Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday and hens

A chicken update: Why?  well there are a lot of headless chickens running around in parliament at the moment, we are at impasse over Brexit, there is  really nothing to say.
About three weeks ago Phoebe our last bossy hen died, I think with the same symptons as the other two.  Leaving me with two bantams, Lady Jane and Fay.
Now my first three hens had not been vaccinated, but the two bantams had, and I paid a good price for them, but obviously it is worth it for health reasons.  They are vaccinated against Newcastle Disease, Marek's disease, and infectious bronchitis.
So who became top chicken out of the two? Well it turns out to be mad little Lady Jane, she has strode forward chasing Fay around, and two days ago took her small self to sleep in the coop with Fay, she has always at night gone into the box to sleep by herself.  It will be interesting to see what will happen when another two are added to the flock how the pecking order will arrange itself.
I notice quite a lot of bloggers keep chickens, and I think we keep them for the fun they provide, at last in life when we have slowed down we can stand and watch.  And of course be hypocrites and eat bought chicken!
I came across photos of my original chickens in Bath, they got finished off by one of those city foxes......

My very first two, Hetty and Harriet

Hetty and Harriet being jungle hens

Bought in Yorkshire and now part of the Universe

Fay and Lady Jane

I came across this whilst flicking through.  This is the coke house for the church that you often see from our house view.  Note the coal hatchway, just the right size for the pony and cart which delivered.  Paul found out that this small building had an earlier life, it was a 'lock-up' for the local drunk or thief.  You can see the results of flooding on the bottom four courses of stone.  What has happened is that as cars drive through they throw up spray water which washes the mortar from the stones.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monday - following the memories

This was a 'Sunday' walk, you can see over the beautiful Somerset country side the Cotswolds coming to an end here in the valley behind Moss.  The track ahead, had longevity stretching back in time, the land just here had been quarried, but behind the camera the battle between Royalists and roundheads had been fought, and also along the ridge as you made your way through the fields. Detail of the battle of Lansdown.

In fact the trackway further on is an old Saxon boundary mark now marking Gloucester and Somerset, the track had followed the line of the two bronze age barrows further on. You begin to understand the fluidity of history, one thing leads to another, bronze age barrows mark the delineation lines between modern Gloucester and Somerset.

The verges of this track were covered in wild flowers, but already the heavier wider tractors were beginning to take their toil of them.  Below the sweet smell of elderflower, fluffy and creamy but turning to a much stronger smell as it aged.

 quoting myself here........
A walk down the old trackway in this parish of Langridge, will reveal a treasure of wild flowers on the verges, vetches tangle with yellow archangel, bluebells will replace primroses, the white gleam of stitchwort; the stoney path slopes gently down curving on its way, later on the white of elderflower will catch the eye, the sweet scent on a warm day reminding you of elderflower champagne.  


You came to a field of the barrows through  a small lych gate, there was no road for miles and someone must have loved this field, for it still kept its wild flowers.  In the field early in spring would be primroses and then cowslips, orchids and the beautiful ethereal ladies smock set down amongst the grasses.  Further on a badger den, still used, though they had not migrated to the barrows.

Deer out in the early morning

langridge Barrows

Langridge barrows

ST 7323 7044 and ST 7328 7045. Two round barrows excavated in 1909 by H H Winwood, G Grey and T S Bush. The first contained much burnt material, animal bones and potsherds, but apparently no human bones. There were numerous flints including eight scrapers and two borers. The second barrow had an unaccompanied primary cremation. A number of flints, including one borer, were found in the material of the mound. (1)

ST 7323 7045, ST 7325 7044. Two barrows, the westerly has been truncated and is 0.9m high, the easterly, 1.7m high, is partially overlaid by a dump of extraneous material, possibly from the other barrow. Surveyed at 1:2500. (2)  Pastscape overview

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Walks with Moss - when the sun shone

I read this morning that as you age time goes quicker because the brain is not processing as much as a younger brain. 
So I thought to clear some of my photos that accumulate in my files, a waste of time for as deleted I came across things I wanted to keep so added as much as I substracted!  There was this long file from years ago, when Moss, that gorgeous collie on the top and myself, wandered at will over the landscape, my brain caught up with its magical aspects, the old prehistoric stones on the Wiltshire downlands churning out a magic and a need to know!
Well let us stop at the pond in my old garden for a while, and discover the magic of damselflies mating, I would sit and watch the nymphs unfurl at a later date, wings damp then dry.  My son and I dug that pond, the first day leaving the black membrane in the hole, we came back next morning to find two newts curled up inside waiting for the water.  Looking now at that green water and for a moment you begin to understand the vibrant life that is our planet, I could tell you of the spring when the frogs came down the bank to mate and cover the water with tadpoles.  The second pond we dug, larger and shallow, but so pretty, till one day Moss chased a cat through it, and of course it developed holes and the water disappeared.  Or the time in the cold of winter, little Tom fell in, he was fascinated by the pond, though I had planted a great bank of reeds round it.

To be continued............

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Wednesday 9th January

Well I have been reading Susan Cooper, a first time experience, as her The Dark is Rising is aimed at children, but by now you will have noticed that I love all literature.  She takes us from Cornwall to Wales and in her storytelling wends all the threads of ancient myths in the forces of good and evil.  Even as I write this I remember C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia, the children taking on adult roles.  Lewis took religion as his motif, Cooper uses stone circles, mountains and water in Wales.  Perhaps evoking the tale of the magic lake of Lynn Cerrig Bach in which Iron Age votive offerings were found.
The presence of lakes at the foot of mountains is a strong dynamic force, the mountain can be male and evil, the water female and good.
So to go with the mystical, Neill Burnell beautiful photographs of Wistman Woods on Dartmoor.  He has caught the mossy verdant nature of these stunted trees, the mist arising through the trees and rocks.  Perhaps Britain hundreds of years ago would have looked like this when you rode through forest or wood, now Wistman Wood is solitary in its splendour. Old oak trees twisted and gnarled, this photo from Wiki does not do it full justice you must look at Burnell's photographs to grasp the 'evilness' of twisted branches to understand how the mind works when confronted with such natural splendour.

"The name of Wistman's Wood may derive from the dialect word 'wisht' meaning 'eerie/uncanny', or ‘pixie-led/haunted’.The legendary Wild Hunt in Devon is particularly associated with Wistman's Wood – the hellhounds of which are known as Yeth (Heath) or Wisht Hounds in the Devonshire dialect."

The Green Man

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Tuesday 8th January

We went out to lunch today, a birthday treat, which is tomorrow but I am going to the gardening club in the afternoon.
The Moors Inn was chosen at Appleton le Moor, and we lunched well, I had halibut on crushed potatoes (poor potatoes) and Paul had one of the starters with an enormous salad.  It was delicious.
We sat by a roaring fire with Lucy under the table and the atmosphere quiet.  Typical old pub, beams and old blackened oven over the fire.

taken from the Moors Inn site.

Appleton is but a few miles from our village, one of these villages that has a wide open road with large verges think it must have been a drover's road.  There is moor, though most of the land is turned to farm land but the sheep still wander around the road as you will see from the following photos.
The sheep wander around without thought, a bit like the pheasants, so slow driving is essential.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Vigilamus - We are Watching

What is it? It is called 'Google Assistant'.  A great deal of fun for the girls over the weekend.  It was Paul's Xmas present from my daughter but of course we could not make it work on our basic phones.  So it was left to Lillie to load it from their Apple phone this weekend.  They played music quizzes and other general knowledge games.  But walk into the room tell it to play 'Classic' radio it will.  IT doesn't understand sometimes what you are talking about, but ask it questions and it resorts to Wiki.
Do we need it? probably not, a clever technological gizmo, is it better than Siria or Alexia, that I do not know.  Paul is a bit wary of all this technology coming into the house, do they have 'ears'? are they eavesdropping on our conversations? calculating what we are going to buy next.  Of course if you are really up to date, you have a system in your house that connects to this voice technology, but our television will still be switched on manually!
And of course, though tv adverts tell us that when kids spill the cornflakes you just tell Siria you need more, it hardly goes down to the shop to get them;)
How did the dogs get on? Lucy bullies Teddy the whippet very quietly turning him into a nervous wreck.  A curl of the lip, a low growl and Teddy will be upstairs in a shot unsure of what to do.

The Listening Ear

Fylingsdale on the North York Moors. It is a radar base and is also part of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System

And something else, spalted wood..... this was in our latest batch of logs, beautiful, I think oak logs, they burn fiercely and clean.  Thank you Jennie for giving me the clue, it is a virus that attacks living or dead trees, sad but it makes good woodworking material.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Friday 4th January

When will we learn, see the Guardian article on how the British mythical company for ferrying goods across the Channel wrote it's terms  taken from a Pizza site!  Did Grayling actually check anything?
Enough, surely the good people of this country will take note and vote for 'no politicians', especially conservatives to run the show.

So what has happened this week of note, nothing much, went to a mulled wine and mincemeat gathering at a friends house, and then last night I went to Jo and David's cottage for tea and a game of the Beetle Drive.

Beetle drives were very popular as Church fund-raising events, especially amongst Non-conformist churches, and the tradition continues to the present. These are often accompanied by a Pie and Pea Supper, particularly in the North East of England

Well, the tea was good and so was the game, it has been years since I played any game and drawing bits of the beetle was a new experience, I won as well.  Which reminded me of going to my first WI meeting and winning the prizes there and getting some funny looks;)
Their cottage is a delight.  The walls are plastered with paintings and David's prowess as a Town Crier for which they go all round the country for events.  Do I think it will work, well first of all getting people to events is sometimes difficult, and the game very old fashioned. But it just might!
The family comes down again tomorrow for the weekend, two grand daughters this time and I shall do a traditional roast with Yorkshire pudding as it always goes down well with the children, one of whom will be an adult this year...

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Wednesday 2nd January 2019

I came across this wonderful video of Bartlow Mounds this morning, Iron Age burial mounds in the Roman period in Essex.  The two guys made me laugh, it was like being transported back to the duo of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, but after I had got over that, I realised that the chap talking was intellectually superior to many of the archaeologists we find today, and he wasn't even an archaeologist.  The video is 25 minutes long and probably not of interest too many, but I liked his concluding analysis of the reason for such lavish burial mounds they are the biggest in the country.  Simply put the hierarchical nature of society, through the Iron, Bronze and Neolithic has put us where we are today with the terrible class system, that some still adhere to.
But I also wrote of this place and for sheer sunshine on the day, and photos of this typical Essex village see this blog, and wonder at the 'Pyramids of Essex;
And now to find the classic 'class' sketch of Moor and Cook, this time in a 'Gourmet' mood, Giles Coren eat your heart out.  It is a bit fuzzy and the language is going south, but if you ask what made my sense of humour, it was this pair.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Tuesday 1st January 2019

New Years Eve;

It was quiet.  But I got up at 12 midnight to the sound of bells ringing in the church, Jo and David had braved the cold and rang them joyously for 5 minutes.  This was followed by fireworks next door for another 5 minutes and I just hoped the two little bantams managed to hold onto their hearts. By the way I have ordered two more from Bedale, not yet born probably ;)

Paul was sitting by a blazing log fire downstairs when I came down, he is an owl to my lark nature.  Now it is morning, Lucy is still snoring away downstairs and when I came into the kitchen noticed that the calender had been changed for 2019.  The Japanese proverb on it says "Life begins the day you start a garden" how apt as always my thoughts turn to what to grow in the New Year.

We discussed, quite seriously yesterday, food to be stored 'in case', even Paul has been, or at least feels, 'shafted' by the government and has no confidence whatsoever!

We must have all watched in amazement and sheer disbelief, money awarded (is it a shell company?) for transporting goods across the Channel, a company that owns no boats and will use a harbour that needs dredging, all this with only three months to go...... And then there is Javid flying home from his holidays (poor Lad) to  sort out the few dozen immigrants making it to our shores.  When literally millions roam around homeless in other countries.

I may come back to write but light is returning to this small corner and I need to go and reassure Fay and Lady Gray that their peaceful world still exists.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year

May the New Year bring Happiness, joy and humour.  Music to calm the nerves through the tumultous world we live in.  Greensleeves played on the flute and harp.  

And the artist I would pick today is Elizabeth Blackadder for her paintings of flowers.  The blue meconopsis, such a fragile flower, reminds me of an Abbey garden visited in Devon.  Acid soil must have reigned in this garden amongst the rhododendrons and other shrubs, but the candelabra primroses (and I shall find the name eventually in my head!) Bulleyna and the blue of the poppy will leave a forever memory ;)

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Grabbing memories for 2019

Wandering through one's photos catching the dying embers of the year.  The stone circle in Scotland, the warm sun, The summer flowers that appeared in the garden, already spurring me on to buy more.  You would never guess what I have ordered already?  Potatoes, goodness know where they are going to go except in pots or the  bags that I have ordered.  Yes, Brexit has finally got to me as well, provisions in case of shortage, though to be honest potatoes are easily grown.  My daughter is already stocking her cupboard, or under the beds of her children, dried stuff such as pasta, rice, flour for breadmaking, tins of stuff - can you believe it ;)
Too late to plant tulips, but the catalogues have come with eye catching dahlias, another late flower that reminds me of my childhood.  They were planted in the end lawn of the garden in Willenhall, bright twirls of colour with their funny twilled petals, cactus types and there is the 'Bishop of Llandaff' to collect!
Eskdalemuir stone circle
Rosea mundi a favourite rose. Has the following legend

Grown from seed an exotique mallow
Lilies, not in love with this colour

pale pink better

but this year yellow has been a favourite

fell in love with this rudbeckia, deep bronze petals

palest pink tulips, sad that a lot of tulips disappear from the garden, can I blame the squirrels?

a lank rose

Evergreen honeysuckle, bee and bird friendly (very)

Jam and Jerusalam, always flowering but starting to show signs of  black spot

Mark on the moors looking slightly uncomfortable away from his computer!

The moors a backdrop to our lives

but so invigorating



Friday, December 28, 2018

Unknown Region

Yes that is what appears on the geographical statistics in my stats.  So who are you 'unknown region'. maybe aliens from outer space, not Russia because that country is already mentioned, or does it come from the great out banks of Russia's unexplored Siberian territory.  Could it comes from the steppes of Asia, maybe Tibet?
Maybe you are hunting for any mention of money, no luck there I am afraid, maybe I have become a person of interest living in the backwaters of Yorkshire, representative of a malcontented nation fed up with our government? Intriguing anyway and welcome if you have good intentions, but I do note when my stats go up and wonder at the nature of my reader;)
Back to normal life, we went out for a meal yesterday, garlic mushrooms with salad and chips, Paul always has the chili prawns at Wombleton which is under new ownership, though Ben the manager is still there.  Lucy spent all her time under the table pretending that there was not another dog there if she could not see it!
The weather has been lousy, thick dank mist lies over the fields and gets into your lungs, I said jokingly to Paul it is because we live in/on a long gone paleolithic lake, in fact down the road near Scarborough we have the most famous Mesolithic archaeological site of Starr Carr.  True there is not much to see but much has been dredged from the field of the settlement.  Such as the deer antlers probably worn as a headdress...

Representation of Starr Carr settlement
And then there is the Rudston monolith, I note from this blog, that this was creating a 'memory' visit on Valentine's Day, one of the largest tall prehistoric stones in England.

See how this old pagan stone jostles for space in the church yard, it just points to the longevity of religious vitality through the ages.  Once this great stone stood alone above the Gypsey Race a memorial in prehistory.  Then some Saxon monk came along, settled down and created the first church, from then on the ground would always be hallowed as Christian!
I am finished, only to say that I have been thinking of the Rudston, and to give its etymology

The place-name 'Rudston' is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, and means 'rood' or 'cross' stone, referring to the monolith.[3] However, the name 'rud' derives from Old Norse ruð, meaning a clearing or pasture. So the place name could be stone in the clearing, Ruðstane. Nearby Howes of Duggleby and Ba'l (In Ugaritic mythology Baal is the lord of the storm; he bears a mace where Thor will grasp a hammer) also indicate Norse Viking place names rather than Anglo-Saxon origins.