Saturday, December 16, 2017

16th December

Nostalgia for early morning walks

Someone, a friend in Cornwall, sent me a CD with about 30 Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine (WAM for short) journals of the 19th century.  It really is fascinating to poke about men's mind in this era, not many women authors sadly.  But I picked up this on witches, think I had just called myself a witch that day on the blog.  Just love this...'the way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough'
who for may one ask?
There is a certain sense of satisfaction as women start to question the role of equality, we lose of course in fair pay for jobs, but the latest tsunami when we question being sexually harassed has become a sport in its own right.  I have said before, impossible to monitor such behaviour, you would need more than 10 commandments, will this tidal wave have any significance?
Punishment nowadays to women is filtered through the medium of social media such as twitter, and cruelty abounds (by both sexes).  Anyway glad I did not live in a time when you were dunked in cold dirty water, is it true that if you drowned you were innocent?

"Mr. Ozell, in his translation of this work printed in 1715, thus translates this passage : —" Cucking Stool—the way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough. They fasten an arm chair to the end of two beams, twelve or fifteen foot long, and parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair which hangs between them on a sort of axle, by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which a chair should be that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it do^mi. They set up a post, upon the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay almost in equilibrio the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs j\ist over the water ; they place the woman in this chair, and so plunge her into the water, as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat." 

Some old fashioned words, when the world lived within its separate villages and people never knew what was happening outside that world......

Bang-tail, or Red Fiery Bang-tail. Phmnicurus ruticuia, the Redstart.

Bedwind, Bedwine. Clematis Vitalba, L., TraveUer's Joy. S.W.

 Bee-flower. Oi^A?-^* apifera, Huds., Bee Orchis.

Cluttery. Showery and gusty.

Bottle-tit. JParus caudatus, L., the Long-tailed Titmouse or long tailed tit, one of my favourite birds as they loop through the trees like little old men.

A peaceful English scene

Friday, December 15, 2017

Travelling in the mind

I borrow that title from the rather good blog on the Scottish Islands down below.  It is still dark, I have kneaded the dough for bread, talked to Lucy who has just woken up and has made her journey to the settee behind me to sleep some more. When it gets lighter will go out open the chicken's hatches and let them out.  They are only producing one egg a day between them but hopefully when the light lengthens will produce more after the Xmas holiday.  Yesterday there was a funeral in the graveyard, the hole was dug by the grave digger, dirt mounded under a green tarpaulin, and now the dead are laid to rest, we always draw our blind on the window overlooking the proceedings, not scary though;)
A couple of weeks ago I had an email from someone on Oliver Cope, the tailor who left Avebury to travel to America and start a small dynasty there, these emails often come on something I have written.  Well yesterday another arrived about John Wood the Elder, architect to some of Bath city beautiful buildings.  The fabulous thing about him though, was he constructed his architecture and thinking on past history and Druidism, and this person who had written the article had written a very elegant article about the Sols Rocks, long since disappeared under the Georgian buildings on the lower slopes of the Lansdown.  Well the writer wanted to know had I any knowledge of a 'circular 'mound/space by Laurence Chapel on top  of the Lansdown. 'Moon Temple' John Wood had called it.  Apparently John Wood was very well informed on the barrows round that area.  This was of course my prime walking area, wandering round in any weather, always on Sunday taking my favourite walk to the woods by the golf course and then down past the Beville monument to the ridgeway path that the Civil War fighting men had defended.  I wasn't much help, there are no surviving stones around though lower down in the fields I had once found a worked prehistoric stone by a gateway.
But history had overlaid this great ridge that moves the traveller out of Bath along to the Cotswold escarpment, prehistoric, Roman, medieval, civil war and then the airfield in the second world war all jostle for your attention, though reading through the green tapestry of fields that now cover all these happenings is almost invisible.  Druidical Bath an earlier blog.
I remember though walking with a friend, she came from the Orkney Islands, which links to the story below.  She owned a Irish wolf hound, a pretty apricot colour, large and playful.  Unfortunately he was a chaser of deer and the muntjac you would see on the downs.  One morning, he spotted a deer and was off in full chase, several hours later our search party was winding down with tiredness, I was wandering in a field further down the slope with Moss, when a very tired Monty appeared through an open gateway, I grabbed him and returned him to a very grateful owner.  Monty was a clown, when he walked in the snow would gather great clumps of the snow to his paws, he would sit down pathetically when this happened, holding his paw up to have the snow removed.

Rosemary still frozen in flower, bringing luck hopefully.

The mending of the fence slowly moves ahead, this is a 'sunday' job!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday - something different

The Swan by Mary Oliver

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air -
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds -
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

Last blog pulled probably in fear of unwelcome attention to the photos.  Have been reading other blogs, 'wolf whistling' on Cro's blog.  Usual arguments for and against the subject, sometimes I think there are no answers out there.  There is an increasingly politically correct way of looking at things, a narrowing down of behaviour to what is right.  Women dress up, put their best face on, for themselves or for others?   Have we no confidence in ourselves, or like the colourful exotic birds that nature created we have to improve the look.  Does it matter? says that scolding witch that lies behind my rational brain.  We are chasing the 'fumblers' and touchy-feely unwanted attentions off the air-ways and media, men are being brought to justice for far more worse sins, such as sexually abusing young children.  In fact it is all down to sex, the bower bird decorating his pad to lure a lady bower bird in!  Wolf-whistling will die a natural death and women will go on buying sparkly dresses for Christmas ;) and that flickering line of political correctness will be there because the internet and media exist for just such smallness of things, and that is why you see a poem above to get away from worrying trivia.
I love the Grimm's story of the 6 swans transformed by their sister to her brothers who had been changed into swans by the wicked stepmother of a queen.  Childish I know but whenever I am knitting the story comes to mind as I knit a sleeve and think of the one sleeve of nettles she was unable to knit because of the time limit.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures, 
And now my heart is sore. 
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight, 
The first time on this shore, 
The bell-beat of their wings above my head, 
Trod with a lighter tread. 

And a verse from Yeats - The Wild Swans of Coole.  To be honest I haven't seen many swans round here, though there were plenty in Essex, and I remember walking along the tow-path past Bathampton with Moss who took great care in walking past some hissing swans, they can break your arm should they feel so inclined.
Good news for me at least is my son is coming down soon for a couple of days haven't seen him for ages, Ephraim will drive him down so there will probably be lots of arguments on current affairs!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday 8th December

Today I signed up to Jacquie Lawson, it is a naff website I know, but with two birthdays this month plus Xmas, sending cards to the USA and Switzerland and I decided it would be easier.  This time of year I remember my friend in America and how long I have known her, since my giddy late teens.  She lived in Lampeter and I met her when my father (can I call him that?) took me to Aberaeron where he kept his boat.  We arrived in his Italian sports car at the pub where he had had an affair with the daughter of the owner.  I say had had because another girl friend turned up as well and I found the whole thing embarasssing ;)  Has poor Christine Keeler brought those early memories of the 60s back I wonder?
Margaret from Lampeter was to fall in love with an American airman, I know she told me stories of riding back in a service plane, bucket seats and the loo behind a curtain.  We have spent most of our time apart in two different countries, but I always remember her parents were kind to me as I tried to get to grips with my family.  She is a cat owner, and keeps her moggies inhouse which I find rather strange.
Carols on the thing that plays CD, Paul has found them out, I can also see David delivering a card to Nigel across the road, the festival is on its way.  The fire has been rekindled from last night, the coal keeping it alight and the weather is very cold, so we are debating getting more coal, wood for the flames, coal for longevity.

Lucy has at last ventured out into the garden, you can tell the weather by her response to it, too cold this morning, as I went to let the chickens out she watched from the french windows.
I notice Tabor has counted 13 different things that caught the eye.  So what did I see this morning, several long tailed tits flew by 'grazing' the trees, I can just about see one in the following photo.  The blue tits cluster around the fat balls, and the grey dove feasts on the grain I have thrown down for her.  A few seconds later the squirrel rushed by, he seems to be burying goodies.  The pheasants are still alive in the field, last bird to go to bed, their noisy calling lasting into the night.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday 7th December

A video of what has been happening at Kirkby Misperton over the last two months.  Several things stand out, firstly the use of force to push through fracking, is there no shame on the part of the Third Energy Group, our local politician, or even government, to use such tactics against the ordinary people of the country, the answer must obviously be no.  It reminds me of the Thatcher years and the brutality of putting down the miners and printers.  As country after country says no to fracking we are spending a large police bill on forcing it through in a small village in Ryedale.  
There are hysterical females campaigning, and they do their cause no good, but what comes out is the gentle nature of many people protesting and the genuine fear of what it could do to the countryside.
Democracy is  not here in the Kirkby Misperton village, just force to carry out a whim of the government, and it doesn't say much for our government!

But then,  can we cap the latest Trump fiasco, barging into a highly fraught situation and laying down his dictates as to the capital of Israel.  Does that man want war? or is he as truly ignoramus as  he seems.  People got cross in this country when he fired back at Theresa May after he had blunderingly posted videos of 'Britain First' on his Twitter account. Doubt that he will get an invitation to the next royal wedding..
But enough,  the fence is to be mended this Friday, luckily using most of the stuff that is lying on the ground.  Holly was lucky that the fence was not put up very well, it meant that her estate car just collapsed it without hurting any of the occupants inside the car.

The Christmas cards have been found! 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday 3rd December

The snow has disappeared, the weather is warmer for a brief moment, and festive cheer gallops nearer.  Yesterday we sorted the money from the quiz do which was a few hundred pounds sitting about.  Harriet eventually presented her bill and the remaining money we took up to the treasurer and sat in the kitchen with a cup of tea and talked.  Keith has made a lovely display (to be put on a board) of the village history, and down the centre each house named in the village, so useful in this time when we order things and they have to be delivered by carrier.
As the photos were mostly late 19th century/20th century it clearly showed how the village had changed.  For instance there are but three children here whereas there would have been about 50 children attending the school in the building which once stood in in Jill and David's front garden.  As the cars go by they pass the Forge just across the road, where many a horse would have been shod.  We discussed the way public footpaths have been closed down as the 'surbubanites' mark their territory.  There is one footpath that Keith and Paul started clearing but as it goes past the once rather substantial rectory there is dissent from the owners, who doesn't want strange people walking past her home. mmmm

This is Willow House, home to Margaret Wood, who lived all her life here as the house slowly crumbled around her, you can see the sag in the roof.  Now two modern houses occupy the site, the land around which she owned sold off over the years.  A sad end I must find her gravestone in the churchyard.

Photos taken from the web.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Farmers against Fracking

A Lancashire farmer speaking out against fracking, he is articulate, understands the world around him and most importantly sees through our government who are forcing fracking through, especially on the people of Yorkshire and Lancashire.  After all we are several hundred miles from the South and London so their water will not be compromised!
The video is taken by his son, as his father talks to a media crew,  occasionally his less than perfect video goes awry but I think he is proud of his father.....

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Its Snowing!

And guess what landed in our front garden? Smashing the fence but leaving the plum trees alone.  Poor Holly, for it was she who driving, must have skidded round the corner hitting the coke house, of the four occupants no one was hurt thank goodness and it will all go through  the usual channels, though Holly poor lamb who seems to feel guilty has said she has a fencing friend to mend it quickly:).
What happened, happened it wasn't her fault, the snow has come down thick and fast this morning and she was probably unaware that the road was turning into an ice rink.
 I had been out taking photos in the garden, so below a couple I took.  Having problems with my photos not appearing on my computer as well, all I think to do with a Window Update, and have taken a couple of things off in  uninstall.   The whole front page went crazy so maybe I need a computer expert!

The goddess was unflustered

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Wednesday 29th November.

What to write about, so busy doing things which all look rather boring.  Yesterday we went out to lunch at The Plough in Wombleton, and sat next to a foursome.  As is usual in Yorkshire we got talking, firstly about dogs, one lady had two dogs of mixed breed, a border terrier/beagle, only nowadays they get cute names such as 'cockapoo' in  the olden days they would have been cross breeds or mongrels.  But dogs don't roam the streets anymore and breeding is controlled.  The other couple were the parents of someone who had just recently moved into our village which was a coincidence, but they were very quiet and frail.  
I chose the cauliflower and date tagine, which was accompanied by a fragrant rice with lots of almonds in.  It was delicious, though I am not sure about eating a lot of cauliflower,  Ben the manager told me (with great pride) that the new chef had put it on the menu and it was popular, fashionable of course as it was vegan and gluten free!  I have always fancied something cooked in a tagine, because it looks rather sweet with apricots etc.
I have dreams in which I talk and Paul said in the night that I had called out to Peter, to pick the pieces up and go back to school.  Peter was my half brother, long lost, and it brought back the memory of us walking back through Wolverhampton from the trolley bus to our second bus home.  Peter went to Tettenhall College, I went to Ely House, and we were supposed to join up and come home together.  Of course Peter always wanted to catch the train to Willenhall where we lived, which was forbidden.  But he would tag on to someone going to get on the train and get home that way, I chose the bus and would wait impatiently for him at the other end.  One day our 'Mrs.Danvers' housekeeper saw what was happening and blackmailed us into good behaviour from then on.  She didn't get away with it for long because one day ill in bed and in tears over some horrible scrambled eggs she had concocted I told my grandfather of her cruel ways and she disappeared soon after.  Yes I did not have a normal family upbringing ;)
The weather is so cold, and will get worse towards the weekend, my daughter and three of my grandchildren are supposed to come down just before Christmas, so we pulled the long table out yesterday to check it out and it was given a polish.  I have also ordered a wing back chair, always fancied one but they are so pricey, so had to go down to Wayfair prices, which now follows me around on everything I do.  Yesterday had an email from 'Naked Wines' that I had won £65 worth of wine because I had joined the NewsStatemen,  mmm says I is there a trick in there?  So I filled in the detail, but not my card details, after all wasn't I getting it free? but it refused to go through, they are not getting my card details though....

Friday, November 24, 2017


playing with 'edit' 
Rime;  Just a word that floated through my mind this morning as I looked out on the frost-riven fields.  I wondered how much it was used in poetry but my computer was not playing ball on that one! So guess this one, the word Rime is in the title.....
The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around :
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound !

Old English hrīm, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rijm. The word became rare in Middle English but was revived in literary use at the end of the 18th century.
old photo of a really cold day

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thoughts jostling away without an answer!

The wild Hunt

Are there any other people that the membership feels should be silenced, suppressed, censored, abridged, blacklisted, excised, restricted, McCarthyized, deleted, disavowed, marginalized, decontaminated, purged, squelched, sterilized, reviled, or ostracized? Your feedback is encouraged.

(And does anyone else have a chill down their backs from this Orwellian thought police trend?)

I came across this in a respectable (Resurgence) forum, someone had got cross about one of the writers,  and the above was the reply and it came home sharply how we judge and criticise others with a vindictive use of words that are scary, gone are the days when we allowed 'not guilty until proven guilty.'  It is like letting the Wild Hunt take possession of our judgment.  Well taking on the other half of the human race, the male was a big subject;), it is like a big wave crashing on the shore of civilised human behaviour, "how do you feel love?" did it happen to you? Well I'm not going there, there have been plenty of female writers who have explored the subject in the Guardian and Times newspapers.  For me it is just one of the steps to an equal relationship with men, women have quietly done their own thing.  I was surprised by how many women painted through the centuries,  also look at the female writers casting delicious aspersions on the society around them, and Murmurrs made me laugh this morning, as she always does.
Too much navel gazing leads to a dull life and dull writing, there are terrible things happening in the world, Rohingya is still happening, the Hague has just sentenced Ratko Mladvic for unspeakable crimes twenty years ago.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Small Livings

Today the grey cloud lies heavy on the land, there is a light rain that slowly falls, so different from yesterday when the sun shone in a brilliant sky and the air was cold.

This tree was golden and so shapely, that little building was the coke house for the church and now is the only place you can find violets in the grass in spring.

The view over the fields with the Howardian Hills in the far distant and sheds

We look over Nigel's small fields in which he keeps a small flock of dark sheep, two nanny goats, a kid, and hens and ducks.  He houses everything in one of the dozen sheds he has, and his happiness lies in 'mending sheds' I think.  Every day he goes out with a sack and finds fodder for the goats accompanied by his new dog Sasha, a large very friendly mongrel, who seems to have settled in well in her new household.  The rhythm of his life grounds one in the morning, as the goats chase after him, and the hens spread themselves over the field.  We believe he has found happiness, not one for village events he and his wife keep to their world.
Our milkman comes four times a week bringing milk, orange juice and the papers on Saturday.  Milk delivered, who would have thought it in this day and age. This morning he also bought a large heavy sack of different wild bird food.  Peanuts for the ever hungry squirrel that spends time digging up the garden in the hope he can find one of his lost hoards. Wild bird seed soon disappears each day and the hungry pigeons sit forlornly on the bird table hoping for manna from heaven.
When I was a child on the weekend I would accompany the milkman on his round of the place where we lived, he had a pony and trap and the one and only time I was allowed to hold the reins the pony bolted with a great rattle of milk bottles.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday 18th November

Well the world looks brighter today, one tyrant (Mugabwe) is on his way out, and another tyrant has rescinded his appalling act of legitimately bringing in trophies of killed animals from Africa, so to those terrible pictures of trophy hunting that every now and then appears on F/B I hope Trump's son feels guilt.  There is one terrible photo of a female hunter nursing on her lap the dead body of a giraffe, it haunts me still.
To gentler things, as we had to give a lift to the Malton station to a friend going up to London, we drove on to Castle Howard garden centre - I just love Christmassy displays - and the avenue up to the obelisk was  lined with lit up large xmas trees.  I bought some glittery candle holders and two bowls of hyacinths for their fragrance.  Lucy helped herselve to a strange toy, which we paid for and got her usual dog treats at the counter.

So what did June photos show, well apart from the accident, irises, roses and bees....

Visiting Stonehenge

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Quiet Times

My world is slowly dissolving into winter, some days the weather is warm other days cold, they say we are going to have a bad winter - who knows.  The world is in a firmament of movement not just the earthly happenings but people experiencing the earthquakes and flooding and the heartrending flow of people from their devastated villages and homes due to the manipulations of terror and war.
I have spun for ages listening to a rather horrible series of episodes on BBCI radio player which did not help. 
I am waiting for some acid dyes to colour the wool a soft yellow, though there is a box of Japanese dyes in the garage somewhere.  Tuesday night was quiz night, very well attended everyone squashed in, far too many people, the usual people again won the quiz, I told Jill yesterday she should be handicapped when it came to quizzes but we did not do too badly with Karen and John on our table.  This time Paul was co-ordinator having taken over from David.  Harriet, she who runs the pub, had given a voucher for a free meal for two, and everyone tucked into enormous beef pies (Tuesday night is pie night) except me and Graham we dined on a very good vegetable lasagne.  So a successful night, though difficult quiz!  The next 'do' is in February, a carvery.
A selection of photos from May, when summer was beginning, I even found bluebells in the verge just down the road.

It was warm and sunny on this visit to Byland Abbey
Somewhere near the Kilburn White Horse

Jean in York, always travelling the world!
Edit;  One other thing;  Some years ago I did some work on Oliver Cope, tailor of Avebury in the 17th century and his subsequent emigration to America with his family, starting a dynasty of Copes there.
Well a descendant wrote asking for further information, which I did not have, headstone and house.
But it stirred up memories of the work I did at the time, seeing this little family start on their brave journey to America, imagining the boat ride across the Atlantic and their small plot on Nameen Creek, it was digested here for the Heritage Trust.  But there must be articles around, I notice links are no longer there.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday and magpies

'Wacky baccy'. the Detectorists have arrived for the third and last series in this funny, but so pathetic story of two metal detectorists and their forlorn lives.  Mackenzie Crook has written, directed and starred in this six part series, with Toby Jones as his sidekick.  Except that is unfair, they ride the wave as equals.  The plot is now that their favourite hunting ground - Church Farm is to be the site of a great solar farm.  The two other series followed their search for the hidden gold under the soil which they both believe exist, Crook picks up a hawk's whistle and blows it and it is then as they disappear into the beautiful pastoral landscape that a girl in white appears in ghostly and spectral form blowing the same whistle, and we see  the burial of a pot of coins by a family, and then the magpies appear.  So the story hinges of course on their finding the hoard, I have a feeling they will not!
This magical folk song is the background, sung by The Unthanked, it is the spell we have all chanted since childhood,  One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, three for a girl and four for a boy and dedicated to that black and white intelligent bird the magpie, who steals bright things and plays in the trees like no other bird.

It reminded me of Em Parkinson's print of magpies, a blogger till a year ago who lives by  wild Dartmoor, and who did such a beautiful portrait of Moss for me.

 I hardly see any magpies round this part of Yorkshire and wonder if they are shot as predators, same as buzzards, the shooting fraternity can be heard occasionally, in fact there were six men in the pub yesterday who were obviously a gun shooting party!

You can catch The Detectorist on BBC Iplayer, deadbeat and funny it will catch your heart.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

9th November - sheep

Sheep:  These are Rachel's sheep, which have been away to be 'tupped' ie; impregnated for baby lambs in March/April.  We think of sheep as foolish creatures, but somehow as I ate my breakfast with this sheep watching, I thought about how they are probably quite intelligent, I reversed our views;)  I have a feeling that this creature was just marking her territory, grateful to be back on home ground with the sun on her back.  she brought up some of her flock in the afternoon, and they gazed through a rather rickety fence at the church-yard and then turned their backs and contemplated their world.
All this because the news yesterday had sheep recognising people's faces,  perhaps we will treat them more kindly not just for their lawn mowing habit or for the joint in the oven.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sutton Bank

I am reading Madeline Bunting's The Plot again, the area in which she has written the biography of her father which is fascinating.  He bought an acre of land, accessed along an old trackway, the field had once been the site of a farm, and it is here that he built a 'chapel' which housed his scuptures, his wife and five children lived in the village of Oldstead about a mile away.
What catches my attention is the landscape round this part of Yorkshire, Sutton Bank, a cliff that rises sharply out of the land from one of the the longest village names Sutton-Under-Whitestonecliff, now the cliff is clothed in trees.  It is on the A170 to the town of Thirsk, in fact the road we travelled when we went to collect Lucy from the dog rescue centre, and we stopped off  and shared our ham sandwiches with her.

Sutton Bank;
Under Sutton Bank is this naturally formed lake called Gormire, (translated as 'filthy swamp) difficult to get down to, and with legends such as that it is very deep, though this is not true.  It seemed to have been formed from the melting of a glacial, it has no feeding river or stream but its water remains fairly constant. and apparently full of leeches if you go swimming. One legend has it that a rider's white horse bolted over the bank into the lake, and he can still be heard at night grooming his horse.  Another tale tells of a knight challenged to a race along the bank by the abbot of Rievalaux, borrowed a white horse from the abbot and was taken by the horse over the top of the cliff, the knight turning to look at the abbot saw that he had changed into the devil!

Gormire Lake;
Another topographical feature of the landscape is Hood Hill, which apparently had a medieval castle at its crown.... and now for our print of Sutton Bank that hangs on the wall to contrast ..... Well I see Hood Hill and is that Roulston Scar in front I wonder, the lake to the left.

 Hood Hill;  cc. @

Not too far away is Bylands Abbey and Rievaulax Abbey, there is a definite 'religious' feel to the area with the Catholic Ampleforth College not too far away.  Then there is Oswaldkirk and Easingwold, all very Scandinavian and religious.  Somewhere under all that bracken and trees is an Iron Age fort dominating the scene, it is almost a physical boundary this great cliff delineating territory.

What caught my attention though were three Victorian 'antiquarians' Canon Jackson, the Reverend Atkinson and someone called Mortimer.  They laid bare several hundred Bronze Age barrows, until their foolhardiness was questioned, Canon Jackson got thrown off one estate for making such a mess of the barrows he was supposely 'excavating'.  All the goods that were found were later sold on for profit, but luckily the American collectors who bought them donated them to the British Museum.

Dorothy and William Wordsworth rode or walked along Sutton Bank to Helmsley, stopping at the Black Swan Inn once, and then also to Thirsk.  Dorothy writes

"We had not wanted fair prospects before us as we drove along the flat plain of the high hill.  Far, far off us in the western sky we saw the shapes of castles, ruins among groves, a great spreading wood, rocks and single trees, a minster with its tower unusually distinct, minarets in another corner and a round Grecian temple... as we descended the hill there was no distinct view but of a great space; only near us we saw the wild snd (as people say) bottomless tarn... it seemed to be made visible only by its own light, for all the hill about us was dark"

Inside the North York Moors - Harry Mead

Saturday, November 4, 2017


'Jam and Jerusalem' roses have a late blossoming as the cold creeps down from the North.  Waking up this morning to a grey raining mood, mists hanging heavy in the distance. The pigeons line the crest of the church roof, like something out of Hitchcock's 'Birds'. 
You know when winter is coming when strange things happen, a rat dying peacefully in the sun in the garden, a few days ago.  Sad, but rats always appear when the cold starts to bite, and this one had obviously been poisoned.  I saw another one on the grass verge as I walked Lucy, you have to be so careful when poison has been put down.
What else, well a creature in the garden disturbed Lucy the other night, she stares out of the french windows in the kitchen at night looking for night intruders.  We think it was a badger, though it could have been a fox, for having jumped down into the garden from the church next door, it had to dig itself out under the front fence, digging a large hole.
Bonfire night tomorrow, though it is quiet in the village, I remember as a child heating baked potatoes in the tin box that Smith crisps came in, and Catherine Wheels tied to the trees that took such a long time to whizz.  Nowadays it is all bangs and rockets whizzing up to the sky.  When my daughter was young we would have a bonfire in our back garden, with the three boys from next door,  tomato soup, sausages/onions in rolls and I am sure some special curry dish that Jean would make.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

1st November

Happy Samhain 

Something I made yesterday a Finnish elf, not the world's best but I hope he will shine the absurdities of the world upon us....  Yesterday was the day I took to sewing, making Lucy yet another soft square to carry around, mending the rag doll and trying to give her a face.  Sewing, spinning and knitting quite peaceful things to do.

My daughter and grand daughter came over the weekend, she said how she loved to hear the trees in the little copse at the back.  We all went to the Plough in Wombleton, sadly it was cold as no fire was lit but she entertained us with stories of the two charity shops.

A steam punk window at Hebden Bridge had caused an upset, with bitter words being bandied around, and I remembered it had been the 'Goth' week at Whitby and that steam punk is one of my virtual friend's husband outfit. Anyway here are a few photographs from Getty Images.

Friday, October 27, 2017

27th October

This is what I see first thing in the morning, the quietness of the graves always makes me stop and contemplate the old church sturdy through the centuries, the dark green of the yews, there is a photo of them as young babes planted at the beginning of the 20th century.  The leaves on the trees getting thinner by the day.  When I get up in the dark, the robin greets me with a burst of song, there are two in the garden, occasionally bickering, bossing the other birds about.  The little wrens low to the ground follow the line of the church wall, in and out of the wooden frames always hunting for tiny insects.  Occasionally birds, either the sparrows or blue tits get caught in the hen's run and have to be let out.  We seem to have an invasion of ladybirds, they come into the house, foreigners says Paul! but I reckon they just want some warmth.  I remember butterflies in the old house, camping out the winter in the wardrobe, fluttering against the window when the sun streamed through.

snapdragons holding on

there is something graceful about the branches of the sycamore as their leaves gently reveal their bones

A few days ago I sent some knitted stuff off for Knit for Peace, and got a rather nice letter back from them with this little booklet of charity appeals to give out for Xmas.  Perhaps I shall leave it out for family to contemplate. rather like the three fine chickens to be given to African war widows, if they feed them well they should have plenty of eggs.

And here is Macfarlane's small poem of praise to the wren.


When wren whirrs from stone to furze the world around
her slows, for wren is quick, so quick she blurs the air
through which she flows, yes -

Rapid wren is needle, rapid wren is pin - and wren's song
is sharp-song, briar-song, thorn-song, and sren's flight
is dart-flight, flick fight, light-flight, yes -

Each wren etches. stitches, switches, glitches, yes - 

Now you think you see wren, now you know you don't.