Walking with the Ancestors at Lughnasadh

Posted on 06/08/2017 by Admin under General Photography
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As John Barleycorn readies himself for the harvest, at this time of year I reflect on what I’ve personally harvested from the year so far.

Over the past two weekends I’ve walked the landscape where I grew up looking for clues.


I was born and grew up in a Nottinghamshire mining town.  Everything centred around the pit.  In the 1980s the government forcibly broke these communities, spilling blood, killing pride and leaving millions without hope.  In its place a ‘me’ culture was established based upon endlessly sustaining economic growth through selfishness, grasping, selling-off the country’s assets and separating people into two groups: The ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.  The idea being that the latter aspired to become the former through hard work.

Were seeing the return of those days.  Landlords who own most of Britain’s houses and those that sleep rough.  Those with private healthcare, and those that cannot afford a dentist.  Fine dining and food banks.  A divided society.

This is my old school gate.  Eight hundred children used to pass through them each morning to be educated.  Now only a dozen builders pass through them, creating a handful of luxury homes for property developers to rent out.


I have walked the disused railway lines which supported the industrial revolution and carried good across Britain to sustain use through world wars.  I used to explore the old bridges and infrastructure as a child, fascinated.


Now green pathways, the ghosts of Britain’s rail network lie silent, the clouds mimicking the plumes of steam from the passing trains.


We may look back on the ‘good old days’ with a mixture of anger and also nostalgia. Anger at the social inequality mentioned above.  But communities stuck together.  They fought as a collective, rather than as individuals.  They had pride.  They mucked in.  They survived.

Were it not for the regeneration I would not be able to walk these lands.  They would remain dirty spoils of a lost industry.  Nature and communities have brought something back to life for the common good.

I finish the day grateful for what my ancestors have done.  Grateful for what communities have pulled together to do.  Grateful for mother Earth’s ability to reclaim, covering our mistakes with greenery, given time and patience.  Grateful for what I’m doing.





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