October has been a memorable month at Number Seven. It began at Dillington House where we supported Jackie Morris with her book sales at the Somerset Literacy Trust's annual conference. It was a busy day, enjoyed by all those who attended, delighted to watch Jackie reciting otter as one appeared from the ink and brush in her hand - I've seen Jackie paint many times but this was quite a revelation.
That first weekend we managed to find space for a little time out and headed to Porlock Weir where a golden labyrinth stone was hidden by the harbour and I'd love to know if anyone found it. Smoothed Porlock pebbles were also collected for future treasures to be hidden elsewhere on Jackie's travels...
While Jackie was with us we were also able to visit The Two Rivers Paper Mill which is located in the village of Roadwater, not too far from Dulverton. It is one of a handful of commercial hand-mills still operating in Europe and it was wonderful to see this skilled and ancient craft first hand. Jackie came away with a bundle of beautiful heavy quality papers alongside a bottle of water from the mill's well so that she could mix her ink with the same water source used in creating the paper. Afterwards we treated her to lunch, a local specialty, Christopher's home cooked road kill.
Of course the main reason Jackie was in Exmoor with us was for The Lost Words Supper at Loyton Lodge and our book signing at Number Seven the following day.
The supper was planned to coincide with the full moon and we were overjoyed that the Hunter's moon was clearly visible that night adding to the enchantment of the evening. We have had some lovely comments from guests who were able to join us, and between us we are already planning next year's event!
'I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the wonderful evening you arranged and hosted at Loyton Lodge, from the dramatically lit walk up the path to the beautifully laid tables, it was a wonderful evening, thank you for the magic of it all.'
The book signing the following day was enjoyed by all ages. It also happened to be the publication day for the limited edition of the Lost Words which contains a print to frame of Robert Macfarlane's Goldfinch charm.
Jackie spent the day talking with visitors and playing with her familiar Sumi ink. She also got to experiment with the Bideford Black that we had managed to source for her. This is a pure pigment found on the North Devon coast and was once mined in industrial quantities. Jackie took great delight in conjuring West Country otters with water from the River Barle...
Before heading back home to Wales via Yeovil Literary Festival and one last road kill lunch Jackie found the time to sign copies of all her titles for future customers visiting Number Seven.
I would just like to say thank you to Kerry Andrew, Nicola Davies and Jackie Morris for their support and energy in making The Lost Words supper an event to be remembered. Also to Isobel Barnes and her team at Loyton Lodge for creating a colourful, flavour filled feast in the most perfect setting. I think we celebrated The Lost Words first birthday with style and enchantment!
I'll leave you with this wonderful tune from Kerry's band You Are Wolf, which I am still singing two weeks on! The energy and creativity of her set was just astounding - none of her sequences are pre recorded, all the layers are built up live and gradually looped and layered. If you get the chance to attend any of her forth coming concerts I would highly recommend it. She is also one of the musicians involved in the current Spell Songs project which is due to go on tour early 2019.