At the time of year when the red deer stags were
bolving, days were falling in, and chiggy-pigs had
ensconced themselves in the damp dark of
cottage squinches, rumours had come, blown in
with the draughts, of snow machines, of waterspitting
dinosaurs, of hovering helicopters and
low-flying jets, of farmers having teddy troubles
and of bibblers cuddling grouse. Apparently the
‘Aksmoar’ weasel patrols were proving alarmingly
Charles Wood heaved himself upright from
beside the cold-summered stove. Having washed
his coal-grubby hands, pulled a log splinter from
his thumb and whinged about a broken toe
stubbed on the banister, he made a decision to
emerge from behind his warped blue front door
and make sure all was still well in the world of
jodhpurs, antler men and fishers.
His emotion spring had begun to flow again.
It was the ‘Ex’ in Exmoor that made things so
disconcerting. Long ago he ceased to refer to the
place as ‘it’ but as ‘her’. And now, like an old flame,
memories of her still burned happily after a
lengthy separation. And then, on the other hand,
not so happily – like a grockle fire that makes
charcoal of heather and gorse. Such are the
foibles of the heart – of amour.
Charles Wood gave up the legal
profession, and the stress of work in
Libya and Hong Kong, yearning for the
artistic life. For the past twenty years he
has just about managed to avoid wearing
a tie to work or getting grubby. Instead
he has preferred to eke out an existence
in the Somerset custom of self-employment.
As a self-taught documentary
filmmaker he has made over thirty films.
His Somerset the Summerland and
Exmoor – An English Wild Kingdom sold in
their thousands finding their way into
many a Somerset and grockle home. His
film Dragons – the Story of a Country
Parson was broadcast on HTV in 1999.
And in 2005 he was the first Englishman
to win a documentary film award in the
Republic of Moldova.
Charles has also found time to be fulltime
Dad of four, a writer of fairy tales,
an illustrator, a part-time college lecturer,
a part-time school teacher, an occasional
broadcaster on BBC Somerset Sound, a
cameraman for Westcountry television
news and have a heart transplant. He
now admits to an enjoyment of poddling
through the lighter side of life’s rich
tapestry, relieved that he has never been
Charles lives with his family in the
Exmoor-edge town of Wiveliscombe.
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 048 0, hardback, 210x148mm, 168 pages. Published October 2010.
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