this year). I camp on the ranch and watch the moon rise if it’s fine enough. It happens to be the date of the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment and death. My introduction to the possibilities opened up by spirituality came through some of the arty types I met on my punk rock/musical journey via Notsensibles.

This happened to be Eastern philosophy, and later the shamanism of the native people of Arizona and Mexico, via Carlos Castaneda. It transpires that most of the themes in these traditions are common to all others worldwide and that many prehistoric nations had the same gods, despite having no contact with each other (hence my over-used ubiquitous phrase As above, so below).

It’s only natural for a slow boy like me not to notice, with my Celtic genes, the spiritual and pagan traditions literally under my nose. That magnificent view from the top of the field is dominated by that famous hill, possibly more associated with witchcraft than any other. 

Mist over Witchcraft hill


The greenhouse plants have survived frosts and now their growth is astronomical. My recalcitrance to get out and do plant sales has won again, but I’ve sold a few locally and now I’m thinking of a market stall in Tod.

I’m experiencing a bit of an industrial revolution by using both tractors every day. The gate to the muck mountain is now complete, meaning daily trips to fill the box on the back of the Ferguson. The Massey Ferguson continues to be magnificent. It’s pulled 2 tonnes of aggregate up the hill meaning no more much-more-expensive smaller bags. The concrete mixer is now fitted, tripling the efficiency of my buffoonic hand-mixing. The bottle walls around the new terraced area are coming on apace and soon there’ll be a big enough area to have a foot-deep raised bed and fill it with some left-over spuds. Yes I know it’s a bit late, but they’ll do OK.

This season I’m big on beans, with several trays eagerly awaiting the last threat of frost, before they go out. Due to their vertical space-saving aspect, they represent the most efficient way of growing a high-protein winter food and I keep experimenting with different varieties.  Last night’s farty dahl (with fartpatis) was beefed up with frozen Cosse Violette French beans from last year. As ever, I anticipate massive increases in food prices and shortages. I’m hearing reports of over 50 fires at food-processing plants in America. As I predicted 2 posts ago, the Russians are getting the blame for the long-planned food and cost of living crisis.

Beltane woodblock



… is on a Sunday. Louise and I nip over to Tod for a look at the market. It turns out there’s a folk festival on and there are loads of traditional folky dancers around in bright costumes. (Jarvis plays at The Lion in the evening). I notice quite a few empty stalls on the market, giving me the idea to try and do a stall there. I love Todmorden – place of my birth.

On our way back, I have radio 4 on and there’s Neil MacGregor’s well-narrated documentary Living with the Gods describing beautifully the massive ancient stone age tomb in Newgrange, north of Dublin, which was built before Stonehenge and the pyramids. The tomb and its pyramidic upper part is designed to capture a shaft of light deep inside, at the precise moment of the winter solstice. (it turns out there are ancient pyramids everywhere – not just Egypt).The astronomical and engineering knowledge was superlative. What other ancient knowledge have we lost?

MacGregor then goes on to describe a Hiroshige woodblock print showing the Japanese sun goddess Amaterasu hiding in a cave.

Hiroshige woodblock print


The Pendle Witch descendant describes ‘8 turnings of the wheel’ referring to the 8 Celtic festivals, corresponding to the four solstices and the four half-way-in-between. Beltane would be my most significant, marking the beginning of my favourite month. The Buddhists have The turning of the wheel of Dhamma (which has 8 spokes) and dancing round the Maypole is also circular – it’s all linked.

Thanks to Helen, we’ve taken to celebrating these turnings modestly on the ranch, with a can of craft beer, a bite to eat and light – candles and/or a fire.

Today it’s just the three of us again. She brings a bottle of cider apiece, warm cheese and onion pitta bread and crisps.

After eating, we light a fire in the field, with the panorama of the town below us and that magical hill to our left. It’s hazy but not too cold. I’d done a bit of background reading on Beltane. From the beginning, the conversation is profound and clearly there a special energy in the air. We touch on ancient traditions, life and death, and other things associated with Beltane, peppered as ever with our usual profanity and vulgarity. There’s lots of laughter.

When we go back into the main allotment, we see the big crow fly off with something in its mouth. He’s opened the sealed lid on the plastic box where Helen had put the crisps and was in the process of snaffling the lot. The day after, I see the same crow in a small puddle made by a sheet of polythene. On closer inspection, he’s placed a piece of dried up pitta bread that he’s found somewhere. He comes back an hour later after the bread is soaked and softened. There’s no over-estimating his intelligence. That crow family are the ranch watchers and guardians. Crows are everywhere in the Castaneda books. Don Juan can even turn into a crow.

Beltane cider


The Vulgarians

Angela Raynor is in the news again after some patronising condescending sexist prick makes reference to what particular dress she chooses to wear in the house of commons. Later another condescending prick describes her as a Vulgarian, in the context of her background and her use of plain language. It turns out that she was speaking in Towneley park, just up from our house, for the traditional May Day speech.

The expression really tickles me – if anyone is a Vulgarian it’s me. At school we looked up rude words in the dictionary and flicked through Paris  Match in the library not because we were cultured, but because each copy guaranteed a classy topless French woman. In fact I think it’s my compulsory lifelong Vulgarianism that stops me being taken seriously as a scientist and medical professional, particularly when I try and point out the truth of what’s really going on. Don’t get me started – the first UK child deaths have been reported, although you won’t hear about it in the news and it’s almost impossible to corroborate. If true, it’s manslaughter plain and simple. I’ve been keeping my big gob shut lately but I can’t resist a plain-speaking Twitter rant, which gets loads of views and encouraging comments + new followers. For the first time I can’t resist saying ‘Please wake the fuck up’.

I have some fun tractor-banter, by posting tractor pics, after yet another corrupt Tory arsehole gets kicked out, after watching porn on his phone in The Commons. He was looking at tractors apparently, when porn came up (twice) by accident. Good riddance wanker.

On social media you often see trite click-bait items saying things like ‘Replace the first syllable of your name with …’ . Regular readers will know which word my infantile brain gravitates towards. Thus I hilariously become Cuntphen Cuntley. It works particularly well with politicians and double-barrelled names. Cuntis Cuntson, Cuntob Rees Cunt, Cunti Cuntel, Cuntid Cuntid.

Cuntag Cunterland’s suggestion is perhaps the best – Cunthael Cuntricunt. Once you start, it’s difficult to stop and certain names are gifts – Cuntard Cunty. It transpires that my fellow Vulgarians find it equally hilarious.



Rock & Roll

My disc jockeying appearance goes well. Initially, I’m a bit glum and not in the mood, but then stunning Mog and lovely Lindsay Walsh (who I’ve known for ever) walk in. We chat afterwards and they cheer me up. It’s there that I introduce Mog to my latest schoolboyish Vulgarian idea. She finds it equally funny and we comment that her best friend Cuntily will also appreciate it.

I continue to encourage Sam to record his songs and on Tuesday, we managed to rapidly record Weave and Wind. By 8.30, I’ve mixed the track and finished the video. It gets a nice response. To achieve it, I have to set up the camera and recording equipment, then get the double bass, tune it and learn the song whilst Sam barks at me to hurry up before the sun goes. No pressure then.

We’d weave and wind Against the tide
We’re calculated curses Deep inside
We’ll take the task We’ll break your stride

Turned to me in the hallway
We’re not leaving, there’s no way
We ain’t leaving, if we ain’t weaving
We ain’t leaving there’s no way

Saw my future in the ashtray
The night was laid out on display
If there one thing I would say
I was happy for one day

Turned to me in the hallway
We’re not leaving, there’s no way
We ain’t leaving, if we ain’t weaving
We ain’t leaving there’s no way

We’d weave and wind Against the tide
We’re calculated curses Deep inside
We’ll take the task
We’ll break your stride


DJing at Tapsters