Roo foraging wild garlic in Wales

Hello, my name is Roo Williams and this is a journal of a person from the city seeking a deeper connection to nature, and themselves.

Well, not strictly from the city. I came from an ex-steelworking town in the South Wales valleys. A town where people worked in factories, supermarkets or tanning salons and it was hard not to date your friend’s ex.

The home in which I grew up was situated on the outskirts of this town where the sprawl of council housing gave way to grassy undeveloped land. The ambient sounds of summer were a mix of birds…

Peeking into Permaculture

I got some land, now what?

Newly constructed compost bins on the paddock

As mentioned in my post titled Workable Land, we’d planned on taking on a paddock, fortunately right next to our house. We’d had no idea it would be on offer when we went to view the house but immediately it felt exciting — we could actually do something interesting with the space to do with our own sustenance. I’d already experienced the ‘thrill’ of foraging (it is amazing to find something not orchestrated by another human that can actually give you food) but never thought growing anything other than a couple of tomatoes in a pot would be a reality…

A meat-eating-monster’s deer dilemma

I recently skinned and butchered a roe deer. Well actually, two of them.

They were bought directly from the Welsh Government after being shot and killed by rangers as part of an annul cull. We drove to pick them up from a larder, where they’d been had been hung for weeks after having their heads, organs and hooves removed. I watched with curiosity as they were reeled out by the rangers that shot them on meat hooks. They were wrapped in black bags and loaded into the back of our car.

We took them back to my father-in-law’s house to…

6 Months in to the best job I’d ever had working for Twitter in NYC, I was about to spring some pretty tricky news on them.

My then fiancee Lydia had just landed a new job with Nike, for which, we had to move from Brooklyn to Portland, Oregon – with Portland being a place I’d always fancied exploring thanks to the brilliant insight of an online quiz on ‘which city are you most like?’ I was really excited about this, but worried about holding onto my job. Not making it a straightforward coast to coast move, we’d also planned…

Self-reliance and undoing domestication

These eggs didn’t cost me a penny

Within the supply systems we are born into we rely on money for value exchange and shops and supermarkets in which we can redeem that money for the things we need. Thanks to Covid-19 panic buying, we were blessed with a glimpse of what happens when those fail. Staple foods and supplies were bought in bulk by panicked shoppers worrying that supply chains were breaking down. For fear of being left without, shelves were ransacked, elders were shoved out of the way and our pitiful vulnerability was laid bare to witness when footage emerged of people physically brawling over toilet…

Rewilding… where do you start? You might start with the land.

Roo’s garden and soon-to-be paddock

Having grown up on a council estate and spending most of my adult life moving within and between cities, land has been a thing I have not had access to. Not that I’ve seen a place for land in my life until fairly recently.

While being shown around the house we ended up renting, we were offered the opportunity to rent the acre-sized paddock next to our (huge) garden. The estate agent suggested it would be a good move for privacy but also talked casually about the idea of keeping animals on it. We were both a little taken aback…

City life: why do we only get to connect with Nature on the weekend?

Photo by Peter Jan Rijpkema on Unsplash

Chances are most of the things people do on the weekends involve spending money. Shopping, going to the Cinema, attending an art show. Parks are our only non-transactional spaces where someone might choose to spend time.

Parks are where you can go to unwind, decompress from city life and experience ‘nature’. The problem with most inner-city parks, is that you don’t get to experience nature at all. Parks are inherently man-made creations, even our most famous ones. They weren’t patches of the natural world as it existed before we colonized the space around it, but rather planned and engineered to…

Roo Williams

Designer, developer and maker of things that exist on the web and in the world. City quitter. Exploring the concept of rewilding self and environment in Wales.

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