To the Source
Yesterday I set out on a field trip – to the source of the Culm – always good to start at the beginning. A pearl – a string of pearls. As I rushed out of the house, I glanced at my chaotic sitting room, strewn with OS maps, pens, pencils and my totally not to scale ‘Storymap’ – it’s helping me to organise my ideas and possible stories as they rise up. But there, in the middle of pens, with a lump of gunk stuck to the back, was a pearl earring I thought I’d lost. I picked it up carefully, turning it over in my hand. How did it get here? I was reminded about the novel, ‘Perlycross’ by RD Blackmore, about the River Culm. He describes Hemyock, Culmstock and Uffculme as being like pearls on a string…..It’s a tenuous link…but I like it….
The Holman Clavel and Horses
I realised that I’ve been very close to the source of the Culm before, because there is a pub at Culmhead called ‘The Holman Clavel’. In my book ‘The Emerald Dragon’ I touched on the story about a ghost who is said to haunt this pub, Chimberly Charlie. I’ve always known there is magic on the Blackdown Hills – I get lost nearly every time I go there, and I go often! I rarely get lost in other places. But there are tales of people being ‘pixie led’ here. Chimberly Charlie and the very mysterious stories about him are all part of the magic. More about him later.
Yesterday as I walked up to the source, it seemed to be guarded by three horses. They came right up to me, one pushing her head into my chest, once she’d checked me out, as if to say, ‘You can go now’. I was reminded that in folklore Dragons and Horses are often linked, both seen as Primal Ancestors, going right back to our early history, both with their powerful strong necks. I was also intrigued to see that the only evidence of water in the field, just a stones’ throw away from the pub, was in clear pools made by the deep indentations of horses hooves. Like the Dragon, the horses are maybe guarding the very beginning of this river, holding her waters.