Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday 21st September

Can this be the old butcher shop that once graced the field our house is built on?  For our historian, Bernie, who now lives in Kent called in to see us.  He sat for about three hours on the settee, by the window that looks onto the graveyard and chatted about past occupants of the village.  They slaughtered the animals in this field, the pigs, he said, the spot where he was sitting on the settee.  He was about to go into a horrendous story of one pig when I called a halt to the story!  I notice that this little shed with all the stone and wood stacked round it has its bricks tied into by iron ties.
He told me that the boundaries of the old deer park dykes that sit above on Lance Butts farm, there are still deer around I think.  He told of walking home from school from the adjoining village along the river, getting very wet in the process.  We have fish ponds in the village but on private land, you would have in Bernie's childhood been able to go through the kissing gate in the church down to the river and fish ponds.  He talks of mapping the wells, before mains water there were wells everywhere,  the spring that fed such wells is at the top of the hill on, funnily enough, Hill Farm land.
All this I absorb, though my interest lies much earlier in the Scandinavian era when the countryside was overrun.
Margaret Wood comes into the conversation, she of tumbledown Willow cottage, the land on which is now graced by new cottages, one already  going round the half a million mark, can you remember when houses just cost from about £3000?  Bernie tried to buy Willow Cottage at auction, but like all things in this dog eat dog world, a builder had already done a deal with the solicitors.  So all the valuable papers, church records as well were either destroyed or put on Ebay - sacrilege.   He even talks of a 16th/17th silver cup from the church that has disappeared - such intrigue!
When at last Bernie went, he was going to someone who has a very similar brick building in their garden, now transformed into a Victorian shop, some things still live on but only in collections.
Another storm has passed and we should be going to Whitby to pick up a new computer.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday 20th Sept

Did you hear the news yesterday? we are supposed to be kinder to wasps, the old bee gets all the positive publicity, whilst wasps get negative response.  Well the wasps round here decided to test our kindness.  This morning I noticed a couple of wasps in the kitchen and on opening the side door there was a cluster of wasps in the left hand corner of the door, probably about  three dozen, poor creatures wanted to come in from the cold! Well much as I respect all forms of life walking around barefoot with wasps scurrying around was not on my agenda.  So I gently flapped them away and hope they will find somewhere else.
Our little broody bantam is still being broody, this morning as usual I put her out in the garden to run round and feed and drink, she is a scaredy-cat as far as big butch Hen Phoebe is concerned and runs squawking from her, Fey my other bantam has struck up quite a friendship with Phoebe but likes her companion bantam to be around.
Yesterday our friends bought some apples from their garden and as there were cooking apples in the assortment, my first thought was baked apple with sugar.   The first thing is of course I haven't a corer to take out the middle of the apple, so I took out Hartley's - Food in England, apparently you need a sheep's shank bone neatly carved (as the sheep are all alive round here not much good). Anyway I coped with a knife, scored the apples round the middle, and spooned brown sugar with a dash of honey down the middle, no sultanas this time and baked the apple to watch it burst into that fluffy gold in the oven,  eaten with cream delicious.
It struck me reading the book, with recipes from the 14th century, and delicious recipes called 'apple amber', that should food be scarce on the ground after Brexit that we maybe have to go back to proper English cooking using the foods around us which are so abundant in this temperate country of ours!
Hartley on a baked/roast apple...

"Apples roasted with sugar candy and galingale syrup (galingale is a lumpy spice with the aroma of damask roses)Stew the galingale in enough water and honey to fill the platter. Drain over the apples and bake gently; withdraw from the oven and serve cold, scattered with crushed white sugar candy.  They should look like frosted pink roses, in a syrup the colour of rose quartz."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wednesday 19th September

The photo fades, but capturing the deer and unsure Moss always brings this wood to mind and the crispness of a cold frosty morning
Today the weather is quiet, the fierce winds of yesterday have calmed down, we bask in  warmth but Autumn is on its way.  Roses and rudbeckias dominate, the soft pink of sedum try to seduce the butterflies but they are more interested in the second flowering buddleias.  Some people coming for coffee this morning, but the day is quiet.
Paul is to go to London next week, there is an event at the Barbican organised by his friend - The Joy of Sake, and then there is a visit to his son to see Leo his grandson, a weekend away, and he seems to be dreading it, probably because a) it is London and b) because of the travelling.
Michael Morpurgo was doing 'tweet of the day' this time he talked of the buzzards in his part of remote Devon.  
And I remembered the story of my buzzard, high on the Bath downs.  He was deposited by his parents one Sunday on the Bath race course, I came over the stile, and there he was wandering around as if afraid to fly.  Parents sat on the fence watching over this youngster.  Eventually he took to the air, and I was to see him many times over the next few years.  I knew his places where he hunted for worms and would always look out for him as I would wind my way to the North Stoke fort.  Once, I had parked in the pub's car park, he sat in a tree about 50 yards away, the race course was being used for some function and I decided to drive down to the woods.  On arriving at the track way, my buzzard flew into the tree as well, as if following me, also tired of the crowds.
Moss was my constant companion then, happy to walk any distance and a Sunday walk always had a special feel to it, sometimes I think the weather is always better on a Sunday and the trek over the Cromwellian/Royalist battle ground on the Lansdown brought back memories of fighting men overlooking the ridge towards Bristol.
Someone, once met on a walk, had the 'eye' he saw into the past, and told me he had once seen someone stumbling back from the battle up on the ridge, believe that as you may.  My only encounter with ghosts from the past, was one very foggy early morning up on the Downs,  Moss became very agitated and started to bark and out of the fog this sight appeared.  A man in a kilt with a beret, true Scottish attire in the middle of nowhere, he bade us a good morning and strolled off, okay I was scared too, had he fallen asleep after some party and then decided an early morning walk would clear his head, or was he really a vague memory from the past;)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Monday 17th Sept.

Paul Nash - World War 1

Kazuo Ishiguro......
in novels of great emotional force, [he] has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world" 

I watched 'The Remains of the Day' yesterday, probably a second or third time of the film which was made in 1989.  It is an incredibly moving film with Anthony Hopkins as the butler and Emma Thompson as the housekeeper.  James Fox played Lord Darlington and Christopher Reeve the American.
Just as I was writing this the following piece of music to be played tonight came on, 'The Armed Man' - Mass for Peace by Carl Jenkins, as I listen to it and read the comments, lots of coughing and noise from the audience but I shall put up with that.
When all the kerfuffle of anti-semitism in the Labour Party came up and we did not know who to believe as to what, someone mentioned the figure for the number of dead after WW2, between 60 to 80 million, the larger figure being civilians dying from war related diseases and famine.  Since that time we have lived in relative peace, at least our Western dominated culture has.  As a child I remember all the films glorifying war and being totally against it, could not see the point of killing people.  But it did put into context the deaths from the Holocaust. 
Hindsight is of course difficult to justify after an event has occured,  Darlington was way out of his league, a man probably of his class, we still see it today, and the day we become 'classless' will be blessed.  What I find extraordinary though is that a Japanese writer, okay brought up in England from an early age, has caught and defined, the upper classes in the 1930s has caught the very 'Englishness' that makes our country something to be admired but also reviled for its nose in the air attitude to life. 
Not a happy subject, but it is Monday ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday 13th September

So hasn't there been a bounty in fruit this year, and the hawthorns are also weighed down.

Two hares have arrived in the house, one a print, the other a book my daughter found in her shop.  The print was expensive but going on what the speaker at the talk said yesterday, please yourself when making a garden, you are not there to please others, it is not a competition.  So I am very happy with my hare print!

I have been to a couple of meeting this week, one at the U3A and the other a gardening talk.  I had thought of joining U3A (University of the Third Age) but decided not to for a number of reasons.  For a start looked at the book club books, on the book sale table and thought I would never ever read the books that appeared as half a dozen at a time.  Though I did toy with canasta evening at a hotel,  but it meant going out at night.  But the talk by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust was good.
The other meeting yesterday was a gardening club meet and the speaker had been replaced at short notice from a bonsai grower to someone who was going to talk on Unnatural Gardening.  He was very good, a scientist who knew his facts, and he gently pointed out (with the aid of the tooth fairy) how many of our ideas are wrong.  For instance, native flowers, often are not very native having crept into the country during the last centuries.
So natural gardening sold to us the last few years rests on slightly ignorant gardeners who sell us ideas not truth.  Irene who I had gone with when we got back presented me with another plum tree, which she had brought and then found there was nowhere to put in her garden, which was very generous of her.  It is a decent size, and I shall plant it when it becomes cooler.

And now to my last picture, Lucy fits the bill! Turning 11 years old has done nothing to curb her sprightliness and the sight of a plump cocker spaniel dancing around on the lawn, or playing ball in the kitchen (she won't play it anywhere else) or her crooked grin as she gets told off for once more being naughty, would exasperate the patience of a saint, but we are not changing her yet ;)

FT link, it may not work for those who do not subscribe

  A taste; Brexit: a coup by one set of public schoolboys against another

Monday, September 10, 2018

remembering - Beatties

"To provide the customer with a good range of well chosen, good value merchandise. To offer this to the public in attractive surroundings, backed by pleasant and effective service, and in an atmosphere of complete integrity and responsibility. To demonstrate at all times a genuine desire to please".

Beatties of Wolverhampton, now owned by House of Fraser and of course on the skids.  Rachel reminded me of these great department stores and as a child I was dragged round this shop by one or other of my stepmothers.  All I remember are fur coats and evening dresses, do people still wear them?  I know fur will not be allowed on the fashion walk now, thank goodness.  I remember the mink coat was fought over when my grandfather changed wives ;)

I suppose there is something sad when these department stores hit the bottom, but how many times have you walked round Debenhams, looking at clothes either way out of date or frowsy? is that a word?  Even Marks and Sparks is beginning to feel the crunch, what we have now is the new shopping malls such as Westfield.

Prince Albert in Queen Square
The Art Gallery

This is fun, pottering around old times on the net.  My grandfather worked at Villiers Engineering as chief engineer, and these gates below are where all the workers came out. As a child I would have sat in my stepmother's sports car watching the people come out running, walking, on bicycles, just like a Lowry drawing.

Another memory that floats by was taking my pony to be shod through the town to the dairy.  Who ran their milk floats by horsepower, the real ones of course, beautiful cobs that were stabled and part of the stables was a blacksmith's shop for shoeing horses.  It was here my pony, Silver Dollar kicked out, landing a hoof in my groin, very painful at the time.....

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Saturday 8th September

Have you been listening to the Book of the Week - In My Mind's Eye by Jan Morris?  She calls it 'memorisation'.  I love Jan Morris's book on Wales - The Matter of Wales (I think), but had not realised she had written 40 books about her life and travels.  I must explore her other books, though as you may have gathered I am not too interested in books about travel.
What struck me was the word memorialising, this is what we do on our blogs, as Morris has done in her book, we allow past memories to glide through on a whim, a blog becomes a diary, a capturing of memories.
This weekend my daughter, two grandchildren and Teddy the Whippet come down.  It will be the first time Teddy has been here with my two bantams.  As anyone knows greyhounds and whippets chase anything that moves, so the bantams along with Phoebe the hen will be penned. Lady Jane is still broody, I pick her up unceremoniously each morning and put her down in the garden, when she eventually shakes herself down and gets something to eat, my other little bantam Fey is totally friendly, chuntering away to me as she goes about her business, the only one who produces eggs at the moment though.
Jo has put out the first of the apples in the village, Worcesters, their sharp red and green like the apples children crayon in.  The weather is also drawing in, black clouds from the West, and I shall have to collect the entourage from the station at Malton.  Have I ever mentioned that I have become insecure about driving?  I worry, all to no avail, everyone says I drive as I always did when I chaffeured my children around Bath, but there is always that nagging worry at the back of my mind, bit like that little black furry creature on the advert on television!
So for the moment that are my thoughts for the day ;)  Blessings on everyone who reads it...

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Okay. SID, this means 'sometimes I despair'  my father in law when the dinner table descended into an argument, would then throw his napkin over his head and say S.I.D reducing everyone to laughter.  So what made me think this this morning.
Jocelyn Bell, physicist has just been awarded a cash prize of $3,000,000 for discovering that pulsars(a sort of star) sent out radio waves in the 1960s.  Did she get a prize then, no is the short answer.  As a female student the honours of a Nobel prize went to her supervisers, and as she explained on the Today programme this morning, it was only white middle-aged men that got the medals.
But what is she going to do with the money? and this is where the lovely bit comes in, it will be used to help others to gain the knowledge and placements in astrophysics, ethnic, women and even refugees she says....

She is already in discussion with the Institutes of Physics in the United Kingdom and Ireland about using the prize money to create PhD studentships for people from under-represented groups in science. “Diversity is very important,” says Bell Burnell. “This also recognizes that I did my most important work as a student.”

Somehow that story in a world that is more often grasping and greedy, rights the sense of a moral code for this special American prize.  The prize by the way is funded by entrepreneurs, such as the CEOs of Google and Facebook, and the final paragraph of the Nature article says this.

"Keating adds that the prize “should also be seen as a shot across the bow of the Nobel-prize committee”. He notes that Bell Burnell could still be awarded the Nobel prize, without violating any of the Nobel Foundation’s rules. “Doing so immediately would also send an inspirational message to scientists — male and female, young and old — that it is the discovery itself, not the gender, prestige, or age of the discoverer that really endures.”

There are notes of a feminist crossness in the above, but I do realise that things have changed from the 1960s, but still there is a long way to go;)

And if you want to giggle this morning Murrmurrs blog, always sees the funny side of life.  Who would ever have thought that a teddy bear had balls ;)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Magic: 5th September

"Everything that touches human life is surrounded by a penumbra of associations, memories, echoes and correspondences that extend far into the unknown. In this way of seeing things, the world is full of tenuous filaments of meaning, and the very worst way of trying to see these shadowy existences is to shine a light on them."

Taken from an article by Phillip Pullman  (writer of 'Dark Materials) in the Guardian.
Sometimes you get tired of the ways of the world, the constant bickering, the trivia that fills our media, and may I say it, sometimes on blogs.  But no I am not going there.  I am staying with magic and the need to believe in something that is not there!
Religion of course tumbles into the mind,  belief systems that have no logic but have ritual, words and colour to uphold their divine rights.  This is something Paul and I argue over, both non-believers, he sees the Catholic church as corrupt, which it is, but it still holds hundreds of thousands of people entranced.  You cannot dismiss it and hope that it will go away, somehow people need a belief system in their lives.
But what of magic, the cat buried in the wall of an old cottage, or indeed under the threshhold of the entrance to the door.  Paul told me it was unlucky to step on the threshhold of the back door the other day, maybe because he had just stained it!
Is there a function for creating fairies, elves and devils; and gods of course?  Do they carry our sins, reminding us of how to behave.  Bad and good, are they the moral underpinnings of our soul? And do we have a soul, or is the Holy Ghost a mythology to frighten us into subjection?
On my desk I see Geoffrey Grigson 'The Englishman's Flora', a book I delve into frequently, even plants have association with good and bad, religious figures in the middle ages, of course they were rationalised into Latin by  Carl Linnaeus, as science has rationalised the world around us.  But we still want to believe in 'magic ;), a chaotic order in the world that doesn't fit proscribed rules.
I meant to actually talk of something that is irrational in the archaeology world, they are called ley lines, a belief that all over England these invisible lines join up, making their way through significant features in the landscape, such as churches and prehistoric sites.  This is proven by dowsing for  energy fields. As you dowse for water, a legitimate occupation for finding wells and water by the way, you can also dowse for the energy lines!  Water of course is logical, it is the place where we settle our villages and towns, a good water supply is essential for humans and animals, so the track marks we make to these places are often indelibly written into the landscape.
So I shall read Guy Underwood 'Patterns of the Past' with interest but a purely sceptical eye, and thank Tom Stephenson for reminding me of this author from the past.

And to all those books that bring magic to our reading, thank you.  Yes, Tolkien, Lewis, Pullman, Lucy Boston (The House at Green Knowe) Alan Garner and Russell Hoban.  That middle line between children and adult fiction, they have imagined magic and captured it beautifully.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Another beautiful day has dawned, that early morning cold crispness will give way to the warmth of the sun.  Our usual walk down Salton Lane, which is peacefully quiet, it has one of those 'road closed' signs up.  Almost a walk of meditation, the soft sound of the pigeons, the swallows on the wire and the chatter of the flock of sparrows.  The moon is a shadow of itself in the sky, joining the clouds in their whiteness.
Reading the Nature Notes this morning in the Times, and he says we just about missed a bad summer for the wildflowers, some have been very exuberant in the sun, and (look away gardeners) there will be an explosion of dandelions next year, the sun kept the grass down allowing the dandelion to set seed:)  Do children still blow dandelion 'clocks' ? I read the other day that when someone interviewed some biology students at a university, only a few could name 5 birds off hand, think about it!
We met Nigel with Sasha his large friendly dog, Nigel always sets off every morning to cut 'browse' for his goats, he returns home with a plastic bag full.  Last evening, the tractors and trucks full of silage roared past for quite a while, so it hasn't been such a bad time for the farmers either hereabouts.

The hills in the distance

Friday, August 31, 2018

Second post

Quiet week did I say in the last blog this morning? not quite, the oil people put the wrong type of oil in on the 21st, so they are now in the process of removing said oil and putting the right heating oil in.  A bit like putting diesel in your car instead of petrol.  What a fuss all morning, the mistake appeared on a transaction invoice, the driver may have used the wrong pod in the oil tanker, apparently there are about 5 pods in one tanker.
The representative who came this morning was most apologetic but we are very fond of this company run by a co-op of farmers, so are pleased that they did it today and not on Monday as was earlier specified, need not have had that bath half an hour ago!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday 28th August

Today has dawned warm and sunny, there is talk of 'Autumn - seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness'.  But August is not yet out, and though the fruit hangs heavy on the trees, it is not yet picked. 
I have gathered things to do, Sashiko stitch work, wool for knitting, and patchwork for the cooler months.  You may not remember but I sent off for a dolls house, which unfortunately I found very difficult to put together, but I shall persevere, even if it doesn't have a front, a very long time project!

My children, who are of course grown up, are well, Mark home with his friend last evening,  Karen home from a visit to Bath and a seedy nightclub, where her friends had a 1990s night out.  So the world keeps it even keel.  The price of food is set to go up but it does not look too serious.  There is talk of shortage because of the weather we have had over Winter and Summer, but we should count ourselves lucky that there is indeed enough food to eat,  I am sure in the 70s that more of our spending was on food, though it was more limited in choice.

I have been contemplating buying another print to reflect the seasons, Colin Blanchard comes to mind but the one I like has sold out.  Bils and Rye our local gallery has a splendid array, though very expensive paintings on display, all rather contemporary.....

Must photograph some things as well........

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sunday thoughts

It is Sunday and as long as we ignore the Pope in Ireland and all the unsavoury business the Catholic church has been up to it is a good quiet day.
My mind has drifted back to Eskdalemuir, to green mysterious deep woods and forests and about wedding cake stupas? at the Tibetan Monastery.  This is where we stayed a couple of wooden cabins in someone's garden, decorated in Tibetan colours, in a village that has slowly run into a quiet ruin.  But the Scottish government/charity has funded a cafe/gallery in the old primary school, a breath of sunshine in the cool greyness of the village.
The monastic Tibetan buildings were quite magnificent in the sense of build, not sure I agree with such pomp in the middle of nowhere, but then who am I to complain.  It had an exciting shop full of those things you expect in an ethnic atmosphere, I bought incense back to scent the house, a book on 'calmness'  mmm, and a shawl for Vicky across the road.

It was a 15 miles drive for either a pub or fish and chips, rather remote and of course a local supermarket stuck on the end of a housing estate.  Scotland is a new experience.  What I forgot to take a photo of is the river that flows below this picture, it flows by the two stone circles up the road, probably the reason there is prehistory round in this flat part.

Funnily enough Lucy enjoyed this holiday, she loves travelling in the car, and seeing things, she is very curious and would be off in other people's gardens if allowed to.  
Driving back in the car on Friday from Malton Paul had said how he never would have imagined living in the countryside and enjoying it.  

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday 24th August

Project Fear;  You know what I am talking about, the second line of what will happen if there is 'no deal' on Brexit.  So are you going to stockpile food, not sensible, wasn't it a criminal offence in the 2nd World War.  Everything seems so insecure at the moment, reams and reams of discussion in the media as to how it will affect all of us.  Contingency plans outlined yesterday, businesses to a degree not sure how to cope.  The naive Brexiteers say let it all happen and see what we can sort out, let us hope what it does bring is a greater reliance on our own foodstocks and businesses will be able to grow.  We are heading for a great adventure? mmmm

Well what did I worry about? Basically insulin for my son who is a type 1 diabetic but on looking on the net I came up with this video above, more or less saying that the manufacturers of insulin, we don't have any  makers in Britain, are making the necessary arrangements for there to be a store of back-up insulin as we negotiate our way through the stormy seas of borders.
I should be showing photos of quiet nature, but the world is in such firmament at the moment, can anyone really, truly understand the antics of the American president and please Theresa don't tell me that our fortunes rests with this man as he tries to out manoeuvre Europe our nearest neighbour even though we shall be leaving the European Union.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thursday 23rd August

A phone call this morning, Matilda has got excellent marks in her GCSE marks, she passed with flying colours.  Gosh that is a relief,  a bad tempered Matilda is not the person you want to live with! 2 - 9s on the subjects she will be taking for A levels, Art and French next year, her brother Ben is already packed for London and Uni in Fashion design, she will be joining him the year after probably.
My daughter is so proud of her and so am I of course, else I would not be bragging about it...

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and dog

 Ben has organised himself with a room in Shoreditch, a job, money in the bank and of course his top heavy grant from the government, my grandchildren are hard working, skinny as you will see but they have cooked home prepared meals nearly every day.
Yes? what is she going on about? Well the rather unfortunate  middle class assumption that obesity comes with poverty and 'being poor'.  This has given me a lot of thought, my family inherited my gene bank of 'skinneness' something which I am fast losing by the way because I love cheese and butter!!  So fat/plump well educated middle class people do exist? 
Can I stick up for the poor when obviously somewhere along the line something has gone drastically wrong for them, was it education, living in poor surroundings to start off, supermarkets who sell cheap dross, or a system that does not cater for everyone?  So born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you follow the capitalist system because it has a fair sailing wind.  Poor people on the other hand have little capital, here I am talking not about cash in the bank, but a good education and solid family backgrounds.  
Why is it so?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Maybe photos to follow

There is a heavy misty greyness outside and I have been quiet for a couple of days the only photo I have taken is one of a bank, closed down of course, in Helmsley. We had coffee there yesterday, in a cafe that accepts dogs and even brings a bowl of water to the table for them!
Yesterday I spent some of the day looking at old photographs, and came up with the time when Paul and I were just getting together at Coate Water park.  We  had wandered round with Moss because this was Richard Jefferies country and I  tried to draw a map in my head as to how he had played as a child in this environment, captured of course in 'Bevis'.  Jefferies was melodramatic, and is hardly known about now, he wrote 'After London' a dystopic book of when the world destroys itself and a barbaric  quasi early medieval regime becomes reality.  He 'spilt his soul' upon paper in his nature writing, lying on a Bronze Age barrow contemplating the plants around him, or writing of the 'Roman Jug' espied in a cottager's garden, only Ruskin has come up to the same standard,  or in my mind eye at least.
a quote from an earlier blog;

"Whilst reading Richard Jeffries book The Life of the Fields I came across an essay on The Roman Brook, Jeffries out on a walk one afternoon by a favorite brook of his came across an old man working in his garden. He stopped to chat, and the old man grumbled about how the hares, pigeons, rooks and water rats ate his vegetables and as he rambled on Jefferies saw an old jug hanging from from one of the apple trees in the orchard. On enquiring why it was hanging he was told that it came from the brook from the time of the Caesars and that lots of pottery and coins had been found also. The children played with the coins and the labourers from the village tried to buy their beer with them at the inn, but of course as they were Roman the innkeeper refused them as payment."

So what else has happened?  Lady Jane has gone BROODY for goodness sake, sitting there like a stuffed hen, she refuses to move.  Break the cycle is what I read, ice cold hot water bottle under her, no allowing into nesting areas.  Nigel came over yesterday and tutted over her, bit late for putting fertilised eggs under her.    
Good news is that Ben my grandson has got his place in a London university for fashion design, my daughter's birthday yesterday went off well with the children coming together and buying a takeaway and decorating the house.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday 17th August

jam and Jerusalem rose in its second bloom, absolutely falling over itself to bloom, AND it doesn't get black spot.  Created for a Chesire Branch of Women's Institute, it is gorgeous.

Funny thing happened yesterday, Paul had ordered some Japanese foodstuff from the Japan Centre, in the order was a bottle of sake.  Email came yesterday, could they have proof of identity because of the alcoholic nature of the Sake.  Irate Paul phones up, what the hell, etc,etc, (poor girl) but she sticks to her guns, photo or else, a ruling by the way that had only happened the day before.  Second email comes through, from the manager, we will not be sending the Sake, obviously just as irate as Paul.
We have a  friend coming over from Hawai soon, who sells Sake so it is not going to be a problem, especially as I don't like it....
Two walks today for Lucy, in an effort to tire her out, we went to Sinnington and walked up to the church, meeting other dog walkers on the way.  I nearly (and Lucy) got killed by a speeding lorry coming round the bend of the church as I pulled out in my car. Then I met a tractor round a bend, luckily we were both going slow, as he turned his tractor into a field.  It's dangerous driving these days.

ruined cottage, the land has just been sold.

part of the Benedictine monastery

The fields are shorn

When my ankle gets really better I shall explore this wood.

The church is at the top of the hill and has Saxon bits and pieces of stone in its fabric

You can just see the ring of hills that encompass the Vale of Pickering

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Gertrude Bell - a page in history

A few days ago we watched 'Queen of the Desert' a romanticised version of the life of Gertrude Bell.  Nicole Kidman, rather too glamorous I think, played the lead role, it was directed by Werner Herzog.
The film's main points were about her failed love affairs and being incredibly brave by wandering round the desert visiting the stronghold of sheiks, she was also, one is led to believe, an undercover spy for the British.
Whatever, Gertrude was a brave lady, starting out with her trusty servants, sailing across the difficult terrain and recording what she saw.  Well look at her photographs,  click on them and study the pictures there must be well over a hundred, and now look at the mess we have made of the Arab world.  Forget wearing face covering in this country which very few Muslim women do, this is just a red herring floated across the airways by an idiotic politician.

Beyrout (Beirut)

West Bank - Jerusalem

A village - Jericho
She was very brave to wander alone with a band of trusted servants, but she recorded everything she saw and that surely was her legacy to the world.  We can view the world from her day and then contrast today, there has just been an 'incident' at the House of Parliament, a car going into the barrier, terrorist probably, a clash of culture.

Thanks must go to Newcastle University for the photographs.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday, day of rest and sermons

I have been meaning to read up about the poisonous ragwort but still have not done it. I wonder did everyone go through that 'natural' herbs are the best medicine thing, or at least cure-all.  Well I never bought the full set of Bach's remedies, may have tried the 'Rescue' once and it did not work, notice you can buy it for your pets as well!  But still I love herbs, and as for the wild flowers ability to heal, remember always, the foxglove, digitalis poison.

But this wasn't about herbs, rather the rather prolific nature of this hot weather.  Yes I know everyone is shouting from the roof tops that what with Brexit and bad harvests this year, (carrots and potatoes) we shall all be rioting and starving on the streets next year but my blackberries and plums from only planting last year have done spectacularly well.  In this village we should be self sufficient in fruit as well.  

No, I am not self-satisfied, for I think of the people who do not have the resources to food, in this country we have food banks.  Even in my penurious widowhood there was always enough money for food.  How is it that people cannot afford it, the country has gone silly.  Expensive cars are advertised and yet our education system has allowed a whole section of society to escape the necessary skill/art of cooking.  Maybe many people can cook, but can't afford the fuel for cooking with.
Are all those stories just 'scare' stories can it be that many children will go hungry through the summer holiday weeks because of this?  Do we have to rely on the voluntary services to remedy it?

This morning in the blessed rain, I chased a bantam round trying to get her back into the run, I had opened the run because of two sparrows trapped and of course Fay escaped and refused to go back in.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday 11th August

I fell in love with a rudbeckia the other day, this is an August plant of course, great shaggy flowers in this month, the yellow was predominate in the nursery of Breezy Knees and I bought a couple of plants.  But this rudbeckia comes from Daisies a local nursery.  Its rich colour is marvellous and the graduated shading leaves me envious.  Why? well I have been dyeing  with wild silk, which is slightly yellow/creamy to begin with.  I tried the acid dye 'ochre' and it produced what I would call 'old gold', the turmeric I used on the second batch created a softer yellow.  I am now debating whether to get the whiter and far more expensive silk to spin, but the problem is that acid dyes come up so bright.

The other plants I bought, were a batch of cosmos and a yellow plant whose name escapes me.

Beginning to wonder if yellow is the colour of late summer, crocosmia also with its yellow/orange spikes.  Flowers that are so heavy with their season, the massed ranks of glorious dahlias, they have the colours of the fairground, then there is the heavy heads of chrysanthemums. A memory of childhood, the orange, golds and deep red and their subtle smell, you hardly see them round now except small imposters which I dislike.
There is a soft gentleness to the garden, fading lavender and the airy fairyness of  fennel, its yellow flowers already fading to seeds.  Golden rod stands tall and will be moved to back the yellow plants in Autumn.  Yes I have a renewed interest in flowers after all this drought ;)  And yesterday I saw pale mauve/ gray Acanthus in a garden now that would look lovely at this time of year!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday thoughts


I start with a thought, foreigners!  Never in my life have I looked on people as 'other' or 'foreigners'.  This photo from F/B actually makes the point that we rely on people from different nationalities caring for us in this country - they are definitely not the enemy, just doing a good job of work.  Our messing around over what constitutes leaving the EU makes their lives uncomfortable.
This thought occurred yesterday when after lunch in Kirkby, I saw the dentist who had repaired a broken tooth last week, he is called Muhammed, I thought he was coming out of the fish and chip shop but he could be living in one of the cottages and I wondered how he was settling in a small market town, probably quite happily as I think most people are like me, accepting of what is there.
It reminded me of another Muhammed, this time Turkish who I had looked after when we lived near the Bell School of Language in Bath and I took in language students (probably nearing 230ish).  Many were an adventure in how to cope with unsure young people.  Muhammed was a lovely young man, studying our language to go onto a Manchester university to study clothing retail.  I can remember him wanting to try my spinning wheel but saying that no one should watch him.  He brought me Turkish coffee cups and a funny little tin jug to make the coffee, and his sister would often phone and as I answered the phone she would say 'good bye' instead of 'hello', no matter how many times I told her.
When I was in hospital with my fractured ankle, both surgeons were non-English, nurses came from a variety of countries, should we not be worrying about them and extending a more friendly hand and a promise that eviction is not about to take place.  Yes I know about all the unwanted immigrants but aren't they just looking for a better life and shouldn't we address that problem instead of getting our knickers in a twist about being over run?

Thursday, August 9, 2018


This is where we went yesterday, pretty isn't it? But it is actually quite boring, 20 acres of garden can you imagine it, set in farmland, as we walked down the path on one side a field of barley and the other a field of potatoes.  The above border is well stocked, there are hundreds if not thousands of plants, but often planted in straight line unfortunately.  This neatness jars with the soul, a garden has to tumble with flowers and not have large amounts of bark mulch everywhere.

We went four of us in the car from the Appleton-le-Moor garden club to this nursery just on this side of York. It meant having to face the A64, even though we went through the back lanes past Castle Howard.  

The A64 gets crowded it is the main holiday route through York to Scarborough and Whitby, though to be honest coming back yesterday and the slow moving traffic went on for miles back up into York.  What will happen when the roads of England slowly grind to a halt I wonder?

I think the best thing that came out from walking round was the many bees that crowded the flowers, that made it worthwhile, and perhaps the cakes at the cafe.  Things learnt, large thick hedges and shrubberies to cut the cool east wind that blows in winter, and though I disliked the bark mulch it did the job effectively.

And to crown it all, I did not like the place name, Breezy Knees for goodness sake, apparently it has even been on Gardener's World, not sure what they made of it, but then we are so nice in this country ;)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Fay and Lady Jane Gray

See John Gray has acquired two cockerel bantams (after a hard fall, poor soul) he will be happy with them, needy little creatures, our two have settled down happily.  Pick a bantam up, stroke their tiny necks, and bliss occurs as their eyes close.  We gave C an egg yesterday and she marvelled at the smallness of them.  They are perfect, two will make the right amount of scrambled eggs.  
Yesterday, over the moors to Wheeldale, think it must be Lucy's most favourite place, she senses the place even before she is out of the car.  I sat on the rock and listened to the beck trickling over the rocks, a most soothing sound, the heather is just beginning to appear, and the green bracken marches with great vigour over the slopes.  Clear cutting of the evergreens has taken place, but it does not look as bad as the Eskdalemuir battle field of stumps and brown earth.
I should 'doctor' the photos and take the car out, but not at the moment, because I have moved back into my room upstairs, and Lucy is barking downstairs now, feeling lonely, and wondering why we are not out feeding birds and then her!

I forgot the hedgerows lined with rowan trees in full red berry, a good winter feed for those birds coming in to feed in our warmer climes.