Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Toads and hares

Over the weekend I have had migraines, yesterday also, everything comes to a halt, can't read or work and I resent this enforced rest, but this morning, though I could trace the inside of my head quite accurately the heaviness has disappeared, maybe I'll read the weekend papers!  We are off this weekend up to Whitby, though first calling in to see the family at Todmorden.  I have sorted a couple of houses to look at outside Pickering, which, if we move up North is the place we like, small country town, near to a train station. 
Strangely my house hunting is a bit of a failure, conducted through Rightmove, there is not much too see but we might be a bit choosy.  Taking Cornwall and Yorkshire counties in either hand and feeling their weight, the first thing that strikes you is that Yorkshire houses are more sturdy and attractive, Yorkshire villages with their rows of substantial cottages have a grey-stoned appeal, whereas Cornwall has been somewhat blighted by 'bungaloids' a Dapne Du Maurier term, applied to the rash of bungalows that went up from the 1960s, we will see.
There is a new article about Stonehenge, which has come out, and which I must keep a record of, parched grass revealed that the Stonehenge circle was complete, and that another ring could be spied in the grass encircling the lintelled ring.  All because the hose pipe was too short when it came to watering the dry grass. 
Stonehenge is of course the most debated and visited ancient monument in Britain and it comes as a bit of a surprise to find out that there is something new to learn...
Things to cheer the mind, are a couple of photographs from probably 2006 of harebells and toadflax, a small history to follow.  Also, John Hooker found the replica gold Lansdown 'Sun Disc' on line which is at the British Museum, small and neat found in a Bronze Age barrow,  a thousand blackened bits is all that remained of the original, but the replica glows with the promise of gold and a mysterious star surrounded by small satellite discs.




Dyers weed, though I never picked any to dye with

These beautiful dragonfly haunted the garden every year.

So consulting Grigson on this, he thinks that the beautiful toadflax (linaria vulgaris) is a nuisance, never bring it into the garden,"every quarter of an inch produces another plant", a bit like ground elder I suppose. It has about 30 local names, 'bacon and eggs' for the two toned effect, fairies' lanterns, fingers and thumbs, buttered haycocks, and of course snapdragon which it looks so like. Apparently it was very similar to the flax crop until it flowered and that is why William Turner in 1548 named it.

Harebell -Campanula rotundifolia  Even this frail beauty has a range of names that link it with witches and goblins and Geoffrey Grigson says Bluebell of Scotland no, it was also the Old Man's Bell, the devils bell, which was not to be picked, the Witch Bell, the Witch Thimble, the Cuckoo's Thimble.  The reason of course is the 'hare' in harebell, the hare of course belongs to a witch!


  1. Yes, I love the 'fragile beauty' of harebells too.

    Yes it is the same Susan Hill at The Magic Apple Tree - she is quite a prolific writer and all her books are so well-written.
    Don't know anything about the burst of music and voice on my blog - wonder what it can be.

  2. Hi Pat, there are harebells up on the moors in all those strong winds as well. Must get some more Susan Hill as well....