Scottish Foraging Adventures and Roadkill Collaborations for Beyond Productions and the Discovery Channel – EXTREME WORLDS
I am contacted quite often by people interested in my ‘free spirited lifestyle’, artwork and personal angle on wild food foraging, ethical meat-eating and, of course, roadkill. Sometimes they want to get to know me personally, other times they ask me to be a contributor or consultant on various matters I have special knowledge on.
Anyhow, I was contacted recently by a Researcher from Beyond Productions (Discovery Networks International) who are working on a new series called ‘Extreme Worlds’. The Australian based company ‘Beyond’ has made many popular shows and documentaries. I personally used to watch their series ‘Taboo’ on the National Geographic Channel years ago.
Beyond, a respected and award-winning independent production company based in Sydney, Australia, is producing a new series for Discovery Networks International provisionally entitled ‘Extreme Worlds’. The series is shooting across the globe, and will comprise of 12 one hour episodes featuring three or four stories each. It will air in 209 countries and territories across the world, reaching an anticipated audience of over 1.3 billion.
Each episode will have a theme that looks at subcultural movements and exciting, unusual and enlightening belief systems or ways of life.
“Well, that’s us then!” lol.
They wanted to explore the phenomenon of eating roadkill and had been looking at my blog site. They liked my ‘sass’ and attitude towards the self sustainability aspects of being nomadic and the symbolic, cultural, moral and ethical meanings and values of eating & recycling ‘accidental meat’.
‘It’ started as a bit of a program about Marcus and myself, living as a new family with high hopes for a different and more alternative future, living off the land, close to nature and doing what we can now, to make that change possible. Our philosophy on life being one of kindness and inclusion of others, self sustainability and zero waste, all the time respecting Mother Earth, everything on her and trusting the flow of things.
It was then suggested that it would be a lovely idea to have a feast on the last day of filming and include like-minded friends, all eating our foraged foods. I liked the sound of that. I didn’t feel precious about the whole filming thing anyway, and very nearly sacked the whole thing off a couple of times - it’s a lot of work!! What was important though was the ‘message’ and it needed to be voiced by friends of sound knowledge, credibility and experience, so we didn’t look like a bunch of redneck, hippy dippy nutters!!
The Media can’t helping being slaves to sensationalism – we don’t have to be. Despite the odds, I believe one can be authentic in media, depending on the production company, and get a very important point across as to how we are wrecking our planet and what we can do about it. For us, this is to live as peaceably, gently, non-materialistically on our beloved planet which invariably means not conforming to the norm – The norm being, in my opinion, drastically sick and, without change, terminal – for the myopic human race at least, probably taking half the other species with it!
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” - J. Krishnamurti
As it happened… serendipity cast her magic wand over this band of would-be collaborators. Instinctively, late one night, alone in those magical early hours sat by a crackling fire, I looked at my list of dear friends and kindred spirits and wondered if I could add a few more to it – a bit of ‘fresh blood’, lol. I boldly emailed a few people whom I had either met briefly in the past, facebooked or messaged occasionally. All of these people I admired and respected for what they do. I was becoming very excited about an opportunity for us all to meet, learn and grow in the hope that one day in the future we may help and support each other, as part of a community/collective with common goals, all hoping for a better and more sustainable existence! I felt invigorated, instinctual, inspired – and everyone accepted my invitation.
I know we can’t talk much about it now, however, I hope everyone agreed that we were a band of individuals who felt a personal connection with each other and blessed to be part of a Wee Scottish Adventure! An inner and outer journey! This was a chance to be close to nature and each other, to respect, inspire, include, share, care and co-create. We attended with open hearts, mindfulness and responsibility for our own experiences, our effect on the group and the spirit of our gathering. We had huge fun, some of it totally bonkers as you might imagine!! In the words of our dear Ebony…
“…you just couldn’t make this shit up!!”
Special thanks go to the following people who very generously gave themselves up to make our weekend a truly wonderful and authentic experience. I would also like to thank the film crew. They were very professional, open, honest and made the experience lots of fun!
I want to thank the most amazing man I have ever known – Marcus!! Without him NONE of this would have happened. Thank you for your strength, your support, wisdom and belief in me. You make me feel excited about life, love and the future - about what we can create together (and I’m not just talking about ‘Mooster’, lol).
Thank you for being an incredible man and deep, open-hearted father. I love you so much. xxxxxxxxxxxxx
“THE ROADKILL COLLABORATORS”
or, maybe preferably
“THE ACCIDENTAL MEAT COLLECTIVE”
In alphabetical order, first names first…
Alison Brierley – Nomadic Shamanic Artist, Road Kill Recycler & Life Skill Liberator
Alison works with organic materials in an often shamanic nature, a resourceful recycler she transforms wildlife and dead animals such as road kill in an attempt to use everything, she dislikes waste. She harnesses these methods to honour birth, life, sex, death and renewal, her practice also involves wild foraging, creating a deep connection with the environment by surviving from the land. Themes in her work stem from nature as well as anthropological and ethnological studies of tribal cultures, these are informed by her extensive travelling.
Alison often works with schools and the wider community on projects, working alongside others to push boundaries and challenge preconceptions.
“During filming for EXTREME WORLDS I will be exploring ideas of survival and self-sufficiently, especially in a nomadic context. I will recycle road kill (and Max’s placenta, lol) to prepare food, create useful and artistic objects, encouraging interaction, participation, education and activism. I will share my knowledge with anyone who genuinely wants to learn more about living a simple life, appreciative of each others gifts, and connected to, nature”.
Ali, her partner and child are nomadic and their home is on wheels. They practice ‘simple living’.
“Our long-term goal is to live off-grid, ever evolving and be totally self-sufficient”.
Bill Wiseman – Our Acting Spokesman for the Revival of Ancient Crafts
Bill has a lifelong interest in ancient crafts and several years’ involvement in experimental archaeology.
Bill acted as a ‘volunteer villager’ in the early days of WestStowAnglo-SaxonVillage in Suffolk, demonstrating ancient crafts to visitors. He has recreated artefacts from various ancient civilisations for both ornament and practical use. He has built and used an Iron Age loom (still has it), can spin using drop spindle, weave and make pots using Iron Age methods.
He has made several flat and longbows, and is an excellent archer. Bill is a true craftsman and passionately enjoys passing on his knowledge and skills to younger folk, as he firmly believes these are things that should not be lost.
Thank you dear Bill for your patience, kindness, calmness and wealth of knowledge. It is an honour to learn from you.
Ebony Andrews: Postgraduate Researcher and Natural Science Enthusiast
Ebony is currently undertaking PhD research into the interpretation of museum taxidermy collections at museums located in the North of England. She is also a seminar tutor at the University of Leeds.
Formerly a taxidermy assistant for National Museums Scotland, Ebony is trained in the preparation and tanning of animal skins for museological purposes. She has worked with a diverse range of species, from large and charismatic exotics to more common native species and everything in between. In addition, as a volunteer at various museums over the years, Ebony has gained experience in the conservation and restoration of natural science specimens which has contributed to her developing knowledge of taxidermy and taxidermic techniques.
As a Fine Art graduate and self-confessed ‘craftsperson and maker’ rather than ‘artist’, Ebony has exhibited at a number of venues across the UK including the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, and at various sites across London amongst others. Her practice, both in art and research, is strongly influenced by her interest in the political and ethical discourses on the relationship between humans, nature and the natural environment. Working closely with animals has led her on an interesting, and at times emotional journey which is in a constant state of renewal and re-evaluation:
‘How I feel about animals and their habitats has shifted dramatically over the decade in which I have been working both with, and on them. Today issues relating to animals and their environments can provoke strong ethical and moral questions, as indeed they should, and I think it’s crucial that we reflect upon our relationship with the natural world to investigate why’.
Along with her enthusiasm for nature and the natural world, particularly its preservation, Ebony is also interested in how cultural institutions construct and perpetuate notions of individual and collective identity through the interpretation of history, heritage and memory.
Fergus Drennan – The Roadkill Chef, Wild Man & Wild Food Experimentalist and Inspiration Engineer
Fergus Drennan is a broadcaster, writer and educator on the delights of food foraged from the wild.
Best-known for his BBC programme “The Roadkill Chef”, Fergus runs courses for schools and clients on foraging and preparing wild food.
An enthusiastic and experienced forager, working with wild plants as a gateway for exploring issues connected with sustainability, ecology, mental and physical health, spirituality, creativity and life purpose. He is an evangelist for the promotion of wild foods, with the ability to connect you directly with nature - and help provide a rooted sense of place and belonging.
Fergus, on the 1st of May, will be embarking on an incredible journey – to spend an entire year in the UK living 100% entirely on foods foraged himself! His supporting website will be a resource packed full of free information on Wild Food, what you can do with it, and free videos regardless of whether or not you wish to donate, but please support and sponsor him. This is knowledge we need to preserve and re-learn.
Fraser Simpson – The Happy Haptic – Bone Carver, Wild Food Forager & Chef
Fraser is enthralled with the haptic . Taking what is intrinsically a valueless, readily available material, bone, he sculpts beautiful objects using a few basic hand tools most of which are to be found in “granddad’s shed”.
He draws his inspiration from a broad range of interests but his main influences are anthropological, symbolic and the mathematical structures of nature. His work is inspired by the many anonymous artists working in bone since, archaeologists maintain, art began, including:
The Original Cave Man, Many Tribal artisans around the world, Scrimshanders, French Prisoners of War, Netsuke Makers.
Fraser is currently working on building interest in bone carving through a series of workshops, exhibitions and lectures. He is also making the first tentative steps in collating a book on the subject matter.
Fraser’s art harks back to a life more simple when time itself seemed slower and more readily available. A time that can be recreated, he has found, through the practice of bone carving. He is currently working on a project using the bones from the Ox Roast in Windsor which was held to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
He is also a director of Artists.ltd.
Jonathan McGee - Professional Photographer
Jonathan is based in Leeds, West Yorkshire and was invited along to join the Roadkill Group to document the process and provide coverage for Beyond. Jonathan has a good working knowledge of the environment and foraging having grown up in the countryside. He has a passion for cooking and helped the team prepare and assemble the great feast that marked the end of this gathering.
Jonathan is very skilled and extremely passionate about his photography and this comes across in his work. He has a talent for connecting to his subject and is able to provide unseen coverage in an artistic and documentary style regardless of subject matter. He was great to watch at work, so energetic and enthusiastic, his process was unobtrusive but still very exciting to be part of. He is passionate about his art and it shows in the images he captures.
facebook: jonathan m mcgee photography
facebook: shooting photography and countryside pursuits
Kathryn Libby – Natural Therapist & Shamanic Facilitator
Kathryn is a professional Natural Therapist who is additionally well practiced in creating and running Sweat Lodges. She also runs workshops in drum making using ancient and traditional methods.
It was when she moved to Northumberland in 2002 that she first encountered usable roadkill initially just picking recently dead pheasants from the road and taking them home to prepare for dinner. A few years later, having hit a deer by accident, she then had to have it dispatched due to the injuries it sustained. She took it home, gutted it in the bath and, due to a lack of space had the local butcher cut it up. All the meat was used and the hide was used to re-cover her djembe.
Never wanting to be wasteful, she enjoys creating beautiful objects from what nature puts her way. She also enjoys the health benefits of natural food such as roadkill compared to factory style farmed meat. A strong and amazing woman, passionate about being respectful of all living things.
Linda king – Mother, lover, daughter, sister, healer, friend, facilitator and member of the Human Race.
“These different aspects of who I am and what I can offer and share in the world continue to rebalance and integrate as I flow through and live my Life …. I enjoy making things happen particularly in collaboration with others”.
Linda draws from her rich and varied background as an artist and therapist having trained in deep tissue bodywork, humanistic psychology, counseling and art therapy alongside a life-long interest in natural medicines and the healing arts.
She is constantly exploring different ways of working with energy whether that be through hands-on healing work, the visual arts or exploring Labyrinths, Land Energies and the Elements to promote curiosity, peace and personal transformation.
Her artwork is an emotional and intuitive enquiry – drawing from, and fulfilling, a deep answering and longing - which provides a map of her psyche. At those times when she gets the image just right, something deeply satisfying happens – a bit more of her fits into place.
As intuitive healer, she offers individual sessions of intuitive massage and bodywork to help maintain balance and well-being, allowing greater energetic flow within all our systems and promoting greater self understanding.
A dear friend and sensual wild woman - I can vouch for her ‘magic’ hands!! lol.
Mother Malarky – Shamanic Taxidermist, Drum Maker and Forager
After 30 years as a “veggie”, Mother Malarky decided to change and live according to her beliefs. She became committed to using whatever the Universe puts in her path.
Her respect for living animals means only killing to eat, not for sport, and respect for a dead animal means utilising every bit of it, and doing so with gratitude. She has a strong sense of community and skill sharing.
She is experienced in the entire process of butchering, skinning, cooking & eating roadkill. She has an immense knowledge of flavours and recipes. A Wild and Witchy Woman! ‘Magic’ happens in her kitchen!
Sten – The Suburban Bushwacker: Hunter, Forager and Adventurer
A tubby suburban dad (his words, lol) watching hunting and adventure shows on TV and wondering “Could I do that?”…
… Well, YES! He can!
Well known for his TV appearance with Paul Merton, amongst others. A prolific blogger and adventurer. He chronicles his life whilst learning how to Forage, Hunt and Fish for food that has…
“lived a life I would wish for myself – Wild and Free!”
His blog is the story of the journey between fat-dad to bushwhacker-dude, how and why he collects kit, learns skills and gets inspired by adventure storytelling. When suburban life doesn’t get in the way, he has a few adventures of his own.
Serena Hodgson – Willow and Craft Worker and Living Historian
Serena is a passionate environmentalist, educator and historian who achieved a Certificate in Permaculture in 2006 and graduated from the Open University in 2008 with a BSc(Hons) Environmental Studies.
After many years working as a psychiatric nurse and primary school teacher she decided to follow her heart and start a business working with willow, recycled materials and as a living historian.
Serena is a multi-skilled crafts-woman and an amazing cook. Thank you for showing me how to drop spindle and use a peg loom…. and for the cakes!! Nom! Nom! Nom!
Tina Langshaw – Creator of Beautiful Things
Tina is an amazingly warm, creative and generous woman. A natural healer and nurturer, she is knowledgable in alternative therapies and traditions.
She’s an experienced performer and organiser of large events and arts and crafts workshops. She also enjoys foraging, preserving, and making her own household products and cosmetics. She is deeply connected with nature and the art of recycling.
Tina is an amazing cook and inspirational cake maker. She is a dear friend and a privilege to know.
A quiet and private person who shows her ’cheeky’ side in small groups.
“Loves hugs, wine and cake!”
Simon Wray – 3D Digital Artist
Simon Wray graduated from Cumbria Institute of the Arts in 2005 and has worked as a 3D Digital Artist since that time.
Concentrating in the fields of animation, visual effects and motion graphics, he uses cutting edge technologies to bring ideas to life. Simon has a strong admiration for nature and the environment and enjoys spending time in the countryside, particularly in his native Yorkshire Dales and further afield in Scotland. As a keen photographer he enjoys spending time outdoors photographing all types of animals, insects, plants and fungi. Through his nature photography Simon unites his digital skills with his interest in animals and their habitats.
Simon is open-minded when it comes to food and is always keen to try new things: “Eating animals that have been accidentally killed makes rational sense to me. In life they live a happier, healthier existence than the vast majority of animals reared for food today. They are often organic, not to mention free. We are making use of animals that would otherwise be left to decay, while reducing our reliance on big supermarket chains, not to mention our carbon footprint”.
In his spare time Simon enjoys mounting biking across challenging terrains and is currently planning a coast to coast ride for later in the year. As a seasoned cyclist he is rarely phased by a snowy cycle to work on a cold winter’s morning!
…and last but not least – our beautiful baby boy – who is an absolute joy! We have been truly blessed by a child who is soooo happy to be born. He lights up our life! We knew it would be good, but we never realised just how intensely wonderful and amazing being a parent can be.
“Thank you Mooster”!
Well, that’s it for now! - Hope you enjoy the show!!