Early in the afternoon three people appeared on the Acorn Stage. They had no instruments with them and were not about to burst into unaccompanied three-part harmony. On the left was the writer Robert Macfarlane. In the centre, the artist Jackie Morris. And interviewing the pair of them was the broadcaster Matthew Bannister.
(just what the Scottish harpist and singer, Rachel Newton, and others who follow have got to do with this will become clear later. Back to the interview...)
The Oxford Junior Dictionary of 2007 made a decision to exclude certain words from its pages to make room for other words which they deemed more relevant to today's children.
The missing words included "dandelion", "acorn", "bluebell" and "otter", all words to do with the natural world, left out in favour of words to do with the internet and computers.
The loss of the words from the dictionary was of course not the fault of the publishers; they merely reflect what's going on in the world. But if children do not know the names of these things how will they know how important it is to protect them?
I can't recall the exact details of how it came about but the landscape writer Robert Macfarlane and wildlife artist Jackie Morris came together to produce the book "The Lost Words" to celebrate the beauty and mystery of the very words left out of the dictionary.
Somehow I didn't get a picture of Jim Molyneux apart from where he sneaks into the left-hand edge of the band shot above. Kerry Andrew, who was also part of the group, was not at the event but does appear on the CD. So here they are, The Lost Words book and CD, floating ethereally above the festival site surrounded by a golden glow....
There's lots online about the project for those who are interested:
An interview with Robert Macfarlane on YouTube
All the songs of The Lost Words CD on YouTube