North Stoke

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday 17th January

Things tackled:  Alison is painting the ceiling in the sitting room, she finishes today and then curtains, paintings and everything will be put back in its place. It is such a long room, the work had to be done because of the shower leaking water from above before Xmas. She has managed to knockout half a dozen bulbs in the overhead lights.  Lucy has taken the whole situation quite calmly.  Before Alison turned to decorating, she was a dog groomer, and Lucy has been under her hand. Ali, as she likes to be called, has done a great job, well apart from using a wet rag on the lights and was the head of that old Egyptian little statue already broken?
I quite enjoy the 'undressed' look of the room, though living in this house brings home to me it needs a family, not one solitary person chasing around its empty rooms.
Also phoned the Cats Protection Charity for a trap to catch the mother cat and kitten so that they can be neutered.  This morning I had just come in from letting the bantams out, and the white head of the feral cat popped over the church wall looking for food, and then the little kitten came bounding up, so I put biscuits out. No news on the trap though.
Need to pluck up courage to go out on this grey and rainy day for shopping but perhaps not!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Thursday 16th January

Human beings have overrun the world. We’re replacing the wild with the tame." David Attenborough this morning.

Though I never turned green skinned like those medieval Norfolk children, I have always been 'green' in thinking.  So yesterday as I read articles I noticed one saying billions of bees will die in America in the production of Almond milk for Vegans.  I have actually questioned in my own mind whether to buy this milk, and then said no because the thought of rendering billions of nuts to milk so that I can feel virtuous about not drinking dairy milk seems a step too far.  When I analysis, first thing up, bees die anyway, but of course in the monoculture of some of the farming in North America, when miles of the same vegetable/fruit are attended to by people in protective suits and masks, I know why the bees are dying.  It is an artificial way of growing food with herbicides, pesticides, single crops etc.
We live longer lives, create more humans, scientifically we manipulate our food growing, introduce into the world more harmful fossil fuels that change the structure of our finely balanced natural Earth, and then go into Climate Emergency (here I use the Guardian interpretation) but of course with many of our 'elders' Climate Denial.  Again I don't know the answer.
So yesterday I listened to Larry Korn, on the pioneering work of Masanobu Fukuoka.  A Japanese farmer who allowed his planted field of vegetables to run wild, and his trees to produce fruit without the added help of pesticides.  In fact I have his book, written way back in the 1970s. By allowing the rotted squashes and wheat/rice to regenerate the next year by leaving them on the ground and not ploughing.  There are three videos.

I have always taken green ways of living with a sort of feeling that no it will not work for the large amount of humans that live on this planet, but also knowing that the way we farm at the moment is unsustainable.  We create the catastrophe, and then have to find a way out of it.

For instance the use of nitrogen......

Nitrogen at higher levels causes a loss of certain plant species, depletion of soil nutrients, death of fish and aquatic organisms, and contamination of drinking water.

Take a walk down any lane in the country and see the loss of wild flowers because of spray from the adjacent farm land has allowed the stronger plants like nettles to grow, there is a tangible imbalance when we fight the so called weeds.

There is a story about a Japanese fisherman.  He is sitting quietly on the shore mending his net.  Along comes a business man, sits down beside him.  Asks him why is he not out fishing, the fisherman replies he has caught enough for the day.  The business man then goes on to say catch more fish, more profit, bigger nets, larger boat and you will be RICH and HAPPY.  The fisherman says but I am happy now with what I have.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Looking back at the cottage

Mary disapproved of painting this modern stable door blue

Top bedroom, had two cupboards which were so useful

Looking out onto the yard

The middle bedroom
The sheets got washed and ironed by a laundry, which also squashed all fastenings to my duvet covers.

Loved this little cupboard, still have it with some shelves on top.

Living with a small space

Work in progress

There was no bread oven behind that little door sadly

 The kitchen was left as it was minus the tartan carpet.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Tuesday 14th January

A trailer to a film about three children and two donkeys. Probably a bit sentimental like the 'Railway Children' but its landscape of the North Yorkshire moors should be captivating. See the ruined abbey above the headland at Whitby. The old steam railway as it smokes its way though the narrow valley of the moors, the purple heather that lights up the dingy appearance of the moors, then remember the pale sky blue harebells and cotton grass fluttering in the wind.
Whitby has a magic all its own, full of people in summer, it's Victorian overly religious feel with all the churches that dot the town. There were donkeys on the beach when I first came to Yorkshire.
To experience Whitby, your nose will pick up the smell of fish and chips, the cry of the seagulls as they raid this palatable fare.  Here is the penny machines of old, there is the jet museum, full of the black art of jewellery.  Alleyways lead to pokey little cottages beloved of the holiday home brigade.  And of course the Gothic element, who can forget Dracula pacing about in St.Mary's churchyard.  Forgot, he is a fictional character, I remember Paul standing on the other side of the water judging whether the heroine could hear the goings on in the church yard across the quay.
I owned a  cottage once, next door Jim and Mary (going slightly mad) she would push complaining letters through the door about the noise made of building works that went on in 'Pottery Cottage'  as she only got up at 10.0am. Up the steps that lead to another cottage lived Fraser in a sort of basement flat with the clutter of his vagabond life stacked neatly outside.  These were our neighbours, the family would creep by them unsure of their heavy Yorkshire accents and Fraser's Scottish one.
I loved that little 18th cottage facing on to its small yard, opposite the windows of an estate agent.  It was tiny with those steep stairs up to the two bedrooms, the great stack of the fireplace running through the house, the coffin drop in the cupboard.  Think about it, if you died in your bed, those stairs were useless, I remember someone getting stuck behind a double mattress on a turn of the steps and everyone collapsing into sheer  laughter as we tried to solve the problem.
Maybe a blog of how it was transformed from the moment we first saw it, with a terrible tartan carpet on the floor and a bathroom that could have come from the 1970s into its present shape.  When sold I left the beds and furniture in situ, also the curtains from Habitat but not my settee which they wanted!.  

Monday, January 13, 2020

Monday 13th January

"I am staring at the monolith from below the sacred hill altar.  It is much easier to get a perspective without that huge church against my butt.  From here, the mound dwarfs the church, as it should.
Rudston is an eerie place, built precariously on an ancient past of true psychedelic intensity.  Each village along the Gypsey Race has some tale to tell. But here it pitches in to tell some awesome and unorthodox mystery.  If Avebury is the Great Reconciler, then where are the cursuses?  Rudston and its environment fits well with the Avebury complex:  The chalk, the flint, the vast earth monuments, the disregard for time and perspective, all caught up in these enormous civic monuments".....Julian Cope, The Modern Antiquarian

The Rudston Monolith
The Rudston Monolith, to be found in The Yorkshire Wolds.  A prehistoric stone so large but still in the end dominated by the church. A clear expression of what the christian church thought of paganism, though in actual fact it could also be interpreted as two religions lying side by side.  It was cold that day it was Valentine's day, and this was our treat.
The stone was dragged from about 25 miles away from the Scarborough coast, and stands on a hill, there are four cursuses tracks (long gone archaeology) leading to the bottom of the hill in the village of Rudston, and also the wonderfully named Gypsey Race river.  Called that apparently because of its winding course.  Here quite straight as it goes through the village.

Julian Cope  says of this area that it had many barrows and prehistoric stones but all removed over time by the farmers.  History sinks into itself, fine traces appear above ground.  The very fact of a village here reminds us that 'ownership' of land goes through the ages. We question why, and then note the river that runs through a valley, a settlement place.  As time passes by building crumbles as new ones take their place. 
You have only to see it today on 'Escape to the Country' barns have been transformed into high ceiling sitting rooms, with the obligatory island in the middle of the kitchen.  Old Roman houses, long since fallen, will have evidence of Iron Age oysters shucked in the corner, as someone long ago sought the shelter of these old walls. 
I started with Julian Cope, singer, writer and occasionally high on drugs.  But when he wrote the Modern Antiquarian, he broke the stultifying jargon of an archaeologist written report.  He saw prehistory through different eyes, noting the 'sacredness' of long gone archaeological features, it seems to me that in worrying about the non-existent cursuses at Avebury, he forgets the great West Kennet Avenue, which surely fulfils the purpose.

A message from my daughter flashes in the right hand corner, "Mum all is well here" thank goodness says I.  Then as I read, see she has pre-empted a decision about an invitation for me about going to Switzerland.  But she is right hens and dog need thinking about, though I do love Switzerland and perhaps would like to see my two ex-sister-in-laws.

Brexit has been superseded by a royal couple calling for out. Go for it says I, these two young people can make their own decisions, and the 'firm' must learn to change in this  different world.

The Winterbourne at Avebury.  Another 'sacred' river

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Passing things

Passing things means that they will disappear in time, as I pull together the past.
Benet's Abbey by John Cotman
Castle Acre Priory
Before Paul, I was married for 27 years to someone who taught archaeology and also conducted digs in the summer months.  It was not a happy marriage and that is all I will say on it.  But it is what a part of my life was about.  Churches became more of a hobby in the last few years, but my diploma rested on my thesis about Wiltshire Abbeys.  I became fascinated by them, I wandered with the Victorian writer Harold Brakespeare amongst the ruins,  Stanley Abbey near Calne, Lacock Abbey, Malmsbury and Bradenstoke to name but a handful.
They seemed to be the first self-sufficient communities that prospered, then went the way of all projects, on the road to capitalism.  They were taken apart by an arrogant king, who made a law to fit his marital affiliations, and then destroyed the abbeys because they became powerful in the land.
Ruins are strong symbols of human history, that is why I am so intrigued by them, they represent failure of course, but their grace as they fall into rack and ruin captures the heart.  The ivy clinging to the stone is now ripped off in our modern world, but the Victorians loved the gloom and creative element of tumbling stone and wild flower. 
That is why I saw the John Cotman painting as an interesting juxtaposition of a later windmill built into the ruins of an abbey, and will look up its history.  (Someone with a more practical vision had built a windmill in the middle of this early abbey in Norfolk.  Built in 1725 but by 1740 was used as a drainage mill.)

Well I spent four summer years working at Castle Acre Priory, scraping, drawing and eventually doing the wages and dealing with the problems of about 40 diggers in the summer months.  We excavated the round brewery  building, next to an inlet of water, now dry that was also excavated by digger, this channel would have brought goods to the abbey by boat.
From camping on site with those wretched blue mobile loos and a shower in the old medieval barn, from which we had to cross a sandy floor and ruined the effect of a clean shower.
When married, it was a cottage along a long farm track, moving a couple of grazing tethered goats from the track (my job, I used to throw my arms around their necks and tug) and then finding a tiny shrew in the bed the first night. 
In the last year, baby in pram and my daughter, I reigned in the shed unable to draw, dealing with problems and money, people always wanted money before wage day. 
I shall put one last photo, my daughter will not be too pleased, but in this photo are old faces that I remember from this time.  Waterstone's restaurant in Bath.

The Swiss family connection was there, Annabel and Marc, Granny, associated friends, Leni Heaton, Florine and Eugene Katz, Karen's American godmother.
Then Bath friends, Henry and Valerie Cliffe, John and Thea Lewis.  At the back Jane and Tony, Jim and his wife, two digging friends, Jean, and Ron's family.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Wolf Moon tonight

For reference this is an American interpretation of names I believe.

Friday 10th January

The English Oak - Quercus Alba borrowed from Shutterstock

"There are tens of billions of known kinds of organic molecules. Yet only fifty of them are used for the essential activities of life. The same patterns are employed over and over again, conservatively, ingeniously for different functions. And at the very heart of life on Earth - the proteins that control cell chemistry, and the nucleic acids that that carry the hereditary instructions - we find these molecules to be essentially identical in all the plants and animals. An oak tree and I are made of the same stuff. If you go far enough back, we have a common ancestor." - Carl Sagan, Cosmos

But...........humans have way too much emotional output into life, and my crusading spirit was rather broken last night as the barriers came down on talking to each other.

The goats have been eaten said I, but those self same goats had escaped into neighbouring gardens and BUTTED the patio doors, never to be forgiven, must be a Yorkshire trait says the chuckle in my mind. 
It seems that when you start to dislike someone/family, every little grievance mounts up and gets stored, people become close-minded never WANTING to see another way of life. 

But things were arrived at in general good humour.  Jo does not like barbecues, why, simply because the food is served too early, so we agree on half an hour later. There is also a treasure hunt to be made in the summer, everyone ending up in the pub of course.

Boundaries are discussed, who owns the fencing and hedging on their side, David and Jill have just had someone to cut the large pine trees, but the farmer says it is only to... was it the Sycamore tree? Those wicked holidaymakers over New Year in the holiday home, lit fireworks in the front garden, not good for Charlie, 20 year old pony and the blind sheep.  This is village history in the making, it has probably always been like this, the small minutiae of life, since the village began.

Walking back from the pub, keen eyed Jill spots my newly planted primroses, weren't there at lunchtime says she, I had planted them in the afternoon.  Her husband offers to cut the hawthorns on this side of the fence, always kind, but I say will do it myself, except all Paul's saws are wibbly-wobbly Japanese ones and I need to buy a decent pruning one.

So what has been happening in the rest of the world?  Caught on the news this morning that just under a million people are sleeping outside in case of after shocks of the Puerto Rico earthquake there. The plane that crashed was almost certainly brought down by Iranian missiles .. Actions do definitely have Consequences Mr Trump and Iran - the innocent loss of life which all war brings on its tail.  Then of course to beat all the serious news, there is a rupture in the Royal family, well it keeps us entertained does it not.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Thursday 9th January

Dear Diary. quite like that opening.  In a separate blog I am typing out my thoughts on the younger me.  It is extraordinary how you arrive at the later point of life, with all the things that have happened to you over the years, I realise I must have enjoyed my life, the miserable times were hard but I arrived in one piece.  Today is my birthday and I need to reflect for Paul's absence on this day is so sad.

Opened my presents from my daughter, Middlemarch by George Elliott which I had asked for, a good long read on the fallibility of its characters, and a long grey cardigan which is lovely which I shall wear tonight at the social meeting at the pub.

Yesterday I talked to Nigel over the road, he has been in the village for years but told me he does not know anyone to speak to on my side of the road.  Why not? is it the f****** class system that stands in the way, or is it a suburban mindset, that crafts a neat home and garden and looks down on self-sufficient people.

Also took C and J to the gardening club meeting in the afternoon, which was about, wait for it, 'Tulips from Amsterdam'. I Do Not Like flowers grown in straight lines but the Dutch obviously do!

The question of getting people, a) to get together, and b) talking has been on my mind for quite a while.  C did not know that Nigel's wife was ill though she has lived in the village for 30 years, but J did talk to Nigel, for instance when he wanted to buy hay for his sheep.

The meeting tonight is to discuss  social get togethers through the year, the next one is the Carvery at the end of this month.  Someone from the village came up to me at the meeting (I am taking on Paul's role in this it seems) to ask could not the church/parish meeting/social all come together.  Church attendance down to three, the vicar with 9 churches to look after.  But....... should the money we raise from social events go towards the church funds?

Thoughts bounce through my mind....

Just read the story of when Flush (Elizabeth Barrett's spaniel) was dognapped, it all ended happily of course.... Virginia Woolf wrote a book about Flush.

"Flush lived happily with the Brownings until he passed away peacefully in Florence on June 16, 1854 at age thirteen. Pen, then five years old, found him the morning he died, and the family cried together. “It has been quite a shock to me & a sadness,” Elizabeth wrote to Arabel. “My head aches so I can scarcely see,” she told a friend. When her son had stopped weeping, he assured his mother that in a year, Flush would be reborn. “He never doubts the prolonged existence of the dog-soul,” wrote Elizabeth to Robert’s sister, adding wistfully, “And he may be right.”

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Wednesday 8th January - Quorn

Quorn;  One of those things vegetarians eat.  But be careful........... it can make you ill.  Twice over the Xmas period I have felt very sick after eating Quorn sausages, the second time confirmed that they were not for me. This was the first time I had eaten Quorn.

Mycoprotein, the novel ingredient in Quorn-brand frozen meat substitutes that’s made from processed mold (Fusarium venenatum), can cause serious and (possibly, even fatal) allergic and other reactions.

Many years ago, one of our extended family had done the PR on marketing this stuff.  It involved walking round the factory, he came back and said, never, ever eat that stuff, you should see how they make it!  So I never did till this Christmas when I popped a bag of cocktail sausages into the basket.

Though the manufacturer’s  advertising and labeling implies that the product is “mushroom protein” or “mushroom in origin,” the mold (or fungus) from which it is made does not produce mushrooms. Rather, the mold is grown in liquid solution in large tanks.

Normally my diet is based on vegetables, fruit, cheese, eggs and bread, plus nuts and seeds which I eat as snacks.  My stomach is not obviously geared to artificial foods, goodness knows when they grow meat in the laboratory what will happen.

Whoops. Artificial food is beginning to get a grip.  See George Monbiot

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Tuesday 7th January

The naming of roses

The world goes on, terrible bush fires in Australia, the assassination of a leader, we cannot do much but listen to the news.  Yet those who live in Australia are already thinking of how to help the animals out there.  One of my blogs has already given out this message....Sewers Who Can Sew Straight.....................

The photo above comes from my large box file of film photos which I was sorting today.  It is my birthday this week, I shall be 75, still basically healthy and in control of my senses - hopefully!  What I was doing was sorting out photos of myself through the ages.  As an aside we all know the 'Seven Ages of Man' but is there a complimentary female one?  I ended up with a lot of cute photos of a young Tom as well.
It gave me  a glimpse into my life, two marriages, two children and lots of wandering around by myself in the countryside, always with a dog at heel, never my family, who have always disliked country walks.  Eventually I will scan them on the printer, which somehow seems reluctant to do this.

The first turns up...A trip to Ireland with a friend called Barbara, we must have been about 18 years old.  I had an old mini van, and we toured Southern Ireland for a week. It was beautiful, remember two boys, no shoes, homemade trousers aggressively bullying me for money for taking photographs of their donkey.  What would I have done today? Or more importantly what would I have done then?

The thought came from this video I watched from somewhere, of  bustling London Streets I think made in 1967, and I remembered those short skirts in which to bend down was extremely difficult, also the thought weren't we all slim in those days.... Enjoy, because once a long time ago grand daughters your granny was young.  ;)

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Sunday 5th January

Reliquiae;  It dropped through the letterbox yesterday afternoon, beautifully wrapped reminding me of Paul's absolute neatness.  Acquired by a long stint in a Japanese studio, tools arranged to perfection.
I have read the book lightly, needing to go back and explore the words, for this book etymology is at its heart.  They are explored, used singularly, in poetry but not as you know it and even in language, where after each small article Tsimshian words are given their meaning. 

By Paasikivi - Own work, 
There is a long article on the word 'borage' that beautiful blue star shaped wild flower that catches the eye, we go through the latin to explore how the word was arrived at in borago officinalis it is because the flower was an official herbal medicine in the gardens of the monastery.   Borra meaning wool or hair, see how this is true of the stems.  Marvel at how the colour changes, you will see it  also in pulmonaria, or the lungwort as we call it, also a medicinal herb of the lungs, again a family member of the borage plant.  Flowers make you see that nature can create more beauty in a flower than any painted image. The poem is of course the written essay and he ends with the one line.............

The eye of touch is  Borage blue.  Oliver Southall

And now for mouths to feed;  Mother and kitten feed at the table, still have not organised for the capture of the feral mother cat for neutering, but a sweet photo..............

They appear around lunchtime, hiding behind the wall, and swiftly vanish when I come out, the mother cat shows all the signs of having produced many kittens with her thin underside.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Saturday 4th January 2020

quote from the Talmud: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

I have approached this New Year with hope, yes there are terrible catastrophes happening, the loss of life in Australia, and here I talk of animal life as well as human. The leaning of world leaders to the right and the consequences that it will bring to human rights.  Trump and his government (for he does not work alone) have committed one of those foolish warlike acts and now we await the consequences but to a degree he has been rebuffed by some in the Western World.
Dominic Raab, foreign secretary has said.....

Urging all parties to de-escalate the situation, he added: “Further conflict is in none of our interests.”

"The French president, Emmanuel Macron, consulted with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, by phone and called on Iran to refrain from escalating the crisis. Russia said both leaders agreed the American “action might seriously escalate tensions in the region”.

We shall see.  On a more local note, I bought a bag of coal yesterday just in case the oil runs out, apparently, like the greedy souls they are, the price of oil has gone up.  Someone out there always pleased to make some money out of conflict.

Friday, January 3, 2020

January - Wolf-monet

Quotation from the Hubbard book; Neolithic Dew-ponds and Cattle ways - 1905 I just loved this book for its inaccuracies.

The month which we now call January our Saxon ancestors called wolf-monat, to wit, wolf-moneth, because people are wont always in that month to be in more danger to be devoured of wolves, than in any else season of the year; for that, through the extremity of cold and snow, these ravenous creatures could not find of other beasts sufficient to feed upon. Richard Verstegan, Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities 1673

I collect stories, this one appeals because it is my birthday month, as indeed Jennies as I have just found out.  I love the wolves as well and have written of them before.

Here for instance is a video talked over by Monbiot on the Wolves of Yellowstone Park a video that talks about trophic cascade* .

Well I started writing this yesterday then remembered a book I had called 'Reliquaries' a delightful compendium of stories and poems, stranded through with two line sayings.  So having ordered this year's book, I read through.  The essay on 'The Last Wolf in Britain' has many towns and villages describing the slaying of the poor old wolf, till at last it was no more.  Though of course there have been introductions in Scotland in confined areas of modern wolves.

But then came across the 'Green Children of Woolpit'  a medieval story of two children that appeared in Suffolk, now either you take the story without the explanation or you listen to this, rather arrogant chap,  (Cummings will take him to his heart, the very essence of weird comes to mind).  The theories are interesting of course.... and somewhere at the beginning is a wolf pit as well.

*"Trophic cascade, an ecological phenomenon triggered by the addition or removal of top predators and involving reciprocal changes in the relative populations of predator and prey through a food chain, which often results in dramatic changes in ecosystem structure and nutrient cycling."

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Really and Truly wittering

Well I have been up since 3 am this morning with Lucy, who was walking the floor in her nervy condition.  I sometimes think this hysteria business is caused by bad dreams, anyway she is asleep in a chair now at 6 am.
During this period I watched Youtube, a fascinating video/s of mudlarking on the Thames.  From 19th century pipes to Tudor bricks, Bellarmine jug tops and rings.  From the coloured glass Nicola White from Tideline Art makes pretty  glass fish.

It reminded me of long ago when in my 20s I worked at the small business my grandfather had started up in Great Dunmow, Essex.  It was called Pickard Marine, and we did not actually make boats but the engines that went inside, and our main contractor and which kept the factory running, was in fact Colchester lathes I think.  Anyway the small boats had to be tested.  This involved taking one to London and the Thames.

I think it was an aluminum boat, shallow in the water, off we set.  Probably one of the most frightening experiences at the time, on this giant river with large boats sweeping past.  The problem came when we had to bring it ashore through all that stinky mud.  We managed and then someone called over to us from a large barge, beautifully furnished, that they were obviously living on, and offered us a cup of tea and basin to wash our very muddy feet in.  Such kindness but they were horrified at us rank amateurs tackling the Thames. 

Another incident involved me taking this boat out on the Essex coastline, amongst a great flock of sailing boats, unfortunately, a steering wire came off the handle to steer and I went round and round in circles with all these people yelling at me.  I hate boats!  Luckily all these experiments proved to be no good and the boat side was forgotten.

But to yesterday and an afternoon of mulled wine and mince pies.   Well I sat down by the side of someone who sends me emails from the local G/P coincidentally and we chattered away on the problems of politics in the area.  One point I bought up was going out in the evening to meetings and driving which I wasn't keen on and where to park when I got to the pub. We thought daytime meetings at a local cafe might be the answer.  I love the phlegmatic way people accept that they are not going to win a seat in the general election, you lose £500 for a start, a sort of entering fee, we are not big shots like the Americans, or indeed the conservative party with large donations from wealthy outsiders.

E discussed a couple of groups she belongs to, one is in Malton, a lunch where you pay £15 (rather expensive!) for the meal, £10 of which goes on the meal the rest to the charity, you have to bring a newspaper headline along rather than talk about family -  hmm not sure on restrictions.  The other group was also female doing things together theatre, talks, book criticising, etc.  Not a great fan of groups and happy with my gardening club but I am thinking of having coffee mornings even if it is just to bring people together.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year and may it bring you all that you wish.

To be totally honest, it has always seemed to me that one year slips seamlessly into the next, we mark the advent of a New Year in a definitive manner but in the olden days I suspect it would have  been different.
It was a beautiful day yesterday blue skies above and no wind so we went for a walk, Lucy and I.  Just outside the pub, a bike screeched to a halt besides me, it was David back from a long ride to Harome village.  The name Harome means rock/stones, and translates from old English meaning a heap of stones.
Try saying it, it is a bit like clearing your throat, harum-scarum always jogs through my mind when I say it.  Small village on the edge of the moors with a bespoke restaurant, though I have never actually been.  But looking at the Telegraph's article, 'truffled faggots' does not fill me with delight.
As we gossiped about the village he said that he had only found out the day before of the sad case of the man who had commited suicide. And in that in your face Yorkshire way of speaking asked if I had contemplated it.  Faced with such a question, how do you answer? If I was to say yes, they would put me on a watch alert, so I gave my reply, considered yes, but what a terrible legacy to leave one's family so no the world is a beautiful place.
There have been two suicides in the villages in the last few months, the young lad filled me with despair at such a loss, but the widower gave up on life without his partner and I understand that.
Today I go for mince pies and mulled wine to the other end of the village this afternoon, it is almost as if we are split in half, there was that falling out over the wind turbine.  How whenever there is an event in the village, everyone always sits with their friends and do not intermingle, perhaps we should have a choir.
One resolution as the weather gets better I shall visit the churches and village round here.  The rivers rise on the moors and then make their way down to the Vale of Pickering,  Harome is part of the parish of Helmsley, that pretty Yorkshire town with its castle and square.
Sometimes you just want to chase rivers, as this below found on British History Online. The naming of rivers in this part of the world seems a strange mixture.  I have crossed the Rye many times, but the Esk seems to have its roots in O/E water, and the Riccal... It is a tributary of the River Rye, which in turn is a tributary of the River Derwent. The name originates in the fourteenth century as Ricolvegraines means Rye Calf, where Calf is a small island near a larger one.

Ouse is quite probably related to the PIE *wed- or *ud-, meaning water as an inanimate substance (whence whiskey, the Greek ύδωρ (hydro-), the English water, the German Wasser (water), the Russian вода (water), ведро (bucket), выдра (otter), the Latin onda (wave), the German Undine, etc.). Not sure about the others. –

Chasing etymology; which is always a delight in the naming of rivers, woods, villages for it captures our relationship to the land and the many invasions Britain has suffered.  I am wittering as usual..................

Helmsley parish stretches from Ryedale to the southern slopes of the Cleveland Hills, where rise the Rye and its northern tributaries, each with its dale. On the northern slopes of this watershed are similar dales worn by the southern tributaries of the River Esk. The highest point of this district of solitary mountainous moorland is Burton Head, which rises from Bilsdale East Moor, 1,489 ft. above ordnance datum. The Rye rises on Snilesworth Moor in Cleveland 700 ft. above ordnance datum, and as it enters this parish (the first in 'Ryedale') receives the Seph from Bilsdale and the Riccal through Riccal Dale. The Rye then descends between thickly wooded, steep banks and flows by the ruins of the Cistercian abbey to which it gave its name—Rievaulx—and the quaint compact village consisting of a few stone and tile cottages scattered along a by-road running between the main roads to Helmsley from Hawnby and Thirsk. The river continues between thickly wooded hills rising sharply on either hand. It turns Sproxton Mill and then winds on to Helmsley Bridge.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Potted thoughts

Looking at Dominic Cummings;  Well first let me say he has swallowed a whole lot of books and their theories and then regurgitated them into his blogs.  Okay says he, lets head for the highly intelligent person, whip them into shape and allow them full throttle over the landscape of our lives and the government of this country.  
In fact he reminds me of those  brick like computer books that came with the first computers that entered our homes.  A blow by blow account of how to use your computers (tedious and dull) and in his case how to run the country.  Is this what we have engineered in this particular generation a person who sees the managerial side in such a manner. 
Perhaps more frightening is this, that which is being taught in our schools and colleges to unleash on us a robotic figure wedded to a particular ideology.  Rachel mentions Seumas Milne on the Left, and the same restricted viewpoint is there as well.  What were our two opposing political parties aiming for? Do we need such radical restructuring?  Maybe yes is my answer, after all it is the young who inherit the earth.  But in the era of AI are we not already beginning to be the robots, calculating how to win a viewpoint, a statistical nightmare trying to herd kittens.
I came across a figure like Cummings very early on.  This was Derek Wall, a Green Party figure in Bath.  He emerged as a young lad on my then husband's  archaeological dig.  Intensive, very intellectual, an argumentative soul.  I remember him now grown up marching into a GP meeting room with several of his cohorts and changing the vote in his favour.  He was frightening in his determination to rule.  This was the split in the GP, into red/green. a socialist split that took many years to come to terms with the radicalism of the people involved.  Perhaps comfortingly, he now sits on the sideline but to be honest I have never scrutinised the inner workings of the GP party.
It will be an interesting year 2020, will Johnson fulfil any of his promises, or will there be a sneaky attrition of many values, and will Cummings still rule quietly in the Cabinet, undermining the old guard. And do we want that old guard back anyway?

Monday, December 30, 2019

Monday 30th December 2019

I decided to take up crochet this year, so bought these two books to get some ideas.  Well 'Rainbow Crocheted Blankets' is the one I like, but.... she dyes the wool she uses, natural dyes no less.   Have decided one in the colour-ways red and some green, my choices are limited in terms of material, cochineal and madder for red, dyers weld for green, though playing around with the mordant copper can give you some pretty greens.   So some more spinning, I only have Downland wool, rather harsh compared to Blue faced Leicester wool, but it will have to do.
One problem is that ordering small items over the net, the price of what you order is small and the price of postage high. 
Last night the most fabulous sunset, you could almost believe in God when you looked up at the sky, Turner is the only person in my books who captured the sky.  My camera definitely does not, but I refuse to buy another.  Clouds dimple in their colour ways, which meld with such beauty.

I like the starkness of the built environment against the sky.  It reminds me of those black and white Victorian cut outs.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A lighter look at life

Olga Wisinger Florian 1844-1926
Poppies chosen for their summery feel....  Words chosen at random.  Years ago I kept 'commonplace books' and then threw them away.  Perhaps I regret that action now, but there again we move on and restructure our thinking.  Jane Goodall is the only female amongst the four, and that is something new in my lifetime, the rise of the other half of the world, commonly referred to as 'women' ;)  The youngest kid on the block, Greta Thunberg has sailed into view and I wish her success as she ploughs on but in the end it is us that must do the groundwork of seeing that we do not destroy the world we live in.

As for Jeremy Corbyn being included, I think a great disservice has been done to him, by the lightweight cruel commentary that goes for our newspaper media nowadays.  But then because political battles are fought with words my New Year resolution is going to up on Dominic Cummings, one should always know one's enemies!