Friday, November 30, 2012

Whitby mud slides

Photos taken by my son-in-law from his office at the top of their house.
Well there I was saying that Whitby would escape the flooding, but they have been hit by mud slides due to the heavy rains.  Yesterday it was reported that 5 houses had had their small gardens washed away and that the terraced row would have to be demolished.  The houses are very near to the abbey, overlooked at the back by fields and seemingly approached from there, and today according to the local news they are building a steel road across the fields to access the damage.  But it is not only these houses that are affected but the cliffs behind the cottages in Henrietta Street have also had mud slides, with part of the cemetery washed over, or at least a few bones from the 18th century.  The news can be found here and as can be seen from the photos St.Mary's church is very close to the cliff edge.  It must be terrible for the people who own houses along Henrietta Street, though many will be holiday homes, but every time we have walked along the street to the East Cliff quay we have both said no way would we buy a house with a cliff at the back.  My love has written on the fact that Fortune Kippers little smokehouse may be lost.
All those beautiful tiers of terraced houses must now have the threat of water building up in the land behind, who would have thought such a thing could happen.......

BBC news Whitby landslip

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Today I saw on the news that the Rolling Stones had a concert over the weekend, can we all be so old? I still dance to their music.  First thing that came to mind was Eel Pie Island when they were far from famous and we danced in the dark hall to this fabulous beat.
Email from friends in America commiserating with our wet weather, I know it is pretty bad down in the south west and up in Wales, but here we are not flooded.  The wind did howl round the windows on Saturday night though, it whined, moaned and buffeted the window with rain and I lay there worrying about all the birds in the hedges and would the hedgehog drown if we did flood....Well the latest from my daughter in Whitby, is that it is just as  terrible up North, though Whitby being very hilly only floods near the river.  Now, (I'm picking up the threads here) more news of all those poor people in North Wales with their flooded out houses, dismal thought, the weather getting colder as well, ones heart goes out to them.  The river at York has overflowed into the city but I presume the barrier gates to all those houses along the river in the centre of the town should have held. Pickering has also flooded and a village near Malton, and then the news this morning that dryer but colder weather settling in with snow in some places, especially on the North York Moors, that will probably mean the road closing over the moors.
Weekend has been spent in spinning blue-faced leicester wool, which when I have spun enough will dye  to join my bag for experimental waistcoat courtesy of Kaffe Fassett pattern. Knitted hats have fallen off my needles plus fingerless gloves, not terribly exciting.

No photos because I am out of space again according to Google....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Buseok Temple

Yesterday we did some birthday shopping both of us having birthdays around xmas (sadly). My love's choice is Maplin home to the myriad things that are technical and computer rated, this time we came out with a slide converter - it changes old slides into proper photographs on your computer.  But whilst in the shop I found some speakers for my laptop, and now I have more wires hanging out everywhere.  Of course I can now listen to music on Youtube, so Mozart's clarinet and flute music, Lark Ascending, Teenage Kicks and Dire Straits are variously explored as no doubt a lot more to follow when I can remember their names!
We went on to have lunch at the Viper pub (a shared sandwich), nestling in the woods, you can walk along the trackway opposite to some cottages that must have been an old hamlet in its time.  The cottages are pretty but of course belong to the rich now, unfortunately I did not take photos, but the autumn shapes of the trees were beautiful, leaves have all but gone but there were golden mellowed thick woods on the drive there. They edge the fields so sharply these woods.
There are autumn colours in this video of Buseok Temple in Korea, another land, another religion, enjoy.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Golden Feverfew or Chrysantheum parthenium

Found at the Cat's pub, golden feverfew is a favourite of mine, once you have it, it will distribute its seed quite happily.  A sport of the ordinary green herb, it makes a pleasant change as a background plant amongst  other brightly coloured plants.
It is an old physic herb grown partly to get rid of fevers and also to get rid of headaches, which was needed in every family down through the ages.  There have been trials in this country to be used against migraine, whether they succeeded or not I do not know, but I have taken it. (5 leaves in a sandwich, because of its bitter taste) but it did not seem to work! Grigson reckons it was introduced in the Middle Ages, and it accompanies Tansy (chrysantheum vulgare) that other spicy medicinal plant in the books I have.
Feverfew is a corruption of the Latin word febrifugia, the distinct spicy smell is chamomile camphor oil, which if you ever rubbed the leaves of chamomile you would recognise.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Cats

This is more a photographic record of yesterday going to the Cats pub for lunch, we have not been out for weeks, so the splendid autumn colours were a bonus.  Have decided to dye some wools, a whole range in the lemony/orange/buff/brown coloured leaves would be fun but I am thinking of a waistcoat for someone, so a palette of browns,violets and greys at the moment, dipped in weaker and weaker solutions should give interesting graduations.

This is a favourite patch of lane, you can see that Essex is not all flat,  in early summer the verges will be white with  cow parsley and stitchwort.

The Cats only opens a few days a week, it is run by Wally who collects steam engines and Anne who makes the following delicious ploughman's.  No dogs (or children) are allowed and you always see the same faces no matter how  long you have been away.
Essex horse in 'emperor' purple coat,  he stares down regally at us but then flips his heels and canters away
These untidy four made us laugh, they have a great steel rack of hay to the side which accounts for  somewhat untidy appearance.  Think they were looking for an aperitif of apples and carrots

Should have moved further away for this picture

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rain falling on Bulguk Temple in South Korea

The large carp picture that sits above the fire box
Bulguk Temple

The gentle fall of rain, and black tiled rooftops surrounded by misty trees.  Such an alien temple to our grey churches. Still with the grey weather outside and several grey collared doves in the maple tree, greyness is the order of the day.  A video sent to my love for his blog, (best viewed full screen) so I nicked it and will play it several times today if only for the music that reminds me of wind chimes in the garden.!

These are Japanese tiles very similar to the Korean tiles in the video.
Chrysanthemums motifs for the emperor and lotus flowers

This is the fire-box they are kept in, lead-lined it would sit under the table to keep you warm

Not all is Doom and Gloom

Friday, November 16, 2012

Technological madness

Telephones, those old fashioned things that used to sit in the corner - one per house! No in this house we have a phone in every room divided between business and private lines, so I never know which phone to pick up.  Then of course we have mobile phones each and everyone one of us, with enormously complicated   large numbers.
Today, one phone revealed in the kitchen (the one that wasn't working) that my daughter had left a message, fish my mobile out from the bottom of my bag, battery dead, recharging as I write.  Use spare mobile to phone her only to end up waking my grandson (at 10 a.m) at uni, yes I had forgotten that the family had swapped all their phones as they upgrade to better ones, ones you can speak into for text messaging....
P explains (once more) the system, look out for the little yellow marker on the phones, and the answering phone system which also confuses me......
We also have another technological crisis looming on the horizon, the cottage is going to get broad band by the end of this month, but at the same time we are upgrading BT broad band in this house (this was a fatal mistake to do at the same time) cos we don't know where the little package with cables that arrived  yesterday goes!
The tv is now accepting the dongle for internet transmission, one success to date but we now wait for the upgrade.... Life in our modern society is too complicated, especially packing fragile birthday presents this morning which is taking ages but that is another rant...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Elizabeth Blackadder

Sometime you wake up in the morning with a name in your head, today it was the Scottish painter, Elizabeth Blackadder, I had seen, a few year ago, paintings of her flowers in the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath.  Delicate and light, the fragility of flowers are captured against  the white background. She travelled extensively and there is a lovely Youtube film of her in her studio in 2011.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Little Giddings - T.S.Elliot

The following few lines are taken from Elliot's - Four Quartets, and we found them taped to the kneeling chair in front of the altar at Lastingham church.  Bleak of course, like a heavy hand christianity takes hold of Elliot's words and forces you to think on death, a good subject of course down in a crypt.  Still the church sitting proud on its mound was reminded by the pub opposite that there is also cheerful optimism in the human race as well.

If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always

Taken from Allspirit it gets gloomier of course.  And for an explanation as to where Eliot was coming from this Wiki will explain

E.M.Forster criticised the poem
"Of course there's pain on and off through each individual's life... You can't shirk it and so on. But why should it be endorsed by the schoolmaster and sanctified by the priest until the fire and the rose are one when so much of it is caused by disease and bullies"

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Skinny cat

Because of the work that is done in the studio, delicate Japanese scrolls, animals are not allowed in the house because of hairs, but it doesn't mean I cannot feed 'Skinny' cat, when she comes calling.  Slender but fed elsewhere, I think her owner must be out all day because lunch time Skinny will occasionally be found asleep on a garden chair and wake up hungry.  She is very timid, raises a paw should I try to stroke her; we have known each other for a couple of years and when she is hungry stands by the kitchen door  her coat has a good gloss on it though, she has acquired a friend, large pale tigerish tabby cat better fed by the looks of him....

Pansies on this cold morning, woke to a frost on the green, and these pansies hanging their heavy heads covered in dew.

As for bird watching, well a gathering of about 16 collared doves on the green yesterday, P saw two crows sending off a cat, no wonder I occasionally see a cat racing across the green, it must be dangerous territory.

Friday, November 9, 2012


We have been hearing over the news about migratory birds falling from the sky, clinging to the anoraks of the fishermen in their boats, if you look at the news this has been happening quite often, no explanation except that they are weak through hunger on their long flights.  Well our robins and blackbirds seem to have arrived safely back on this east coast.  For the last few days I have been woken by the gentle song of the robin, probably ensconced in the red berry tree I wrote about the other day, and then there are three blackbirds in the garden this morning, one taking a bath!

I woke up on a dream that my angora rabbits were starving in their hutches, so in the dream I went down the garden to feed them, but they seemed chirpy and someone had put a plateful of chicken, for my vegetarian friends? for them taking up a lot of space in the hutch.  Weird, but it reminded me of the fox that would come to the garden in the afternoon and sleep in the flowerbed below their hutches.  Now my rabbits had runs on the lawn and there was often a rabbit out in the garden - not good.  He was a friendly urban fox, I have a photo of him on the lawn with my son, my son's hand and the inquisitive nose of the fox almost meeting.  The gardens were large and part of a valley, so plenty of space for badgers to come roaming and foxes to live. A friend lived in Weston Park and would feed foxes on his terrace, so no wonder they were tame.
Now I know our friendly fox only had one thought in mind and that was to get a rabbit, and one day he almost succeeded, but he picked on a stroppy, very furry female called Bracken, whose yells brought me outside and she was saved.
Apparently according to the local paper the other week, we only have about 1500 dreams a year, I don't believe that but still who counts?

As for badgers, one dark night about midnight was woken by the terrible squawking of the hens, so barefoot with the dog went to investigate as I stood at the top of the terrace a terrified hen ran past me followed by the ghostly white figure of a badger in the torchlight, even the dog was dumbstruck with awe not knowing what this creature was.  Now badgers are carnivores, but luckily after a few minutes he disappeared leaving me to spend the next hour finding a terrified hen, she went into silent mode and it took ages to find her, probable taught her not to sleep in the nesting boxes, which the badger had managed to dislodge the top off.
So why this prowl back into the past, not sure perhaps because wildlife action seems to happen more in our urban places then the sterile countryside we so often visit, perhaps because reading the latest edition of Resurgence it said we should be more proactive in our efforts to save our dwindling wild life, cute pictures of gorgeous tigers down to a couple of hundred demanding money for them to be saved may be one way but it really needs more action on our part.

Reading Stephen Moss and Paul Evans articles, both marvellous naturalist writers in the Guardian, and Moss says;
"But we must all share the blame; consumers who demand cheaper food at any cost; successive governments of all political colours, which seem to regard wildlife as a bolt-on extra; and apathetic city-dwellers, who accept the countryside lobby's warped logic that only people who actually live in rural Britain should be allowed a say over its future"

Those bright green,' nitrogenous', fields we rest our eyes on are only really sterile deserts for the shrews, field mice that our beautiful owls feed on, our hedgehogs are in fast decline, as for badgers who knows their fate, only that there are many that fight for their survival against the latest need to eradicate them.  And when that latest claim for buzzards to be culled because of feeding on the millions  of young pheasants that are bred for shooting my crossness knew no bounds.

This is a photo nicked from F/B, from Under the Cat's Paw site, it just puts the giggle into the day!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

He has won

It's 7.0 clock, we have been up since four so we already know that Obama has won thank goodness, and I expect the rest of the world is happy to as the vote put out by the BBC came back resoundingly in Obama's favour.  Listened to his speech half an hour ago and he seemed to be modest and reassuring, thanking everyone who had worked so hard for him.  Romney's speech at about six was unceremoniously cut off by radio 4 and we had 5 minutes of religion, so what happened to the shipping forecast then?
On Facebook the news that Japanese fisherman have killed the pod of dolphins in The Cove, except for two which will be kept confined, was very sad news, how dare they kill such intelligent creatures.
Most days I sign something against cruelty to animals, yesterday dogs kept for meat in the Philipines, very badly treated, the pictures are heartbreaking.
There are arguments for and against Facebook, but there is plenty for all, Ravilious, Jackie Morris, other artists flow through my news, and cat photos which often make me laugh, the secret is a neutral tone, don't get on your high horse as there is always someone out there ready to jump on you!

Resolutions; 1) To record the birds out on the green and in the garden, not a terribly impressive list but I love them all, whether they be starlings, collared doves or the great crows. We also have a hedgehog under the shed, noticed droppings all summer but when P went down to the shops the other day found a baby hedgehog on the pavement, and as it was only about 50 feet from the house we presumed it was ours, so I picked it up and put it by the shed where it dived under quite happily.

This is the very full berry tree outside the house.
Second resolution is to make a small xmas room box for Lillie, took me ages to tidy the dollshouse yesterday.....

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Family have departed, (and have arrived home safely in Whitby) the house sinks quietly back into itself, until we see them again.  They all grow so quickly, Tom arrives on the train Friday evening, the others have arrived a couple of hours earlier.  Grab my camera for the reunion between Tom and Lillie, she comes scampering down the stairs rushing through the sitting room and throws herself at him.  Her slave, she adores him and has missed ordering him around, big hugs all round she clambering all over him in her excitement. But he seems to have has already grown in confidence at uni and answers all the many, many questions fired at him by his mother, seems to be settling in well.
They all go go shopping the next day, we stay behind, shopping is not my favourite pastime, they have a family lunch at their favourite restaurant and then in the afternoon take Tom to the station.  As they walk back Lillie starts to cry as she realises Tom has once more disappeared, "we are not a family anymore" she says and of course sets her mother off in tears as well, but he will be back for the xmas hols......
In the evening when we are playing with the dolls house I tell her the tale of Tom aged about five tying up the Victorian dolls with a chain and stabbing them with the spear she has found, and it brings back memories of my miniature work and the 'Farleigh Hungerford' hall i had created in which he had hung the dolls! She of course plays the same game, with the witch doll, the dolls house is once more in a mess and will take a couple of hours to sort tomorrow, think I will buy her a room box to play with.  My spinning wheel has been spun within an inch of its life, so that the string falls off and it will need realigning.....

Shopping she has brought herself a large Enid Blyton - Brer Rabbit stories, Matilda has bought the hoodie she wanted, Ben buys himself some sport shoes.  Each child is very special, Lillie being the youngest hogs the limelight for the time being. Fireworks have been going off the last two nights, though it has rained very heavily through the day, and snow in the West country, apparently it is the remains of the Sandy storm which has wreaked such havoc in America.

The journey home.