The Drover and the smell of the smoke

I thought it would be fun to give some of the background to the songs on Capacitor.

The album was inspired by the many hours I spent walking around my local town of Waterlooville.  I thought a lot about how the area would have looked many years ago, and all the people, now dead, who had trod the same path as me.  Ghosts have always fascinated me. I don’t really believe in them in a physical sense, but I do believe the testimonies of the many friends and family that have witnessed them. Talking to these people first hand is enough to convince me that they experienced something real to them which is very difficult to explain in scientific terms.  Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, we all experience the legacy of past lives lived, everywhere we go.  It’s the storage of human spirit…

The Drover


Ferndale as it is today, a treelined surburban avenue. In the 1850s it was dense woodland.

My local town seems to have more than its fair share of ghost stories and local legends.
Ferndale in Waterlooville,( ‘In a  road close to me’, as the song goes),  now an ordinary tree lined avenue, was once part of the dense woodland of the Inhurst Wood. Ferndale is reputedly haunted by the ghost of an old drover who hanged himself on an oak tree in the 1850’s. He could be seen as a brooding, besmoked figure smoking a pipe and when he disappears, the smell of tobacco lingers on.   Sightings have been recorded as recently as 2010 and it was this story that created ‘The Drover’.  The strange thing is, on the verge of sleep I have occasionally experienced the smell of the smoke,  what medically would be described as an olfactory hallucination.   If you believe in the paranormal it’s called a Phantosmia.  This was the reference to the ‘smell of the smoke’,  ‘I get the smell of the smoke now’.  It’s an odd line and may seem a bit abstract but it always made literal sense to me. Sometimes I was convinced that either the house was on fire or I was having some weird flashback to times gone by when your favourite uncle would ceremoniously light up a pipe and fill the room with smoke.

5 Responses to The Drover and the smell of the smoke

  1. Ronald Jochems Sunday 31st August 2014 at 20:34 #


    It’s a fantastic story, and it turned out as a wonderful song !
    It’s very interesting to read other people also get these great inspirations from these odd and historic stories, and how things were in the past …

    Many thanks for making this fabulous music.

    Best regards,


  2. Joel Tuesday 16th September 2014 at 03:17 #

    Love your work! Great to learn about the background of the songs

  3. Heriberto Friday 19th December 2014 at 22:16 #

    When I had the first listen of the Capacitor album I just go out of my mind. One of the best albums for me of 2014, Thank´s for share your experience and the basic idea of the song The Drover. Well, I always try to find the reason of each thing in this world but some times threr´s things that now a days we couldn´t explain at all as the the smell of the smoke…

  4. Jon Green Monday 19th January 2015 at 11:55 #

    Very interesting article.

    When you wrote “I get the smell of the smoke now”, in “The Drover”, did you mean “I understand the smell of the smoke now”, or “I’m experiencing [it]”? Or were you playing on the ambiguity?

    • Cosmograf Wednesday 4th March 2015 at 19:29 #

      Playing on the ambiguity, I think Jon…but in honesty I can’t remember my original intention with that line.

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