A must read for children & adults – The Adventures of Horatio Mowzl – First Purlings

A must read for children & adults – The Adventures of Horatio Mowzl – First Purlings

A must-read for children and young adults –– The Adventures of Horatio Mowzl 
 
A trilogy of illustrated novels by Paul Thornycroft 
 
Volume Two: ‘First Purlings’ 
 
 
Copyright Paul Thornycroft

 

Children –– you ARE changing the World! 

 

Mya-Rose Craig’s second interview with the author: 

Mya-Rose: Before we talk about ‘First Purlings’, Paul, I want to recall ‘Little Humans’, the first book in the trilogy, with Mowzl’s stories of his home world and his mysterious arrival in the human world. He’s upset to discover how much humans are harming Nature, and he invents surprising ways to show people what is happening. Mowzl somehow helps us to feel more deeply, and he encourages us to find out more. How does the story develop in the second book, “First Purlings’? 
 
Paul: Mowzl finds new ways to entice young people, and grown up’s too, into seeing nature differently, looking sideways at the ordinary, as it were. It’s not always easy, and Mowzl calls it being ‘re-knitted’, an expression he uses after watching LuLu unravel some knitting only to re-knit it slightly differently. 

Copyright Paul Thornycroft




Mya-Rose: That sounds like a riddle, or mystery code! Is Mowzl a Wizard? 
 
Paul: He’s more shamanic; he loves simply being part of the wild web, and his generous heart empowers him to invite children to be immersed in deep Nature. 
Mya-Rose: It sounds like the ‘re-knitting’ changes the way we see things, is this what purling is about?
Paul: Yes. Mowzl is able to purl, which means he can fly through air, water or empty space in his pouch of magic wool. The humans who are drawn to him find that they can talk with animals and experience deep Nature, but only when they are 
with him. It’s so wonderful, they want to learn purling for themselves! Little do they know how hard it will be, for some anyway, to change their ‘settings’ enough to succeed. Mowzl insists on this resetting, or re-knitting. He knows that humans need to become more sensitive in order to see how Nature really is, and what part they play in Nature’s distress. He knows, too, that this is a rediscovering of long-lost wisdom. 

Copyright Paul Thornycroft

 

Mya-Rose: How do people learn to purl? 
 
Paul: A lot of that happens by being with Mowzl, listening to his stories and being in Nature. But there are also specific tasks to be done: wool, gathered from moorland hills, is washed, carded and spun on a spindle; then crocheted into Mowzl sized pouches. These gentle, repetitive tasks weave a beingness, or receptiveness wherein the children, and some of their parents, may dream into purling. It is a rite of passage, it happens only when they are ready, when they are fully re-knitted. And yes, when the children are purling, they are the size of a mouse! 
Mya-Rose: That sounds wonderful! I’d like to do that myself. I spend a lot of time in Nature and make a big effort to go to wonderful places. But I do see Nature being damaged or destroyed by development and industry. It’s upsetting. Won’t purling make people feel this distress even more and make them feel more vulnerable and powerless? 
 
Paul: Ah! Exactly so. Becoming attuned, purlers see deep Nature, and marvel at it and love exploring the world. But they will also see that life on Earth is wounded by human activity and continues to be depleted ever faster. It is hard to bear. They are upset and angry, feeling this wounding in their own being. Feeling as they do, they release a heartfelt cry: ‘What can we DO?’. 
Mya-Rose: You’ve left that question hanging . . . What’s the answer? What do we do? 
 
Paul: Even Mowzl has no compass, but his passion is infectious, and the children are inspired to attract ever more people to purling. The first thing to do is to become aware of the state of Nature, and for everybody to join in! This is what you are already doing in your own life, Mya-Rose. 

Copyright Paul Thornycroft

 

Mya-Rose: Does the answer to the question ‘What can we do?’ get answered in Volume Three? There’s got to be more to it than lots of people jumping up and down crying out ‘what can we do?’. 
 
Paul: Volume Three is called ‘The Great Rising’. As the children become more experienced in purling and discovering the state of Nature worldwide, it becomes clear that whatever it is they must do, it won’t be rooted in the beliefs and stories of the past, but in lifeforce arising now, in their young hearts; a force that has no weapons but love and belonging. 
 
The rising is already happening in the real world, as we speak. 
 
It is my hope that these books will help to encourage and sustain what has already begun. 
 
Mya-Rose: That’s a very positive vision; Mowzl is more ambitious than his size might suggest! Thank you, Paul. 
 
Paul: Yes, that’s his lion-sized heart! Thank you, Mya-Rose, for this interview and for all that you do bringing people to Nature. 

Copyright Paul Thornycroft

 

For more information about Mowzl, visit www.mowzl.co.uk

Review of ‘First Purlings’

Amazing! I slipped right into it and simply DEVOURED, I was hungry for more all the way through! The story is deep, full of feeling and it made me think and sympathise more as the book went on. The book felt so real to me that it was a shock to be pulled out of it to find that I was not purling with the others, chatting with the animals in the glade. 
Leela (A.K.) Age 10

Copyright Paul Thornycroft

 

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A must read for children – The Adventure of Horatio Mowzl

A must read for children – The Adventure of Horatio Mowzl

The Adventures of Horatio Mowzl is a trilogy of illustrated novels for children and young adults by the brilliant Paul Thornycroft

Volume One:  “Little Humans”

Children –– change the World!

Mya-Rose Craig interviews the author, Paul Thornycroft

 

Mya-Rose: What are your books about?
Paul: The Mowzl books are about rediscovering the healing magic of the natural world and realising how the damage to Nature caused by human activity has reached a crisis point.

Mya-Rose: Why is it a fairy story if you want to look at real-world issues?
Paul: Because the dominant culture and world view are, unfortunately, one of duality.  The global economy depends upon the exploitation of Nature, a behaviour requiring the suppression of sensitivity and empathy.  In fact, Nature is not dualistic, rather it is infinitely complex and nuanced.  The Mowzl books bring together fairy-story and ‘real world’ drama to allow space for something magical to happen in the way we experience meaning.

Mya-Rose: You have been working on these books for nearly ten years; what made you begin?
Paul: I’m 70 years old, I’ve witnessed 7 decades of climate breakdown and ecological collapse on a global scale.  Politicians, and the corporations that control them have no consciousness of the significance of what is happening.  It is children –– who are inheriting a broken world –– that are now making the leap needed to trigger change on a meaningful scale.

Mya-Rose: In the years you’ve been writing the books, what have you seen change in the world?
Paul: I’ve seen the ecological catastrophe unfolding faster than even the gloomiest scientists predicted; I’ve seen conflict and competition for resources escalate at a time when global cooperation could be the chosen way forward. Encouragingly, I have also seen children find their voice!  For example, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl who has triggered, by means of her solo activism against climate inaction, a worldwide movement: #climatestrike.  The Mowzl books are my way to contribute to this rising wave of change.

 

Mya-Rose: Thank you, Paul, you are clearly passionate about this!  When does Volume Two come out?  What’s it called?

 

Paul: Volume Two is called “First Purlings” and is due out in April 2019.  There’s more info at www.mowzl.co.uk

 

Mya-Rose: And Volume Three?
Paul: Ah!  That’s under wraps for the moment, but I hope it will be released in time for Christmas 2019!

Mya-Rose: Thank you for talking to me about your writing.
Paul: It’s a pleasure and thank you for your interest and willingness to post this interview as a blog.

Link to Amazon: https://amzn.to/2K4tz3U

Reviews:

This book inspired me – and hopefully others too – to do as much as we can to repair the wild web. It’s great that it’s addressing what we’ve done to the Earth, as so many people need to start helping the environment.  I think the world would be a much better place if everyone read this book!  Can’t wait for the next book!

I decided to Google Mowzl to see if it was available online and was surprised but pleased to see that he has a website, Facebook and Twitter page! I think this will spread the word to help our planet.

Charlotte Blue    Age 12

My Aunt (Chuto Ma) Mya-Rose gave me this book to read and I really loved it. I don’t usually like reading but I enjoyed hearing about Horatio Mowzl, a mouse from the future, as the story was exciting and so I just kept reading.

Laila Price Age 10

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Film-making Workshop using the outdoors

Film-making Workshop using the outdoors

Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig’s Camp Avalon 2015
Birdigirl Mya-Rose Craig filming for BBC4

I have organised with Black2Nature, in partnership with BBC Natural History Unit, Icon Films and young filmmaker Paul Collins an exciting film-making workshop with a focus on group work and outdoor filming. It is aimed at young people aged 11 years – 19 years with priority to those living in areas of deprivation or of a minority ethnic background. The event takes part at Eastville Park in inner-city Bristol on 21st June 2017, from 4.30 pm to 7.30 pm.

BirdigirlMya-Rose Craig filming for BBC4

We will cover:

(1) Discussion: What makes a good story?

(2) Discussion: What is the story? – Subject, Setting, Behaviour

(3) In Groups: What is the story? – choose a subject; a story with a beginning/middle/end; interesting behaviour.

(4) Discussion: Storyboarding – i.e. how to tell the story visually… Basics of composition; shot sizes (close-up v wide) and what these mean for the story.

(5) In Groups: Storyboarding – drawing a sequence; understanding what shots they need to get to tell the story; thinking about story structure. Once each group has a storyboard, given instruction on how to use the camcorders and filming in groups.

Review of filming and instructions for home editing task.

All participants will receive a certificate for the workshop. It is hoped that the workshop will help young people from less affluent backgrounds to get started on a career in nature film-making as well as sparking and interest in the outdoors. Bristol makes 80% of the world’s nature and wildlife films.

BirdigirlMya-Rose Craig filming for BBC4

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British Red Squirrel – A Guest blog

British Red Squirrel – A Guest blog

This is a great guest blog by local-to-the-South West charity British Red Squirrel (this is their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BritishRedSquirrel/.

If you are not already aware, British Red Squirrels are at risk of extinction and so the charity wants to protect red squirrels and assist in their growth, educating and raising awareness across the UK. It’s a really important topic and I hope you will read the post and support them.


Figure 1 Seasonal Red Squirrel © Olivia Kennaway

At this time of year, our native wildlife has one thing on its mind – reproduction! We, humans, have tampered with our environment so much that some species are really struggling. At a local level, we continue to destroy habitats. A few predator species like the magpie can take advantage of this, with less suitable nesting sites for small birds, harvest mice and dormice. At least magpies are a native species.


Figure 2 Grey Squirrel eating bird

The American grey squirrel is not. Through no fault of its own, it was introduced to the UK in 1878 as a novelty. There are now estimated to be over 3 million. The problem is they are hugely destructive to our trees, shrubs and bulbs, as well as predating on our birds, bats and dormice.


Figure 3 Grey Squirrel with egg from nest

Our native red squirrel has lived in harmony with our flora and fauna since the last ice age – of course, they also eat many of the same things – but they are on average less than half the weight of a grey, eat much less and are generally much less destructive. Reds were being driven to extinction, that is until passionate volunteers in the north of England showed, over the last 20 years, that if they carried out grey control, the reds could survive and indeed thrive. This work has now been extended to other areas of the UK. Reds have been in steep decline predominately due to the greys which are territoriality aggressive and out-compete them for food – plus greys carry, but yet are immune to the squirrel pox virus, which the reds are highly susceptible to. It is estimated that there are less than 140,000 reds left in the UK. There are none left in the wild in the South West, but in East Devon Escot Park has built a walk through ¾ acre safe haven for reds, protected by a sheet metal circumference, which squirrels can’t climb. This was completed in 2010 and is completely free for visitors to visit. (there are other native species to visit, and gardens, for which there is a charge – www.wildwoodescot.org)


Figure 4 Red Squirrel on tree

Red Squirrel South West was formed as a charity ultimately to return red squirrels to the peninsular but also to provide a national, and international non-political forum for reds – www.britishredsquirrel.org We need to build connectivity in the South West – a tide of contacts and volunteers to achieve a suitable environment for the return of our reds. It is working in the Borders where more and more people are realising that they really can help to save this iconic native mammal – and they have a straight line to defend across Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Northumberland. We have a peninsular with sea on two sides – let’s do it!


Figure 5 Red Squirrel talk>

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Women March and sexism in birding

Women March and sexism in birding

Today we saw millions of people march in the USA, London and across the world in #WomensMarch to protest again Donald Trump bring the 45th President of the USA due to his disgusting, derogatory and dehumanising comments against women and his racism.

This is a day that shows that women will fight back against sexism and I felt it was a good day to re-post my two blog posts about sexism in birding, nature and conservation.

The posts are from Nov 2015 and Jan 2016, but nothing has really changed since the time I wrote the blog posts, except I have organised another Camp Avalon for young birders and Minority ethnic teenagers, a conference about getting Minority Ethnic people into nature called Race Equality and set up Black2Nature.

Please read if you haven’t already bit.ly/2jCGf13 and bit.ly/2kdjI9X.

Person by person, let’s change this world of objectification and misogyny.

Thank you.

 

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

 

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