Gardening is much on my mind of late. Hardly any surprise, as it is spring here in the northern hemisphere and Storm Hannah has just made short work of my French Bean sprouts!! (Luckily, we have two million and five seeds ready to be resown).
To say that gardening has been much on my mind is a polite way of saying that our little UK council-house 12X20 ft plot has been occupying me. It occupies my ponderings, I fantasize about what the garden could look like with this or that plant in place, I try to pre-cognate the pitfalls (note: didn’t bloody well see Storm Hannah coming though…).
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With both Apex Magazine’s and Shimmer’s recent news, I’ve been thinking about the State of the Thing; and that Thing of course being specfic publishing in the Near Now.*
The field of weird and wonderful fiction has changed a lot since I started subscribing to ‘zines. There was that slow-burn month or quarter of excitement as you wondered what tales might arrive through your letterbox, and what characters you might meet. Some were glossy works with smooth layouts, others stapled together and photocopied. Each and every one was a delight. Some of the authors became familiar, and you’d track them across different publications. They felt like friends, even if you’d never met them. Other names you might never hear of again, but their stories stayed with you. It was harder to meet fellow weirdworlders back then; you formed scriptorial packs, secretive cabals; you lent well-thumbed booklets to those who understood.
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Confirmed. There are two Ravens in my neck of the woods.
Previous sightings have these much maligned birds along the edges of Ceredigion – notably where there are also wildlife reserves (Natur Cymru). I’d been seeing this pair around all winter, and, well, because they’re large and black and our resident crow-family The Gang of Three are also large and black I’d hesitated to call it. Also: I don’t live in the middle of a wildlife reserve, but traditional Welsh farmland (lowland).
But today I was rewarded with a direct overhead sighting, with the Gang of Three attempting to drive them away (it’s nesting season, so competition is fierce).
They’re bigger than you imagine, and look like Kings in their own sky.