Wednesday, April 17, 2024

It's all about stones

This is not really interesting to most blog readers, but Jennie asked a question and I started pondering;) 

Taken from the following site

The Oxenham Arms Standing Stone

The other day I came across on a website a large standing stone within the building of a pub on Dartmoor.  So intrigued I went looking, not much information on it, I think because archaeologically it is impossible to gain any insight into it.  It had obviously been there when the house was built and embraced in a wall rather than take it out.  It is a large stone and there is, written down, talk of it going 26 feet deep.  The Rudston Monolith situated in Yorkshire had similar depth I believe.

Rudstone Monolith

The story goes that there was a religious site on it and in the early 14th century the land was taken over by the Burgoyne family and it became a manor house.  Turning now into a very fine pub.  Though I looked for archaelogical stuff on it, there was hardly anything, frazzled by Pastscape and when did British Online History devolve to encompass everything I did not need to know? 

The stone stands there mysteriously in the wall, enormous for this end of England which is Dartmoor but surprisingly near to other prehistoric bits and pieces, which includes a stone circle and a ceremonial path way of stones.

All intriguing of course, did some religious person centuries ago come on this great pagan stone and decided to Christianise it, and slowly it became a focus to build round it.  Just like the Rudston Monolith of course, posed so near to the church.

There are always a lot of questions to be asked and answered in the prehistoric world, Tom provided one the other day when he said how did they manage to balance a heavy capstone on two support stones on the Carreg Coetan Arthur cromlech.  I expect it  was slippage of the other two stones, and the weight bearing of the capstone just settling down over the centuries.  In fact the stones went down another metre into the earth, or probably to be more accurate it was accumulation of soil on top through time.  What we see today is not the 'actuality' of 5000 years ago. 

Someone's impression on it on The Modern Antiquarian site

The Pointed Stone in the Icy Corner

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

16th April 2024

A moss garden.  Not to be walked on but a place to contemplate and meditate

Mostly this is family news.  How I wish that people all over the world could sit down and write with joy about their family, the heartbreak is almost unbearable.  Tensions come and go.

We had raclette for tea last night, the Swiss poor man's cheese and potatoes dish we all love, though Lillie cooked some steak on the top of the raclette oven.  Eaten with pickles to breakdown the cheese in your stomach, never forget to do this, and drink wine or tea as well.  End of raclette sermon.

My daughter is off to Switzerland over the weekend with Andrew, she will be carrying English extra mature cheddar for her aunt who has requested it.  The cheese basket in the fridge was so heavy when I lifted it out yesterday I thought she was going to start a cheese shop.  Karen brings back the Fondue and Raclette cheeses and chocolate; chocolate which is so expensive and I am not sure that it is any different to good chocolate you can buy in this country.

Nestles, as I remember, was in Vevey, and there were plenty of British expats around who worked there.  And of course 'grandpa's church' where he was church warden. 

The only other thing of interest (to me) is that we are due to have elections of mayors.  Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester is standing for re-election again.  Sure he will get in.  I noticed from his last missive that he belongs to The Labour and Co-operative Party which I presume is left of centre and a step down from Kier Starmer's more right wing presence.  Also, another mayor to watch is Tracy Brabin, again a member of the above political party.  Is this a move away Up North from the stridency of Starmer.  We belong to a group of wards and have five candidates to choose from, my choice will be between Tracy Brabin or the Green Party member.

Will we have the old values of the Co-op resurfacing round here in our mixed communities?  Devolution maybe, okay I am joking, but Manchester could rival London any day.

Another two members of the family are out in Japan, Tom and Ellie are spending two weeks there, both in Tokyo and Kyoto.  I can see their photos on Instagram.  Paul said I would never cope in Tokyo with the great rush of people in the city and the packed trains. I get rather panic-stricken in big cities and towns much preferring the little country towns, especially round North Yorkshire.

An old blog

Cloud bushes - Imperial Gardens

Monday, April 15, 2024

15th April 2024

I have been slightly down the last few days, life is quiet and the news in the background holds  a threat.  I get told to get out of bed by 7 0 clock in the morning by Mollie, so that she can sleep on it in peace and quiet and I begin to wonder should I be ordered around by a cat. 

I have been watching lots of The Last Homely House videos on quilting but somehow I think it is more a way of life they are projecting a bit like that American old series - Little House on the Prairie, but the family have comforting overtones.  The other video I am watching is about 'at home surviving in the wild' and about a Scottish couple, who are looking after a small cottage on a tiny island.  What is rather magical about it is the layers of history in this small snapshot of an island that is just off the land by a loch.  

The first thing you notice is to live the self-sufficient life you need an awful lot of stuff to survive, and expensive videoing equipment to record their daily life and support it.  Yes, well........ I suppose the pioneering spirit still lives on.

Outside the wind rattles away and the rain falls heavily on the Velux windows and the weather gets colder.  I have been doing a bit of sorting out.  Each year I make a note of the clothes I have and see what else is needed, obviously another rain mac would not come amiss.

We all wait, not exactly with baited breath, for a date for the next election.  Lillie wants it after the 10th June, her birthday, when she will be 18 and ready to vote.  Andrew Rawnsley says we should not be too worried about Labour getting in and the money needed to be spent.  Perhaps we have all turned into worryguts over everything, but £16 for olive oil from Waitrose? okay that was a joke, Lidl sells it at £6.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Magpie habit of picking things up

Things I pick up along the way, or taking a leaf from someone's blog .....

The Buddha of Eternal Light

 “When the wind blows, the downy willow seed floats away” is a Zen koan 

Guess what these scissors are used for?

Chateau.......? Think Byron

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

~ Robert Frost

And perhaps Bede for I love the story of the sparrow flying through the Saxon hall telling us that nothing really changes.

“The present life of man upon earth, O King, seems to me in comparison with that time which is unknown to us like the swift flight of a sparrow through the mead-hall where you sit at supper in winter, with your Ealdormen and Thanes, while the fire blazes in the midst and the hall is warmed, but the wintry storms of rain or snow are raging abroad. The sparrow, flying in at one door and immediately out at another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry tempest, but after a short space of fair weather, he immediately vanishes out of your sight, passing from winter to winter again. So this life of man appears for a little while, but of what is to follow or what went before we know nothing at all.”

 Bede - The Ecclesiastical

Saturday, April 6, 2024

6th April 2024

In between making my patchwork squares, and thoroughly enjoying it I take a break and read my latest book 'Thursbitch' by Alan Garner.  Garner is thought of as a children's writer but many of his later books are well written literature with an air of mystery around them.  Of course he brings 'the stones' into it, he comes from Cheshire and this latest book explores the geographical naming of a prehistoric track in Cheshire.  He does this through two points in history.  The first is an old tale of a packhorse man who froze to death on the Pennines.  The other path is through a modern couple who walk the hills, though the wife is seriously ill.

A moment of clarity came when reading about a ceremony, was it prehistoric? I am not sure but it was a frightening gathering.  A head is taken from a cave, the head is called Crom.  Stone heads figure quite often up North.  Of course the head is the seat of wisdom, and probably sticking the head of your enemy in battle on a pole, signifies good defeat.

But, and believe this or not.  Have you heard of a Cailleach - the old Celtic hag that has powers.  Well it is said that there is one shrine to her down a deep valley in Scotland.  Her shieling is called Tigh Na Bodach at Glen Lyon and it takes several hours of walking to get there.  But every year the stones that represent the family are moved out of their shieling home between Beltane and Samhain and then moved back for the winter.  You can read the story here.

So just sometimes stories of magic do exist, though it is rumoured that the gamekeepers on the estate move the stones.  There are some 'Easter Island' stone effigies in Ireland as well, slightly outside the Celtic era.

Crom Cruach: According to an Irish dinsenchas ("place-lore") poem in the 12th century Book of Leinster, Crom Cruach's cult image, consisting of a gold figure surrounded by twelve stone figures, stood on Magh Slécht ("the plain of prostration") (pronounced Moy Shlokht) in County Cavan, and was propitiated with first-born sacrifice in exchange for good yields of milk and grain. Crom Cruach is described as a wizened god, hidden by mists, and is said to have been worshipped since the time of Érimón. An early High King, Tigernmas, along with three quarters of his army, is said to have died while worshipping Crom on Samhain eve, but worship continued until the cult image was destroyed by St. Patrick with a sledgehammer.

Interesting that Crom Cruach was surrounded by twelve stones because it is said that Tigh Na Bodach had at one stage twelve stones. There is a wiki here on him but follow through to Crom Dubh


Eight-Foot-Tall, 1,600-Year-Old Statue of Pagan Deity Found in Ireland | Smart News| Smithsonian Magazine

A You Tube video on the god Crom

Crom Dubh

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Jotting down thoughts

 Murr Brewster always cheers me up with her wit and this morning she was brilliant.  I leave you her blog.  Politics at its best, I always thought politicians were there to govern the country for the inhabitants of that country.  But in America as in our country, it is all talk of bringing the other side down.  They should make a game of it, Trump has the money but not the brain unfortunately.

The other blog that caught my eye was Bensozia's blog - Inside the Prophet's Hat.  It will set you thinking about your own beliefs, and in my case, the need for some mystical happenings in the world.  So what do you see inside the hat I wonder? it's rather greasy interior, or maybe a marvellous new world into which you can step.

I had asked that question with the Easter holidays hanging over our head.  Why was Tolkien a strong Catholic and whether C.S.Lewis was one also, no, apparently more of a strict Anglican. 

How can intelligent people be Catholics I wondered, a faith built on small stories, or do they see something different to us. 

This morning, and isn't it better news that there is a movement from the law makers of this country to challenge the government on its refusal to face up to the genocide in Palestine and do something about it.

But to get back to Catholicism, it is no different from the early religions, whose patterns are often reflected in our Christian faith, for there are standard parts to fix your star to.  The moon and the sun, reflected in gold will tell you the time of year.  See the Coligny Calendar from Roman/Iron Age times and then brood for a while on the fact that we are now going to give the moon a time frame...

“An atomic clock on the Moon would tick at a different rate to a clock on Earth. It makes sense that when you go to another body, like the Moon or Mars, that each one gets its own heartbeat.”

There is magic in the world.  Well perhaps not in the physical world but in our hearts we want more than the daily boredom of our lives.

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

2nd April 2024

Shibden Hall;  My long awaited belated birthday present from Andrew, a trip to Shibden Hall in Halifax.  We went by train and 'ubered' up to the park.  As we got off the train at Halifax about 30 odd young teenagers got on, they were heading to Harrogate for a football match there, they were Gillingham supporters. Noisy, proudly clutching beer cans they pushed their way onto the train.  They'll grow up one day;)
An Uber was summoned, in all these for hire cars I have been in, the driver is always from the Asian community, who are kind and courteous by the way.  Around the cities of the North, an Uber will arrive probably within 3/5 minutes, the buses will have to pull up their socks if they want to compete.
We got dropped off at the park, and had a meal in the cafe there. It was a very big park, noticeable by the amount of dog walkers and young children who were being paraded around.  Yes a lot of them ended up in the cafe, an Easter Monday treat. Creamy cockapoos were noticeable by the dark brown muddy legs they sported.  Many must have been due for a bath on arriving home.
Shibden Hall, this is where the famous lesbian Anne Lister lived and was the star of 'Gentleman Jack' not so long ago.  I haven't watched it, but I did watch the first episode last night.  They had managed to feature the hall in  bucolic green scenery which I thought was clever.  There is a coach crash at the beginning (dramatic effect) and then Suranne Jones in her role as Anne rolls in as the tough lesbian, driving the coach from York back to Halifax.  The driver had had an unfortunate accident, I did switch off when she shot the farm horse though at the end.  Though of course I know it did not really happen in real life! 
You will see from the following photos, that the hall's dark interior is due entirely to wood panelling, it gave a somewhat cosy appeal to the small rooms and must have been quite warm to live in. There was a beautiful magnolia tree on the front lawn, buds waiting to break and I hope Jack Frost keeps away, the flowers of magnolia always degenerate into a slimy brown when they die.
Anne Lister was obviously talked about, mostly for her mannish ways, she got 'married' to a wealthy young heiress to improve the estate of Shipden Hall.  She kept a secret diary written in code, but her brother deciphered some of it after her death but hid the diaries away.
Not forgetting, that my daughter went down a steep muddy bank to collect some garlic leaves, which were turned into a great pesto for the evening meal. She also found the following: when we say 'night, night, sleep tight' it goes back to when ropes underslung the mattress of the bed.  Make sure the ropes are tight!

Friday, March 29, 2024

29th March 2024 - Spring

Sitting Hare by Charles Tunnicliffe

Raised in the Catholic faith by a Jewish grandfather who had adopted me, no wonder I look on Easter with a quizzical eye!  Completely non-religious as I am now I still enjoy the pagan festival when we acknowledge Spring with eggs (okay chocolate ones are not very exciting) and images of hares.

But each year I will bring forth this story about Saint Melangell, for it captures the goodness of looking after animals, the moment the Prince stops killing and Melangell steps forward to save the hare.  I often wonder if Boudicca also raised a hare to the skies as she led her people into battle against the Romans.

The lovely story of Saint Melangell and her little hare. She was the daughter of King Cufwlch and Ethni of Ireland and she fled to Wales to escape a forced marriage. She settled in Pennant at the head of a valley, and whilst one day sitting in a clearing she heard the sound of a hunt, dogs and horses galloping up the valley. This was Prince Brochwael of Powys hunting hares. As she sat a hare came into the clearing and Melangell hid it in the sleeve of her dress to protect it. When it peeped out the dogs fled, and so the Prince gave her the land on which he hunted, and she lived at Pennant for another 37 years and no animal was killed in her sanctuary. Hares were known as wyn bach Melangell or Melangell's little lambs, and to kill a hare was an act of sacrilege.

This morning a beautiful hare painting went through a forum, it was outlined in gold and it reminded me of how Paul would delicately take the little sheets of gold to highlight a scroll, tamping it down.  Gold is splashed easily over the painted surface of Mary and Jesus, it shines like the sun at Spring.  So my favourite depiction of a hare by Charles Tunnicliffe, golden in the light of the sun, basking quietly away is the heading above.  

I have two prints of hares both by Colin Blanchard, he gouges his wood printing block out and writes words with the artwork, on the one he has written ----

"Spring witch passed through the edge of the wood then bidden by a blackcap and watered by a willow warbler's trickle the ground turned green where her feet fell."

Looking back through old blogs, is a mostly happy experience and I see from that date I wrote the following---

So my print has come home, Antony did a good job on framing, a dark blonde wood with a pale green matt.  It seems strange amongst the Japanese prints, and has replaced an old painting we bought from a local dealer.  This old painting has a history of falsification, a print over painted with oils, but it is very Yorkshireish.
When I look at the 'Spring Witch' it will remind me of the pale lemon of the primrose in Spring, it will remind me also of scouring the woods for mushrooms, but most of all the words will remind me to accept the fact that witches, fairies may not exist but it would be magical if they did. ;)

Last night I watched a video from the 'The Homely House' about a small clutch of 'makers, or crafters'.  What do you call them? artists maybe. The person who had done a small painting lived in a wooden 'Hobbit house' for goodness sake, must look up that video!

So as an end note, I say welcome Spring, primroses and hares for they are the sign of renewed hope.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

27th March 2024

 "Verified" What do we mean by that? that what we are reading is a truthful and honest account but how many minds has it gone through filtered by the prejudices our minds and also others apply.

At the moment I am listening to Robert Galbraith, (pseudonym for J.K.Rowling) book called 'The Ink Black Heart'.  Some would argue that it is to do with the battle Rowling had with the transgender row, now voraciously picked up by some of the young to justify whatever they think fit.  University lecturers asked to resign from their jobs because of clashing with their students over the use of terminology when they address the student's gender.  All complicated and rather minor, given today's real problems with people starving in Gaza and the other wars that surf the world.

The book itself, through the crime detection of Strike and his sidekick Robin, is longwinded.  This of course due to the long conversations that go on in forums. Rowling says that the book was written before the uproar about what she had said had arisen.  She sticks with what she originally says and of course the fuss will die down.

Computers were invented. But someone forgot to write the rule book and laws that would appertain to their use thereof.  We are terrified of A1 and the ability to change photos and words is rather frightening, but how do we police it? Or does it need policing given that the human race is very vocal anyway.

Computers have changed our lives and probably for the better, it has unfortunately unleashed the evil side of mankind as well and eventually cyber crime will warrant real live prison sentences.

Gender Dysphoria

Hind Rajab - not to be forgotten.

Friday, March 22, 2024

22th March 2024

I wait: My nerves slightly on edge, okay all I am doing is going for my appointment at the opticians, but will the bus get me there on time I panic.  We will see. Also two parcels are coming this morning, I have left a plastic box with lid for them to go into at the back door.

The wind is chill coming down from the North, there is talk of snow sometime - normal weather.  Matilda left for London yesterday moaning about the cold.  I pointed out maybe the bare midriff did not help, but fashion rules in this house, except of course me.

Lillie has just gone off to Rochdale, it is the last evening of the college's play - Sweeney Todd, we have hardly seen her this week, as she leaves early and comes back at 10 in the evening.  She takes an Uber every night, her mum is not happy with her walking through the streets of Rochdale for an unreliable bus.

I look round the room which is a cluttered mess of my stuff but...if...I was tidy there would be nothing to do or read.  Patchwork, knitting and reading are I consider  my hobbies.  

Then of course the computer, the saga of the church graves still goes on.  The new vicar was in a past life a barrister so she should know the law of the church.  The volunteers who have worked hard at tidying the graves, are now contemplating removing one large plant stand and the gravel which they laid so neatly.  Must admit it is all intriguing, after all it measures out into what will happen to our redundant churches.

We wander round the lichen clad gravestones with a feeling of awe but they are falling into slow decay, the wording indistinct with time as are the people who occupy them.  God's Acre should be host to the wilderness of native plants, tidy grave yards are a bore and sadly take up land, is that why we cremate and have our ashes thrown to the wind I wonder.

Well on that dour note I shall leave for the bus ;)


Thursday, March 21, 2024

21st March 2024 - Carreg Coetan Arthur

Thumbing through photos again I came across most of Paul's photos.  He must have asked me to upload onto my computer for safety.  I first visited this perfect little cromlech in 2007 and many times afterwards.  Paul's photos capture the same images.  You will see how the capstone balances on the tips of the upstanding stones.

"When people write about this small dolmen they talk of mushrooms and fairies, and it does indeed sit tranquilly in its own little garden surrounded by a surburban small settlement of bungalows. Coetan Arthur was excavated in 1981, there had been a build up of plough soil over the centuries and in fact, the stones would have had another metre added to their height originally, making them much taller than they are today. There are four stones theoretically supporting the capstones, but only two are in contact."

How they lifted these heavy capstones on to the standing stones heaven knows, but it is still standing delicately balanced.  I have been listening to the Must Farm videos, several of which are on fabrics.  There was plenty recovered, but all black from fire and decay.  But interestingly according to the conservator finely woven (26 threads to the centimetre).  plants as well as animal wool was used, the weaving done of course on standing looms the warp threads weighted down by stones.  This can be found when all the wood has  disintegrated, the stones still remain in a straightish line on the ground.

We think of prehistoric people as miserable, ill-dressed with scruffy hair, well that maybe describe me, but often evidence unfolds of well made garments, specialty hairstyles and a comfortable way of life.  All the cromlechs situated along this Pembrokeshire coast had access to the sea, and land for their animals.  True the land was not much good for arable farming, but the gut contents of many a deceased prehistoric person showed a variety of seeds eaten.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

20th March 2024

I picked two articles today almost on the same subject but centuries away in real time.

The first is the archaeological dig at Must Farm in Cambridgeshire where a stilted little village of late Bronze Age people lived on the water.  Then nine months later a catastrophic fire burnt their houses, so that the roofs of the houses fell "like a coffee plunger" and left behind their way of life for archaeologists to dig through and make their inspired guesses as to what life was like then.  The shapes of bowls and cooking pots reflect the day to day purchases, or maybe they even made them, who knows. 

They dined well on meat stews, dumplings and bread, chops of pork and lamb, and possibly honey basted venison.  I am more interested in the fibres and materials, some of which must have survived.  A capsule of time caught from the past.  The approximate date given is 850 BC.

The other article is about bread and the sourdough loaf, that has appeared over the last few years.  A quick non-judgmental reminder, I eat sourdough bread (bought from Lidl at £1.69 a loaf), and do not believe in class.  But my daughter bought a M&S sourdough loaf this week for health reasons. How complicated life gets!

Lidl's loaf is perfectly bread like, the crusts not too difficult to crunch and I am perfectly happy with it, even eat sourdough crumpets as well.  Now you might think the Must Farm families lived on stolid bread without the use of yeast, maybe but probably the natural yeast (caught from the air) was probably around in those days.  And if you made the dough in the same dish or on a surface used for breadmaking you picked up yeast along the way.

Class is such a funny concept to come to mind when buying food, it is more to do with the pound in your purse what you buy in the way of food.  We shall soon be referring to the 'intelligentsia' that occasionally dictators set about murdering because of their insights into truths.

Somehow I don't think there is a "Britain's Bitter Bread Battle" although it makes an alliterate statement, but the articles writes well on how bread is the essential staff of life.

Afterthought;  Both articles are from the Guardian, which made me think, people will think I am one of those Guardian readers (with all your prejudices hold fire), but cannot afford a slew of online papers, neither have the time to read them either.

Bronze age objects from ‘Pompeii of the Fens’ to go on display | Cambridgeshire | The Guardian

Britain’s bitter bread battle: what a £5 sourdough loaf tells us about health, wealth and class | Bread | The Guardian

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

19th March 2024

Tidying up my photos. Why the miniature hats, well I have just filed my Bath garden photos in there, or at least some of my favourite of the old garden.  I grew everything close together, so that the garden buzzed with life and insects, I bought yards  of trellising to hold my roses and honeysuckles. Apple trees, jostled in among them, a soft fruit patch with more often or not my two hens scrumping the currants.  I had created, through a lot of work, my paradise.  Now I could not do it but at least I can look back, and think how the hell did I do all that, with students and family to look after as well.  The miniature hat shop is somewhere in this house in Lillie's room and I shall once more repair it.  
I think because the garden was in a valley, where once a stream had laced its way through, creating a mill pond further down the valley, that everything grew so well.  I also know that my garden no longer exists as it has been tidied out into what gardens are supposed to look like today.
I can never go back to the apple trees.

The hats are made of felt, the shape moulded on the rounded handle of a screwdriver, and then decoration is added.

I see foxgloves, geraniums, nicotiana





The two ponds, heavily overshadowed by the plants.  The reeds transplanted from other parts of the garden.  Damselflies, dragonflies congregated in this area.

This was the small 'wild' part, with Spanish bluebells and the cow parsley with its honey flavoured  smell.

Matilda is here this week, we met Lucian her boyfriend yesterday, he is gorgeous, my daughter is so pleased with him ;). Matilda is also drawing to an end with her studies this year.  I could not over a period of time remember Lucian's name.  So my method was to think of the devil, go to Lucifer than get Lucian in my head.  I came across a batch of photos of Matilda and Ben acting up for the camera and I might put those on tomorrow.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

17th March 2024 - Druids, etc.

 Druidical Bath:

I enjoyed the talk yesterday afternoon, Suzanne Owen gave a good lecture.  It made me pull out all my blogs and books.  I have read a lot on the Iron Age, the Celtic Age and the gods of this time.  Here I would recommend Anne Ross - Pagan Celtic Britain, and Miranda Green - Symbol and Image in Celtic Religious Art.  It was discovering the prehistory round the city of Bath my hometown for 27 years that introduced me to our own native gods that lived in the landscape and in stone statues and carvings.

We can never know the real story of the religious beliefs and myths that dominate people's thinking but the Druids were captured in the imagination of people through the ages.  For a quick read on the subject, and images of people burning in wicker baskets try Stuart Piggott - The Druids or for a longer read Professor Ronald Hutton - Mistletoe and Blood.  William Stukeley for instance fashioned part of his garden into an imitation of a stone circle with an apple tree in its centre with mistletoe growing through its branches.

Stukeley took up a post in Lincolnshire as a vicar, he was by now married but unfortunately his wife had suffered two miscarriages, he had apparently left London in a huff, as his ideas were the butt and ridicule of his friends and mentors. But when he settled in to his new home he created a garden and here part of his 'mystical' relationship to Druidry and the ancient monuments comes to the fore, for it was in his garden that he created a 'sacred landscape'. It included a Temple of the Druids, which consisted of concentric circles of hazels and evergreens modelled on Stonehenge, an apple tree with mistletoe growing in its branches was at the centre of the circle. Apparently he also had a 'tumulus' beside the temple and a little chapel which contained a roman altar. One of the babes from the miscarriage was buried in the camomile lawn that faced the altar. A rather sad footnote to end on, this man possessed by an illusionary religion that coloured his viewpoint of the 'old stones', but perhaps all the paraphenalia in the garden was an expression of the vision he had invoked from a long gone history, none of which was true, a human desire to create a belief system once removed from the Anglican church he was avowed to.

Debby mentioned the other day that she loved oak trees and of course the story of the word Druid is supposed to come from the word oak - oak seeker or the Irish-Gaelic Doires.  We have Tacitus with his wild Druidical people dancing amongst the blood spattered groves of Anglesey.  Was Tacitus a good journalist;)

I wanted to ask questions but deferred doing so.  My one question was 'what about the Coligny Calendar?'  where did it fit in both Celtic and Druidical landscape.  Suzanne Owen had said and it is known that there is no literature from the Gallic and Brittonic people but surely is because it has all disappeared with time.  The calendar, or at least what remains of it is complicated, you can see it hereOf course the neodruids of today have taken it up, it is a solar/lunar calendar and only partly recovered.

Coligny Calendar

Suzanne covered all that I had remembered hearing about such as Arthur Pendragon and his fight to have Stonehenge as a temple for his interpretation of his pagan beliefs. Also of course Emma Restall-Orr for her campaign of Honouring the Ancient Dead.

Thinking of ancestors, there is a furore (well only a little one) about a church in Todmorden, or to be more specific the graveyard to this redundant church.  Volunteers have been tidying the gravestones but some are very upset about the neighbouring primary school which has had an extension over part of the hallowed ground, presumably moving some of the gravestones.  Of course reinstatement is called for.

But I only learnt last week when I asked my daughter had she been to the graves of her grandparents in Switzerland.  She had said no they were probably no longer there.  In Switzerland you are only allowed 25/30 years in your grave and after that it can be reused.

Friday, March 15, 2024

15th March 2024

It was a fish and chip night last night.  Andrew collected them on the way down from the station.  Matilda also turned up, Lillie was of course at scouts.  My daughter stricken with a migraine once more.  So a slightly full house.  Everyone having their own itinerary.  

Also a delivery at 7 o clock from Morrisons and the dustbin to be put out and then the recycling also.  We have a new regime as far as recycling goes.  Black box -glass and brown cardboard.  White sack - tins and plastic. Brown plastic lidded box - food waste.  You need three 'A' levels at least to sort out your 'brown' from your 'tetra'!

My solution just stop wrapping everything up and less of everything to tempt our palates with. 

As everyone discussed their options for the weekend, Matilda off to Liverpool to see her boyfriend - a drummer, and more seriously a maths teacher.  I piped up, well actually I shall be going to a talk at the Folklore Centre - Suzanne Owen, Is Druidry an Indigenous Religion.  Just found her website about religious discussion so a few podcasts to listen to today.

I also have a promise of being taken to Shibden Hall on Easter Monday. The hall is partly Elizabethan and was the home of Anne Lister in early 19th century - The first modern lesbian it is recorded, there was a television programme (Gentleman George) about her but I never watched it. 

Shibden Hall from Geograph

There are various attractions at the hall but it seems rather countrified and we haven't got a car ;) though the address reads it is Halifax.  That tower is a later addition.  I heard yesterday that there is a Barbara Hepworth museum at Wakefield with plenty of modern sculptures, the website show a bright clean space for the various exhibitions, which looks interesting.  It's not all funny language - Well I'll go t'foot or our stairs - Up North is quite cultured, since a lot of the great writers and artists came from here.........

Yesterday I got Wordle in two tries, not boasting but Andrew asked how I had got from 'swear' to 'since' in two tries. And I couldn't remember but then it came this morning. The letter S at the beginning was green, so I thought to put in a vowel which was I, since, of course was the first word that came to mind.  Will I ever get it in one try? 😎

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Nostalgic searching on daffodils

 Old scruffbum, or Lucy as she  liked to be known.  Still miss her.

Photo; Lucy 'helping', LS was looking for Japanese papers for some visitors tomorrow, she enjoyed the experience turning out the dark under stairs cupboard. She can be so funny, that even when she is scolded she produces a lopsided grin.  Tea towels and dishcloth can often be presented after tea, followed by my knitting, Lucy actually knows what you want.  In the garden it is hand tools she will bring from the garage.

Daffodils at Normanby Church

When I was looking for old blogs on daffodils there was quite a few.  I remember going to a place called Farndale, which had daffodils planted all along the path.  Now whether they were wild or domesticated I cannot say because the flowers were still in bud but it was a good walk.

Peace on Monday March 10th

MVI 4817 (

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

12th March 2024

Well I should write something. My daughter is back home eager to get back to work.  They had been to Cadiz for a few days and loved it, it looked all blue sky and blue sea but it was rather hot.  They stay at airbnbs and do their own cooking.  My Mother's Day present wasn't a meal for me to cook them but was in fact a box of bits and pieces for me to snack on. She bought me back some local honey with a picture of the Virgin Mary on it. Blessed honey ;)

She has a weird taste for prints of Mary and Jesus, he is even in the bathroom, she is not religious but just likes them around, also my  least favourite artist Frida Kahlo.  I think I must be biased against eyebrows that join in the middle.

Sunday my son phoned he was walking back from the park, so described his walk as he came up Weston Park, through the village and then up the hill.  He is becoming quite a gardener and has already ordered plants this year.  Never in a million years did I think that my son would enjoy gardening or that my daughter would go on long walks with Andrew.

Though she refused to go up the final stretch of Arthur's Seat in  Edinburgh with Andrew's family.  I watched "The Push" yesterday, a Scottish trial of an Asian man who had pushed his wife over the sharp vertical cliff of Arthur's Seat to her death.  Or had he?  For there was no factual evidence of 'The Push' only that as she lay dying she had said it. So in the end the prosecution said that it was extremely probable the husband had done it given the evidence of the wife, who was a solicitor, and seemed to have kept all evidence of the husband's bad behaviour recorded.  The jury found the husband guilty and he was given a life sentence.

But returning to religious depictions she hasn't got this one, perhaps my favourite - Light of the World' by William Holman Hunt.  Years ago I was in love with the Pre-Raphaelites.  Not so now, though I still admire William Morris.