Janas, Faeries, Foel Drygarn, Denisovans, Self-domestication, Psilocybin, Wim Hof, Hyperthymesia, The Tjapwurung





“The Janas are imaginary creatures of the Sardinian popular tradition, tiny women with a volatile temperament, a bit witches and a bit fairies, both kind and naughty”





What are the faeries? Where do they come from and where do they go when they’re not interacting with their human observers? Faeries have been an important part of the folkloric repertoire for hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of years, and while they are portrayed in the popular imagination through faerie tales and have become disneyfied through the 20th century, their main presence is in the myriad of folktales and anecdotes from every part of the globe.





Above is a drone image (courtesy Iain P) of one of the most famous prehistoric sites in Wales– Foel Drygarn (the bare hill with three cairns) at the eastern end of Mynydd Preseli.  There are four different components to the site:

  1.  the three prominent hill summit cairns, believed to be Bronze Age burial mounds;
  2.  the defensive embankments and walls associated with a defended settlement, assumed to be Iron Age;
  3.  the multiple pits, hollows or little platforms believed to mark the sites of around 270 huts;
  4.  the rampart of crags running across the southern part of the fortified site.

Iain has made available some fabulous drone footage of the site,  here:






The first wave of archaic hominin migration out of Africa which expanded as far into Southern Asia as Indonesia and China, Homo erectus, probably never reached Northern Asia in any significant numbers.

But, before modern humans arrived in Northern Asia, Denisovans and Neanderthals (archaic hominins) reached at least as far as the Altai Mountains. We don’t know with much precision when they arrived there or by precisely what route, but both were present in the Altai region around 90,000 years ago when a child with one Denisovan parent and one Neanderthal parent was born. Sometime after 40,000 years ago, they became extinct (or at least almost extinct) in the region. We don’t know if they ever overlapped with modern humans in that region, but the timing of the latest evidence of their presence in Northern Asia and the earliest evidence of a modern human presence in Northern Asia is suspiciously close in time. Ancient Altai Neanderthal DNA shows evidence as admixture with modern humans that was estimated to have taken place ca. 100,000 years ago, but these admixture events probably took place with their ancestors in Southwest Asia, rather than Northern Asia.

Ancient DNA and archaeology establishes that the original modern humans in Siberia (who arrived there about 38,000 years ago), the “Ancient North Siberians” (ANS) were wiped out during the Last Glacial Maximum (about 20,000 years ago) except for refugia populations in Beringia (and possibly also the Altai Mountains region) who contributed to Ancient Paleosiberian gene pools.

Ancient DNA also confirms the hypothesis that Siberia was the source for both the “Ancient Paleosiberian” (AP) population that emerged after the Last Glacial Maximum which gave rise to the founding population of the Americas (which has only a few relict tribes in Siberia itself who are their descendants), and for the East Asian shifted “Neosiberian” populations that largely replaced the Ancient Paleosiberians around 11,000 years ago who were a genetic source for Na-Dene and Inuit Native Americans ancestors’ migration to the Americas and most modern indigenous Siberians.

In the last 7000 years or so, there have been more waves of migration across Northern Asia, although some of these waves did not reach all of the way to far Northeastern Siberia.

First, Uralic populations migrated West and East from central Siberia (starting ca. 5000 BCE).





When it comes to species, says biological anthropologist Rebecca Ackermann, “forget everything you learned in high school.”

The classic textbook definition, known as the biological species concept, is a group of organisms that only produce fertile offspring with one another. By this rule, domesticated dogs are a single species — whether dachshund or Great Dane — but a donkey and a horse are not.

Ackermann, a professor at South Africa’s University of Cape Town, favors a different definition that’s not dependent on successful sex: a group of organisms sharing a mix of anatomical, behavioral and genetic traits that distinguishes them from other groups. But, she adds, “Many, many evolutionary biologists I know often avoid the word species entirely.”

That’s because the evolutionary tree is tangled, and many organisms on diverging branches can still interbreed. “Canids have, pigs have, mice have. You name it, and it has,” says University of Georgia evolutionary biologist Michael Arnold. “There’s a hybrid under every bush.”

That includes our ancestors. Genetic evidence has shown that ancient Homo sapiens interbred with Neanderthals and their eastern cousins, Denisovans, several times from 100,000 to 40,000 years ago. Neanderthals and Denisovans mated with each other, and Denisovans hooked up with a distant lineage, not yet known from fossils, that may have been closer to the earlier Homo erectus.

In recent ancient DNA studies, almost “every time a new individual is sequenced from the human fossil record,” says Ackermann, “there’s some new piece of evidence for gene flow.”


As Homo sapiens expanded globally, they confronted new environments, foods and diseases. The migrants could have evolved adaptations to those pressures, but it would have taken many generations.

Some groups, however, were able to speed up that process: By mating with Neanderthals and Denisovans they encountered in their new world, the lineages of the newly arrived Homo sapiens could have acquired locally adaptive genes related to skin and hair color, metabolism and immunity over mere decades. “That jumps so far ahead of what you could achieve through natural selection,” says Ackermann. “Hybridization had a serious effect, a big impact on people.”




What is self-domestication?

The heterochronic processes operate on time and the rate of transformation of the shape and size of the individuals of a species relative to another species, so that the development is extended or cut and rate slows down or accelerates. For example, today’s dogs are smaller than their ancestors the wolves, have the round head, a short nose in subadult and a docile behavior.

Bonobos (Pan paniscus) are very different from the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) . These are very aggressive, able to kill other similar and even offspring, and are organized into groups with a very strong personal and sexual hierarchy. Instead, bonobos are more tolerant, and his group does not have much importance the hierarchy, can quietly share food, and young couples. Well, bonobos have some parts of their body proportions of a subadult common chimpanzee.

Why does this happen? According to the hypothesis of self -domestication , the evolutionary process favored retention youthful features and cut develop morphological structures that may be associated with aggressive behavior, especially on the face, as the size of the teeth or the bulging of the supraorbital region. This would promote collaborative group behavior and socialization

Translate this into Homo sapiens supposed self -domestication associate the unique features of our species, such as spherical skull, short face, loss of body hair or explosion of creativity and technological innovation. However, these traits have evolved in mosaic: the spherical skull itself is associated with the morphology sapiens from about 200,000 years ago, but the shortening of the face and other features already anticipated in species like Homo ergaster and Homo antecessor a million years, loss of body hair would probably be linked to the development of a body completely modern Homo ergaster , and the creative explosion begins between 100,000 and 60,000 years.

On the other hand, if we look at the face, our species is characterized by neoteny, ie the conservation of juvenile traits in adults compared with the ancestress species or other related. The face of a Homo sapiens adult is strikingly similar to that of a Homo neanderthalensis child.

It is thought that this process has accelerated since Neolithic times. There is a correlation between the development of human societies larger and loss of muscle mass and reduced body size. Social development has remained reduced aggressiveness in our species, although many different THINK … Although we can not associate this to the creative explosion and curiosity that pushed us to colonize the world, since they occurred much earlier. We can not rule that lower body is associated with other adaptations, as an evolutionary response to hormonal reconfiguration result of transformation of human physical activity. In any case, several recent studies support the hypothesis of self-domestication:





An Appaloosa gelding named Joker took 2 minutes and 20 seconds earlier this month to find a carefully hidden volunteer in a 13-acre, semi-wooded field near Terrebonne.

Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins watched, astonished, as Joker and rider George Ehmer, 66, of Milton-Freewater nosed out the hidden volunteer.

It was a dramatic and spectacular demonstration of what practioners call “equine air-scenting.” The event was organized by a loosely knit central Oregon group that hopes to use horses in the role of bloodhounds during future backcountry searches.

“They’ve definitely got my attention,” Adkins said Wednesday . “That was a pretty difficult search because the wind kept changing on us. That horse just went right over there and zigged and zagged and zoomed right in.”

Horsewoman Kate Beardsley of Redmond arranged the search demonstration with Laurie Adams of Camp Sherman. The pair are assembling a team of a dozen air-scent trained horses and riders that they hope eventually will be deployed around the Northwest when hunters, hikers and others go missing.

“A lot of people don’t know that horses do this at all,” said Beardsley. “Laurie and I are focused on saving lives.”


Chatterboxes by nature, horses communicate with other horses via a complex equine sign language of ear movements, body posture, neck swings, head positions, snorts and exhalations. Riders seldom have a clue what’s being said, but horses are stoic about that, said Beardsley.

“They say to themselves, ‘I’ve got a stupid human, and I’ll just put up with it,'” she said.

Accordingly, most of Nowacki’s clinic time is focused on teaching riders to understand what their horses are trying to communicate.




What is at stake now is not only the value-basis of the U.S. dollar and the continuance of America’s NATO alliance against Russia, but, more basically than either, is the full realization of the dream by Cecil Rhodes in 1877 and of George Soros today, for a unified and all-inclusive UK-U.S. empire to become ruler over the entire world — the first-ever all-encompassing global empire. Britain importantly bonded King Saud and his family to its Empire, at the time of World War I, against the Ottoman Empire. That was the Sauds’ alliance against Turkey’s empire.

After World War II, U.S. became the leader of this joint UK-US empire, as Rhodes had expected ultimately to happen. Ever since 2000, Erdogan has been scheming to restore Turkey’s role as the world’s primary Islamic empire, and so to squelch the Saud family’s aspirations to achieve dominance over global Islam. Ever since 1744, the Saud family has been trying to achieve that dominance as being the fundamentalist-Sunni champion against the fundamentalist-Shiite leadership since 1979 in Iran. But, now, the Sunni Sauds’ main competitor might no longer be Shiite Iran, but instead turn out to be Sunni Turkey, after all — which had been the Sauds’ main enemy at the very start of the 20th Century.

What will the U.S. do, as the collapse of its aristocracy’s dream of global conquest after the fall of communism, is now gathering force even to bring into question such key former allies of America’s aristocracy, as Turkey, and as the world’s richest family (by far), the Saud family (the owners of Saudi Arabia)?


As this is being written, on October 19th, there has been speculation that the Saudi Government is planning to admit that individual(s) in it had made bad errors, which tragically ended in a botched interrogation of Khashoggi at the Consulate in Istanbul. This response would not be credible in any case, because of the long history, going back decades, of prominent potential opponents of the Saud family being inexplicably disappeared and never heard from (or about) again.

For one example, the headline from this past May 30th, six months ago, remains current news, as of even today: “NAWAF AL RASHEED, SON OF PRINCE TALAL BIN ABDULAZIZ AL RASHEED, DISAPPEARED SINCE MAY 12 DEPORTATION TO SAUDI ARABIA”. And, going back to before Crown Prince Salman, to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing ‘suspects’, all of them simply disappeared, never to be heard from (or about) again — no public trial, nothing at all. There are many such cases, of many different kinds. This is normal Saudi practice — not abnormal at all. What is abnormal is that Jamal Khashoggi had just been hired by perhaps the world’s second-wealthiest person, Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post, to write articles against the Crown-Prince son, and future heir, of overwhelmingly the world’s wealthiest person, King Salman. That’s what is different from those such prior instances.




If anything, Wahhabism is the very negation of Islam. As many have called it before – Islam is not Wahhabism. Wahhabism is merely the misguided expression of one man’s political ambition – Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab, a man who was recruited by Empire Britain to erode at the fabric of Islam and crack the unity of its ummah (community).

As Wahhabism began its land and mind grab in Hijaz – now known as Saudi Arabia – one family, Al Saud saw in this violent and reactionary school of thought a grand opportunity to claim and retain power. This unholy alliance has blotted the skies of Arabia for centuries, darkening the horizon with its miasms.

Wahhabism has now given birth to a monstrous abomination – extreme radicalism; a beast which has sprung and fed from Salafis and Wahhabis poison, fueled by the billions of Al Saud’s petrodollars; a weapon exploited by neo-imperialists to justify military interventions in those wealthiest corners of the world.

But though those powers which thought themselves cunning by weaving a network of fear around the world to better assert and enslave are losing control over their brain-child, ISIS and its sisters in hate and fury, as they all have gone nuclear, no longer bound by the chains their fathers shackled them with.

ISIS’s obscene savagery epitomises the violence which is inherent and central to Wahhabism and Salafism – its other deviance. And though the world knows now the source of all terror, no power has yet dared speak against it, instead the world has chosen to hate its designated victim – Islam.






The Turkish account of the murder of Khashoggi given by President Erdogan is true, in every detail. Audio and video evidence exists and has been widely shared with world intelligence agencies, including the US, UK, Russia and Germany, and others which have a relationship with Turkey or are seen as influential. That is why, despite their desperate desire to do so, no Western country has been able to maintain support for Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. I have not seen the video from inside the consulate, but have been shown stills which may be from a video. The most important thing to say is that they are not from a fixed position camera and appear at first sight consistent with the idea they are taken by a device brought in by the victim. I was only shown them briefly. I have not heard the audio recording.

There are many things to learn from the gruesome murder other than the justified outrage at the event itself. It opens a window on the truly horrible world of the extremely powerful and wealthy.

The first thing to say is that the current Saudi explanation, that this was an intended interrogation and abduction gone wrong, though untrue, does have one thing going for it. It is their regular practice. The Saudis have for years been abducting dissidents abroad and returning them to the Kingdom to be secretly killed. The BBC World Service often contains little pockets of decent journalism not reflected in its main news outlets, and here from August 2017 is a little noticed piece on the abduction and “disappearance” of three other senior Saudis between 2015-17. Interestingly, while the piece was updated this month, it was not to include the obvious link to the Khashoggi case.





New research in the journal Evolution Letters has uncovered evidence for the functional purpose of psilocybin in fungi. It’s there to screw with insects; specifically, those insects that wouldn’t mind chowing down on a fungi’s mushroom or on the food that fungi themselves like to eat—dung and wood.

Part of what’s made it so difficult to pin down the purpose of psilocybin in mushrooms is that psilocybin-producing mushrooms are mostly not related to one another. It doesn’t appear as though a common ancestor developed the ability to produce psilocybin and passed it down to its offspring. Instead, five distinct, distantly related families of fungi make psilocybin.

Psilocybin is a secondary metabolite, meaning it’s an organic compound not involved in the growth, development, or reproduction of the fungi itself. Necessarily, its expensive to produce secondary metabolites, and psilocybin in particular is a complicated molecule to make. So, it’s extremely weird that it’s popped up in disparate species of fungi.


It’s unlikely that psilocybin production evolved in distinct mushroom species spontaneously, and since these species aren’t related, it’s pretty clear that vertical gene transfer—passing down genes from parent to child—is not responsible either. Instead, the researchers surmised that horizontal gene transfer must be the culprit.

Horizontal gene transfer doesn’t take up much space in the general public’s understanding of evolution. We typically think of evolution as gradual, random changes in the gene that accidentally improve the species’ fitness in its environment, which are then passed down to offspring. But genetic material can also be passed between distinct but co-existing species.

While there are a few different mechanisms for horizontal gene transfer, larger critters probably receive genes from other species via transposons, genes that mostly do nothing besides jump around in the DNA and cause problems. Sometimes, transposons take another gene along with them, occasionally getting mixed up with viruses, insects, or other third parties who then deposit the gene into another species.

As an example, the transposon BovB makes up about a quarter of cows’ genome, and it’s also found in snakes, zebrafish, geckos, and other random species. Rather than there being a branch on the tree of life that traces a distinct line of critters with BovB, instead it looks more like a Jackson Pollock painting—random islands of animals with the BovB gene. Clearly, BovB didn’t get to these disparate species by a common ancestor. Instead, it jumped around, hitching rides with third-parties like viruses and insects. Here’s a video explainer.




During his long existential journey, Wim Hof came face to face with nature’s most primordial elements. Staring right back, the merciless cold and bountiful air revealed an energy now lost to most of modern society, dormant inside all of us and waiting to be reawakened.

Having embraced these majestic forces, and breaking record after record in a range of death-defying feats, Wim resolved to share this discovery with the rest of the world. He gradually whittled his accrued insight down to the core essentials, so that people young and old, healthy and sick could tap into this potential without having to invest the same decades worth of study, travel and daring.





Actress Marilu Henner (Taxi) can recall specific details from almost every day in her life. She has hyperthymesia, a rare condition that only she and 10 other people in the world are proven by tests to possess. In this 60 Minutes(Australian version) segment, Henner talks with her about “superior autobiographical memory.” She considers it a gift but others interviewed consider it a burden.





A cold winter’s night in south Wales back on February 26, 2016, was anything but ordinary in one Welsh town, some say.

In a scene worthy of an episode of the X-Files, multiple witnesses reported seeing a huge UFO and other lights – along with military planes, helicopters, a chase, explosions, shaken buildings, damaged trees and wreckage in Pentyrch.




What Psychedelic Research Can and Cannot Tell Us about Consciousness

A recent Scientific American blog post misconstrues and oversimplifies the research




What do all these influential intellectuals all have in common?

  1. Communism (Marx)
  2. Sexual depravity (Freud)
  3. Corporate Leftism (Bernays)
  4. Multiculturalism (Horace Kallen)
  5. Deconstructivism/Critical Theory (Walter Benjamin)
  6. Frankfurt School (Adorno)
  7. Radical jurisprudence (Brandeis, Frankfurter, and Cardozo)
  8. Large-scale, non-selective immigration (Israel Zangwill, Emma Lazarus)

They are all linked to Sabbatean-Frankism, a distinct quasi-Satanic schism within Jewry. The extraordinary prevalence of Sabbatean-Frankist influence among top Jewish intellectuals from 1850-1950 makes it statistically impossible to deny its role because of the impossible coincidences.

The Sabbatean-Frankists sought to invert traditional Jewish-Christian values, including the 10 Commandments, restrictions on debauched sexuality, man’s dominion over the environment, etc. Further, given Sabbatean-Frankism’s apocalyptic nature, the modern Left is riven with irrational destructive impulses.

This general thesis has been explored by historians Paul Johnson and Gershom Scholem, but never in such detail. There are several implications of this thesis:





The Israel military’s horrific record of atrocities has long been established. From using civilians as human shields to blanketing civilian areas with cluster bombs and killing journalists, there is no defensible moral code governing the actions of the Israeli military.

But things took an even more grotesque turn last week, when the Israeli military’s spokesperson for Arab audiences, Avichay Adraee, published a twopart Arabic video on Twitter, employing blatant anti-Shia rhetoric and citing some of the scholars the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) relies on, as a means of mobilizing Sunni Arab hostility towards Iran. Take a moment to get your head around this: At a time when the U.S. is committed to eradicating IS and its offshoots in the Middle East, Israel is working in the other direction, promoting the very ideology animating these groups.

Adraee’s video doesn’t incite sectarianism in passing. It digs deep into centuries-old religious texts to promote hostility towards Shias, then translates that into anti-Iranian arguments. The video opens with Adraee accusing Hamas of promoting Iran’s agenda in the region, thereby “officially becoming Shia, according to the honored sayings of the prophet.”

Adraee then addresses his audience, saying: “have you not read the writings of religious scholars… who have clearly and candidly warned you about the threat of Iranian-style Shiism to you and your people?” The scholars Adraee cites represent the ideological roots of groups like IS. For instance, Adraee quotes Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, an 18th-century preacher who inspired an extreme and intolerant strain of Islam, as saying that the Shias “are more damaging to [Islam] than the Jews and Christians.”





Does evolutionary theory need a rethink? Yes, urgently

Without an extended evolutionary framework, the theory neglects key processes, say Kevin Laland and colleagues.

Charles Darwin conceived of evolution by natural selection without knowing that genes exist. Now mainstream evolutionary theory has come to focus almost exclusively on genetic inheritance and processes that change gene frequencies.

Yet new data pouring out of adjacent fields are starting to undermine this narrow stance. An alternative vision of evolution is beginning to crystallize, in which the processes by which organisms grow and develop are recognized as causes of evolution.

Some of us first met to discuss these advances six years ago. In the time since, as members of an interdisciplinary team, we have worked intensively to develop a broader framework, termed the extended evolutionary synthesis1 (EES), and to flesh out its structure, assumptions and predictions. In essence, this synthesis maintains that important drivers of evolution, ones that cannot be reduced to genes, must be woven into the very fabric of evolutionary theory.

We believe that the EES will shed new light on how evolution works. We hold that organisms are constructed in development, not simply ‘programmed’ to develop by genes. Living things do not evolve to fit into pre-existing environments, but co-construct and coevolve with their environments, in the process changing the structure of ecosystems.

The number of biologists calling for change in how evolution is conceptualized is growing rapidly. Strong support comes from allied disciplines, particularly developmental biology, but also genomics, epigenetics, ecology and social science1, 2. We contend that evolutionary biology needs revision if it is to benefit fully from these other disciplines. The data supporting our position gets stronger every day.





The Tjapwurung, an Aboriginal people in what is now southern Australia, shared the story of this bird hunt from generation to generation across an unbelievably large slice of time—many more millennia than one might think possible. The birds (most likely the species with the scientific name Genyornis newtoni) memorialized in this tale are now long extinct. Yet the story of the Tjapwurung’s “tradition respecting the existence” of these birds conveys how people pursued the giant animals. At the time of this particular hunt, between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago, volcanoes in the area were erupting, wrote amateur ethnographer James Dawson in his 1881 book Australian Aborigines, and so scientists have been able to corroborate this oral history by dating volcanic rocks.

The extraordinary antiquity of such stories, which represent knowledge passed on largely orally, was not demonstrable until recently. This has allowed the full extent and implications of the longevity of the memories on which these stories are based to be appreciated. Another such oral history surrounds the Klamath people of Oregon, in the western U.S., who tell of a time when there was no Crater Lake, only a giant volcano towering over the landscape where the lake is today. As the story goes, the fractious volcano god, besotted with a local beauty, threatened the Klamath with fury and fire unless the woman acquiesced. But her people called upon their protector—a rival deity—who fought the volcano god, eventually causing his mountain home to collapse in on him and fill with water. For the next approximately 7,600 years, the Klamath taught each new generation the importance of avoiding Crater Lake lest they disturb the evil god within. With remarkable precision, geologists have determined that this is the time of the terminal eruption of the former volcano, Mount Mazama, and the creation of the landscape that exists today. The Klamath were there all along, and their memories of that ancient cataclysmic event have passed into global knowledge today.


One common legend from France’s Brittany coast tells how a city named Ys existed in Douarnenez Bay at a time when the ocean surface was lower than today. King Gradlon, who ruled from Ys, had protected it from the ocean by building elaborate sea barriers that allowed overwash to be drained from the city every low tide through a series of sluice gates. But at high tide one night, his daughter Dahut, possessed by demons, opened the gates, allowing the ocean to flood the city and forcing its abandonment. Today no one knows where the city of Ys once was. Using the same reasoning as for Fitzroy Island, it seems possible that if Ys ever existed—and why should we believe such a persistent story with an otherwise obscure subject was invented—its drowning occurred more than 8,000 years ago.




By this definition, shamanism is the landscape of the spirit-journey, populated by good and evil spirits and the souls of the deceased and yet-to-be-born. It is the place where mountains speak and Grandmother Skeleton points out which plants to eat when the dry season lasts too long. In this form, shamanism is everywhere in the old ways of humans. Every tribal culture – alive or dead – has some broker of spiritual capital. The Indonesian Mentawai have their sikerei. The Inuit have their angakok. The Columbian Desana have their paye. The Mongolian Buryat have their böö. The American Sioux have their heyoka.

The sheer magnitude of our shamanic ancestry means one of two things: either shamanism originated once prior to the human diaspora some 70,000 years ago and has been preserved since, or it has arisen independently countless times in premodern human cultures. If we consider that preagricultural human societies are each experiments in how to run a village, with each competing in the evolutionary market of survival and reproduction, then we must ask: what good is shamanism?

The answer is a lesson in both the psychology of problem solving and the construction of meaning. In order to get there, we first have to understand what the prominent explanations of shamanism are in contemporary anthropology. These explanations all rely upon a common set of psychological and evolutionary principles, and these principles in turn explain the adaptive value of shamanism.


The mind’s use of randomness is how we think new thoughts and come up with creative solutions to vexing problems. This is an inbuilt feature of minds such as ours, and one we don’t often notice. If you sit quietly and let your mind wander, you can get a glimpse of this randomness at work, as your daydreams put together odd combinations in a kind of Rube Goldberg approach to problem solving.

But we also use randomness more purposefully. For example, when we use practices such as the I Ching or Tarot card readings, we are engaging in a form of exploratory divination.

Such practices have been used for thousands of years to help people understand their problems by confronting them with meaningful but random interpretations. Appropriately used, these methods can help to escape one’s natural biases by being forced to consider alternative hypotheses. These can, upon consideration, lead to new insights, especially in situations where there are no competing solutions.



Hello folks. I’m still plodding along here. There’s Winter Solstice and Christmas coming up on the horizon, and then the days will begin to get longer again.

I don’t know whether I’ll survive through another year. I just keep going, one day at a time.

When I awake after a sleep I get a massive surge of vivid memories of all kinds, from all periods of my life back to early childhood. I think this is because my brain is still mending and renewing connections after the stroke, about sixteen months ago.

Many of the physical problems that followed that event have improved a lot, but my right leg remains only half useful. But I am optimistic that my body knows what it’s doing and is fixing stuff according to priorities, so my leg may yet improve.

I’m having a wonderful hermit life here, enjoying the mad rush of information from the internet each day, and hobbling up the mountain to work on hedges and fruit trees for a couple of hours, to get exercise.

I was told by a medical person, who seemed to have authority on the matter based on her experience, that I must force the leg (and the rest of me that it’s attached to) to exercise to regain blood circulation. Otherwise it’ll just think that everything’s fine and not bother to renew itself.

So this is what I do. Eat, sleep, do this blog, and push my physical body up the hill, with my secateurs, small folding pruning saw, and walking stick. Then I cut whatever I think needs cutting. It’s all very overgrown with brambles and stuff. And gradually I rediscover the fruit trees that I planted years ago.

Back then I had a plan, to prove that it’s possible to grow apples and damsons and so forth, at this height and exposure, following permaculture principles, even though –  or because, haha – everyone said it’s impossible.

And I’ve proved myself right, which pleases me immensely, because there were loads of apples this year, even though the trees are still small and young and have been neglected. That success is because the mountainside faces due south, so gets all available sunshine, despite the exposure to fierce winds and high rainfall. In the Spring, there’s about three weeks difference, that much later here, 800ft.+ above Newport, down at sea level.

I got inspired by that idea after learning about the amazing Bardsey Apple.



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