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The watery veins of the moor

The moor is veined with many rills. They are narrow but deep. Even in midwinter their weeds glow emerald green. You can hear them flowing constantly, gurgling, rushing and humming.

As a child growing up in the South Downs I fetishised streams. There were sluggish ditches, and a wide salty tidal river with steeply sloping banks of sticky grey mud. Nothing approachable.

Most long school holidays, we would travel to a tiny cottage in Herefordshire where there was a tiny stream running over sandy mud. Watercress grew, and tiny brown shrimps shrugged under the pink stones. Our water came from its source. Once the bath was full of pink parboiled shrimps; you couldn't see the water at all. We were brought in to see Dad sitting in this soup.

Streams have always been magical to me. Here they feel like a force, like blood, like sap, a life-flow.

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