Encountering The Òran Mór

20180226 ENCOUNTERING THE ORAN MORI’m sitting cross-legged, in a darkened room. Dark, save for one, small candle with its gentle flickering light projecting barely-seen shadows on the wall. It’s peaceful. I’m at rest.

Tonight my meditation is kataphatic – that is I’m going to use thoughts and ‘pictures’ from my imagination to be my ‘silent teachers’, and then in an unstructured way – that is non-directed, and I aim to be open to the Awen (pronounced by some as ar-wen; though I like the three syllable pronunciation, ah-(w)oo-ern), that Spirit of creativity known to ancient (and latter-day) Celts and Druids, and others (and known by various other names).

As I sit here, eyes closed, there is no sound except for the sound of the wind, outside. I’m back in London, and my small apartment is one of a few, that, like most modern architecture can be prone to ‘funnel’ the wind and create a sound – like that of a long moan. I love it. I can hear it now. The wind is blowing from the east, and it’s cold air. As I begin a time of quietness, it is nature reminding me that, even in the city, nature predominates.

My mind wanders, and I let it.

The mournful sound outside reminds me of a story I once heard when I was a child. The flickering candle light, even with my eyes closed, gently reminds me of the glow of the hearth as that story was told. My mind conjures up pictures of yesteryear, of childhood, of innocence.

My grandmother, would tell me that: In the beginning, and it varies between cultures, nothing existed. But all that is, was brought forth by a sound. Some call it the word or Word, others of a Celtic or Druidic persuasion call it the Òran Mór (some pronounce this Oran-mor, others oh-ran mohr). The words differ, but the wonderfully deep meaning persists.

Òran Mór, the Great Song or Great Music, song of the universe, was (and is) the continual love song of the Source of All, and through it everything that is, was brought into being, and continues because of the Òran Mór, my wise grandmother would say to me.

‘…while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy’. Job 38.7 The Book

Everything vibrates, my grandmother would remind me, and so everything is ‘dancing’ to the music of the Òran Mór. Then, the former was a difficult concept to understand as a child, but the latter was understandable. As a child I loved dancing. And so, Òran Mór is nature’s dance, such as a bird chirping, a frog croaking, leaves making a sound in trees when the wind blows, the sound of rain or the waterfall, our breath, a babies cry, our cells, and for those with scientific instruments to measure it, the very rocks and stars oscillate and participate in Òran Mór.

‘As you entered the world, your first independent action was to breathe, and then to make sound – the sound of your creation. Since then, each time you’ve made a sound you’ve re-created yourself’. Stewart Pearce, The Alchemy Of Voice

Oh, she was clever, if not confusing, especially to a wee lad to me, as I was then. I only partly understood then what my grandmother was saying about about the Òran Mór, but in remembering now, I can piece together much of what she said, and now understand it more so.

‘All things emanate from this Great Song of power that is spinning vibrantly through all life, from the microcosmic level of electrons, atoms…to the giant swath of whole galaxies…’, Frank MacEowan, The Mist-Filled Path

My grandmother would often ask me to listen out for the Òran Mór, as for us, it can also be heard as a barely audible whisper of wisdom, heard in nature, those ‘silent teachers’ or on the lips of others. Have you heard the Òran Mór as an audible sound, or as an inner whisper, or a paradoxical unheard ‘sound’ of inclusion that seems palpable, or through nature?

For humankind, we share in the ‘dance’ of the Òran Mór along with nature, but are blessed to acknowledge it – to be both part of it, and to ‘understand’ it (in part), objectively. In that sense our very words and singing can form part of the Òran Mór. Our breath has power. What a blessing to add to it. To be embraced by it. How important it is for us to speak words of ritual or ceremony, to speak positively to others, to utter gratitude, to sing or chant in groups or individually to nature and/or the Source of All. When we do so, we join in with the Song of the Universe, and the latter joins in with us. We become part of a magnificent cosmic symphony.

‘The Òran Mór is already within us waiting silently for the activation of our memory…The human soul enlivened with the Great Song becomes aware that it is a manifestation of the theophany of Creation…’ Frank MacEowan, The Mist-Filled Path

And so, often, my grandmother would send me out into her garden to listen. I have a feeling that it gave her time to attend to other things or to be by herself for a while, but it fascinated me – I was sent on an adventure to discover…who knows what?

When I returned she would ask me what I heard. And like the small child I was I would recite at breakneck speed, and without many pauses for breath, everything – listing the buzz of flies, the sound of birdsong, the bleat of a ragged sheep, the sound of thunder reverberating in nearby mountains, the sound of my footsteps, the sound of a babbling brook, the crack of a tree branch breaking nearby and falling from a great height, and the sound of an aircraft overhead.

‘And which of those was the Òran Mór?’, she would ask. ‘All of them?’, I would answer, hedging my bets and phrasing it as a question. ‘Ofcourse, all!’, she replied, and smiled as only she could.

I’m sitting here now in this darkened room, eyes half open, listening to my breath as those wonderful  ‘picture’ images of yesteryear disperse in my mind. The candle flame dances and splutters, as I realise that’s Òran Mór. The wind outside is howling like a ban-sidhe (pronounced bann-she), that’s Òran Mór, and as I sit here and chant then I, and you too, as you sing or chant or speak now or later, join in with the Òran Mór, and we add something valuable to the fabric of the Universe, and the Source of All joyfully sings with us.

‘And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and the loud rumbling of thunder. And the sound I heard was like harpists strumming their harps. And they sang a new song…’. Revelation 14:2-3a The Book

I blew out the candle flame. Sat cross-legged in the silence of the room, but still  hearing the howling, moaning sound of the wind outside. Yes, wherever we are, rural or urban centres, in a forest or an apartment block, we are reminded that Òran Mór is ubiquitous. It is with us now (though many would say the Òran Mór is personal, and so ‘it’ is not quite the word to use, but such is the limitation of language in dealing with major spiritual themes) . Even as you read this, rest assured that you and I, and all of creation are part of that glorious, ancient, powerful, connection that is the Òran Mór, the Great  Song.

 

Mysteriously It Flows: A River Poem In The Style Of A Cyrch A Cywta

20180215 MYSTERIOUSLY IT FLOWS

I love poetry, and as you may know those ancient Celts and Druids, and others had a respect, fascination and deep reverence for nature that is often missing today. Though there are many latter-day Celts and Druids and others, that are keeping this deep appreciation for nature alive, in a myriad of wonderful ways.

One such way to do this is though poetry.  And, yes, I’m back in London and only just 200 yards from the mighty River Thames, and so here is my poem of profound respect to that wonderful river, the life-blood of London, and its metaphoric relationship to us.

Mysteriously it flows,
through the great city it knows.
Freshwater to sea, it goes.
The river, meand’ring, prose,
resembles the soul, God knows.
Yet the soul often forgoes
the delight of just being
the light it overshadows.

Poems, depending on their rhyme etc are known by various names – who can forget the iambic pentameter? And the abovementioned style of poem, in Wales, is called a Cyrch a cywta (pronounced kirch-a-choo-tah).

Essentially, the Cyrch a cywta is a awesome poem consisting of a stanza of eight and with each containing seven-syllable in that line. The first six lines and the eighth sharing the same rhyme, and yes, you’ve noticed the seventh line (still with seven syllables) doesn’t have to rhyme like the others.

But, ofcourse, I can’t end this article here, and so would suggest two things: Firstly, to commend you to be aware of nature around you – even in the city – and to cherish it and give thanks for it in some way; and secondly, why not write you own Cyrch a cywta style of poem as an act of gratitude for something, or as a challenging exercise or just for fun (or for all three)? And, should you have a river nearby, you could even use this particular poem as part of your liturgy of thanks, occasionally.

 

Celtic Thought: In Praise Of Urban Trees (Or ‘The Sentinels Of Parson’s Green’)

20170213-in-prasie-of-urban-trees-celtic-thoughtIt sometimes feels easier to be embraced by the simple beauty of nature in rural areas. Even if the ‘Rockies’ or Yr Wyddfa (Mt Snowdon in north Wales, in my rural neighbourhood) are some way off, a small copse here or there, wayside flowers or a tree branch shed in a storm and providing a much needed seat for me, affords a remembrance or connection with the Great Outdoors.

And yet I’m now in London (UK) for a while, in an area that hosts almost 200,000 people, where the ratio of people per street is phenomenally high compared to rural Wales. I love Capel Curig. And for other reasons I love this part of London: a borough which nestles alongside the River Thames; jam-packed with a kaleidoscope of awesome, diverse  people; sporting a number of cafés – great places for avid book-readers, like me; and with a number of open, green spaces.

It sometimes feels like it takes more ‘work’, but perceiving nature in this place is possible – if only for the fact that nature itself really is ubiquitous, and we may, for the most part in urban areas, merely be unware of it.

‘The trees are God’s great alphabet:
With them He writes in shining green
Across the world His thoughts serene.’ Leonora Speyer

Not far from where I live (when in London) is Parson’s Green – a small area of open space, triangular in shape – was it a plague pit in medieval times? And it has great, green open area, with high trees from another era, and two public houses (it used to be tree) at its edges. It is a most wonderful, magical area, busy but with a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. Yet many miss its beauty in their rush to nearby Parson’s Green (London) Underground Station.

It is a magical area. A small oasis of beauty, a swathe of green in a sea of grey.  A ‘garden’ of solitude surrounded by a cacophony of sound. And in the centre are its two tallest trees. I first saw them as a boy some years ago, and they are still as tall, if not taller, than ever. They are the ‘guardians’ of this place, nature’s sentinels, and some might say they are its senior dryads. I rarely pass that way without a slight head-nod of respect to them.

There is something so sure and dignified in a tree’s presence. The Celts had a refined sense of worthy wonder of trees. For them many trees were sacred. Near their holy wells there was often either an ash or oak tree.’ John O’Donohue

These two trees are giants.

And that’s interesting, the myths from different cultures about two giants. In Roman times the myth of Gog and Magog (which are names that appear in ancient text) was ‘imported’ to Britain and quickly became the ‘protectors’ of London. Even today a few old buildings in Central London sport effigies of Gog and Magog, and at the Lord Mayor’s annual procession it is usual to see larger-than-life effigies of them on vehicles in the procession. In Greek mythology the Aloadae were two giants who were presumptuous enough  to attempt to storm the home of the gods by piling three mountains – Olympus, Ossa and Pelion on top of each other. Goram and Ghyston, too, are legendary giants in the folklore of the Bristol area. And, Fulham (this borough in question) had its own myth of two giant sisters who, it is said, built the churches on either side of the River Thames [see here].

‘Oh Trees, Trees, Trees…wake. Don’t you remember it? Don’t you remember me? Dryads and hamadryads, come out, come [out] to me.’ C S Lewis

Yes, these two tall trees amongst dozens of others, are giants, sentinels of Parson’s Green, in the heart of London.

And, for those who pause in their rush to and fro from home to the train station, and vice versa, the wildness of nature, the green-goodness, the magic of this place,  even a dryad or two, it’s spiritual presence and giftedness-from-the-Source-of-All may be revealed to those who takes time, are aware, and pay their respects.

‘The groves were God’s first temples.’ William Cullen Bryant

If ever you have the opportunity to move through Parson’s Green, or indeed in some other urban area where nature reminds us of it’s presence, then temporarily forget  about the busyness of the day and allow yourself to be transported into the realm of sacred space, sacred time, where the imaginal re-imposes itself and where Green-Spirit can embrace you in that ‘thin place’.

Something to do? If you’re in a built-up area, seek out a green space, find a tall tree, be aware, take time, be still, pause, and enjoy the view, the tree’s presence, and the One-Behind-It-All.

‘Only in the pauses between things, in the brief contemplative spaces of just being, can we catch a glimpse of love itself.’ Gerald G. May

An Encounter With Nwyfre In London?

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I’m still in London.

There is a forest not far from where I live in north Wales, old and dense; ancient. I love it. And there, after a long, winding trek through the thick forest is a small clearing stands ‘Y goeden mellt’, the Lightning Tree. (See here).

But, I’m still in town, still in the city, and won’t be back in Capel Curig for at least another few days. And yet….deep in my spirit there’s a restlessness. There are several places where I’ve experienced nwyfre (pronounced ‘noo-iv ruh’) , and one of those it when in the presence of that Lightning Tree.

Nwyfre, traditionally and literally has to do with the wind and the sky. If you can imagine fast flowing, light clouds, low in the sky, say, or the wind ‘howling’ of the tops of trees, then that’s evidence of nwyfre. But, it’s more that just an atmospheric phenomenon – to those with deep awareness, insight, enlightenment, to those who are poets and those who might have a ‘romantic’ inclination, it’s more.

‘Time and attention are the most precious gifts we can give.’ Rob Liano

Nwyfre, at its deepest and most profound, and I would say its most real level, is: Spirit, and the connectedness of everything because of Spirit, and the flow of energy (love etc) between them. 

And so, feeling a fair amount of ennui last evening, I went for a walk along the banks of the River Thames in the heart of London. It was late and the air was now cold, very cold, and the wind was howling over the rooftops of nearby high-rise buildings, making a wailing sound like some kind of invisible bansidhe (pronounced ‘ban-shee’). Oh, the wind moaned a deep, mournful, relentless groan.

I felt small in comparison to the power of the wind that raced across city rooftops and shook the trees. I felt separated, as something of a different order altogether to that barometric pressure that moved noisily, and yet invisibly, nearby. And yet, connected. That’s nwyfre!

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with… the Spirit.’ The Book  (part)

Gazing at the river, only dimly lit by street-lighting, I breathed in – air. Nwyfre! The same wind that blew high above me, that howled across the rooftops, that had come from unknown parts in its journey to who knows where, was now in my lungs and coursing through my veins. I ‘discovered’ that I am no longer separate because of nwyfre! That which was outside, literally, is inside of me. We are encompassed by it. Cocooned. Connected.

‘The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.’ Carl Sagan

Walking now, to keep warm – it seemed colder than ever, and fog was moving in – I ‘discovered’ also that I no longer felt that small. Nwyfre! Not separated, not small, but knew that we are all connected. Connected and powerful. I experienced that at Y goeden mellt’, the Lightning Tree in Wales on many occasions when surrounded by a forest, and in solitude; and now in the heart of London – surrounded by eight million soul – I experienced it once more.

I ‘discovered’ a third fact. And this one that affects you, wherever you are. You too, can experienced that connectedness of nwyfre. In thinking of spiritual experiences many think of out-of-the-way and difficult places to visit, but it doesn’t have to be only that way. Where you are, right now, is as special, as sacred, and as holy as Y goeden mellt, and so is every place, too.

‘We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibres connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibres, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.’ Herman Melville

In the heart of London I experienced the connectedness of nwyfre, and wherever you are, you can too. Ofcourse, if our minds are too busy, we’ll miss the invitation of nwyfre. It seems we have a choice.

‘When you make a choice, you change the future.’ Deepak Chopra

It was now bitterly cold, and as I headed home – about a four minute walk from where I was at that point, I looked at  the lights in those high-rise apartments, the glow of tv screens ‘playing’ on curtains and the apartments’ ceilings, and the general busyness of the metropolis, and felt saddened that unwittingly some had made a choice, and had missed the opportunity of encountering nwyfre. And, the really sad thing is that they never even knew that they had already made a choice.

‘When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.’ William James

 

Haiku #5: Old Father Thames, London

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As you know, I’m fascinated by the traditional haiku – short poems consisting of three lines, and the lines containing firstly five syllables, then seven, then five; and somewhere in the haiku there is a seasonal reference, however oblique.

I’m in London at the moment, and am lucky enough to live just 1oo yards/metres from the River Thames. I love London, and especially this part – I know, I’m biased.

So, I got up early this morning, and wandered along the banks of the River Thames to ‘greet the sun’, as a light, cold, grey fog ‘rolled’ along the river – the idea of ‘pea-souper’ London fogs is, essentially, a thing of the past, but especially at times of seasonal transition, this time of the year, when the weather changes and the temperature drops,  fog abounds along the banks of the river, nearby streets and ‘hangs’ over local parks and tumbles into the street(s).

Here’s a few haiku (or should that be haikus) about my early morning encounter.

1

Old Father Thames wakes.
His cold, grey breath moves onward.
So ‘menacingly’.

2

London dressed in grey.
Little seen, for much is lost.
Damp, rime, autumn frost.

3

Unseeing, I walk.
Faith-steps, slowly, taken now.
A ‘leap in the dark’?

4

Easterly winds blow.
Invisible is seen, now.
Old Father Thames wakes.

Poem: Become The Duet

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If we were to travel from the wild, ruggedness of Capel Curig,
near the foothills of Yr Wyddfa,
that place of green, of open-space, of dragons, myth and power;
Myrddin’s lair.

If we were to travel to the busy-ness of Old London,
that place of the ancient river of the Celts,
of crowded streets, of neon lights, Druid-energy and oh-so many people,
the Voice can be heard.

If we were to pause,
wherever we are, just for one moment,
to revel in life that is happening around us, to us, in us, through us,
we would hear the Voice.

Distractions come,
and a distancing from all that is natural seems to happen.
But, only seemingly, so.
The Voice that spoke creation into being,
thunders in the wilderness,  whispers in built-up places,
but speaks, still.
The Voice can be heard, if….
…if we have ears to hear.

If we would but listen to the music of our life,
our body would sway in time to the primal beat of times of old.

If we would but gaze at beauty around us,
our mind would laugh crazily with delight at the colours seen.

If we would but ponder, and feel deep within our soul
the love-song of the Friend,
then we would know the reason why we are here.
Become the duet.

Tadhg’s Journal: Of Celts, Giants & And Angels…

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Excerpt from Tadhg’s Journal: I’m back at my London place now, at least for a short while, and it’s great to be back. I do love wild and rugged north Wales and my place at Capel Curig, but I also love London for all its busyness, and especially this part, Fulham.

As I sit here, having put down a great book for a while, and in the cool twilight of the day, I’m now journaling just a few thoughts, by way of an introduction to where I am now, to this geographical area. A place of history, intrigued and mystery.

putney_bridge_-wiki-copyrightfree-723-5I love stories, and here’s a local myth that I came across some time ago. It is said that many years before the bridge was built, there lived in these parts two giant sisters on either side of the River Thames. One lived in, what is now called Fulham, the other, in what is now called Putney. Without a bridge times were difficult – especially as the pair of them had set about building a church in their respective villages (as they were then), on the banks on the River Thames.

And so they worked hard, fashioning huge bricks out of stone, and building a church, each. But, with only one hammer between them, thee work was slow.

How did they share that one hammer? When the giant sister on this side of the River Thames (I live in Fulham), wanted the hammer, she would shout to her sister to throw it across the river by shouting ‘full home’. When the other sister, on the other side of the river wanted the hammer, she would shout ‘Put nigh’. And it was from their cries to each other that the respective villages (and now boroughs of London) became known as Fulham, and Putney. [View is of Putney Bridge, looking towards All Saints Church, and Fulham]

284-river-thamesThis area of London has had a long Celtic influence. Indeed, the River Thames (pronounced ‘temz’) is so called because originally it was called Tamesas, a Celt word which meant dark. An apt description of the river’s water.

The Romans, later, called it the Tamesis, and then the “Th” was put added during the Renaissance period as they thought the Celts originated from Greece  possibly to reflect a belief that the name was derived from River Thyamis in Greece. The ‘th’ was, allegedly, then dropped for the ‘t’ pronunciation that we stress today, as one of the Kings couldn’t say his ‘th’s. [View of the River Thames, Fulham at twilight]

Did you know that the River Thames, it is alleged, has its own angel, and has been seen recently. A tv/film crew spotted an angel, and their reaction can be seen here.

261-fulham-palaceI also like history, too, and one of my special places to visit is Fulham Palace. From around AD700,  the site was acquired by Bishop Waldhere, and it served as a Bishop’s residence for over 12 centuries.

There is evidence of much earlier occupation of the site. Excavations from 1972 to 1986 by an archaeological group revealed Neolithic (3000BC), Iron Age (800BC-43AD) and Roman (200AD-500AD) artefacts.

Edmund Bonner (c.1500 – 5 September 1569), who later became Bishop Bonner lived at the Fulham Palace in the sixteenth century. Depending on which side of the Reformation you were on, it was probably undesirable to go to tea with the man. He was known as ‘Bloody Bonner’ for his role in the persecution of what he called heretics. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs sums up Bonner by saying: ‘This cannibal in three years space three hundred martyrs slew. They were his food, he loved so blood, he sparèd none he knew.’ [Photo: Part of Fulham Palace]

Just a few thoughts.

Did you know #3

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Did you know #3. This ‘Did you know’ has a decidedly mythical tone to it. So, did you know…

…the Boggart, a mythical UK ‘household spirit’, of old, that indulges in playful pranks in the house (like moving your keys, pulling the blankets off your bed as you sleep and so, is active, even today), can change and become malevolent if you don’t feed it, and

…the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland was first ever recorded when St Columba commanded it to stop pursuing  a swimmer in AD 565, and

…there is a church in Chesterfield, the church of St Mary and AllSaints, with a twisted spire. It is said that when it was built wooden beams, which had not dried out, were hastily used, and as they dried the spire twisted. However, others say that when the church was completed, a young couple of virgins got married, and the devil who was flying by was so shocked to see such a pure couple in church, that he stopped, rested on the spire and his weight twisted the spire, and

…in the 13th Century, the king of England, Henry III, used to let his pet polar bear go fishing in the Thames, and

…the lakes of Llydaw, Dinas and Ogwen in Wales, are amongst those that claim to contain the magical sword of King Arthur, Excalibur, and

…the afanc was a monstrous creature that, like most lake monsters, was said to prey upon anyone foolish enough to fall into or swim in its lake. One of the earliest descriptions was given by the 15th-century poet Lewys Glyn Cothi, and

…in the 1830’s, in the smog-filled streets of Victorian London a man or ‘monster’ roamed about attacking ladies. He was described as a fearsome man, with clawed hands, eyes that resembled ‘red balls of fire’, resembled the devil, and was said to be able to escape pursuit by jumping to ridiculous heights, and was known as Spring-Heeled Jack, and

…that it was reported in several London newspapers around 1859, that the sewers of London were full of monstrous pigs that would one day free themselves from their subterranean home and run riot through the city, and

…that Scotland has its own yeti, ‘bigfoot’? The Am Fear Liath Mòr, that is the Big Grey Man, is said to be extremely tall, is covered in short hair, and in the fifteenth century was called Wudewas, the ‘wood men’. So, do avoid Scottish summits after dark, and

…the Ceffyl Dŵr, water horse in Welsh folklore, appears and offers walkers a ride, but jumps back into the water and drowns the rider. Don’t climb on the back of a stray horse – especially one that appears to be soaking wet even when it’s not raining, and

…there is an urban myth that should  Big Ben, in London, ever strike thirteen, then the four vast lions at the foot of Nelson’s Column will come to life, and

…there is a London superstition about the famous ravens at the Tower of London. If the ravens ever fly away, it is said the Monarchy will fall, and with it, England itself. Interestingly, someone in authority takes this seriously, as the ravens wings are ‘clipped’ so they cannot fly, but only hop, and finally

…it is said that it is (still) illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament, London, in a suit of armour.

Rain in the City

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A raindrop falls on the chimney stack,
another two on the window-pane.
And then a torrent; and driving along, I’m taken aback
as the sky ‘opens up’, with no refrain.

Like a demented drummer, is the sound of rain on the roof of the car.

Around me, rolling ‘hills’ of bricks and mortar
are pelted with heaven-sent precipitation.
And granite gullies of streams of rain-water,
receive endlessly from the sky, down ‘open mouthed’ drains; a watery damnation.

Mighty mountains of steel and glass are overcome by nature’s blessing.

Passers-by run for cover,
except the dog that wants to ‘mark’ a tree,
except people already soaked, or the ‘odd’ rain-lover,
and those who are still dry, and warm, and comfortable, like me.

Rugged nature, best viewed from the inside is so wonderful.

Red gives way to green,
and green gives way to grey, and more grey, and even more.
Here to stay, it seems. Ubiquitous rain.
And, then it stops. [Oh well!]

Such is rain in the city, that is London.

Afterthought: People appear, as dry as a bone.
Where have all the soaked people gone?

Bestiary: C is for Ceffyl Dŵr

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Stop press! There is a monster in London!

London, it seems, has its very own monster, or rather the River Thames does. At this moment in time I should point out that when I’m in London, I live just 200 yards/metres from the river.

Seen breaking the surface water and floating for a few seconds here and there in the river, over the last few days, has been a mysterious grey, humped, rather illusive creature. Not quite as big as the much sought-after Loch Ness monster in Scotland, but maybe just as real.

Could this be the Beast of the Thames? BBC News

Speculation in the newspapers is high about the River Thames’ monster. Could it be a dolphin? True, these do sometimes find their way along the River Thames as far as the city, albeit an extremely rare occurrence.

River Thames Monster: Fresh sightings fuel speculation of creature lurking in the depths. London Evening Standard

Could it be a seal? Rarer than a dolphin, they have been known to lose their way and swim the River Thames and pop up near the Houses of Parliament, which nestles the river bank in central London, with a perplexed look. Could it be driftwood? A small whale?

‘Mysterious creature’ spotted swimming in the River Thames. ITV News

Having discounted the aforementioned, it is clear to me that London now has its own ceffyl dŵr [pronounced ‘keff-all door’].

Usually found in Wales (in Scotland they’re known as kelpie), they have been known to move over great distances. Ceffyl dŵr are, literally, ‘water horses’, and usually frequent lakes or waterfalls, but why not rivers?

They are easily recognised as they appear usually as large grey shire horses, with fiery red eyes, and can appear from the water or a thick mist, and disappear back into it in an instant. Some say the ceffyl dŵr have wings, but any anamcara or even a self-respecting a cryptozoologist would question this. However, regardless of the weather, they will always be sopping wet.

Do not try to ride one.

They may look friendly and inviting, but they are, infact, very violent creatures. It is said they have a habit of trampling hapless victims to death or taking the unsuspecting rider back into the water, where the victim is drowned and never seen again.

Meanwhile, the search for the monster goes on, with crowds armed with mobile phone cameras lining the riverbank and animal ‘expert’s taking to boats to catch sight of the creature. If only they knew how elusive, clever and dangerous ceffyl dŵr really are.