Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Hoar Frost

This morning it is icy cold, hoar frost must dominate the fields round Essex not so much here but I do love this 'winter wonderland' scene, the starlings descend on their bread with a ferocity of hunger, the doves coo plaintively for their seed. We looked up 'hoar in the dictionary to find that Richard Jeffries has used it for hares, and as an extra bonus, though I did not find the quote in question, I find that Edward Thomas has written about Jeffries on his life, etc which is on the Gutenberg site.
So as I am cooking a hearty soup and have decided to try Nigel Slater's Aubergine Cassoulet recipe Some photos from the past..........

Hoar Frost
"Under clear frosty nights in winter soft ice crystals might form on vegetation or any object that has been chilled below freezing point by radiation cooling. This deposit of ice crystals is known as hoar frost and may sometimes be so thick that it might look like snow. The interlocking ice crystals become attached to branches of trees, leafs, hedgerows and grass blades and are one of the most prominent features of a typical 'winter wonderland' day. However, the fine 'feathers', 'needles' and 'spines' might also be found on any other object that is exposed to supersaturated air below freezing temperature."

Hoar; Definition adj

Old English har "hoary, gray, venerable, old," the connecting notion being gray hair, from Proto-Germanic *haira (cf. Old Norse harr "gray-haired, old," Old Saxon, Old High German her "distinguished, noble, glorious," German hehr), from PIE *kei-, source of color adjectives. German also uses the word as a title of respect, in Herr. Of frost, it is recorded in Old English, perhaps expressing the resemblance of the white feathers of frost to an old man's beard. Used as an attribute of boundary stones in Anglo-Saxon, perhaps in reference to being gray with lichens, hence its appearance in place-names

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Post Christmas

We also roasted chestnuts on this fire

Well we had a very good christmas, got up fairly early had a conversation on F/B with my daughter and then my son phoned which made my day.  LS said it was the best Xmas he had ever had, we cooked together, my yorkshire puddings came up beautifully, and the very expensive piece of fillet steak he had bought (£14) was savoured by him, me I kept to the vegetables!
We went a walk on xmas eve, and I took photos of the grasses in the small garden that is part of the 'green space' round here.  No snow has arrived down this part of the world it seems more centrally spaced.  The rose above was part of the scene, there were several roses in fact, they must be hardy coming from high mountain reaches.
Today I wake up with a migraine headache, but have ordered two books for my birthday in January, my mind and fingers itch to work!  The children have all emailed their thank you letters, I give them money, on the understanding that it is much better for them to choose what they like rather then receive presents they don't like, and today their is a shopping spree to Leeds planned I believe...  

Strange Japanese statue, she always gets her bouquet at Xmas

Feelin Good;  Naamfon the elephant has her freedom after 63 years working as a tourist elephant, rejoice in this 15 minute video....

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve

I have just made some crap peanut butter biscuits, hopefully they will taste better than they look! It is almost upon us and I am feeling a little sad for the family.  It was much easier for us to stay here in Chelmsford, but I miss my son and Ephraim, (when he is quiet of course). The grandchildren will be anticipating Xmas, the tree done, pressies spread around.  They have grown so quickly in the passing years giving so much fun and enjoyment, their parents coping with the problems that today's world beset them with..... And for my partner Paul, who is always by my side and I adore, I am quite happy with him ;).
You will never see a photo of Paul on the internet, he is quite handsome but unfortunately a nasty incident with a photo of his made him declare never again. I am incredibly proud of my son and daughter, my son for his gentle nature and my daughter who is so much more than me, always holding down a job and looking after four wonderful children.  And Darron their father, he transformed the cottage for me, as he has with their houses, a love of DIY methinks. They now have disco lights round their aga!

Me, with my lousy camera, this is a favourite mirror that now resides in my daughter's house

Grandchildren. Some time in the past


Mark in Accra

The family at the Fox and Raven

Monday, December 22, 2014

Due Dates

The cottage on the hill near Egdon had a funny sign on its wall, so LS went hunting out why nothing happened on this particular date, and he came up with the following on someone's blog, interesting is it not. Time not existing is the way I can only describe it, not a true and logical deduction.  But with all this talk of the Solstice, a whole 13 days vanished to make our logical time fix with the cyclical time of our earth, sun and moon.  Yes I know the difference between the calendars but watching a debate take place on the internet about the 56 Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge it makes you wonder if our prehistoric fore fathers had the same problem, especially on dull grey days as we are having at the moment.  For instance, you can celebrate the solstice on the 21st December, but Stonehenge visitors are celebrating it on the 22nd December which is a Monday, the solstice sun lapping over several days....

"One interesting theory I found was that the 1782 is a typo. In 1752, the British Empire changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar calculated leap years differently, amongst other changes (it’s the source of the ‘divisible by 400’ bit of working out leap years). Unfortunately, at the time of the change, the Julian calendar was out of step with the Gregorian calendar, by 13 days. The only way to fix this was to just change the date.

When the dates changed, the calendar just changed September 1752 went from the 2nd to the 14th. The dates in between never happened. If you ask a modern Unix for the calendar for September 1752, it shows the dates missing:"

Taken from this site

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Happy Solstice

Moonstone by Christine Bozier

Night airs that make tree-shadows walk, and sheep
Washed white in the cold moonshine on grey cliffs.

             Walter Savage Landor

This beautiful print came in the post yesterday, it is by the partner of LS's brother. Christine.   Keith (LS's brother) writes about ghosts, onto his second book at the moment, you can find him in my blog list under Haunted Wiltshire.  I have a pendant moonstone as well, in its dark green translucent interior you can see tall fir trees  a never ending forest...


Welcome to the Moon

Welcome, precious stone of the night,
Delight of the skies, precious stone of the night,
Mother of stars, precious stone of the night,
Child reared by the sun, precious stone of the night,
Excellency of stars, precious stone of the night.

From the Gaelic

 As the short days grow towards their zenith and  the Solstice, and slowly the long unwinding of night time begins to turn into daylight, measuring its way  towards spring, the small prayer above always comes to my mind.  It kindles in me a memory at Avebury when in the early days of our meeting, maybe  I should call it courtship,  LS and I stood on a freezing cold night under the great stones of the Cove.  We were remembering  someone from the past, let us call her 'Treaclechops', for that was her avatar, who had died far too young.  I shall never forget the stones bathed in the cold light of the moon, which hung above our heads, the lines of it geological unknowingness carved  into its surface, just like the craters and patterns on the Didcot Mirror.

As LS's brother lives near Devizes in Wiltshire we do not see much of them, but both of them work as volunteers over the weekend at Avebury Manor,  Keith as a guide of course always tells ghost stories of which the manor has a couple, the Red Lion pub further down in the village has the reputation of being the most haunted pub (probably amongst many) in England, Keith has never seen any ghosts at all though!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hoards - Chelmsford Museum

The  White Horse of Uffington
Our trip on Thursday into Chelmsford for a meal also included a visit to the Marconi building, Chelmsford is where radio began (well maybe), the building is to be developed into flats.  Having some time to kill, and foregoing a trip to the Chinese shop we decided to visit the museum. Chelmsford Museum is  a slightly dull place, could be because of all the Marconi equipment that towers like huge banks of old fashioned computers awash with dials and knobs.  We live in an age now when that tiny square mobile phone in your hand can reach out to the world, but those first morse code dots and dashes was the beginning of it all.
But wandering through the rather dusty history section, which needs a good updating, LS took photos (with his phone) of the gold coins below and my mind is off wandering down the avenues of speculative thought, were these hoards buried in times of trouble, or were they the safest bank around, the dark earth concealing the hidden shine.  Found by detectorists some years back these three hoards revealed themselves to the world.  I like the little story of how the detectorists and the landowner were denied 60 per cent of the value of the coins because....

The Valuation Committee agreed an abatement of the award of sixty per cent on the grounds that the coins had not been reported 'promptly or honestly, as required under the Treasure Act Code of Practice'.  

Mr. Newitt was responsible for discovering all three hoards, two at Great Waltham and one at Great Leighs.  Why the White Horse of Uffington at the top? because if you look closely many of the 'pony' coins have a similarity to the Durotrigian pony at Uffington. Like the enormous Marconi machines taken over by tablets and mobiles, the ponies of the Iron Age were the equivalent of the sports car of today.

The Great Waltham Hoard


Great Leighs Hoard

Though I love gold, the interest of these coins is in their manufacture, their travel, the hands that held them, part of a history given to those strange Celtic people  who were part of Caesar's army as they marched into Britain and so began 400 hundred years of domination for the British.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Just a news item, though I am thrilled that Em has drawn me a beautiful portrait of Moss, a photo of which she sent last night, but that will come in the New Year.  Today a migraine hovers behind my eyes and it is also LS's birthday, so we are going to town for a meal and to photograph the Marconi Building and hopefully my head will not give way to a full blown migraine!

But the news that the Didcot Mirror was saved from leaving the country is good, not as beautiful as the Desborough, Mirror, Celtic craftmanship at its best, but the curvilinear design is simplified in the Didcot.  There is a quote below outlining some of the uses for the mirrors, it must also not be forgotten that Iron Age men had very fancy hairstyles as well.

Didcot Mirror

 “They would certainly have been prestigious items, owned by few people. Mirrors can be used to reflect light into dark spaces or to signal across distances as well as to apply make-up or check your hair. In many cultures mirrors are magical objects, which reflect an alternative view of the world, or act as a portal to another world, like Alice found in Through the Looking Glass. This may well have been the case in Iron Age, Druidic society, and mirrors may be connected to fortune telling or shamanic activity. While this mirror was a casual find with no archaeological context, some have been found in association with cremation burials, so mirrors may also have had a function connected with death or afterlife.”

Detail on Didcot mirror


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Melting Cheese....

Modern raclette machine
Today I shall write about raclette, a certain nostalgia for Swiss cheeses filters through.  I love cheese, the gooier the better as far as Camemberts and bries are concerned, and the strong smell of gruyere or the raclette cheese will have a profound effect on my nose!  Previous Christmas's my son and I always used to opt for a good fondue, downed with baguette, sweet pickled onions and gherkins, plus tea of course you must always have something acid or hot to break down the cheese.

If you were to go to a Swiss restaurant, the great raclette round of melting cheese would be held against the vertical bars of an open fire giving off the most delicious smell, and then you would either have it on your potatoes, or anything else, charcuterie maybe.
Of course you have to like strong cheeses, no pale insipid cheddars for me, emmenthal which is used with gruyere to make a fondue is also fairly bland, therefore the buying of a decent gruyere is imperative.
Raclette has a history of course, when the farmers in Switzerland took their cows up into the mountain to the summer pastures, this cheese would be ideal round the camp fire.

A photo I took from this year's holiday snap.  The family in Gruyere, where the cheese factory is.

There is a photo somewhere taken just under 40 years ago, with me, Karen at about 4 years old and Marc her cousin sat on the well behind the family, it has not changed from the pretty Swiss town it always has been.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Wellow Brook in summer

But now 'tis Winter, child,
And bitter north winds blow,
The ways are wet and wild,
The land is laid in snow.

Taken from Robert Bridges - The Idle Flowers

Soon it will be the Solstice, the turning of the year and then of course Xmas.  Sometime at this time of the year it is difficult to write about things, yesterday I sorted through my blogs on the East Kennett long barrow but that was about all.

East Kennett Long barrow hidden behind a screen of trees

  The family have been for the weekend to the cottage, my two middle grandchildren still have friends in Whitby.  Matilda's birthday last week, LSs birthday this week, no trip anywhere but a  meal out. This will probably be at Loch Fine restaurant, which you can gather  is a fish restaurant.  LS has avoided this restaurant for ages, basically because at our last meal there with friends he got what he considers re-fried fish cakes, scooped out of the dustbin; now whether that last is really true I don't think so but it makes a good story. 

The back of Stoney Littleton

I quite look forward to the Solstice, it reminds me of Stoney Littleton long barrow, in which on the 21st December the sun rising is supposed to hit the back of the chamber.  Introducing LS to Stoney Littleton and East Kennett Long barrow in those early days were the 'happy times of summer' when the sun shone and the wild flowers bloomed and an element of nostalgia creeps into one's mind! And he says that a trip to Stoney Littleton and a meal at the pub in Wellow would be his choice of a 'special occasion'

Moss also enjoyed the treks to the barrows




Saturday, December 13, 2014


I have been busy spinning, so it gives me time to listen to online talks, yesterday was Noam Chomsky, but today I picked up a rather beautiful 2 minutes of growing fungi by someone called
Louie Schwartzberg, so for two minutes be entranced by growing mushrooms. Though his job is a mycologist, he seems like another interesting philosophical strand to follow.  Nature is intelligent?
Mushroom photos are from 2013, the season is over but already we travel towards the shortest time of the year, and then we flip over as the days get longer, manouvre past Christmas and the two coldest months in the year and then into spring and growth!

A shaggy parasol

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Something to smile at...

Brilliant outtakes from Michael Bott and Rupert Soskin, when they made their 'Standing with Stones' Dvd.  It came to mind when Weaver of Grass mentioned Langdale axes, and there is a small sketch, can't think of a better word, when Rupert Soskin in the cold and mist on top of Langdale Pike's steep slopes tries to find a stone he has laid out previously.
The complete dvd is an excellent resource to finding your way round the Neolithic monuments of this country, and in truth a way of seeing the diverse landscapes Britain  offers.  There are chapters of Standing with Stone on Youtube should you wish to explore further.  Rupert starts with a monument just outside Bath - Stoney Littleton long barrow.


Langdale Axescape

Going over old ground

This is a blog I wrote in April 2008, and I must have been reading MacCana at the time. what comes over to me is the sheer delight I took in the Celtic world.  Not a scholarly one, but that sense of history happening in the landscape, just out of touch, a different world that the mind could dwell on.
What is also striking is  the 500 BC Glauberg sandstone figure, below which I saw at the Stuttgart Museum in 2013, I was in an absolute awe-struck state of mind at the time seeing such treasures as the Gundestrup Cauldron the great golden torcs and then this statue facing me across the room, he definitely got a 'wow' from me!  So on to what I wrote at the time, I see that I have included the 'Nemetona' shrines which of course I learnt later in fact that there are several place names containing traces of this word in Devon.

Shrines, rivers and gods continued..

Celtic naming of rivers stems from the fact that as the Romans conquered or colonised, whichever you prefer, they kept the indigenous names of the rivers. Rivers like mountains are always there, they have their own identity and perhaps even the romans were afraid of the river gods to change such names. The river Thames in London had many valuable votive 'offerings' thrown into it, some might argue by chance these things had fallen in, such as the famous Battersea shield, but there are numerous finds from the earlier bronze age to suggest that the river itself had a special meaning.

British Museum Catalogue 1906
Miranda Green occasionally takes issue with Anne Ross, but her own writings on the celtic gods follow through quite closely. One goddess Nantosuelto in Gaul is twinned with Sucellus, but her name means 'winding river' although she also appears with a raven and that can mean death and the underworld.

Arnemetia was a romano-british

goddess her shrine was at Aquae Arnemetiae ("waters of Arnemetia"), in Derbyshire. Arnemetia's name contains the same Celtic root as nemeton, meaning "sacred grove", so her name is interpreted as "she who dwells over against the sacred grove". (taken from Miranda Green).

Nemetona is also a goddess, worshipped in Treve, but also mentioned at Aquae Sulis with her consort where a native of Treves erected an altar to Mars Loucetius and Nemetona.

MacCana the Irish historian, says of the Celts "Ancient Irish had little sense of a clear and palpable line of demarcation between the supernatural and the secular....flexible combination of a routine pragmatism and unquestioning belief in the power of ritual and mythic precedent"

Which just about says it all for any religious faith, it is after all better to believe than not believe, even if there is no truth in what you believe.....

One of the problems when encountering all these many gods, is to my mind that they don't necessarily match up, Irish literature gives us tales of Irish mythology, as does Welsh through the Mabigonen, and perhaps the Gallic Celtic tradition is different again, we have gods with different names, often masquerading under the Roman gods. Yet what we see in England, is Roman depiction of the gods, the odd stray Celtic name may still be found but the archaeological evidence for native shrines is so thin on the ground in this part of the West country as to be non-existent, what we do have in the record seems to be stray finds of the imported gods/beliefs of the foot soldiers that made up the legions.
MacCana goes on to say that the underlying unity of Celtic myth and religion does not exist because it was not written down, thereby of course giving it a fluidity of movement in interpretation. All we have to go by is various roman writings describing the Celts through the lense of a different social and political order. That the romans were impressed by these people is evident in the friezes and statuary that depict Gaulish celts dying naked in battle, trampled underfoot by horses, commiting suicide when the battle was lost - their bravery, courage and belief in an afterlife are captured in stone for posterity.

Again, we find that the early medieval literature that records the mythology tradition of Irelnad and Wales is transmitted through the veil of christianity by scribing monks, which began in in the 7th/8th century, all of which was further copied in the late 11th/12th century in expanded texts. By then writers such as Geoffrey of Monmouth had woven stories and fables from these writings, further influenced by the French storytellers, until everything becomes woven into a magic fairytale of many threads.
Some basic celtic motifs such as the Triads, the importance of three, comes out in the virgin, mother and hag, and we can trace their path through the cucullati the three hooded figures, found in iconagraphy in Britain, especially round the West country, either men or women. Theeir faces and sex are hidden in the folds of their hoods, yet some carry the symbols of fertility, therefore are seen as women.
Sacred landscape; The 'naming of the land', its hills,mountains, rivers, confluences and springs. Its sacred geography worked out in the great cosmography of the spiritual world.The overworld of the sky, the 'middle earth' and the the underworld all fitted into the fabric of place. The gods were ephremal, they could be given names, locations and attributes, they could also be carried from one sanctuary or shrine to the next - nothing is static all is fluid.
When Caesar names the Celtic gods he gives them Roman names, so he says..'of the gods they worship Mercury most of all, he has the greatest number of images'. It is in the imagination of course that these gods exist, whether by a roman foot soldier, celtic warrior or a new pagan of today. Mercury therefore translates into the god Lugus; Irish Lugh; Welsh Lleu, he was the 'inventor of all the arts'. The young god who overcomes the wicked underworld figures, and his feast lughnasadh was celebrated throughout the celtic land. According to MacCana, Mercury in one Irish tale is seen as the king of the otherworld, paired with a woman identified as the sovereignity of Ireland; a pairing similar to the Gaulish Mercury's association with the goddess Rosmerta (or Maia) she is also found at Aqua Sulis. Though this soverign pairing of the land through the goddess with the king seems only to be found in Ireland, the Tara ceremonies testify to this.
Rosmerta, Nantosuelto, Damona, Sirona, and Nemetona on the continent are goddesses paired with male deities, the goddess, as mother a representation of the earth. The Irish goddesses Eriu, Fodla and Banbha are personifications identified with individual provinces, going back to the sacred landscape represented by human identity. Of course the goddess in Irish tradition is also terribly destructive, she teaches the art of war; the terrible trio the 'Morrigans', who are to be found on the battlefields inciting the fighters, working their terrible magic.
MacCana equates the goddess Brigit with Minerva, latinised as Brigantia 'Exalted one'. If this is true what does it make of our Bath goddess Sulis matched with Minerva?


The Warrior Lord of Glauberg

This marvellous Celtic sandstone stature was found recently at Glauberg, Germany just outside a warrior barrow, the two 'earlike' projections on his head are thought to be representations of mistletoe leaves, he is probably one of four statues worshiped at this site.

He was a lucky find when I was reading the excavations of the Roquerpertuse shrine, translated beautifully by Babelfish, a similar but double headed head was found there. Again two warrior statues, and a lintel with four horse heads carved upon it. But of course the crowning glory of the site was the archway with cavities on each side for the display of skulls, presumably their enemies defeated in battle. The two warrior statures here are probably earlier than Glauberg, as they are seated in a cross-legged style, and are dated to 500 bc approximately.
Roquerpertuse has bird significance as well, Miranda Green records a great free standing bird, probably a goose there. Geese are of course fierce creatures when approached and would have been seen as a warlike bird. She also mentions a bird of prey displayed on the shrine holding two skulls.

The Yorkshire Hoards

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Watersplash - Henry Herbert La Thangue (1859-1929)

Just to return to one of my favourite paintings which is of geese, this painting always graced the stairs of the Victoria Gallery in Bath, and its warm sunny rural nature always gladdened the heart as you went up the steps to the gallery.  The painting went on a journey to America last year but has now safely returned.
Sad that these rather clumsy beautiful creatures make such good Christmas fare!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sheer waffle - Tuesday

Today a Buddha painting will dominate the page for awhile because I am feeling rather homesick for Yorkshire, or more precisely the moors. (So how do you marry those two up?)  When I woke up this morning, it was very cold, frost on the roof of the shed and the whole picture bathed in that beautiful pink glow only cold can bring. The phone rings, the BM van won't start, they will try to come this afternoon, and that is why memories of this enormous painting on the work bench comes fleeting through my mind.  The Australian (actually he did originally come from Chelmsford) had it delivered a couple of years ago for restoration and it became my favourite, it eventually went on to auction in Europe somewhere.

The Buddha seated calm attitude is what I would like to achieve as well but my magpie mind chatters away to itself refusing to be quiet.  In actual fact there were I think two statues in the Celtic shrine of  Roquerpertuse  who were also in the lotus position which I featured yesterday.

So why the moors, I think it is the clear calm coldness of today, though of course this being England we shall probably see rain by this afternoon.  To walk on the moors is not easy, the thick heather catches at ones ankles, the ground is often wet and squelches underfoot, then there are the rocks that lie so easily near the surface.  Sheep dot the dark heathers, and if you walk quietly you will spot grouse hiding in the undergrowth.  Once I came upon blue harebells by the side of the road, such a pleasant shock, and if I was better informed as to what was the difference between ling and heather, I could even find them!

Trees are few and far  on the moors, apart from forestry plantations, hawthorn bushes shaped by the winds are what you would see and of course in the deeper hollows of the sheltering valleys.

But if you go down to my favourite spot, the trees line the beck that tumbles over  obstructive  rocks, the brown waters creaming against the grey of the rock.  Here you will find where the beck crosses the lane, the beautiful rowans following its course, several trees have seeded themselves.  Here one's mind can rest, in that space of water, rock and tree.

To begin at the beginning or Under Milkwood a short trailer in Welsh...

Monday, December 8, 2014

A guarding goose maybe

Celtic Sanctuaries


This picture is taken from Celtic Mythology by Proinsias MacCana - 1970  a Hamlyn book. This book has been typeset  on rough, faintly cream paper and all the photos have an air of grainy ghastliness that is so evocative of the Celtic period (that is probably why I love it).
But the thing that brought this particular image to mind was the supposed goose on top of the pediment, even Miranda Green calls it a goose, but later minds think that it is a raptor, actually I am quite happy with a goose, or maybe a vulture, given the fact that geese are used to guard one's property.  What is so striking though when I went to investigate this Portico of the Celto-Ligurian temple of Roquerpertuse, was the restoration work that had taken place in the succeeding years after the above photo was taken...

The horror of the gaping mouths of the skulls have gone, if you know about Celtic mythology, the head of one's enemies is respected and therefore becomes one of the trophies of war, the 'head cult' was one of the distinctive features of  the Celtic tribes, as was the symbolism of animals and birds part of their artistic culture.
When you look at these pillars, it becomes obvious how far we are removed from their world, almost alien one might think.  War and fighting was normal, and the mysterious otherworld held stories we can only dream about.  There is a photo in Miranda Green's book of a Roman carving of a baby in a cot with a dog sleeping at its feet, again so different.
And then again there is this fearsome Celtic head guarding the Roman temple of Aqua Sulis on the portico.....

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Typical timber and brick Essex house

LS is throwing books down from the loft, Abstracts of Archaeology and Art, great heavy tomes that have never been read going back years.  Clearing out has a certain satisfaction it is like removing a heavy weight from one's back.  The great bags of magazines that also came down are for Kesukie, and there is more stuff in the studio that the BM will pick up next week. 
Geese flew low over the roof tops this morning, a beautiful sight, were they coming in from the estuary to feed in the fields, who knows but their voices have been heard most days as they fly inland.
Exciting but they are considered something of a nuisance by farmers.  Having brought many types of food to encourage the small birds, (I already have a flock of 20/30 sparrows) the starlings are very hungry at the moment and attack any food that I put out which is a bit discouraging, if I want to see some of the smaller birds.
Another box hits the ground from the loft smashing open and revealing its contents of conservation magazines, luckily I had been told to stay in my study as the string broke....  Perhaps we should all invest in a Kindle, storing books and magazines is backbreaking!

I turn to photos for relief from the grayness outside, and find this which brought a smile to my face when I saw it. 

And those few lines of Mary Oliver's poem, Wild Geese echoes once again in the memory....

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.