Feeling like a Southerner

It has been a long time since I used the “Hexham” tag on a blog post. Not everything is in this blog, not the full story of the first visit delivering a two day Forest Schools taster session to my good friend Deni’s youth work trainees. Nor the sessions with the “Mams” from the East end estate who were dragged kicking and screaming and by the force of Deni’s personality into the woods where they found peace and laughter and left happy and smelling of woodsmoke.

There are lots of other stories there, stretching back six years and documenting my own journey working in the out doors with all sorts of different people and groups.

This weekend I got to go back to deliver two bushcraft sessions, a family session and one to adults only. I got to visit the new workshop, where woodcraft, weaving and carving takes place and Target woods, an atmospheric conifer plantation. Best of all I got to see and work with old friends and make new ones.

I could not help but feel proud of all that they have achieved and the peoples lives that have been touched, enriched and changed by their work and take some small pride in the fact that I was there with them for a while and can still help out on occasion.

People often tell me that I “have the best job ever” and how great it must be. And it is. But it can be hard, physically exhausting, mentally draining and emotionally challenging. We do our very best to present to the world an image of calm competence and professionalism while our feet paddle furiously under water to make it so.

It can sometimes feel very lonely even with the help and support of good people. We can feel like we are kicking “the proverbial” up hill. We know that this work is good and everyone would surely benefit from some aspect of it. We become like the Trotter trading company “This time next year Rodney we will be millionaires” so we carry on and sometimes we forget why.



then we remember.

Thank you to everyone who came along to the weekends sessions and were enthusiastic and joyful. Thank you to the Target Woods Action Team (yes they do go by an acronym) and thank you to my good friend Deni who is a wonderful host and an all round good egg.