Monday, February 18, 2019

News item

I republish Monbiot article - how do you value your life against the life of your grand children??

Why older people must stand in solidarity with the youth climate strikes.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 15th February 2019

The Youth Strike 4 Climate gives me more hope than I have felt in 30 years of campaigning. Before this week, I believed it was all over. I thought, given the indifference and hostility of those who govern us, and the passivity of most of my generation, that climate breakdown and ecological collapse were inevitable. Now, for the first time in years, I think we can turn them around.
My generation and the generations that went before have failed you. We failed to grasp the basic premise of intergenerational justice: that you cannot apply discount rates to human life. In other words, the life of someone who has not been born will be of no less value than the life of someone who already exists. We have lived as if your lives had no importance, as if any resource we encountered was ours and ours alone to use as we wished, regardless of the impact on future generations. In doing so, we created a cannibal economy: we ate your future to satisfy our greed.
It is true that the people of my generation are not equally to blame. Broadly speaking, ours is a society of altruists governed by psychopaths. We have allowed a tiny number of phenomenally rich people, and the destructive politicians they fund, to trash our life support systems. While some carry more blame than others, our failure to challenge the oligarchs who are sacking the Earth and to overthrow their illegitimate power, is a collective failure. Together, we have bequeathed you a world that – without drastic and decisive action – may soon become uninhabitable.
Every day at home, we tell you that if you make a mess you should clear it up. We tell you that you should take responsibility for your own lives. But we have failed to apply these principles to ourselves. We walk away from the mess we have made, in the hope that you might clear it up.
Some of us did try. We sought to inspire our own generations to do what you are doing. But on the whole we were met with frowns and shrugs. For years, many people of my age denied there was a problem. They denied that climate breakdown was happening. They denied that extinction was happening. They denied that the world’s living systems were collapsing.
They denied all this because accepting it meant questioning everything they believed to be good. If the science was right, their car could not be right. If the science was right, their foreign holiday could not be right. Economic growth, rising consumption, the entire system they had been brought up to believe was right had to be wrong. It was easier to pretend that the science was wrong and their lives were right than to accept that the science was right and their lives were wrong.
A few years ago, something shifted. Instead of denying the science, I heard the same people say “OK, it’s real. But now it’s too late to do anything about it.” Between their denial and their despair, there was not one moment at which they said “It is real, so we must act.” Their despair was another form of denial; another way of persuading themselves that they could carry on as before. If there was no point in acting, they had no need to challenge their deepest beliefs. Because of the denial, the selfishness, the short-termism of my generation, this is now the last chance we have.
The disasters I feared my grandchildren would see in their old age are happening already: insect populations collapsing, mass extinction, wildfires, droughts, heat waves, floods. This is the world we have bequeathed to you. Yours is among the first of the unborn generations we failed to consider as our consumption rocketed.
But those of us who have long been engaged in this struggle will not abandon you. You have issued a challenge to which we must rise, and we will stand in solidarity with you. Though we are old and you are young, we will be led by you. We owe you that, at least.
By combining your determination and our experience, we can build a movement big enough to overthrow the life-denying system that has brought us to the brink of disaster – and beyond. Together, we must demand a different way, a life-giving system that defends the natural world on which we all depend. A system that honours you, our children, and values equally the lives of those who are not born. Together, we will build a movement that must – and will – become irresistible.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Sunday - 17th February

Up early this morning as I made myself busy in the kitchen I watched the sun rise a warm red turning gently towards a lemon yellow and then disappearing into the low hanging grey cloud.   I had my dyepot out, I want soft 'saddened' colours, I just love that word sad to describe colours ;).  So for moss green, a soak in ferrous sulphate, or iron, and then Weld on the stove, the colour looks very sad! Dull greens, yellows and gold are what I am aiming for.  The next wool will be mordanted in the iron again and then turmeric chips.

There is a hint of the morning chorus in the air as the birds welcome this warmer weather, the blackbirds are the most vociferous, what a lovely noise to be greeted with.  The robin is normally the first tweeting away when he sees the kitchen lights go on.

A couple of days ago we had an 'accident' happen just outside the church wall, an elderly lady tripped over the kerb as she made her way to the church and hurt her face as she fell forward.  It is a dangerous blind bend and the kerbing has a double step.  I wrote an email on it all and it went round the village, hardly any answers, and I realise bureaucracy will also do little to help as well.  We have an impasse in the village, no Chairperson for the Parish Council meetings, which means we can't do anything until someone stands forward.  Our church has also given up services for the next two months, whether it is permanent or not I do not know, this is due mostly to lack of churchgoers but also because there is no churchwarden to carry out the business of services and functions. There is to be a funeral this week, we have offered our driveway for car parking, but it is a perennial problem this no parking spaces near the church.

This is something I read a few days back, it is by the late A.A.Gill, and is called a 'long read'.  Written in 2016 it is about Brexit.  You may not like it, myself I think it errs too much on the side of the 'remainers' but still.  Life should be a broad church.

Friday, February 15, 2019

15th February

So what happened yesterday?  We went out for lunch at our favourite pub restaurant, Ben the manager was there and he chatted for ages until more people came in.  He is interested in the life of our village though he lives elsewhere and told us a tragic tale of the person who had owned one of the houses many years ago.  Which I will not tell here but that is how stories are kept alive.
Though it is of no consequence both of us always go with 'first starters' for the main meal, and a bowl of chips and a salad.  I had garlic mushrooms, left half the bread so that I could have a pudding afterwards.
Then we stopped at Daisy's garden centre and I bough compost and she gave me a tour of the small vegetable and fruit store that has been opened at the back, very proud of this new venture, refrigeration to be brought in soon for meat, so we are not likely to starve!  The Co-op is also buying a piece of land from Kia and we are to have a much larger store than the one we have now.  You can keep your upmarket Waitroses and Sainsbury, down here the Co-op rules;)
Wednesday was Gardening club, a very good turnout but the speaker   (growing vegetables in a small garden) unfortunately he hardly jelled with the audience.  He comes from that (is it?) dying brand of people who 'show' their enormous onions and leeks in hope of a prize.  I think there was a collective sigh of unhappiness at the photo of a tableful of pesticides, herbicides, slug pellets and disinfectants for the soil.  I have even written about it but decided not to get cross today!
Things seem to be on the move in our town, the vets have bought another large piece of land and they are building a very large building.
Ben had mentioned that he had worked at the 'Penny Bank' cafe in Kirkby it still exists, although I think it is only used as a 'green repair shop'.  So intrigued by the name I have looked it up, especially at the moment as we see the demise of the bank in the high street.
Well it originally traded as the Yorkshire Bank, turning later in 1872 to the Yorkshire Penny  Bank. Do read that link it is a fascinating history of banks as they gobbled each other up - and now look where we are!!!

A solitary iris reticulata appears from original 6 bulbs

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Experiment ;) Click on Valentine's Day

If it works for you then Happy Valentine's Day x

Courtesy of Jacquie Lawson

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

What the BBC does not show you

Climate Change

The polar bear video in Russia is perhaps a better video of what is happening, are these creatures starving as they rampage through the town?  But the above video is the beginnings of  another rebellion protest 'Extinction Rebellion' against a world that is too blind to understand that economic growth will be our undoing. 
The story of insect extinction will rollick through the news as well, let us see if our politicians have anything to say. As you may have gathered I love the natural world, the bees, especially bumble bee, moths and butterflies, the old dung beetle and those pretty 'frog hoppers' beetles, damselflies and dragon flies, even wasps they all have their place in nature, yet I am helpless to protect them.  As I cut down winter dead vegetation yesterday a ladybird stirred on the stem. the promise of spring breaking through the earth, waiting to happen what will it be like in 10 years?
How did we get here, a land that in the height of summer would have had insects buzzing around us in the heat?  Yesterday on the news were young people talking about how they were going to do something about it in the schools, there is an anger in the young in that we have brought the world to this state, that their future is at risk of starvation and catastrophic breakdown.
There are things in life you have to believe, London protests happen regularly the closing down of the bridges for this particular protest went part way towards its goal, the non-violent peaceful protest has a lot to say, except..............  it doesn't get to the politicians unfortunately and of course the news covers that B***** affair.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

How does a female define themselves?

Well Storm Eric has thrown rain at the windows, howled through the trees and whistled down the chimney all night.  Eric* for goodness sake, why not Thor, or Woden or even Lugh throwing their weathery anger at us....
I have been up early because of the storm, so watched the last of  The Victorian House of Arts and Craft,  enjoyable, and did not those poor modern craftsmen have to work hard over the four weeks.  Sometimes the article that won was not my choice and though I thought the weather vane beautiful, the silversmith knew her business, I was taken by the curtains designed for the drawing room, and the magazine was so authentic.
Also watched the programme featuring Angela Carter as well,  Winterson said something very revealing as well here.  It was to do with the 60s and not much good fiction coming from the era. Why not? well because the creativity was out on the street everywhere... think about it.
What do you make of the feminist movement? Angela Carter with all her four letter words, bold and dashing, but did she get anywhere?  Never read any of her books, they seemed vibrant splashes of fictional work, described almost like a painting.
Which brings me to another thing I have been listening to whilst making the coffee in the morning, Threads of Life - A History of the World through the eye of a needle Yesterday she talked of the 'Dinner Party' at the Brooklyn Museum

This takes a long read, again an expression of feminist angst, laid for 39 women, everything takes the shape of a vulva.  The place mats are exquisitely embroidered as well.....

The principal component of The Dinner Party is a massive ceremonial banquet arranged in the shape of an open triangle—a symbol of equality—measuring forty-eight feet on each side with a total of thirty-nine place settings. The “guests of honor” commemorated on the table are designated by means of intricately embroidered runners, each executed in a historically specific manner. Upon these are placed, for each setting, a gold ceramic chalice and utensils, a napkin with an embroidered edge, and a fourteen-inch china-painted plate with a central motif based on butterfly and vulvar forms. Each place setting is rendered in a style appropriate to the individual woman being honored.

Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, Boudicca and Elizabeth 1st are the British ones, as also is Bridget.

Anyway, the BBC occasionally does us proud in their more obscure programmes of past times and past people, and what a learning curve ;)what about Erik Bloodaxe?

* made a mistake there, actually called Erik, so 

Friday, February 8, 2019

Friday 8th February

Gloomy weather! but isn't it beautiful at the same time, the mist outlining the skeletal shapes of the trees?  This is the little copse at the back of the house, I love the graceful lines of the tree in the middle, think it is a larch.  Have always tried to capture the morning sun as the sun glows pink on the trunk.  Behind this little group of trees is the bank containing the river and for the first time looking out of Paul's study I noticed how high the water was. due to flooding, and so near to the garden.  Walking down to the bridge later on and the river had widened itself over the banks at least 8 foot higher, it must have been due to the rain overnight.
Yesterday Yodel arrived with a small bookcase from Cornwall, it is to sit on top of a cupboard in the kitchen, doesn't match of course, eclectic comes to mind, but I am happy with it, it gives a sense of homeliness to the kitchen with its jumbled array of tea cups.
Paul found his great gran's teaset out and I noticed it has scenes of a Chinese nature, did that spark his one great adventure in life of going off to Japan I wondered,  to live and work?
And a happy birthday wish to my eldest grandson, Tom, who was 25 years old yesterday.  ;) ;)

second from left

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

"Trying to find the sunshine in my later years of life" McCullin

It is almost springlike, the dawn chorus almost there, but it is probably a false dawn for spring. Yesterday a friend called in to tell us about a rescue dog she had been offered. I have lived through three years of C wanting a dog, not sure about it, perhaps it would be best not to have a dog, etc  My advice is go for it and hang the consequences and take on another of life strays!  Though it is not exactly a stray, rather a young long-haired dachshund who doesn't get on with a newly arrived baby.
Thoughts buzz through my mind, watched Don McCullins the photo-journalist, don't cry over this video on war, you have the freedom not to watch it. On TV last night he was photographing the funnier aspects of life in our seaside towns, and Glynbourne, whilst also going back to his London birthplace, some of his photos on poverty in the 1960s makes you wince with the sheer brutality of being poor.  Now in his eighties he makes new forays into the eccentricities of the English race ;)
Have we changed? Poverty in a different disguise still exists, the North-East is being sold out once more by the conservative party but then are not diesel fueled cars unacceptable, at least we still have the £60 million pounds, to be paid to Nissan, intact.

Wayland's Smithy long barrow in Autumn a very peaceful place.

But the masons leave
for the lime-pits of time, with flowers, chaff, ashes,
Their plans are spattered with blood, lost,
And the golden plumb-line of sun says; the world is leaning,
Bedded in a base where the fingers
Of ancient waters touch the foundation.
But feel the walls; the glow stays on your hands.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Monday 4th February

Monday, monday today, that brings to mind The Mamas and Papas ;).  Watching Lucy Worsley on 'America History's biggest Fibs' was the catalyst.  Surely Worsley with her 'little girl' image does not seem the right historian but there again she is Joint Chief Curator of the Royal Historic Palaces, she is a blue-stocking and much favoured on tv as a presenter. Anyway she dances her way through America draped in the colours of the flag, and it is interesting and informative programme.
Little girlism? A Xmas book, was a Japanese book of very simple things to make, it even has the patterns at the back

Look at those poses, meek, submissive, a broken doll? Well definitely not like the strident female politicians that occupy Parliament at the moment, but I know which model I prefer, even if they are strident.... And when you look at the patterns one can easily make them into more grown-up clothes, especially tunics.
There is a cult in Japan of little 'girlism' all cute and childish, I don't approve to be honest basically because it lives on the edge of porn or paedophilia's, but there again freedom of dress and speech? how difficult it is to live in this New World......

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Saturday the 2nd February

Apple blossom, so clear and white is what I select today.  Sad news in an email this morning a villager has died in the local hospice yesterday, his widow and son must be devastated. He will be buried in the church yard next door, a fireman in earlier life, his wife makes curtains of exact detail, the hems matching up immaculately.
Yesterday was also Imbolc, the time of lambs and the growing of grass, though in reality, Britain was caught up in snowstorms that brought havoc on the roads.
Then there is that Polar Vortex in America, so cold, and unexpected I wonder?
Natural events we have no way of controlling death and weather.  Should we fear such things, that is for the individual to come to terms with, but in both there will be signs of beauty.
The snow flurries round here, can't open the door to the bantams run, except by running a kettle of boiling water over it.  Went a long walk in the week, when the sun shone and the wind was still, the fields covered in a fine powdering of snow, the barn owl a grubby cream as he slowly flew ahead of me.  Lucy close to heel, for the biscuits in my pocket, the river dancing over the stones.

And a blessing by Caitlin Matthews, for Imbolc is caught up with St.Brighid and Eternal Fire.  Of course you all knew that St.Brighid was taken up by the Catholic Church but I prefer the pagan version;)

Brighid of the Mantle, encompass us,
Lady of the Lambs, protect us,
Keeper of the Hearth, kindle us.
Beneath your mantle, gather us,
And restore us to memory.
Mother of our mothers,
Foremothers strong,
Guide our hands in yours,
Remind us how
To kindle the hearth,
To keep it bright,
To preserve the flame.
Your hands upon ours,
Our hands within yours,
To kindle the light,
Both day and night.
The Mantle of Brighid about us,
The Memory of Brighid within us,
The Protection of Brighid keeping us
From harm, from ignorance,
from heartlessness,
This day and night,
From dawn till dark,
From dark till dawn.
– Blessing for Hearth-Keepers
by Caitlin Matthews

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Tuesday 29th January

the plate was given to Linnaeus by Johannes Gessner c.1764

It is Tuesday and Lucy is fussing to get the day going but it is still dark outside.  Saturday I had a delivery of seed potatoes, half a sackful to be precise, and I do not have the space to plant all of them.  So not to be out done by age and lack of soil I have ordered potato sacks to plant them.  Along with tomatoes, courgettes, french and runner beans we should at least sidestep the coming disaster of Brexit!  Okay I am kidding (but taking precautions anyway).

Do I believe in 'project fear' not quite, but when the rats start deserting the ship (Dyson) it is best to be a little prepared.  All I can say of this country is that we are in a terrible mess, rudderless comes to mind. So I shall tend my potatoes.

This morning (very early) I watched Antony Gormley's 'How Art Began.  He becomes fascinated by the depictions of how the hand is drawn on the rock, not exactly drawn but sometimes blown on by charcoal which is chewed, or printed in ochre.  He draws the parallel between the long geological life of the rock and the fraility of  human life.  It was a fascinating journey through the depiction of animals so lovingly portrayed, to the more cruel paintings of animals depicted being killed. When 'man' became more dominant and self-centred, it was interesting to see that this self-centredness has bloomed in the age we are living in at the moment.  Technology gives us cameras and  phones, and we turn them on ourselves and photograph the 'best images'.

I do not understand modern art, came across this today, which made me giggle, and perhaps should not frame the above paragraph, but look at the beginning of this blog at that beautiful print of thistles and touch the mind of Gessner in the 18th century and that is what captures my imagination.

I notice that Cro has called for Teddy bear pictures, and the two sitting on top of the shelves behind me will feature. The whitish one is something I bought at a sale a few years back, I felt like rescuing him, though I do donate to Four Paws for real bears that are so cruelly caged and baited in Eastern Europe.  The other one though must have belonged to my son, so that gives it a good age, passed on to Tom my grandson.  I always have this memory of Tom aged about 5 years old on the platform at Bath Station.  Dragging this bear crossly along the platform because his mother would not carry it for him and had threatened to leave it at the station if he did not carry it. The bear is safely rescued now but still has no name.

Everything in life has a story to tell

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday 27th January

This print hung on our hall wall for years, a reminder that William Randolph Hearst had squirrelled away many of the stones from it.  Today that would not have happened, there are laws to prevent the defacing of ruins and of course graded houses.  Not sure why it came to mind, only that I had been watching the film Bookshop (brilliantly moody on the landscape, also a creepy Bill Nighy) on Netflix, and a law had come into being to be able to compulsorily purchase land or property in 1965, or at least had been upgraded.  This is of course now being used to buy the land and properties that impede the new rail run to the North - HS2.  A distraction of the first order by our government! But that is by the way...

"Bradenstoke is located on a hill on the southern side of Braydon river and to the north of Lyneham airfield, it was an important place in medieval times. The site of the Augustinian priory of Clack founded in 1142 by Walter D'Evereaux. Some of its ruins are still to be seen in the farmstead known as Bradenstoke Abbey, but its great barn and guest house were taken down and carted away, some to St Donat's castle in South Wales, and the Tithe barn to the USA, by William Randolph Hearst where they have recently been re-discovered still in the original shipping crates. The story goes that the barn was dismantled stone by stone and taken to the site of the magnate's castle at San Simeon, California. He lost interest in the barn project and sold the stonework to an hotelier who wanted to use it for wedding receptions. Permission was refused because of earthquake zone restrictions. The residents of Bradenstoke have been trying for a Lottery grant to try and persuade the hotelier to sell them their barn and return it to its rightful setting."

Hearst was rich, flamboyant, and he probably is very like the resident in chief in America, but what has been done is done.  St.Donat's castle is a very beautiful fairytale castle,and the great hall must stay in place, and the stones shipped to America still in their boxes after all this time - a shame, but they have been disturbed and bringing them back to England would hardly be realistic.

But then a softer side is seen when you look at Heart's love affair with Marion Davies, unfortunately he tried to manipulate her life, but then look at the dates and you can understand why.

There is a filter with which we view life, especially past life, she was glamorous, Marion, also clever, not just a film actress, a philanthropist in later life, putting off marriage until Hearst died.
In all the story is very Hollwoodish, a fairytale castle in St.Donat, a pretty actress, and a rich newspaper mogul, and poor old Bradenstoke Abbey ransacked.  But remember the entrepreneurs of Henry 6th's reign as they took over the abbeys he closed down, and which many plundered, not only for their land but for their building materials.

The Bookshop trailer, did not get many good reviews but I enjoyed it ;)

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Saturday 26th January

The scraggy time of January, in this first photo you will see a snowdrop patch in this rather large roadside verge.  They come up before all the nettles arrive, they sit under the wild cherry trees.  I watch the fruit ripen in these trees and then in a flash the red cherries disappear, wolfed down by the birds.  I often wonder what this piece of neglected land once held, an old cottage maybe, it is opposite the village green. 

Then we come to our River Seven, not in flood, though the snow melt from Roseland Moor must have come down at some stage.  Sometimes I picture this river with its gentle shallow depth, reaching the 13 foot height in a matter of hours.  Now the banks are lined with willows, grey, dark and leafless, the water rippling over the stones.  Stop to listen, for there is nothing more soothing than the gentle noise of water moving along.  There are snowdrops along the bank, the snowdrop after all is very promiscuous as it wanders over the land.

There is one more photo from the walk, looking up to the farm on the hill, lower down the slope you get a glimpse of a large 'genteel' house, not sure of the date, but slightly Georgian, was it the manor house I wonder.  Anyway the point of this photo was to catch the old tree left in the arable field.  All over England you see these venerable giants given the space to live, when it would be so much easier to fell them.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Friday 25th January

Turdus Pilaris - Fieldfare @
                                            By Adam Kumiszcza - Own work, CC BY

I saw a flock of these fieldfares yesterday as I took Lucy for her walk.  I keep seeing large what I thought of as thrushes in the church yard, but they are probably fieldfares and obviously feasting on the last of the berries and fallen apples around here.  Though I would like to think that the solitary bird I keep seeing around the garden is the mistle thrush, because we did have one once.  Well this weekend is to be the bird count for the country.   What do we have in the garden, a resident pheasant, several wood pigeons, collared doves, lots of sparrows, than most of the different types of blue tits, the little wren (on the up) and of course blackbirds.  Apparently some blackbirds come from France, migrating back and forth, you can tell by the colour of the beaks..........  Not forgetting the crows and jackdaws.
People moan about January, as if if should be stripped from the calendar, but there is an air of expectancy; it gets lighter, and though the weather is so changeable.  Yesterday hard frozen ground with a smattering of snow, today the weather has warmed up and puddles grace the roads.
John Simpson said on the radio this morning, all you ever hear about is talk of Brexit and backstop, never anything about climate change and the cliff we will be dangling over in 12 years time. And of course in Davos they are still flying around mouthing hot air as usual....

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Thursday 24th January

The following blog I wrote about four years ago, what sparked it? Talk of the heron on the 'tweet' programmes this morning.  I have always loved herons, rigidly still and quiet as they fish by a river or pond, endlessly patient they are the dinosaurs of the bird world.  I remember my son looking out of his bedroom window - "there's a big pigeon in the pond mum" of course it was a heron fishing for the last goldfish!

So why do i bring this blog up, it was Paul yesterday, he needs something to do, he has no time for his old work as a a conservator of old Japanese paintings, it did his knees in but there are still echoes round the house of it.  The spray for water as he applied the papers to the work, the great stack of papers he has amassed still in the study.  He talks of blogging but wordpress now charges, so he says.  So I shall nag for a few days and perhaps find the blogs.

The  painting below is about 6 feet wide, and is not exactly a painting but a screen that would have been in a temple at the front to ward off evil.  It is on the wall in our sitting room and is extraordinarily serene. As you can see it is sprinkled with gold and depicts two carp swimming over the bridge.

"Fishy traditions - Goldfish

"Goldfish was introduced into Japan via China in the sixteenth century where they were popular and kept only by the aristocracy and samurai. The Japanese set up breeding programs and eventually developed their unique strains of goldfish. "

Keeping my mind working, well trying to at least!  Why goldfish, well a couple of years ago, I had a  print that needed framing and so we went to the framers in town.  He offered to do it for nothing if LS would restore for him  a modern Japanese scroll of goldfish.  To be honest I did not like it at the time, yet the goldfish swam with great gusto across the paper and I grew to like it.  Occasionally my job is to take photos of what was happening in the studio, a record to send to the client.
If you look at the number of smaller goldfish you will see that there are nine  all told with the larger fish, a lucky number in China. Giving a present with a depiction of goldfish means that you are wishing the receiver of your gift good luck or prosperity, or even good business.  Also there are eight gold fish and one black, this is to give positive energies and push away negative energies within the houshold
The thing of course about most of Japanese art work is it's symbolic nature, dragons (and the dragon is supposed to have changed from a fish) and carp which are the larger species of goldfish all have their tales to tell.

"The dragon carp symbolizes high ambitions, wealth and success. The Golden Carp is known for its legendary courage to swim against rapid currents and is therefore a symbol of perseverance, achievement and career success. According to some the carp turns into the revered Celestial Dragon when it makes a final leap across the Dragon gate. Keeping this symbol brings literary and scholastic luck to students and excellent career luck to working people."

I love the idea of the Golden Carp leaping across the currents so similar to our own salmon as they come back for breeding, and probably why the Celtic fish would also be revered as they came back to our rivers.  I was forever restocking our pond with goldfish as the local heron would come to feast on these captive creatures.  When we are on our travels I see these great grey birds  in the sky occasionally, their necks hunched as they flap their  wings slowly, they always seem incredibly thin and rather raggedy like old men standing in the water waiting for a hapless fish to swim along.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Tuesday 22nd January - time is flying

Well I have nothing to say this morning, only to mention the following poet, someone said something about him on the radio.  I remembered the poems we would have to learn each week as a child, this was probably one of them, and what painting would I put with it it? Carl Larsson came to mind, always wanted to miniaturise one of his paintings, all charming but so kitsch though......

Off to Castle Howard Nursery centre, to ponder whether we need a covered seat in the garden, the trouble is....................... where to put it, every time I approach the front garden to dig a hole or suggest something Paul pipes up the pipes, the pipes, I imagine them all wriggling along under the lawn daring me to dig!

The Listeners

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,   
   Knocking on the moonlit door; 
And his horse in the silence champed the grasses   
   Of the forest’s ferny floor: 
And a bird flew up out of the turret,   
   Above the Traveller’s head: 
And he smote upon the door again a second time;   
   ‘Is there anybody there?’ he said. 
But no one descended to the Traveller;   
   No head from the leaf-fringed sill 
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,   
   Where he stood perplexed and still. 
But only a host of phantom listeners   
   That dwelt in the lone house then 
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight   
   To that voice from the world of men: 
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,   
   That goes down to the empty hall, 
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken   
   By the lonely Traveller’s call. 
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,   
   Their stillness answering his cry, 
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,   
   ’Neath the starred and leafy sky; 
For he suddenly smote on the door, even   
   Louder, and lifted his head:— 
‘Tell them I came, and no one answered,   
   That I kept my word,’ he said. 
Never the least stir made the listeners,   
   Though every word he spake 
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house   
   From the one man left awake: 
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,   
   And the sound of iron on stone, 
And how the silence surged softly backward,   
   When the plunging hoofs were gone.

And something to write about tomorrow  My daughter's town

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sunday 20th January

Sunday, still misty and grey but not cold.  Yesterday I ordered four books from the secondhand dealers that Amazon hosts.  Amazon always tries to get you onto 'Prime' and you need devious skills to avoid it.  Two were fiction books, Phil Rickman and Peter May 'Shetland' series.  The other two was Fiona MacCarthy's Eric Gill and an 'Arts and Craft' book.
Shetland and the Orkney Islands are becoming the 'in' places to visit.  Their lonely windswept beauty to be sold to tourists. Sad. But I suppose it means more money for the islanders, many of whom are incomers, trying to avoid a crowded life;)  If you ever want Shetland wool from these islands then go to Jamieson and Smith, as a knitter I have used their wool, the shades for fair isles are extensive and they have fabulous 2 ply wool for knitting shawls that should pass through a wedding ring.
I have probably read the Gill book through the library but I would like a copy, though a man successful in his world, I think he was a pervert if I remember rightly.  I loved the area in which he lived Llanthony, the old priory ruins and the slightly deserted grey miserable air of the countryside around, the Ewyas Valley, Landscapism blog on my right is doing a dissertation on the area around Llanthony, the granges and farms that still echo in the landscape.

As it is Sunday, something funny to end with.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Saturday and snow

Before it all melts away, the drip from the trees this morning said that the snow would not stay long.

 a light feathering of snow
Nigel's sheep this morning

Bamboo and southernwood gently collapse