North Stoke

Monday, November 18, 2019

"I know my song well before I start singing it."

 “God does not exist, and as a result man is forlorn, because neither within himself nor without does he find anything to cling to”. Sartre

Very philosophical you may say.  I picked up this quotation from an old Independent article on the Paris riots of 1968.  I remember thinking at the time will the old kill their young?  And today as the riots in Hong Kong turn into violence I feel the same sense of unhappiness for the fate of these young people.
Times have changed, past wars slip under the vision, they happen is something we say, we can have no input into such decisions.  It is the time of China to rise up and become a super power, those that have no power must fall.  'For the greater good?'
Remembering songs by Bob Dylan, the depths of despair that so many felt in the misery of the Vietnamese War.  It makes no difference - it happens and we should be truly grateful that things that annoy us are so small and petty, such as Prince Andrew!
Does the quote above beg the question that if god existed we would have a better life I doubt it very much.  The Church was just as cruel as the outside world in its behaviour to its people.  You have only to look at the tranquil old churches in today's Britain to understand that those gargoyles and horrible carved leering  creatures you see on the outside walls are what was used to frighten people into worshipping the 'one' god.

Sartre and Dylan has disappeared into the mists of time and we live in a modern world, where sadly war and discontent still go on, this time played against a background of climatic disturbance.  But funnily enough our quiet lives go on, I gathered the leaves off the lawn yesterday, and as I raked their sodden mess the world was a normal place. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

It has not happened yet, but it will..................

To write every day? How does this happen.  Drag something up from the past, forget the'scream' inside me as I think only of what I have lost?  Memories flit through my brain, mainly a summery Essex at the moment.  Looking out of the window and it is a cold grey Yorkshire day.  The leaves are scattered across the lawn. So much nonsense on the radio, for Christ sake these people take home good money.
Reading Paul Mason at the moment, 'A Clear Bright Future'  There is some optimism in it but basically he is talking about AI and a need to control it. We have lost so much along the way.  So apart from environmental concerns, the contract between labour and capital which has been undermined.  There is an ongoing fight for there to be a fairer world, decent wages, decent homes and a NHS which is well funded.  Something written and read by Nick Drake,(a different Nick Drake to the one who died years ago) it goes further but the video does not translate to blogger.

It has not happened yet, but it will

'I am the future, but before I appear,

Please - close the scrolls of information,

Let the laptop sleep,

Sit still

And shut your eyes.
Listen - Things are going to change

You can hear the poem being spoken by Nick Drake on Jackie Morris's site, below the 'Letters to the Earth'
Optimism is our only hope, fighting for what is right. Listening to others and not rounding on them like an angry tiger. Yesterday I pulled up a moment of history just to illustrate what I was talking about. Some would say using history as a blueprint for reading present events is foolish. Maybe so, except the fact that everything comes round with a certainty for sure.
Listen to the trees as the wind takes their leaves and either rattles their dryness or sounds like a soft shurring noise. They are the new saviours of the planet, imbibing the carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and clearing the atmosphere. Although we are extorted to plant more trees the government and their agencies have not kept to their promise to do this. (Which is probably a reflection on many of their promises!)
Our young beat the drum, there is a tumult in the air, as fear presses down. Look at Hong Kong rioting for democratic rights and the fear of being extradited to China, some as young as 8 years old. It comes to something when the students rioting on the street are still school children, yet we are experiencing this with the climate emergency. A need to have their voice heard, and don't listen to the cynics whining that they should be in school being educated. We can learn anywhere the difference between right and wrong and fight for our rights.
Speaking out is the only way things get done, a slow swelling of majority happening, curse the traffic hold-ups but also ask why is this happening?


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thursday 14th November

Skinningrove is famous for it's annual bonfires

Several years ago whilst out with the family we drove towards Teeside but down narrow lanes and we drove down a steep incline to the village of Skinningrove, (Viking for skinner's grove or pit).  It was dull and dismal.  A cluster of terraced houses faced the sea, and allotments tumbled down a hill.  Yet it still gets a mention in today's news as one of the iron mills of the British Steel Company (though long gone as a name).  Here is a 1920s photo, bleak lives by the seaside.

Well we have sold out to the Chinese, the family jewels are tumbling onto the carpet at a scary rate but jobs are saved of course.  It reminder me of the Greek economy at the moment, they are also allowing the Chinese to buy into their economy, actually Yanis Varoufakis (Greek economist) was instrumental in trying to sell Greek ports to them... wonder who will buy our ports when all that export to the rest of the world becomes a reality when that dreaded six letter word comes up?

I remember on that journey the seamier side of Teeside showed up, it is not all beautiful dales and moors in Yorkshire.  Think we ended up in the seaside town of Hartlepool for icecreams.  Matilda and Ben playing by the water's edge.  Matilda took a tumble and the wave carried her into the sea, her father ran in to pull her out.  I wrapped her in my cardigan and we made our way back to the car with a very miserable little girl.

But something to take us back to childhood and H.G.Wells.  'War of the Worlds' adaptation by the BBC - should be good.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


Berries and trees:  There is a serenity in the garden, golden with sun and leaves, a tranquility  of age sits lightly on the air next to the church.  The holly tree, has an abundance of berries, and blends beautifully with the old Coke House of the church.
In days gone by the coke would have been used on two stoves within in the church.  It would have been filled from the front hatch by a horse and cart man.  This little building has a previous history though.  It is a Grade 11 listed building, basically because it was a Watch House.  A sort of police station, where you threw the miscreants before they were carted off to the courts in the bigger towns.  Here in this village, it would probably have been for drunkenness, for the road through the village was a drover route, and many cottages sold ale. 
Probably the land on which this house was built would have temporarily housed the beasts on their way to market.
Monday I took a friend to Malton hospital, and whilst she was there, I wandered round the shops.  The oomph has gone out of many high streets, they are unloved by the public and slowly sink into emptiness.  The Museum was shut, only opens Thursday and Saturday, and I decided Malton  was not for me.
Yesterday a friend visited, they have a house in Whitby, but came back because the weather there was so bad.  We discussed the shops around and I found out that apart from the Co-op having a strong monopoly up North, there is a 'Waitrose' type supermarket called Booths further up north.
My daughter has just messaged she has started a new job as a manager in a charity shop in Manchester.  Tired and exhausted but I think happy, Matilda is refusing to help in the house though.
Today is a boring garden club meeting,  Why do we need lawns, well all I can say is that ours is filling up with leaves, and we are being told by nature lovers to leave them there - brilliant. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sunday and the Windhover

"Definition of counterpoint rhythm. : rhythm in poetry including so much metrical inversion that the prevailing cadence ceases at times to prevail and so that a complex rhythm results from the concomitance of the basic cadence with its inversion if … reversal is repeated in two feet running"

I caught this morning radio BBC 4's 'Something Understood' which dwelt on counterpoint.  Listened to the music of Bach as he would have composed playing  through his motifs, blending these small batches of notes to create such beautiful music.  Listened to poetry, the last being the finest by Gerald Manley Hopkins - The Windhover and imagined the moment captured as he viewed this bird in the sky.

The Windhover

 - 1844-1889
I caught this morning morning's minion, king-  
  dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding  
  Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding  
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing  
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
  As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding  
  Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding  
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!  
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here  
  Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!  
  No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion  
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,  
  Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.
It is the moment when the beauty of this Earth shines through pushing aside the ego, and allowing happiness to shine through.  Yesterday dawned cold but that means the sun will light up the frost on the lawn, the red berries of the yews in the church yard and the holly trees.  Birds will cluster on the feeders because of intense hunger.  Golden leaves of the beeches shine like copper and the sparkling array of Autumn colours shine through on dying plants in the garden.
Looking up 'sillion' what does that mean?
sillion. Noun. (uncountable) (rare) The thick, voluminous, and shiny soil turned over by a plow.
Uncountable that is how the world creates, leaves fall, crumble get turned to soil.  The cycle of life creates and creates again, beauty is there for a brief moment  until the hand of man destroys it with ugly design......

Friday, November 8, 2019

Promises, promises

Here I am talking about the political parties offering us all kind of goodies if we vote for them.  It is a bit like the wretched flooding that has stalled across South Yorks/Midlands caught between two winds blowing in opposite directions, so are we.
Do you realise we have made all these news commentators happy to be alive and earning their salaries because they have been given the latest batch of political nonsense to talk about.  Knives have been out, a bit of virtual stabbing in the backs as Labour deserters have taken to pulling apart their leader. 
There we are, flood water round our ankles, this is not true in North Yorkshire by the way, the rains gave us a miss but it is still very wet.  And all we have to look to is Xmas - yikes. And maybe wading through the floods to vote - joy.
We have an out an out liar for a prime minister, his party in disarray, climate emergency bearing down on us.  
How have I helped towards this catastrophe?  Well I let Rod and his wife cut down the galloping Virginia creepers and ivies yesterday, they had 30 bins of cut stuff Rod informed me, largest cut they have ever done.  I feel guilty about the sparrows who lived and tweeted in this overgrown haven, but they seemed to have returned and the climbers will once again thrive as the weather warms up. Also they can go and live in the thick cluster of ivy that wraps round the tree in front.

I love this photo gleaned from the internet, so serene, though to be honest I don't like memes advocating greater serenity - it is not as if it ever happens!

And in a dark mood, Leonard Cohen, voice like melting chocolate, capturing it all...."You want it Darker" ;)

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


Welcome! Who am I welcoming this morning?  Well weirdly enough I have had a large spike in viewing numbers.  Investigation showed up a Russian contingency.  So is it my rather scary political views or something more sinister?

Never mind.  Noted this morning, was the BBC's 100 books that have made an impression on us.  To be quite honest I haven't read many but that could be to do with the fact that I don't read modern fiction.  I earmark quite a few books  to read as the months go by but have lost my password for the library, so that I could order some rather than spend money.

Two Guardian articles read this morning.  I questioned this one paper view I always have, and came up with the answer, I need to subscribe to such papers as 'The Times ' or 'Telegraph' or even 'The Independent', though the Independent is far more scarier than the Guardian, and is only online.  Poor newspapers overtaken by the media on the internet. 

So what were the two articles?  One on food banks in this country, the Trussell report.

The other was a paper signed by 11000 scientists arguing that Climate change is  real, something I believe, I know others do not.  But come on 11000 signatures must surely say get real.  Here is the original article  taken from the Guardian, read either I am sure both will say the same. 

on a 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Tuesday 5th November

Europe a Prophecy by William Blake.  God holds a compass as in  'The Golden Compass' of  the film of Phillip Pullman fame

Or as we know it the instrument of truth, the alethiometer.  It does raise the question of how we recognise truth, perhaps a mechanical instrument would do us all fine! This morning I am informed by the government via email, on those government petitions I have signed, are all written off because the committees and individuals could no longer be there after tomorrow. What is happening tomorrow? Parliament is closing down for an election - fun and games and the repetitious nonsense of the media.
I watched the film 'Golden Compass' and found it depressing but the story line was of course completely unusual.  Setting the background in the cold North with the Northern lights as 'dust' and we enter another world.  Warrior polar bears, in this time when we see them starving on icebergs as the North and South polar's melt, brings us to a reality we may have to face.

Also brings us to Greta Thunberg, stranded in one country because they have changed the venue of the meeting she was going to in Santiago has now changed to Madrid and she needs a boat ride across the Atlantic.  Somehow the children in Pullman's book have a relationship with the children who strike on Friday to draw attention to Climate change.  
I am not quite sure what to make of this, she is intelligent, outspoken and has gained a lot of respect.  On the other hand she has also been castigated and made fun of by some in power but she sticks to her message and you have to admire her for that.
William Blake, Phillip Pullman and Greta Thunberg all bring their messages to us, art, storytelling and I suppose in Greta's case facts or science.
So where does truth lie?

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Sunday thoughts - a hypocrites view

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.  Rachel Carson.

A name to remember, her 'Silent Spring' is slowly unfolding across the Earth.  The other day when I took back some magazines to R and J, they asked me to explain what magazines I read.  Well there is 'Permaculture', 'Resurgence' and the 'Newstateman' I answered and gave a not very good answer as to how the word permaculture is used.  I sometimes think that I am ashamed of my reading, certainly socialist, very green and completely at odds with the people around me.  What for instance would you think of me as I decried the useless journeys by air to far away places so that we could just 'see' the scenic environment? Firstly you would justify the journey to me and yourself, and call it a lot of nonsense about 'Climate Emergency', the term  that the Guardian uses.

But your viewpoint is just a drop of water in a large lake, it has no significance, neither does mine.  But slowly out there in the wider world there is an awakening that nature is in itself a force to be reckoned with, may even have legal rights but how would that play out against the destructive forces such as large oil and mining companies to reduce it to a sink hole of commodities.  Certainly the likes of Donald Trump are exacerbating that.

So where am I going you may well ask.  Well I looked up at a tree that borders our property yesterday evening, it was beautiful in the setting sun, Autumn tones of leaf, bare skeleton of branches, a painting, not deliberate but beautiful in its composition.  The mind's eye snapping the moment.

And then this morning I read Robert Macfarlane's 'Should this tree have the same rights as you?' essay in the Review section of the Guardian.  It brings the thought closer, though we can see that litigation is a complicated affair and only lines the pockets of the lawyers.  There is a growing movement amongst novelists to see the land as something 'other' a living being, animistic.  Often expressed through states of belief in 'Gaia' or 'Mother Earth'.  The Goddess Earth,* sometimes seen in glimpses from past beliefs, in the shape of mountains and lakes.  All that wonderful folklore endowing the Earth with  significant forces of good and evil.  Something we are finding now of course is the destructive elements of the earth, fire and water.  We are  experiencing for instance the melting of glaciers, (they even blessed one in Switzerland, it had died when it melted.)

Western world is not too worried, their lands are not being drowned by rising seas at the moment, though fires rage in different parts of the world with a ferocity that is still to be understood.  The human 'self' reigns supreme, though probably sadly to be overtaken by AI and the robot in future time, wonder where that will take us.  As I type they are gustily singing hymns on the radio.  Habits of a lifetime are not easily broken, though the Church fears for its presence in today's society.

So to leave with words that come from someone who experiences the vitality of life that throbs on our Earth, - The Spell of the Sensuous',  David Abrams.  Find him out in quotes, worth much more than a thousand photos. In this instance in another book...

 “Such reciprocity is the very structure of perception. We experience the sensuous world only by rendering ourselves vulnerable to that world. Sensory perception is this ongoing interweavement: the terrain enters into us only to the extent that we allow ourselves to be taken up within that terrain.”
― David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology

And have you ever met The Cailleach?


Listening to John Gray's lovely Welsh choir in his village and the enthusiasm expressed in it, I bumped into this 1959 video about Welsh clog dancing and  the making of  clogs.  Though they never get the excitement of the Irish 'River Dance', the clog after all is clumsy, they try so hard and do it so well.  There is something very beguiling about the film. But the the clog dancing comes towards the end of the 15 minutes so scroll forward.
I have always loved Wales since childhood.  It was our holiday spot from the 'Black Country' or the Midlands, the dark areas of Wolverhampton, Willenhall, Wednesbury and Walsall.  Driving out over the weekend, my grandfather would stop by the side of the road and cook breakfast.  Then we would arrive at the farm where he went shooting and fishing.  Down to the river for trout and eels and salmon, though I am not quite sure he got salmon from here.  And a terrible dark secret here, they threw dynamite in the river for their catch, how can I forgive him?  My brother and I would be left occasionally in the holidays at the farm, and we would go down to the river with the friendly farm pig, and lie on our stomachs and tickle trout.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Saturday 2nd November

I remembered these stories this morning whilst listening to Northumbrian tales for Halloween on the radio.  Binnorie is a sad tale of two sisters and jealousy.  Every night and early morning the owl's call can be heard.  There must be quite a few around here.  Occasionally I pick up their barred feathers in the garden but only see the barn owl flying over in the day at Bridge farm.

beech sapling

hawthorn berries or hawes

the wild cherries that flourish on the verge

Leaves slowly colouring

Willows along the river

the river at its usual level

the holly with plenty of berries, only hope they will last till Christmas for the church

Friday, November 1, 2019

Thinking it out

Precept; If you have a parish or town council in your area your council tax bill may include a contribution to them which is known as a 'precept'. ... This is the total amount to be raised through the council tax from all the dwellings within the parish area.

Tithe;  Tithing is currently defined by the church as payment to the church of one-tenth of one's annual income. ... The money that is given is used to build and maintain church buildings as well as to further the work of the church.

I could almost start by saying that there are 'areas of resentment' when it comes to bringing up taxing the community.  What do you do when most of the population is secular, does not attend their local church and bristles when talk of paying tax for the general good of the community.  Tread very lightly.

Yesterday I visited someone who lives a few houses down, and is in charge of voluntary looking after the fabric of our church building and belongs on the parish church council.  He is not religious but is cross that so few of the villagers attend church or the events the church puts on.  Our vicar by the way has nine churches to look after, and as we have no church warden it could well be that our church closes down.

Tithing of course is a medieval concept before the arrival of money, you paid it to the lord of the manor and the priest in the way of crops, animals or labour. This was how the peasants were kept in servitude.  Many would argue that the Protestant church has enough money to pay its own way and the salaries of their bishops and vicars.

The precept on the other hand is slapped on your Council tax bill at the end, here in our village we pay about £18 extra a year.  This amount is decided at the annual village parish meeting and will go on everybody's tax bill. It can be used for the upkeep of the village.

Like many in the village I love our church, but do I want to be blackmailed by the Church for paying for its upkeep?  The role of people living in a village has changed somewhat.  They become the homes of retirees, who have moved from other areas, and though we have a few locals the rest are 'incomers'.

People also fall out over small territorial disputes, such as moving a hedge boundary, or dogs fouling their particular bit of grass verging, it is all very petty.  But aggrieved manners do not help when discussing problems.

My visit though produced  three delightful dogs, and R showed me where the cat had brought her kittens out into the world atop the willow tree.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween

Grin and bear it, nothing lasts forever!  Pumpkins to eat are tasteless and have too much water in them, whereas politicians are full of air.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Monday 29th October

A video from long ago when the world was a simpler place and you could dance in the kitchen without the interminable news.  There was a childish note to some of the songs, think about Hello lamp post come to watch your flowers growing...

You Can Call me Al..............................................

I suspect some lyrics came from the drugs taken at the time, my daughter brought me up to date about drugs in Hebden Bridge, home to well off hippies.  She is one of the people that thinks drugs should be legalised, but keeps a sharp eye on my grand children, who move around in the party atmosphere of teenage children.
Matilda is the strong one, already made her presence felt for voting, she will be 18 years old on the 10th giving her time to vote for the 12th December should an election be called for. If I was a Tory I would be worried by the young vote and would not let them anywhere near a second referendum, it would be reversed!

Well one road has been opened out of the village, but the pack horse  Newsham bridge is to be closed for a month, meaning driving to Malton and the train station will have to be taken round Pickering.

Newsham Bridge, Amotherby
Such bridges are part of the magic of Yorkshire, but with the larger vehicles that  are now on the road, they strain under the weight.  Luckily we will keep these historic bridges because there is no money to replace them.  I met a  very large cattle truck coming over our bridge yesterday, and behind a large modern tractor, which tear up the tarmac surfaces of the back lanes.  Big is definitely not beautiful in the countryside round here.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sunday and water

Yesterday my daughter and granddaughter came down for the weekend unexpectedly, and as we had two signs up by the bridge, stating road closed both ways, I was not sure how to pick them up from Malton Station.  I devised a way through the village of Salton, through Butterwick to Barton-Le-Street.  Of course the real problem was that it was raining since the night before, so as I set off down narrow lanes full of water with small rivers gushing under bridges, I became slightly worried.  Bedraggled pheasants sat in the rain and there was a couple of large raptors on the hedges.  Light coloured I could not make out what they were but thrilling all the same.  Not one car did I meet on that 10 mile journey, past farms with water gushing down their drives and I was relieved to eventually get onto the main road and leave behind great ponds of water that had accumulated in the small lanes.
Train was late of course, stuck in York, but after some shopping at Asda we returned home via a main road through Pickering and Kirkby Misperton.  As the afternoon went on, so did the rain, a great pool of water collected outside our house stretching past the Sun Inn, and there was great swooshes as people drove through the water.  I checked on the river level, 20 feet from our back garden and it had gone from a gentle meander trickling of about 18 inches, to three metres and was just topping the bank, luckily it went down pretty quickly.  The water runs off Rosedale Moor.

Stand well back, for some cars rushed through

the wake of a car making miniature waves

Lillie excited by flooding
My daughter who lives in the West Yorkshire town of Todmorden, is used to flooding in their basement.  The Caldervale valley she lives in is steep sided, the roads are narrow and water both from the river and canal rush through.  A few years back, the government gave money for pumps to be installed in the houses, some did, others used the money elsewhere.  Karen's pump works well, it is just not wise to keep stuff down there though.

As I have made a note of the villages, it is interesting how each village has acquired its name.  Barton-le-street, also Appleton-le-street are on the old Roman road from Malton, which used to be a garrison Roman town.  Barton refers to barley growing, whereas Appleton is pretty self explanatory.  Note the  Norman le as well.  Was Butterwick the place where butter making took place, low lying pasture land for dairy cows.  Ton and Wic refer to small hamlets.

What came out of yesterday's journey was the need to explore more, before all those rich buggers from up South, buy land for profit and turn England into a vast industrialised farming land.

Saturday, October 26, 2019


Well it draws near, the festival underlining the seasons of the year and the end of the Celtic Year.  We change clocks in a mechanical manner, not that it disrupts time but to help with visibility in the morning.  If you are superstitious you leave food and drink outside for those who have left for the other world, or lay a place at the table for them. And in my book you do not trivialise the festival with sweeties for children, yes I know that is mean but the stories that fall through the ages are so much more interesting!  The Hounds of Annwn will ride the sky on the night of the 31st October hunting down those they wish to kill.  And if you read the myth, for this is a Welsh Celtic tale, it is not really about killing but about plenty, as this is the time of year when the cattle are brought down from the highland pastures and either wintered or slaughtered, and then a great feast begins.  Christianity took this pagan festival and turned the hunt into the wicked Satan killing folk.  But apparently the myth arose from the sounds of the geese returning at this time of the year, for they sounded like the pack of dogs Annwn took with him on his hunt.

It is wise to remember that pagan Samhain has been altered by the Christian church into All Saints and All Souls, again a feast day.  But from which so many stories have come.  Remember not to open your door on the night though there may be someone knocking who would not be welcome, your visitor could be scary.

So as the harvest comes in and the apples and pumpkins appear on the side of the roads, rejoice that the food is there, thank whatever god is there for you and imbibe.  Our apples on all our village trees have been harvested and turned into apple juice at Kirkbymooride, a large undertaking for there are plenty of apples here.  Many years ago I bought an apple press and pressed the apples in our Bath garden.  The liquid would flow sometimes amber, sometimes gold but sweet and tasty. It is something I miss.
So a Happy Samhain to you all, may the year as it closes in another festival be peaceful for you. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Thursday 25th October and wedding venues

Yesterday was a true misty Autumn day and I had to find a route through the back lanes to get to Kirkbymoorside as they had closed our road from the village of Marton, today they are closing the opposite direction. 
I drove past Riseborough Hall, with its grand iron gates and high wall and read the history of it from our village historian's website.  It would cost you a pretty penny to buy, over the two million mark to own this bit of history. The fact of the matter is that the word 'rise' describes it accurately, for you go uphill till the house tops the hill.
Last night was the Parish meeting in the church, dear Jo held my hand in case it got difficult without Paul.  The male Joe handled the meeting superlatively, he needed something to get his teeth into after early retirement.
We did the usual round of speeding traffic but no sign of the police stopping people yet.  The footpath which the council won't let us build, you need proper contractors, which shoots the price up to somewhere around £10,000.  Then the defibrillator, nearly every village round here has one but they are not cheap and need volunteers to be on hand.
Then the interesting bit, (40 odd people made it a good turn out) the proposed wedding venue at the farm over the bridge, and also by the way situated on a terrible zig-zag bend.  The farmer and his wife, who did most of the talking had a fairly easy time, though C had come well armed with facts and figures.
The first thing to note is the farmer's 'plight'.  There are poor upland farms raising sheep on scrub land but there are also very rich farmers taking advantage of everything on offer, whether from the EU or government.  These farmers live on land that is exorbitant to buy and do well.  
The farm had been brought by someone who lived down the road at Great Edstone, she had run holiday cottages from the farm there, now with four sons and a daughter, at other farms, they had decided the derelict buildings at this farm should be turned into various things, such as two cottages, bedrooms and the various barns transformed into places for entertainment for weddings.
Well big ideas but will it work, I suspect we are in for a downturn so any speculation needs a brave heart.
C who lives on the other side of the bridge, fears the noise but had reassurances that no fireworks or those dreadful lanterns would be let off.  C did point out something rather important about our village was the silence, except for a few cars and the worry we would all be about drunken revelry at night.  Also the sewerage problem was underlined, what would they do? well apparently tank it and then removed from site.  As anyone knows getting planning to alter housing in this country takes time and patience and I feel the whole plan could get stumped by the farm's awkward access to the road.
Which brings to this thought, capital (as in money) is now seen as being wrapped up in owning a house or two and this will keep you in old age. But what if we experience a  collapse in the economy? On the other side of this farm and river Nelson lives in his caravan with his little tableau of animals, further along there are statics, which are variously inhabited during the year, the two sides of our economy split living side by side.  Millions spent on upgrading farm buildings and yet poorish people cannot afford a roof over their head.

Thursday, October 24, 2019


With the world sinking into its own mire, the saddest things was the 39 victims frozen to death in a truck yesterday.  I have been moved by the sombre and yet humanitarian views expressed by some.  The knowledge that we live amongst peace and plenty, and yet all over the world refugees struggle to survive, should surely bring us a warning that complacency is not to be encouraged.  These people of whatever nationality died because they were escaping war, hunger, economic displacement and cruel governments.  Not a term I use often but may they rest in peace.  Paul always wore this CND peace sign on his coat, he had marched in the demonstrations, and even been put in prison for being part of the march...

Today my email box had news of archaeology, some of which I can't pass on. 

So what was there? firstly the tympana of St.Margaret and St.James in Cumbria.  There be dragons? the story is I believe, that during the Roman invasion their flags had  the griffon displayed, and this got interpreted later as dragons.  The tympanums, for there were two are Saxon....They look very dinosauris! (Thanks to Ironpolis for drawing my attention to them)

The next thing I saw was a new fact about King Arthur's Hall in Cornwall, a fact culled from an old book.  One of the mysteries of KAH is its 'squareness' not fitting anything particularly Bronze Age, but so reminiscence with its large stones of prehistory.  Happy holidays, with Paul's cousin, Sue and Geoff, and Roy our indefatigable guide.

Bodmin Moor with its granite tors is full of mystery.

And lastly, but not least, one of the great finds of the 20th century the Nebra Sky Disc, to be taken to London in 202l.  This prehistoric calendar of the Bronze Age is beautiful and apparently functional as well.

Monday, October 21, 2019


The Amethyst Deceiver such a pretty mushroom, its name implies something different but yes you can eat it.  Fungi is at its best in Autumn, I remember going on a fungi walk with an expert, must admit I have never picked or eaten wild mushrooms.

Susan Harley in Food in England has written this about them...

Common field mushroom (Psalliota campestris) is dainty pick and white when young turning brown, then almost black, as it grows old.. You will find them in pastures, normally where cattle graze. They may be anything from 4 to 24 inches across!

Horse mushroom (Psalliota Arvenis) is a clumsy version of the field mushroom. The top is thicker and the stem lumpy, and the colour of the gills less pink. The smell is that of field mushroom. Note if a horse mushroom stains yellow when cut or bruised(not a faint tinge but a definite bright yellow -as if dabbed with mustard or egg yolk -discard it as it may be be Psalliota xanthoderma which, though not deadly, has been known to cause illness
It is the solitary dead white fungus that should be disregarded with suspicion. It is the death Cap (Amanita phalloides) which is most dangerous.

Fairy Ring (Marasmius oreades), are best for drying, they are not always true to their habit of growing in rings, especially where lea has been broken. But the delicate 'fairy ring mushroom' is unmistakable. They are seldom more than 2 inches across, and carried comparitvely high on slender stems. The gills are deep and very regular, one long one short, like the minute marks around a clock. The top is buff, and the gills are very much paler, the slender stems are stringy and tough so cut them off.

The puff-balls (Lycoperdon); The really giant one (lycoperdon giganteum) can be as big as a football, both large and small puffballs taste exactly the same. Their texture - solid white, like smooth, white cream cheese, and the outer covering is fine as white kid. .....

Cooking; Smallest puff balls, walnut size, are best dipped in batter and fried like rissoles. Drain and serve as a pebble beach around a pool of green spinach. Medium sized, are rolled in flour, pepper and salt, then drop into an earthen ware pan with barely enough milk to cover, and simmer to cook. Thicken sauce after cooking, pour back over the puff-balls and garnish with scarlet barberries and green parsley.
Giant puff-balls are sliced, and dipped in egg and milk and then fine dry breadcrumbs. Fried in hot bacon-fat, drain on kitchen paper, pepper and salt and serve piping hot, sprinkled with cider or vinegar..

And a mushroom drying tree

I watched 'Cranford' yesterday on tv, slightly syrupy comic set around the 1840s, (written by Elizabeth Gaskell) village life in all its glory of females eking out a life in a small village environment.  Somehow drying mushrooms in front of the fire reminded me of Cranford, with the threat of a new railway line coming through, and then of course with all our unpredictable events happening.