and welcome to the BDO. I’m in Wiltshire, so not exactly nearby, but I do drop in here from time to time and am happy to answer questions. As course editor, it’s good to get feedback on how folk are getting along with ’em.
Bobcat (Emma Restall Orr) was joint chief of the BDO from 1995 to 2002, when she stepped down to focus on two new groups she was establishing, The Druid Network and Honouring the Ancient Dead. Following on from Angela’s comments, some folk did find Bobcat extremely annoying. Most of them didn’t actually know her. I know her well and can vouch for the fact that she is a damn fine Druid – the most psychically-attuned I’ve ever worked with – fiercely intelligent and, in her private moments, very funny. Her first three books – ‘Spirits of the Sacred Grove’ (reprinted as ‘Druid Priestess’), ‘Principles of Druidry’ and ‘Ritual: A Guide to Life, Love and Inspiration’ – were all written during the years we worked closely together and her subsequent books continue to be very BDO in their approach.
Since you’re just starting out on the bardic course, however, I’d recommend two books by another friend of the BDO, Kevan Manwaring. Kevan’s a very fine bard himself, which is why he writes about the tradition with such knowledge and conviction. The books are ‘The Bardic Handbook’ and ‘The Way of Awen.’ Also well worth checking out are any CDs you can find by Claire Hamilton and two of my favourite Scots, Fiona Davidson and Robin Williamson.