Monday, October 25, 2021


 A quiet weekend, all by myself and the television managed (again) to lock itself out, this time the internet.  Lillie came back rather tired, it had been cold sleeping out on the moors, no salt for the pasta either but the assessor meeting them at Hebden Bridge, said instead of walking the last couple of miles along the canal they could catch the bus and gave them their bus fare. 

I cooked her favourite meal anyway knowing she would be miserable.  Yes I have taken some cooking duties over but get frustrated by how few vegetables I can use.  A teenager who doesn't like vegetables, a daughter who has reactions to mushrooms, onions and garlic, not forgetting peas and sweetcorn.  But talking of meals, Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater rule supreme amongst the cookery books.  I like Nigel for his easy way of just putting food together with a handful of this or that.

I did his tarragon chicken on Friday, take the leftover carcase of one chicken, pick all edible meat off and including the jelly in the pan, then add Dijon mustard, tarragon, handful of cheese, and cover in cream.  I would say at this point stir until everything is mixed.  Put in a gratin dish and cover with breadcrumbs.  Have you not noticed how Panko crumb has replaced the golden British crumb, we also use old fashioned crumb from the loaf.

Each morning I read 'Tod chat' and find out what has been happening. The little black cocker spaniel has been found in Leeds of all places but is now safely home.  The bus timetables are causing great distress by not running on time to service the train services which are not working due to work on them.  Sounds normal doesn't it.  An interesting moan from someone, who complains that LIFE IN TOD is not as it was when she worked down the mill! It is all those Southern 'foreigners' I suspect.

What else, well private cams have revealed a somewhat sad lad trying people's doors in the middle of the night.  Dogs have become the new thing to steal these days of course, cars less so.

Finished  'The Road to Wigan Pier,' all I can say of Orwell is that he is a feisty writer, must watch my 'H's  I have picked Naomi Klein for my next solemn read, though I notice John Lewis Stempel has a dozen books on offer on Audible. 

Through some of this writing I have been conversing by writing messages on my phone to my daughter, isn't technology a wonderful place.

George Monbiot - Miracle of Reduction  don't read if you are anti-green.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

23rd October 2021

Blissful ignorance

I am to be left alone this weekend, everyone departed this morning, my daughter to stay with friends and Lillie to do her Duke of Edinburgh award.  6 girls trekking for 6 hours across the moors of Yorkshire.  She has bought her tiny packets of cereals for breakfast, the word is she must eat solidly these two days, such as pork pies to keep up her strength.  I on the other hand have been left with Teddy the whippet who managed to get Coco Krisps out of the cupboard yesterday,  stuffed most of them and has now left his diarrhoea mark in the hallway!.. Wasn't it good granny came to stay?  Forgive the bitterness;)

To return to Sue's post of yesterday, in which a great number of people replied.  What it does say is that we have it good in this country, if we are a certain age and have enough money in the bank to nurse us till death.  But sadly the young have... as we had when younger... a difficult time in getting on the ladder of life.  The pandemic has been handled fairly, people complain about lack of face to face with doctors and of course the cancellation of many operations due to it but unfortunately we can't magic more doctors and nurses out of the ether.

Climatic change is taking place, there can be no argument there, we see it all over the world, our troubles are small compared to islands that sink beneath rising tides, countries that experience 45 degrees heat.  Basically we can nag our government to take more actions, which we must, but it also depends on individual responses as well.  Nagging is boring, gluing one hands to motorways is painful, we limp along as always waiting for some divine hand to retrieve the problem.  But in all truth we shall (probably not) live through the worst of it.  It is just part of being human.

So what is local news, a pretty little black cocker spaniel is lost up by Stoodley Pike monument.  The children from my granddaughter's school were approached by anti-vaccine couple in the park.  Surprise, surprise the children want the vaccine and tore the leaflets up, the heresy has spread from Hebden Bridge.  It reminds me of the Chartists preaching their wares as well.  Dissenters unite!

And sadly the market is not doing as well as expected, could be that the roadworks are not helping, when you have  one road leading through narrow valleys, congestion becomes endemic.  Flying taxis anyone?

Someone said yesterday look up to the trees when you find the valley too narrow.


Thursday, October 21, 2021

Knitting but not as you know it

 A romantic look at this country, you would probably not have been pleased with the tar sands of Canada video so you are spared that but there is evil out there to.  Remember 'Peak Oil' well it has transformed itself into 'cannibalistic oil', it costs more and more to produce, so eventually it will reach a quarter of its production cost to produce.

A video this morning from my favourite knitting programme - Fruity Knitting.  Mother and daughter, the mother is Australian but lives in Germany interviews people concerned with the production of wool and knitting travels to England.  So in this short half an hour, you will glimpse Cumbria then back across the border to Yorkshire for a quick tour of Haworth (Bronte) and then Yarndale festival, and then  to meet my favourite old man Kaffe Fassett.

  Enjoy, I would also point out that there are men knitters as well;)

Wednesday, October 20, 2021


Over the weekend I acquired a new chair.  Well not exactly new, it had been destined for the rubbish tip.  I can now sit and knit and listen to Audible in comfort.  It is a beautiful chair, recently upholstered and it would have been such a pity to just throw it away.

So I sat and listened to James Lovelock and 'Novacene',  an imaginative and clever construct of what could happen in the future.  Well us humans just might be on the scene, kept as pets though by the Cyborgs.  Lovelock is a bit like H.G.Wells, imagining himself into the future but an entertaining read and I would not be surprised if AI just may take over, we will see.

The trouble with using Cyborgs of course is all the evil ones we have seen in television programmes, getting to actually like them is difficult.  The idea reminds me of a film I once saw.  The spaceship had become lost in space it had a garden on board, which was tended by two astronauts.  They eventually die, and it is left to the two little robots to tend the garden, a rather sad ending to the film.

I have always liked the theory of Gaia, the Earth functioning as a whole body creating and healing its many wounds that we inflict.  Today we are being brought to heel by the complicated mess we have created.  In many ways it will be interesting to see if short term thinking based in greed will win the day,  But Lovelock's optimistic story for the future, even though we become a second rank entity, tells us that the enormous sweep of our planet's history may swerve in a different direction than what we might think.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

19th October 2021

Don't be downhearted, be optimistic. look forward to the next generation fighting for Earth's survival.  Yes I watched 'Earthshot' last night.   As the winners took their prizes of a million pounds to fund their work, I was happy at the positive attitude of the young, sad for those who did not win but the creative spark is still there in the human race.  So may the corals rise once more to grace our seas, may the forests be replanted, and may we all stop using plastic and bloody well think about our response to Climate Change and how we can help.

The change will be massive, today the government talks of £5000 grants towards heat pumps, though of course, as always there is a lot of controversy around them, they are very expensive for a start.  I watch the chatter on 'zero waste' as people try to come to terms with what they are actually using and the source of all the materials used just to make the ordinary items we use every day.  Most stuff that comes into this house is environmentally thought about but it would be good to see everything sourced ethically.

 It is somewhat ironic having watched greens working out how to reduce their footprint on the planet for years, to see that we have now been brought to the edge of the cliff and asked to look down at the mess we have created of this planet.  Greed may lie at the back of it, but now of course annihilation comes forward to haunt us and the need for future generations to have a place to live in. We must be confident that they will win and not the idiots like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson who **** the world up with outward reaching ideas to other planets because they have dirtied up this planet.  End of rant ;)

Sunday, October 17, 2021


 Inconsolable Sorrow;  Listening to Mark Tully this morning on 'Something understood'.  The following music came on, and I remembered the times it had stopped me in my tracks as I stood to listen, and suddenly it took the words inconsolable sorrow to a new meaning.  The knowledge that sadness goes on forever, it is an emotion you can visit again and again for it runs like a river through the body.

And no I am not being emotionally unstable but reflecting on the pain we all have to live with through life whoever we are.  Tully was talking about mindfulness, a new look at meditation.  For someone like me meditation doesn't work, my mind, a bit like my body, jumps up and down with thoughts and things to do.  Sitting doing nothing is not in my makeup.

It brought to mind  a photo of Paul sitting quietly by the river with his head turned to gaze down into the water, and I remember the calm of his face and the peacefulness of the water, a happy memory.

So other stories came to mind the one of the man who gave his life to feed a hungry tigress and the colourful beetles that decorated the imagery of the Asuka temple  I had come across some of these beetles in one of the specimens he had collected in big glass fronted drawers. 

Enjoy the music, stop and reflect as Spiegel im Spiegel, plays its monotonous slow beat, let the hurry out of your soul and be still and silent and perhaps think of roses;)

Saturday, October 16, 2021

16th October 2021

 Writing every day does become irksome but it keeps the brain moving.  Today I have given my clever compass to Lillie, she is doing her Duke of Edinburgh Award in a couple of weeks.  She sussed it in a minute!  The day starts with my daughter coming into my room to chat, the friends who she dined with last night are coming to drill holes for the curtain pole to hang curtains for this room tomorrow.  They are also bringing an upholstered chair for me as they are replacing this particular chair  with a new one.  She says it is 'fabulous' we will see.

Yesterday in the sun I walked down to Morrison's and entered it's well stocked store.  One thing for certain there is plenty of alcohol around to drown our sorrows.  It never ceases to amaze me how many of us get our knickers in a twist about not being able to buy the 'must have' toys of the year.  

Maybe we could get just as excited as to the misery that our 'austere' country is doing to the poor.  Yesterday there was the last fifteen minutes of a housing programme.  They were in Solva in Pembrokeshire.  This young couple were living in a draughty old caravan because they could not afford a home in the district.  They both had jobs, she was a housing officer with the council.

Solva is a beautiful place, I have spent many a happy holiday there, but all these people with money to spare have brought up all the cottages for holiday cottages or holiday lets forcing the young people out, and of course, there are no young people to cater for them as well. We need a radical shift in the system. 

Sad news about the murder of a politician yesterday, he seemed a good man, and this act of violence has shocked many, bringing back to mind Jo Cox's murder as well.  I am not going to speculate about the person who did it, that remains in the hands of the police, though he has been transferred to a medical centre I believe.  But condolences to the family for this sad and unexpected loss.

I had forgotten this Laura Knight, I often come across her because once she lived for a time at Staithes and painted but then moved to Cornwall, for the light of course.  But her 'realistic' paintings of the times she lived through are interesting.  The Tethered Balloon painted in 1943, her Yorkshire paintings never have the clarity of this picture, but are more romantic.  If you read the underlined article you will find that she painted the nude female figure as well, which was  frowned on at the time, so this is how society changes, the gentle nudge of female artists to express themselves.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Bread knives

How things change.  Yesterday after making some bread I looked round for the bread knife.  Gone, vanished, I searched high and low but no bread knife.  Even felt guilty that I might be blamed for losing it. Then my daughter revealed at meal time in the evening that it had fallen behind the cupboard and we needed a new one.
So a conversation ensues as to how to get another one.  The internet ever ready to help produced many  different prices.  I lamented for a kitchen shop here in Tod, nothing quite beats kitchenware in all its wondrous creativity but it has closed down.
Anyway I reckon £20 on a bread knife is a good price, Lakeland priciest goes up to £125 but today I shall go to the market and an old fashioned ironmongers just in case he has one ;)  My granddaughter was all for buying one of the net but we are killing off small shops in our towns if we don't use their services.
Also before I get to the market I shall get some cash from the post office, two things that are fast disappearing as well.  Post Offices will be the last bastion to get cash from, our PO is run efficiently by an Asian family, thank goodness some people are wizards at running our services dear Government!  As for cash, because I doubt Dawsons will have one of those cute, flash your card and you've paid, contraptions either, it is fast disappearing as well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

12th October 2021

Something completely different:  My ex sister-in-law was a marvellous quilter.  Yesterday coming down the stairs was one of her quilts hanging up after being washed.  I stopped to look at the stitching.  The quilting was all hand stitched, it is an enormous quilt and one day I will lay it on the bed for the full pattern to emerge.  She did have a quilting frame, but this quilt was done in Hong Kong in 1996, so much tidy workmanship and so, so neat.

She has sewn a little panel at the back with date, name and what the pattern is called.  It reminded me of the seals delicately hidden in Japanese scrolls, telling of the studio where the scroll was first made.

I remember this painting coming from Australia to be sold on in Europe and a specialist  computer man taking pictures of this to scan into the computer to find the hidden seals.

Reminds us that craft is important and though quilting comes from many sources, Intangible Cultural Heritage is something we should take note of.

Link to Intangible Culture explanation

Saturday, October 9, 2021

09th October 2021

Today I walked up to the Fielden church, or to be more precise The Unitarian Church.  It was a steep walk, a chapel had been built by  John Fielden, but the church was built later by his three sons.  This is Tod on a grey middling day.  The houses tumble down the hills, built closely together they bear the scars of an industrial grime.  Modern buildings try to ape the old windows but never quite make it, it is funny how old buildings carry their heritage so much better.

The church, built in the 19th century, is stunning in detail but not aesthetically appealing.  I know we all love that little old Norman church stuck in a field somewhere, but you have to give it to the Victorians, attention too detail was superb.  Though you may hate the over decorated later churches, this is a sophisticated snobbery, the craft work excels.

Each photo tells it tale, the church today is not used but 'Incredible Edible' gathers here each Sunday to sort and garden the many little growing places in the town.

Brief Interlude

 Relax with the music and think about devoting your life to playing music for elephants......

Friday, October 8, 2021


"You can have more alliteration, as Mr Johnson had, than a West Coast poet from the 60s on LSD." from Andrew Neil:  Made me remember Allen Ginsberg on Llanthony Priory.  Gives you pause for thought, Ginsberg definitely on drugs can do so much better with words than an incompetent Prime Minister high on his own vanity!

Which brought up another memory Jennie;  Keith and Paul talking about Jack Kerouac when we came to visit you, must get round to reading the Beat poets.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

7th October 2021 - Celtic or Anglo Saxon?

  The Words of Finn

My words for you;
Stag ruts and bells,
Winter pours down,
Summer has gone.
Wind's high and cold,
Low is the sun,
Briefer its run.
Runs the sea strong.
Turns red the fern,
Broken its form.
Habit is hearing
The wild goose's song.
Season of ice,
Wings of the birds
Caught by the cold.
These are my words.

It's Poetry day.  The first word that runs through my head is 'belling', the belling of the deer.  I have already heard this morning the Canadian geese go over to the canal and remind myself that animals are 'wild' only by us using the word wild.  In fact animals are part of our lives, as are the tiniest insects which we see vanishing down the hole of extinction, especially my beloved bumblebee.  I saw not one red tailed bumblebee in Normanby last summer.  Danger, danger, the stinkbug is coming to our shores, one has already been spied at Winsley according to the BBC news this morning, but it will probably take a decade to take hold and I will no doubt be dead by then!

As the days get darker old poetry is the best for it takes nature by the throat and shakes it with bitter words.  Thank the lord, Boris Johnson has finished his speeches, though sadly we wake up this morning to the fact that the energy crisis is real and Europe and Britain could well be held to ransom by Russia.  Companies are in despair at the cost of gas, forget petrol, there seems to be something really nasty hiding round the corner ;)

But if you want to be really miserable this morning what about the Anglo-Saxon  'Seafarer.'  Again I note that this was a time I had began talking to the person who was to became the great love of my life, how strange, but of course not strange, memories evoke familiarity.

Okay trying not to be smug but this is so topical. Right I got the story of Molly Scott Cato slightly wrong as to where it had taken place but in the light of where we are today this Youtube short video will make you giggle.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

5th October 2021

This a favourite photo. I laid the camera on its back underneath and pressed the button and this fabulous array of folded wonder appeared.

Everything back to normal in the house, Karen back from Bath, happy to see old friends and catch up with them.  She went to a birthday party in a pub, and as the crowd chattered, the lady beside her was talking about Brexit.  She was somewhat silenced by a man who said 'what do you know about Brexit? in that supercilious male to female way.  She quietly replied, well actually  I am an economist and have been in Europe for 6 years as an MEP.  I just love a good put down.  She was the Green Party MEP for the South West - Molly Cato. 

 It is the time of party conferences and the promises of a bright and healthy future!! Yes where have I heard that before I wonder, the newspapers are having a roll.  John Crace - Verbal valium being his usual scathing self.  

Yesterday was a day of shocks.  Starting with an email saying that my bank transfer had not gone through to the storage people.  Went back and checked with my bank and got a transaction number, emailed it through.  Late afternoon, sorry the reminder invoice was an error the recipient said, and do you know I had my suspicions when I filled in the details of the account anyway, what ever happened to the good old cheque?

The second shock was someone contacting my daughter on Ancestry, asking why she had put my birth mother's name (Betsey Louis) on her tree.  We surmised that it must be one of her children.  So where do we go from here I wonder? He hasn't got back to us, so perhaps he doesn't want to go any further.  Mixed feelings at the moment.

And finding words on Bensozia by Thomas Mann, who I have never read, he seems a very complicated person Mann.

Authorship itself has always seemed to me to be a witness to and an expression of ambivalence, of here and there, of yes and no, of two souls in one breast, of an annoying richness in inner conflicts, antitheses and contradictions.

Slightly blurry Amethyst Deceiver surrounded by sweet chestnut husks.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Decay in Autumn

Memories on F/B brought these photographs up, a sad memory but so evocative of this time of the year.  I have 'clarified' them up, but most noticeable about the photos is the leaf litter and decay that fungi thrive on.  It is the minute strands of life that wriggle through the soil, each entity essential to the whole, even death is part of it.  

Blake Wood is an ancient woodland in Essex and was a place we walked frequently, we had probably gone there to find sweet chestnuts for roasting back home.

Funnily enough we never picked mushrooms to eat, always being scared and for me the rush by people from London ready to strip any woodland of their fungi and sell to the restaurants in London at a high price was wretched.  I fell in love with the  blue Amethyst Deceiver, but never picked one though you can eat them apparently.

Big news from last night, a fire in the street two doors down.  I was woken by Lillie at about 9.30, get up Granny there is a fire, our smoke alarm was also going.  Three fire engines outside, the area roped off, great excitement.  So my  hero Lillie saved me and the dog though actually the fire did not get to our house.  Teddy stood and shivered on the doorstep whilst it rained and a crowd gathered.  My daughter is in Bath visiting old haunts  with a friend, so we phoned up and told her the news.  But all is well, the fire brigade put out the fire fairly quickly and stayed for an hour reloading the equipment and we all retired to our beds.  I think Lillie was nervous about the whole thing and I was glad to see her go to bed in the normal way, though she will sleep at the top of the house in the attic bedrooms.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

30th September 2021

The small world I live in does not have any shortages.  Lidl for instance has every shelf full and plenty of vegetables to buy.  But I am aware further afield people are experiencing difficulty in getting some items - not a great problem of course, just think of Syria, Afghanistan, Libya or any country shorn of good government and starving.

But reading the runes and there will be problems over the next couple of years, the 'standard of living' we are living with, when we can have anything we want at the click of a mouse is fading.  Given that we are going through  climate change such fall back is welcome.

I am not sobbing my heart out at no turkeys, never eat them to begin with and the ceaseless slaughter of creatures to whet our appetites always leaves me with a bleak feeling.  The young are turning more to vegetarianism and veganism, and the old habit of meat and two veg will die a good death ;)

Here is a BBC business summary of shortages.  I have only just realised that the good price I got from the garage for my car was due to a shortage of secondhand cars, well I never!

I look for positive news every morning, its there happening, the rescue of moon bears by Animal Asia, a large undertaking in China is happening and if you watch the following video of 15 minutes, you will be glad that there are people out there working to protect animals.  These poor bears live solitary cramped lives in small cages just so they can be milked of their bile.  A bear can live 30 years though these don't of course, such cruelty expressed at the hands of man is unjustifiable, redress comes late but the cruelty is recognised.

Rats and mice, could you tell the difference when they poked their heads up from the loo seat? The rat has round ears.......

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

29th September 2021

Covid in my granddaughter's school has in three days gone from 40 positive cases to 80 cases.  The NHS have set up a PCR testing, though Lateral rapid tests are gone through in this household every day. If anything it just shows how the Covid can spread so quickly. 

No I am not in the business of spreading bad news it is only a note of caution.  When it stops raining I shall go for a walk up to the church, I noticed it has a very steep lane to it yesterday when I went to the TodAlmighty (organic shop)yesterday.

The rain has mizzled, drizzled and fretted its way through the last three days but I expect the rivers and reservoirs need topping up.  Tomorrow the testing of the flood alarm is going off at 1 o clock.  Getting people ready for winter.

I am not sure if the Guardian is winding us all up, but there is an article about 'toilet mice' yes they come up through the pipes.  I think it is only in offices that have not been used over the pandemic era but what a thought! These intelligent little creatures can hold their breath for three minutes and swim around for three days much worse than the occasional Autumn spider.

Yesterday the trains to Hebden Bridge were delayed due to trouble on the line and a tree that had fallen across.  There was a lot of people catching the trains, students going back, people using the train instead of the car but she said the station people were so calm and patient answering the same question over and over again.

I read a story this morning about a cyclist leaving his bike at a station in London, coming back in the evening to find that it had been stolen.  He phoned up the 'stolen bicycle number' and then suddenly a station worker appeared with it.  He had surprised the thief cutting through the padlock and taken it off him, but not only that he had waited four hours for someone to collect the bike.  You have to love people for their kindness.

edit; rats not mice ;)

Monday, September 27, 2021


 Who has not played this game with little ones, I always remember that I could never make it to the cave where the bear/lion lived without collapsing into giggles.  Idiot people make the world go round.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

25th September 2021

Moss the most sensible of companions

Rehashing old blogs, this is about Porthgain mostly though Aberiddi also features.  A holiday I took alone but with the companionship of my old dog Moss, always steadfast and eager for the adventure.  It came to mind when I saw friends had gone there and I suddenly realised I shall probably never travel that way again.    

I spent many a happy week in Pembrokeshire, wandering along the cliff top, finding the cromlechs, all with their different stories. The 'sense of place' in Wales is so defined.  The thin green layer that covers the landscape sits on a variety of rocks that poke through and greet you with their colour and their longevity.  Their roughness tells of exposure to climatic changes and the bubbling of heat.  My first encounter with how the Earth first came into being was of a fire bound illustration of H. G. Wells book of 'Outline of History'.  And when you walk along the cliffs and see the rocks folded horizontally or vertically you become aware of the great forces that made this place called Earth.

The blue lagoon

These two small hamlets are to be found on the Pembrokeshire coast within a mile of each other, Porthgain has the industrial remains of old buildings built to support the quarrying of slate and granite. Slate was originally quarried at Abereiddi for roofing tiles, it was not of particularly good quality, the slate from North Wales was superior, and Abereiddi slate was thought to last only 40 years or so. The quarry itself is in the area of the blue lagoon, originally it was just a large hole but when the quarry had finished the rock that lay between the sea and the disused quarry was blown up and it became a rather beautiful blue lagoon.

                   The Street, Abereiddi labourer's cottages

These housed the labourers and their families plus also itinerant Irish labourers.
It is sometimes difficult to understand today how these small welsh villages worked, especially as they are all but deserted of welsh people and what houses are left are more often or not holiday homes. But look at any 19th century photograph and you will see a flourishing population of maybe a 100 people with plenty of children. Life would have been hard, sanitary conditions non-existent and water probably fetched from a well but the quarries provided a livelihood for the families.
Porthgain was developed on a greater scale over the century, its quarry was owned by several different companies, all English, and based in Bristol. It changed hands quite a few times mostly due to the fact that profits were low and money had to be spent on machinery and new buildings. Speculators came with high hopes but the cards were stacked against them, mainly because transport was difficult, there was no railway line nearby, and everything had to be carried out by ship, either to various ports in Wales itself or down to the Severn Estuary and Bristol.
There was also a slate quarry in Porthgain, but it was decided to open a granite quarry for supplying gravel for roadbuilding.

It was still the period of macadam road building, this was simply different grades of gravel laid on top of each layer, which in turn was rollered down, eventually culminating in a fine layer of gravel. For this operation to be successful, the granite had to be crushed into the various sizes. The quarry was a quarter of a mile from the village itself, and tramways were built to and from, one tramway also going to Abereiddi.

In the beginning the trams were pulled by horses, but over time two small engines were acquired.
A new harbour was also built for the ships to come in and be loaded by crane, so there was a lot of capital expenditure.
In Porthgain itself what remains of the industrial buildings are dramatic, the great brick hoppers built against the cliff face are still there, here the different sized gravels would be loaded from the top and taken from the bottom of the chute, also a large shed still remains on the quay, this is now used as a restaurant.

Its an eerie place, and walking over the cliffs to the ruined buildings facing out to sea is a savage reminder of all the people who laboured with heavy materials during this period.

For them it paid a good wage, but old photographs show thin men their faces lined and tired, work that hauls rock and slate from the ground was tough and backbreaking, and one has only to remember the hard lives of the welsh miners to realise this.

Porthgain also has a 'street' of five labourers cottage, and these are still in use today, there was also a larger house for the manager, and of course the old Sloop Inn still remains.
At one stage bricks were made of the slate dust, they were much heavier than ordinary bricks and there wasn't much of a market for them.

Abereiddi slate quarry had opened around 1838, and mining of slate continued on and off, Porthgain's quarry opened in the 1850s, and mining continued right up to the 1930s but again the present company owners landed up in the hands of the receivers', and this time there was no rescue, final closure for the workers must have come as a shock and an eyrie silence would have descended on the place. The dust that would have shrouded the place and the small cottages would now disappear; some of the workers were offered work in Bristol but for the rest, they must have moved away to find jobs elsewhere.

All the historic information I got from an author who lived in Solva, the book sadly departed to a charity shop.

Friday, September 24, 2021

24th September 2021

Devil's Arch Bridge in Germany. A moment of perfect serenity

The Spasm of Fear;  Or I am trying to cheer you up;)

Something to talk about as the days grow shorter and night stealthily slips in.  Well the general pessimistic tone of the media as we find ourselves in trouble, not only because of Brexit but Covid which stalks the world with an evil face.  I read yesterday it is as if the four horses of the Apocalypse had taken flight with a vengeance, but reading this article and another angle appeared.

The word ‘apocalypse’ comes from the Greek apokalypsis which means to ‘uncover’, ‘unveil’ or ‘reveal’. Rather than fire and destruction, apocalypse was understood by some ancients as a ‘revelation’ of things as they really were.

I expect when all the drama ceases, life will be a little more expensive but still chuntering on. 

Yesterday my daughter came home, keep your distance mum she said, someone who works for her had tested positive.  My granddaughter is furious because as a 15 year old she has not been vaccinated, and came home in a cross mood because 20 of the pupils in the school had tested positive.  I pointed out to her that as the school has about a thousand inmates that wasn't too bad.  Anyway this morning an 'all clear' after testing.

I started this with the thought of a 'spasm of fear'.  Two incidents that frighten many women.  The murder of that teacher in London, Sabina Nessa and of course the killing of three young children and a mother.  Can it be that women must always go in fear when they step out at night? Or when a relationship goes wrong?  Empty questions for there will always be bad as well as good.  But it brought back the memory of arguing with Matilda about catching a taxi from Kings Cross and not walking back to her flat.  Which she did of course.  

But to even the mood up, I watched my favourite knitting vlog, no knitting in it but a drive along German motorways ending in Yorkshire and Sheffield being described as 'pretty'!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Spiders and grandchildren

Children.  For though she maybe 20 years old Matilda is still a child.  She went back to London yesterday, caught the 6 o clock train, and whilst her mother and I worried about her getting off at Kings Cross and walking to her flat in Camden, the troubles only started later.

It was a large spider (from hell) in her bedroom, she was inconsolable for a couple of hours and so her mum had to deal with the outcome.  Refusing to get a train down to London though;)  Matilda eventually barricaded herself in her friend's bedroom, who was absent. Spraying round the door with peppermint oil and stuffing a towel at the bottom.

Apparently they do have a spider catcher but it is broken, unfortunately someone threw it at the spider....

She has just finished her chocolate cake,

Her younger sister, Lillie, scout supremo would not have gone into meltdown of course, having to deal with little cubs on camping trips, tears and vomit just being a couple of the hazards.

You will note the two coloured hair, yes I am blessed with two striking granddaughters, you can pick them out in the crowd a mile away!  We all have fine blow away hair, which curls naturally but is hell to do anything with.

Life will be quieter now the two sisters are separated but it was sad to see Matilda go.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

If I had kept on walking.....

Wayside sign

 I might have reached Manchester, but following this part of the canal I was out to snap the 'Great Wall of Todmorden.  Built to retain the bank in the 19th century under the railway station and goods yard, it took over four million bricks to construct.  The silver birch trees at the top make a pretty contrast against the sky.

Walking along public paths and particularly this stretch of the canal means you encounter a variety of people, such as cyclists, hikers, people going shopping, dog walkers, and runners as well.  But in the sun it is an attractive walk.

How many times in my life have I captured the unperfect circle a bridge will mirror in the water I wonder

The deep murkiness of the canal

I love the way nature makes everything beautiful

18th September 2021

 Brief summary of the news as I see it ;)

Bring back imperial measurements - no way.  As someone said on Twitter when they resort too bringing something back from the past you can be sure they have no plans for the future.  Distraction, distraction, distraction!

Reshuffling is fine, you are only moving the same chess pieces on the board, the end result is still the same.  As for Andrew Neil (a former sinister apprentice to the dark lord of News Corpleaving GB news he is hauling himself out of the pit before it gets too nasty.

I leave it to Marina Hyde on reshuffles, she has such a wicked mouth ;)

But in all my pottering around I came across Rebekah Brooks the CEO of News UK, an off spur of Murdoch's empire.  Rebekah always reminds me of one of my stepmothers - Red hair, palest of skins and probably freckles.  My stepmother brought havoc into our household having affairs or marriages both to my grandfather and half brother.  I have a feeling Rebekah has the same inclination towards life and running newspapers. Anyway it was fascinating reading up about her.

The sun is shining, the winter 'bad news' is beginning to pile in and I shall return to softer subjects soon.  Teddy is starting to yowl downstairs all his females have disappeared.  He treats my daughter as head of house but I come in as a favourite for feeding him tidbits.  We were discussing this morning if he thinks the Aga is a third person, as he always comes between our legs and the Aga....

This also:  Lamorna Birch a prolific painter in Cornwall......

From the Cairn - Lamorna Birch