Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Wednesday 19th october

Where do you start when one gets angry.  A level art, and A level archaeology off the list of subjects to study in 6th forms. People are getting cross at the inroad to our own culture, (or to any culture) is nothing sacred as we type away on little hand held squares that transport us to the latest love life or bosom of the new nonentities that strut the stage at the present time.
Maybe I am really and truly getting old, when the idea that learning through education and reading is thrown on the scrap heap of worthless time wasting.  Water down the world into economics and jobs, forget the pleasure of knowledge for its own sake, seems to be the new way of life.

edit; so what did Steve Jobs say.."Technology alone is not enough - it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields the results that make our hearts sing"

What else has caught my attention, well now this is news reporting on archaeology.  Some archaeologists are so busy trying to get into the news that a few have made rather stupid errors in their interpretation of what they have found.  Mike Pitts gives a list under Strange Case of the dog in the Tunnel.  Could not agree more, a 7000 year old dog tooth found at Blick Mead near the magic Stonehenge, use Stonehenge in a headline and you will have a rapt audience so the media seems to think.  Anyway this dog tooth metamorphosed into an 'Alsatian' making its way down from Yorkshire to the South, all this you can interpret from the isotope analysis of the tooth, and presumably its size.

And not forgetting the dropping of 'nature' words from the Oxford Dictionary for children, replacing them with the new technical words.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday 17th October

“A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear.”

A quote from one of William Blake's poem, I caught on TV news last night the rather meagre sentence given to two men for horrifically abusing a dog, it has haunted my thoughts ever since. Amongst all the terrible acts of war we watch in other countries sometimes the cruelty to animals in this country seems small fry but it is well to remember that cruelty happens everywhere and needs to be spoken about.

A fallen branch by the crab apple tree

the willows turning yellow by the river

This is how it often looks in the morning

flood defences: no this earth is not too protect the road, it is the great staack of soil that has been taken from the river bank to terrace it.
and then there is of course Keat's Ode to Autumn

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,         5
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, 
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease;  10
For Summer has o'erbrimm'd their clammy cells

the crab apple harvest on the ground

We went for a meal with our friends on Friday to the Plough Inn at Wombleton (yes there is another place called Wombleton) and they have a couple of Wombles in their bar.  No one was very adventurous in their food, I had fish and chips with mushy peas, though I think squidging up green peas as opposed to marrowfat peas is not on.  Lucy always comes, Ben the manager normally gives her a biscuit or two, well behaved dogs* nowadays are allowed in the bar area but not restaurants, which is a good compromise.

Saturday we went out to Helmsley and whilst LS did some shopping at the Co-Op Lucy and I walked along the back street, next to the moat, where I noted the narrow stream which runs through it is paved and I watched a couple of jackdaws having a thorough wash in the water.  No photos but such pretty terraced cottages, a small calm backwater against the busyness of the main square with its tourists, Helmsley would not be such a bad place to live.

* Lucy is always well behaved if she can go out in the car which she loves, only at home does she let her hair down!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday thoughts

So, some people are cross about choosing Bob Dylan as the new Nobel literature figure, the fact of the matter is though we have to take on new thought which applies to the times we live in, whether we agree with it or not.  I do not like abstract paintings but that is not strictly true, images flashed before my eyes I remember going to an exhibition in  Switzerland with my then father-in-law.  It was the paintings of  Paul Klee the Swiss artist which changed my mind somewhat, then I thought of Kandinsky, thought by some to be the first painter of abstract art.  Then Cubism and Braque came to mind, and I realised that absorbing things unconsciously I had actually looked and enjoyed these paintings, now who did that multi- legged dog with his many footed owner taking him for a walk, clever idea and no doubt discussed into the ground by many an art expert......

Bottles and Fishes -  GeorgesBraque
Paul Klee
Wassil Kandinsky

I went through a period of Ruskin and the Pre-raphaelites but their heavy lidded eyed, ripples of red hair models left me feeling slightly wanting, and the 'Light of the World' reminded me of all those prayer books at the convent. So I moved on.
Latterly, it is Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious that catch my breath, if not my eye, clear light filled paintings with subject matter of an earlier time.  Amongst the 'brown' paintings my favourite resides in Bath, the geese crossing a ford..... Watersplash by Henry le Thangue, its soft mellowed sun and shadowed path with a daft gaggle of geese always makes me smile.

All this talking of art has jogged LS into thinking of his own art work, though of course he went in a different direction in art and became a conservator, but he was talking about The Six Persimmons this morning so a hunt on his web site brought it up here.

And what I don't like!!

Damien Hirst's animals in formaldehyde
Tracy Emin's bed
Weiwei's sunflower seeds - slight repetition there, and this display went down in the house like a ton of bricks, smashing up antique bowls, etc, not sure what he did with them...

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thursday - a poem

Curlews in April

Hang their harps over the misty valleys

A wobbling water-call
A wet footed god of the horizons

New moons sink into the heather
And full golden moons

Bulge over spent walls

Ted Hughes

Well I start with a poem by Ted Hughes, thumbing through his book of poems 'Remains of Elmet', looking at the dark black and white photographs of Fay Godwin and I am back on the train travelling to Todmorden through the Calder Vale, home to both the old Celtic land of Elmet, and home to Hughes of course.

There is a darkness, think I called it a funerary aspect to the valley, the houses, especially the weaver cottages, stained black by industry, the close hills on either side, the dark muddyness of the river.  Hebden Bridge, a potpourri of touristic shops, a hippy residence, pretty by the river, a typical small Northern town.  Further along where my family live in Todmorden, less glamourous, small shops of antiques and galleries amongst the cafes, the growing of edible plants in every spare corner, a 'green' domain caught up in this small town, or is it the overspill of the hippy residence of Hebden Bridge. 

One interesting fact is that the boundary line between Lancashire and Yorkshire falls straight through the Town hall and river to the North, reminding me of those small tribal countries, that once this country was made from between the time of the Romans and then the Normans, who strode onto the scene today I think, a few centuries back, and changed some of our ways - but not all.

My interest had been captured by the photography of Godwin, today we all have cameras and some of us use them with brilliance and yet Fay Godwin with her black and white photos was famed in her time.  She was a landscape photographer capturing the moment when the sky met the land and the seasons changed. 

She had been to the Isle of Lewis and photographed Callanish the great stone circle of the North, one could almost say the prehistoric cathedral of the North, far greater in its intricacies than Stonehenge but needing a pilgrimage of great stamina to reach!  Callanish after hail storm, you can buy it as the blurb across it says ;)  In her photos of the Caldervale she has captured the grittiness of the land, darkness holds sway, mirroring the dark Celtic tone of Hughes
Well all I can say that our part of yorkshire is dark and filled with rain, the leaves lie golden on the lawn, the trees drip with water as I let the chickens out this morning, but at least we are going out for lunch with some friends which should inspire the day.  And of course the thought of curlews in April though several months away gladdens the heart, thought I haven't heard any up on the moors this summer, except they have been in the fields round here.  The secret is to always look forward to the future!

a recognition of all those words and music of 1963 that inspired a generation to look at their world in a different way.  Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize in literature. Has it changed?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sunday reflections

Perfectly beautiful Sunday morning, Lucy and I slowly walked along Salton lane, there were pale headed birds flitting along in front of us, no they couldn't be buntings could they?  Each day I make a mental note of the birds around.  For a start three pigeons have met their deaths in the garden the last few days.  We thought at first it was the hawk, but it could well be that weasel lurking on the other side of the fence in the copse, the chickens sounded the alarm several times during the morning, and LS spied something happening behind the chicken coop.
Life and death are all part of the countryside, that beautiful dead swallow I found at the side of the lane a few weeks back, perfect in shape and colour, the lesser deaths of the plants as they raise their dry seed heads to the sky.  In the garden the long fence with Several Virginia creepers is toning down to a soft dark red, dark berries whilst the holly tree's berries turn a vibrant red.  Last roses fill you with melancholy, and the dark draws in more quickly every evening.  And the bats come out to greet the night as I go to shut the hens in, in the morning when I let them out, I am greeted by the cawing of the crows in the copse, not sure whether they are greeting me or grumbling at my appearance.
Out of the dining windows, on the little hillock between the graveyard and field, early morning, and I will see the sheep pressed against the fence nibbling whatever has fallen, a trio of rabbits sometimes appear and recently the appearance of young pheasants, all in a small space.  Across the road Nigel's Shetland sheep group themselves on a high bank under the hedge, whilst his two goats potter in their paddock.  Nigel goes out every day to glean the hedgerows for his goats, with his dozen or so sheds in various states of disrepair guess he and his wife have found Nirvana ;)
Whilst Nelson with his acre of land, goodness knows where he sleeps on it, though he probably has a disreputable caravan somewhere, and untidy sheds, cackling geese and wandering hens , not forgetting his half dozen sheep, has found his place on Earth as has Bealtaine Cottage owner Colette.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Friday 7th October

Teasing Lucy to get a good photo.  No she does not drink beer, it is biscuits that have attracted her attention.

Harvest Festival yesterday at the church, pumpkins, marrows and chrysanthemums, not forgetting the bountiful harvest of apples.

The village of Marton, seemingly without much history, no church but two chapels, which would give it a 17th century date maybe. Note the muted paintwork and the door which I rather like.

The 'journeyman's' small cottage in our village, stuck between the old forge and the larger cottage.  A journeyman seems to have been a craftsman who moved from town to town, but one could also see this small cottage as a place to lay one's head at night.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tuesday 4th October

wath. “Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse vath ford; akin to Old English wæd ford, Old High German wat ford, Old High German watan to wade.” That’s where the cattle were led down to the river here to drink on their way to Malton livestock market a few miles away.

A word we learnt from Bernie the other day, of a causeway down to the river by us.  The road outside would have been the highway for hundreds of cattle going to market, plodding their weary way, I feel rather sad for them.  O he was enthusiastic our Bernie, there I sat with a second day of a migraine thumping over my eye, and he seemed to go on for three hours, think I achieved martydom at some stage.

Not being mean, he was very interesting, and in actual fact LS looked up the word.  What is so surprising is how this village of very few cottages managed to get several ale houses, though presumably they would be cottage ale houses, a blacksmith and butcher shops within its small confines. The families were local and married into each other, though not of course Mary Wood, there was another single lady who was courted for years by a man with a van, but the day came when he had to choose between marriage and a new van, guess which he chose?

The weather was absolutely beauitful yesterday and I opened my box of bulbs, nothing like looking towards next summer, well I planted irises, and soon all my flamboyant tulips will take their turn beneath the soil.  Being extravagant, I bought several species of lilies for pots, and also Eremus or foxtail lily, which is a very delicate creature at the best of times, it needs afternoon and evening sun, fairly dry and settled on sand.  Well I have decided it will go against the warm church wall under the yew, its pretty orange colour echoing the wall and it resists rabbits!  Unfortunately it is difficult to grow. I love tall spiky flowers in a garden, the foxgloves with the bees drifting in and out, delphiniums with their hosts of blue variegations and especially larkspur.

Yesterday I swapped apples for eggs with Jill, do like this bartering, and the local news has just come through of the apple juicing that takes place at Kirkby.  Thank goodness they don't slaughter the home pig anymore in the country;).....

The fabled 'Hob' also has his stories in Yorkshire.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday 2nd October

I have just made some scones for our visitor coming today,  Bernie, historian of our village, though he lives down South.  We should be primed to ask him lots of questions but my head still echoes to a migraine.  It is a bit like a Kinder egg my head, a fragile shell of white chocolate lines the inside.
The last migraine, several years ago, had me in tears because I could not remember the names of my grandchildren, it is as if your functioning thinking goes to pot amidst the pain, and the past comes swirling back in disjointed memories.
Today it has been wonderful to wake up and feed the birds, several pigeons, the jackdaws flying quickly in to take the bread and my favourite the little collared doves.  Our large band of sparrows are still to make an appearance, as are the chaffinches, blue tits, little wren and robin.  They are part and parcel of our lives, and guess what they are singing (not the sparrows of course) 'Mud, Mud, glorious mud' a childhood song on Radio 3. 
Memories float back from Todmorden,  Lilly racing along the road to see why her friend was not waiting for her, her friend was sick and so we walked together down to her school.  Lilly adores her school.
Matilda stayed with me all day, her shy friend Ella came for tea one night, and there was a lot of giggling and laughter from the bedroom.  We watched films on the TV,  Nanny Mcphee and Bridesmaids, and rather a good film featuring a young Johny Deppe and Leonardi di Capri it featured a place called Eldorado....
Train journeys slightly unnerve me, the bustle of the station, especially when you have to find the right platform, luckily after Leeds, high with tall skyscrapers, you go on smaller trains that are definitely easier to find.
Someone else in the village has written a book, which in all fairness I should buy, as has the old landlord from the pub next door. 
It can be boring sifting through history to find some clues, there are so few, I remember doing a small history of the family of Cope who emigrated to America from Avebury, in the 17th century and being fascinated by the store of stuff on this family in America.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday 30th September

Well back from Todmorden and the rather beautiful Calder Valley. (Calder comes from 'cold, which I do not find surprising!) The train journey back took me through the valley, steep hills on either side, mostly wooded and the river running alongside.
I did not take my camera, so have chosen a few photos from Wikipedia of the two towns I visited.  My daughter manages two charity shops, one in Hebden Bridge (very hippy town) and the other in Todmordern (home to the Incredible Edible Tormorden) both true characteristic pictures of small Northern towns
Matilda had had two days in hospital due to low blood sugar, and had to go on a drip but she was back home on Monday with tales of all that happened.  She caused quite a sensation amongst her friends,  all of whom managed with great sensibility to look after her, phoning for an ambulance and also parents.
She is not in too much pain but drags the heavy cast around with some moaning, but we went out for coffees and pizza, and a meal at Wetherspoon for all of us so we kept her amused.

Todmorden sheltered by the hills

Hebden Bridge

Rochdale Canal, Hebden Bridge

Thornton Viaduct, Bradford.
The dark millstone grit stone used for the houses, gives a slight funeral feel to the place.  They were also of course subject to the time of the industrialisation of the North, and their blackness was due to the heavy smoke laden workings of the mills, and of course the use of coal.
In all this part of West Yorkshire is very different to our flat Vale of Pickering, it is like so many places in Great Britain, a jewel caught up in working mines etc, each landscape a different jewel from the purple heather moors to the ranges of hills, nothing is the same.

Thanks to Wikipedia, and all the people who post photos on their for the use of others.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday - Away

Well I have always wanted to write this - Out of the Office - of course not really but I shall be away for a few days to go and stay in Todmorden and keep Matilda company.  So train from Malton Station tomorrow, slightly nervous about it all but have written instructions for LS on how to feed and look after the creatures!
See you soon X

Saturday, September 24, 2016


old orchard at Lower Riseborough Farm

Saturday and all is quiet;  It is a time for reading the newspaper. Good news on Matilda she woke up perky and fresh, so sometime today they should go home.
Guardian on Saturday, though I bought The Times yesterday, flicked through their property pages, which mostly consist of million pound houses, all delectable of course, and mostly in London, although apparently there are many cashing in on their houses and fleeing out of the city.  Don't ask me my opinion on people who see houses as their greatest asset, for some it is a good way of amassing capital for one's retirement, for others they turn into greedy vultures, capitalising from the poor.  Whoops the American dictionary has picked me up on capitalising, no I shall not spell it with a 'z' thank you.. 

Even Purple Bricks can do it, this small cottage in the village has only had this sign up a couple of weeks

As for the young who can't even get started on the housing ladder, especially with a £50,000 university bill round their necks, I don't know the answer except that all of us should lobby the government to do something.  
Just written to the Defra ministry about ivory sale in this country, a drop in the ocean, when  these beautiful wild elephants are killed on a daily basis for material gain.  But perhaps one day there will be a slow 'turning' to right action not a bumbled attempt by some politician to excuse and continue the practise.
We had our first log fire last night, I was shivery (with relief that Matilda was alright) and it burned the logs beautifully, unfortunately the fire irons were left next to the fire, so Lucy had a good time rolling them around after midnight, not forgetting her stainless steel bowl which was dropped on the kitchen floor several times - how to wake people up when you are lonely.
What else - Chris Packham is not to be dropped by the BBC for his remarks against grouse shooting thank goodness, his voice sometimes as he reveals ' The Tweet of the Day' would be sorely missed.  The not so lucky buy of 'Bake off' (never watched it) by 'channel 4' is somewhat like shooting yourself in the foot, did they not think to get the presenters in the bag before they went off after the programme for £75,000,000? As someone said it was a bloody expensive tent they have acquired!

Friday, September 23, 2016


Well my third day; 
Yesterday I walked with Lucy over the fields with the express need to photo the four crab apple trees that line a hedge.  Their crops are very heavy, green at the moment I shall wait for them to colour up before I pick them for jelly

It is rather a shame that this bitter small apple cannot be used in more ways than one.  We walked along the old hedge bank full of rabbit holes, but no rabbits, a spent cartridge told the reason why. Lucy peered down the holes with interest, this side of the hedgerow there is no wildlife strip but there is on the other side.  The land belongs to the farm which is up for sale, the barns are in a ramshackle state, though the land is farmed the yard is always eerily empty.  When I was a child farms would always be bustling with livestock, chickens running round, pigs in their stys and the low moos of penned cattle.

to be continued...

Well if this was a diary entry for today, bad news is that my grand daughter Matilda, whilst flying across the bowling green in Todmorden at great speed last night took a tumble and broke her arm in a couple of places and strained her wrist.  Luckily her sensible friend with her phoned for an ambulance and now she is in a Huddersfield hospital with her mother waiting for an operation at l pm today, they may have to wire the bones or put a plate in, just like mine it seems.  So today my thoughts will be with her, it is the right forearm, her writing hand unfortunately.  Poor lamb and now I wonder what pressie to buy her...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday 22nd September; The official day for Equinox

Well it is early Thursday morning, there is a fine drizzle outside, and we had a power cut in the night just as we had gone to bed.  It lasted about an hour or so, it would have been alright but Lucy panicked and knocked over the tall tower of CDs downstairs, so candles had to be found.  I lay in bed contemplating the world without electricity.  No tea or toast in the morning, and we definitely need more matches, we could probably cook on top of the wood burner but one of those expensive Agas would not come amiss, of course it has to burn fuel to be of any use.  Frugal in Derbyshire has started a thread/train of thought on the subject. Scary of course and she introduced us to a 70s drama on the subject called 'Survivors' to be found on Youtube perhaps it is best not to go there except for the bad acting and fruity accents.

What else happened yesterday, well my daughter asked me to be an executor in her will as part of the separation from her ex, so I had to go and look that one up, not a fun job, I shall hopefully never share the experience with my co-executor, Marc, her cousin, in Switzerland.

The world looks a bleak place at the moment, why does the wielding of power always end up like a game of chess, with the leaders moving the pieces on the board, and in the process the lives of thousands are wrecked.  Surely the images of toddlers their faces covered in blood would move the hardest of hearts.  Is Putin playing a terrible game in trying to destroy Europe through the suffering of others. Someone from UKIP and a few others, said they admired him, how so?

To return to the theme of survival, I don't think I will bother ;) what will be will be but we have learnt some lessons from last night, it was as black as hell outside, so torches, matches (we have plenty of candles) food that can be easily warmed up, and don't flush the loo after 48 hours because we have to pump up our sewage to the waste disposal across the road by electricity!

One thing I forgot to list, is my struggle in making a rag doll, this may be of no consequence to anyone, but I decided to make one, and then got stuck at the first stage by what I thought was an insurmountable problem, solved it, read 4 instead of 2 and then I have a moon face not a half moon face.  When Matilda was a toddler I made her three of these, as when she lost them there would be terrible shenanigans, well the finished article will be on display but don't expect much.  Also yesterday came across a 'miniature fairy house' for the miniature garden display I never entered at Marton, basically due to the fact that I could not find any of the plant 'mind your own business' or something similar, so if you want to make a fairy house (and who doesn't) go here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday - 21st September Equinox

Writing each day, will try it for a bit;

Yesterday a visit to Pickering for shopping at Lidl, we walked around the town, mainly to get the cash for the logs, a woman came up and made a fuss of Lucy, said that she already had one spaniel but was thinking of getting another.  As we talked it emerged she had an autistic son and the dog helped him greatly.  One of the things we find is the friendliness of Yorkshire people, we carry on conversations in the street with complete strangers.  I lived in Chelmsford with LS for 8 years but never found the same spirit of openness in the South....

Nigel came over from across the road with a container of red tomatoes in the afternoon, he inspected my tomatoes and was of the opinion I needed a greenhouse, but I could see he was impressed with my little vegetable garden, he is going to bring me over a couple of wheelbarrow loads of manure, it will be gratefully received.  He and his wife live across the way with his animals and he potters happily all day, either building/mending another shed for his two goats, half a dozen sheep, hens and ducks.  We look out on his sheds, see him come out every morning to let the hens out and the goats (they provide milk for their household) and know that everything in their world is alright.

Jim our neighbour on the other side of the church is a frequent visitor always helpful, he and LS are trying to solve the problem of our heavy gates which drag along the gravel when opened, they are going to tackle the job next week.  The person who installed them has been promising to come the last 6 months - mmmm.

Tomorrow, is the day we swap our internet company,  goodbye BT and welcome Beeline Broadband, a small company, they have about 400 customers and a mast just down the road, it requires something on the roof, and we will lose the BT landline number but you can use an internet number (German) at  a very cheap rate. What we will get is a much faster connection and our BBCiplayer should work, trying to watch something you missed has been a nightmare of buffering.

So Pat, my omelette is nothing special, just a courgette, chard torn into strips, mushrooms, quickly fried then an egg with plenty of herbs tossed in, some cheese thrown over the whole lot and eaten with freshly baked bread ;)

Village green I suppose with mole hills.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday 20th Sept.

I shall start with a video of Buseok Temple in Korea, basically it has a calming effect on the world of thought, though I really like the rain within this temple, it reminds us that religion is not all bad.  Why do I pick this today, could it be that Lucy is prowling around in an agitated frame of of mind, something has got to her and she is not happy.  Not like this photo I took the other day, LS occasionally calls her a Zen Buddhist dog and she fits the picture perfectly with her cushion in front and eyes closed worshipping the sun!

This morning  we wake up to more dreadful news as the humanitarian trucks for Aleppo were bombed yesterday; spitefulness for the Syrian troops 'accidentally' killed the other day? when and how does it stop - end of ceasefire of course.
Also on a lesser note they (Labour party) are out to get Jeremy Corbyn by shifting the rules around a bit, can they not see their foolishness.  Why not actually ask why Corbyn has suddenly got a large vote from the public and act on that instead....
Well how did my vegetable garden go this summer, all my tomatoes, and there are a lot of them are still green, the red chard did well, not sure how to use it though, except in my omelette recipes.  Runner beans have done well, as has courgettes in pots but not the butternut plant, and the first cucumber was bitter....

elegant leaves

won this little seeded pot at a raffle

I love pansies, and there are such elegant colours, though these are violas

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday a day of rest

I have been up since 5.30, the moon like a bright coin shone through the bedroom window, now it is but a pale ghost of itself as the sun outshines it.  Chickens out and fed, there is a cold nip in the air as the season rolls into Autumn.  Our friend, Colin, who we went with the other day has sent information about another site a henge at Ampleforth, called Studford Ring, buried in the countryside, maybe we will go and see it.  Also an extract from the book he is writing about the invasion in the North by those Angles, Picts and Saxons, that leave traces in the land and etymology of the village names.

I took note of the pagan worship of the well, a small gesture amongst the trees, in actual fact behind the Mauley Cross was a large shell filled with little things like nuts, a need to leave an offering  The other day I learnt that someone who does not like the church and who buys my eggs, does not like giving money to the church.  Of course the money I get from the eggs goes to the church not because I have a religious bone in my body but because it is the sanctuary of a long history and its stones need to be kept in shape.

Not judging is a difficult task, tittle-tattle, gossip are all part of a village community, our village for instance has two camps, the upper and lower end of the village hardly communicate.  And if you attend functions at the neighbouring village community hut - yikes.

Yesterday LS had ordered logs for the coming winter from someone called Mark, a knock on the door (and the logs) in the afternoon revealed the smiling face of the father of the bride a few weeks back, the man who had so tenderly arranged roses over his wife's grave.  He needs that church for the remembrance of his wife, and the wedding of his daughter, not for the fortnightly services, which are so poorly attended, he needed the world in which he lived to stay the same, acknowledging the generations that have passed and that the ceremonies of birth, weddings and funerals are recorded.

Long conversation with my daughter yesterday on the phone revealed that her world is going well.  She is busily working on her house, painting etc.  Apparently one of the things you don't feed dogs is the remains of corn on the cob.  They only have a small bowel and those chunky bits can get stuck.  She had done it to Teddy the whippet, and Matilda, fount of all knowledge, gave her a lecture.  Daughter feeling guilty took Teddy to the vets, who told her she could do one of three things, 1) do  nothing, 2) x-rays, costs a fortune, 3) injection which would make the dog violently sick, she opted for that!

Matilda attached (as always) to her mobile
And now to take Lucy a walk, she who is often up during the night always sleeps like a log till 10 am and is a reluctant walker at the best of times....

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Today we went in search of The Old Wife's Well and as an aside Mauley Cross both found because we had our friend with us from Pickering.  Weather sunny and hot yesterday and early this morning but when we hit the moors a damp clingy fog hung heavily on the forest of trees and the moors.  There is nothing really to add to the old well, it belonged to the village of Stape but is presumed by some to date back to Roman times (and even before) as it sits alongside the old Roman road over Wheeldale.  Similarly for the Medieval Mauley cross, which sits inside a forest trackway, an old road that went cross country to Wardlerigg, a couple of the houses in this area of the forest are ruins.  And apparently according to C there are the stone footings of old cottages long lost in this neck of the forest.
Another interesting fact he divulged was that in the 60s there was a commune hereabouts, not sure if it wasn't at Wardlerigg, anyway he lived there for three months, and to get food they would walk to and back from Pickering, a 12 mile journey on foot.
Looking at this medieval cross it has stood at its post as a wayside marker, a reminder to travellers moving on to the great abbeys of their religion and has witnessed many parts of history, not least the great coniferous forest that has grown up around it, planted around the time of the early 1920s and still cared for by the Forestry Commision.

Old Wife' Well, still a place of 'worship' for pagans

Our journey continued down to Wheeldale Beck to see if there were any mushrooms growing, nothing of any species, maybe the weather, there had been fly agaric mushrooms at the well though. The Rowan tree's berries were out everywhere, providing a splash of colour and winter food for the birds, it grows out in the open escaping the dark of the conifers.
We went on to Whitby, (LS wanted his hair cut by the hairdresser there) so C and I wandered down to Church Street. Whitby is always the same, the pungent smell of fish and chips, hundreds and hundreds of people with their  dogs, wandering idly up and down, the mist hanging heavy in the sky.  C told a funny story, he had come to Whitby for the day years ago, and got rather scared by the peculiar people wandering around not knowing that it was a 'Goth' weekend!

the underside of the well, neatly corbelled

The beck