After twenty-nine episodes recorded through screens and cameras, Ed and Dougald find themselves meeting for the first time and sit down for a conversation beside the mill pond in Loddon, in the garden of the Mill of Impermanence.
We hear the unlikely tale of how Dougald found Ed’s fiftieth birthday present, a copy of Uriah Heep’s fifth album, The Magician’s Birthday, while en route to a holiday in Great Yarmouth. A chain of serendipitous events leads to the unavoidable conclusion that Yarmouth is the spiritual home of the Great ‘Umbling.
This leads to a discussion of ‘serendipity’, the term coined by the novelist Horace Walpole in 1754, and its opposite, ‘zemblanity’, coined by the novelist William Boyd in 1998.
Dougald explains why he abandoned the article he started writing about all the things he learned from hitchhiking.
Ed talks about Gordon White’s Ani.Mystic and we agree that it’s a mindblowing book. Ed makes the connection to Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass. Dougald brings in Paul Kingsnorth’s recent conversation with Rowan Williams.
Dougald talks about Danny Nemo’s Neuro-Apocalypse and the centrality of the concept of ‘ki’ in everyday Japanese.
Ed enthuses about James Rebanks’s English Pastoral.
Dougald reads from a recent essay from an anonymous Substack called Flat Caps and Fatalism, a dark picture of ‘The dishonest land’.
Ed lifts up the work of Ann and Martin Wolfe at Wakelyns Agroforestry as a local example of the possibility of a different relationship to land, even starting from where we find ourselves.