I was greatly influenced by my Grandfather, Eddie – he was a great ‘West’ countryman and someone that seemed to belong to an altogether more ancient, wiser world. Before Eddie died he passed on to me a kernel of knowledge of woodland skills and crafts and the secret bounty of the fields and hedgerows. He also instilled in me the desire to continue learning, experimenting and passing this knowledge on to those who would listen (hopefully my two small children). My son is only five but he can light a fire with flint and iron and also has a wonderful eye for spotting animal sign. Both my children will grow up in a very different world, as will their children and their children’s children. It makes me sad that we have lost much of the resilience and self-reliance that has come with understanding nature and ourselves living within its folds.
The future will present many challenges to existing resources and will promise many climactic events to test the mettle of mankind. I hope that passing some of my skills and knowledge on will help, at least a few, to be more resourceful and resilient when they come to find that there is nothing to fall back on them but themselves, their knowledge and the rich tapestry of nature around them. It will be they who take forward and lead humanity to a point where we can start a new chapter rather than be its final page.