Down into the dark, Midwinter rising. The winds bluster round the windows and whistle down the chimney. A quick dash up to Dorstone Hill literally blew my tiny mind! Wanted a revisit as it’s the setting for the new novel I’ve just started – working title Oak Man. The protagonist lives up on the top in a lovely log cabin, with a huge black German Shepherd dog and a rescued Raven. Here’s a brief snippet from the MS, so far …

A Kindness of Ravens

Gethyn pulled the pillow over his head but it didn’t work, they wanted him, and now. Swearing as his legs tangled in the duvet, he kicked his way out, stumbled over to the chair, pulled on trousers and stuffed his feet into boots, pulled on the old ex-service cag and staggered outside. He loved mornings, but he hated getting out of his warm pit.

Twenty-seven ravens circled over the wood. He stood there and counted them, several times, getting dizzy as he followed their circling overhead. They were flying widdershins. No that was wrong, thirteen were going widdershins and the other fourteen deosil. What the fuck was going on?

It was perishing out in the field in the pre-dawn. A hard frost sparkled the grass into white-silver spikes so it crackled under his feet, a soft, silvery mist flowed over the grass like smoke, but still the morning smelled of spring. The sky was winter-clear, the pale eggshell blue-green of Imbolc-time, with the last quarter of the old moon hanging in the westerly sky. A trickle of gold crept over the tops of the eastern hills, harbinger of dawn. It was beautiful, and convinced him for the umpteenth time why he lived here, alone but for Ci out in here the wilds, but he was still freezing to death, and what for all the gods’ sakes, did this huge flock of ravens want with him, now, at this hour?

Not a bird sang in the woods behind him despite the coming dawn, not even a robin. All keeping their heads well down, he thought,  with the ravens out. They were watching, waiting til all was clear. The ravens continued their circling and raucous caarking. It was too much, he had to know.

‘What?’ he yelled up at the big black birds. ‘What do you want?’