Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Everything is quiet, the two men who have been erecting the fence are coming today at 10 to finish making the gates, the 'wall' has gone up!  Chickens should be pleased because they will have the run of the garden eventually.  The men worked efficiently over the two days and got a lot done without too much damage to the garden, now we must start to plan some beds and what to plant.
Photos are higgledy piggledy, a young hedgehog in the grave yard, apples from a neighbour over the road, (we will be trading eggs) and a find from the holes dug,  a small pottery, maybe mustard pot, and a small glass bottle, which should go into the small 'Victorian shop' that the 'apple' neighbour has made in his cottage.

before and after photos

LS pondered long and hard on angles to this fence, we are copying the slanting design of the pub next door, the small gate is an afterthought, because of roaming animals and opening the large gates......

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A day of quietitude

What to write about, nothing much is happening in the garden, Sue brought me a dwarf budleia which has been planted, but I cannot buy any bushes until the fence is up.  This should start happening tomorrow, I have also been looking at the Blue Cross animal rescue site the last few weeks for a dog, and have just filed an application for a black spaniel, 8 and half years old called Tia, whether I shall get her or not remains in the lap of the gods, and the judgement of the people at Blue Cross which is at Thirsk.
I have ordered spring bulbs, not arrived yet and want to go to Castle Howard nursery centre for a hedge for the front of the house.  Then there is the Lavender place just down the road from Castle Howard to York which everything is on hold once more.
This photo of the shadowed hare on the wall, is something I see when we have coffee in the morning, it reminds me of the rabbit I see out of the window occasionally, a dark silhouette in the field.

Evening sun lighting up the coke house
William Cowper the poet kept three hares as pets, he wrote a poem about Tiney, and his last hare Puss lived to 11 years of age.  He seemed to have lived on the edge of his nerves, any grief unsettling him. Attempts at suicide, then being placed in an asylum, for a couple of years; modern divination puts it down to 'manic depression'.  But it wise to remember him in the evening, with his three hares playing on the 'turkish rug' that was their green field, his gentle manner making note of their mannerisms.........

Friday, September 25, 2015


Yesterday we went sightseeing with our visitors, and ended up at Rievaulx Abbey.  All change now that Autumn is just around the corner, the big field for parking cars had been gated and two horses grazed within, so we wandered down the lane and went inside the 'slipper' church, no, not the place you leave your shoes, though I believe they do it at Walsingham, and walk the last mile with bare feet but... according to Wikipedia
  "The word 'Slipper' comes from the word 'slipe' (or 'slype'), meaning to slide, to move out of the rest of England into the holy land of Walsingham, and probably has nothing to do with pilgrims actually walking in slippers or even barefoot."

Though here in this PDF, it states that the 'Gate Church' was situated between the gates of the abbey and people changed their shoes here for lighter wear.
Older tractors here, the little hamlet is very pretty

Thatched cottage, with a glimpse of Lillie on the lead

Approaching the church

Austere and plain.
We stopped off to wander round Helmsley, G being very taken with it, wandered into the craft display in the centre, and chattered to a potter, elegant but expensive ware, and then went to find a cup of tea at about five past four.  Tea shops were closing down, at the precise hour you have a cup of tea.  It was almost as if the turning of the season, and less tourists had dictated a retreat at 4 p.m.  We did find a place eventually, after dismissing The Swan Hotel as too expensive at £19 for a cream tea......

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Going Slow

The sun is just breaking through the mist, a day to be  spent with people coming to do things.  The antique man is coming to look at the chairs in the garage, the electrician from Whitby to put up an outside lamp.
A blog started and never finished, but they have both gone clutching half a dozen eggs each! I started to browse other blogs, and came across this 'slow movement', in this instance not slow food, but the slow wardrobe , and immediately became inspired, it was on Tom Holland's blog, a person who teaches darning, and the blog I followed through was to Wovember.
Well I do not have a large wardrobe of clothes, I replace when needed, in fact only half a wardrobe, three dresses, a few skirts and jeans. I do however knit, so I have plenty of jumpers, and also spin, which I have just started again.  The wool I am spinning at the moment is blue faced leicester, and my latest knitting project, which I wasn't quite happy with is finished, and I am on to my next piece of knitting.  What I am looking forward to is making a cot blanket for a baby yet to be born in December, LS's first grandchild, and boy is he happy over this event, for he thought he would never become a grandfather....

The sweater spun and knitted, which did not turn out too badly..

Patching and darning could of course become fashionable, remember patching my old tent when I was widowed, and my daughter and I had holidays in it, it looked pretty the blue fly cover patched in Laura Ashley materials....

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday - 20th September

Yesterday, a beautiful still day we decided to go for a walk in Keldy Forest, did not quite make it as we stopped off to explore a public footpath into another wood, called Spring Wood.  A mixture of old indigenous trees and then the forestry plantations of pine intermingled all along the road to Hutton-le-Hole.  The land is hilly, and sits on rock, as we wandered round there is evidence of small scale quarrying with old trees seemingly growing out of the rock.  Wild flowers are not to be seen in amongst these acid loving trees, though I did find water mint, at one old overgrown quarry.

soft silver-green downy leaves - mint

a path we did not take

The path we did take took us down a small lane leading to Lingmoor Farm, we did not make it to the farm but turned down a rutted forestry path alongside a dry beck.  No blackberries but a wet and muddy trackway which we wandered along for about half a mile, then turned and came back. Rejoining the small lane and exploring the old bridge over the beck, and I decided there must have been a small hamlet round here at one time.  We had come through a small village called Keldholm - the place by the spring/water meadows, which had at one time a priory.... 
Photos only show the green coolness of the woods, a tangle of scattered twigs and branches....

Ferns and nettle in an old quarry
Yesterday a strange hen wandered into our garden, and spent most of the day round our chicken run. as we do not have any more room in the hutch, we had to find the owner.  Well it wasn't Nigel across the road, he guessed that it probably belonged to Nelson, a recluse.  So in the evening we went in search of Nelson.  We knew he lived in a mobile home on  land that belongs to the pub that runs beside the river.  Discovering a gate in what seemed to be  solid fencing, opening it to be greeted by hens, ducks, geese, and Nelson himself.  He came round to get the hen, apparently he had just bought 50 from one of these terrible battery places.  He sells his eggs, and keeps bees as well.  their hives he keeps up on the moors for the nectar from heather, and also sells the honey on an old table just outside the pub. His lifestyle is different, and yet he was a good person, and very chatty.  Apparently a few years ago, his first mobile home burnt down, killing his small dog, and then he built himself a steel enclosed one.  Whilst we worry about finding homes for all the refugees, it is well to remember that other people also do not have permanent homes, they live on the fringes of our society (not paying council tax as a passing neighbour complained) protected to a greater extent by the people around them - thank goodness ;)

Lingmoor Cave or Excalibur Cave

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday the 18th September

Anyone who passes Horcum Hole, will know the Saltergate Inn on the bend as you cross the moors.

It stands ugly and unwanted, a 17th century pub with a story about a fire that must always be kept going because of some ugly deed of death and the excise officer buried beneath the fireplace.  It should be pulled down really, the council though (Scarborough) says that it should be refurbished, but the present owner cannot afford it. 
Well we always pass it on our way to Whitby, which we did yesterday, the small building alongside, a cottage, does not look too bad but the inn itself is a mess.
Capturing the journey from the car, I missed out on the Inn, but the bleak feel of the moor stands out against a cloud studded blue sky.  This enormous panorama is very uplifting, the spirit calms down as the eye travels for miles on uninterrupted views.

We go to get rid of stuff at the recycling centre, to visit Sainsbury for all those things the Co-op and Lidl in Pickering do not have and to look in on the cottage.  Whitby not quite so crowded now that the children have gone back to school but bustling in its own particular fashion.
The skies are glorious at this time of year, when I go to put the hens in the evening the sun is just setting behind the trees in the church yard, often everything  is lit up in a warm glow of soft peach, other times the sky streaked in cream and grey clouds.  Two out of three hens will have settled for the night, there is always a third who pops out enquiringly to see if there is any more food on offer, mostly I unceremoniously bundle her back and shut the hatch firmly....

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday and its Sunny!

A tranquil cottage in the village of Rievaulx
It rained in a biblical fashion yesterday, the road outside was flooded, and the cars swooshed through the water sending little silver waves scuttling down the tarmac.  Of course other parts of the world experienced a different flooding as here in Japan. By evening the waters had disappeared, there seems to be a problem with the drains here at the end of the village. when we walked up to the bridge the other day, they had been strengthening the banks of the river, must take a photo!
The town of Pickering floods every now and then, and to stop this a reservoir has been built up on the moors to catch the water as it flows down from the moor, our river Seven has also been included in the catchment area.. The land around here was of course marshy right up to the medieval period, and the strong Scandinavian influence in the names of the villages round here, point to these colonists farming the inferior low lying land.  Though now of course as the grain and straw moves through the village on a daily basis, this land is yielding a rich harvest.  Sadly of course this makes the price of wheat go down, as the farmers are already adding to the remains of a good harvest from last year.

Edit;  LS has been talking to N across the road, apparently, there is a valve in the drain just past the pub, which stops the river back washing into the village, so yesterday the valve blocked the water going down from the village into the river.

Pickering bund flood defences;

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Berries on Sunday

By the craggy hillside,
through the mosses bare,
they have planted thorn trees
For pleasure here and there,
Is any man so daring,
As dig them up in spite
He shall find their sharpest thorns
In his bed at night.

William Allingham

Hawthorn berries

Going out to feed the hens this morning, I stopped and listened to the chatter of the crows up in the trees, they are very noisy of late.  A sheep wandered by on the other side of the hedge, and I went in and grabbed my camera to take a photo of this large hawthorn bush in the graveyard, wondering if I will see the fieldfares this winter feast upon them.  The collared dove flew down, had I put out her food? no, so she was fed.....

The Woodland Trust has put out a survey for what is happening in Autumn, leaves changing, ripening of berries and how the birds change.  Our swallows seem to have gone for instance. Looking up recipes for cooking hawthorn berries, one is a chutney, the other a jelly.  Reminds me of the quince jelly my first mother-in-law used to make, sweet/sour and a gorgeous colour..

Here is the holly bush behind the fence full of green berries, wonder if there will be any left for xmas?

Then there is the news of another 'escapee', this time a socialist has escaped the binds of 'New Labour', apart from the 'woe and betiders', there are many, including myself who rejoice at this unexpected turn of events.  Go get them Corbyn ;)

Saturday - 12th September

Rievaulx Abbey

When you look at the ruins of this Abbey and remember all the other abbeys that were brought low by Henry V111th it is almost a 'Palmyra' experience, take the following figures and see what a profound effect it must have had on the country..... 
The dissolution of the monasteries in the late 1530s was one of the most revolutionary events in English history. There were nearly 900 religious houses in England, around 260 for monks, 300 for regular canons, 142 nunneries and 183 friaries; some 12,000 people in total, 4,000 monks, 3,000 canons, 3,000 friars and 2,000 adult man in fifty was in religious orders (the total population estimated at the time was 2.75 million).
money needed to fund war, the king's need for a divorce settlement, there were obviously many other reasons, the acts of destruction as the buildings were handed out to the favoured,  but it must have sparked off a revolution of sheer panic in the countryside. Removing lead roofs leading to the decay of the buildings and then the taking of stone to build other houses added to the onslaught.  True the religious houses had got rich over time acquiring wealth from rich patrons, land that was bountiful in its produce, but it must also have been a very stable way of life for the peasantry.
The monks were served by lay brothers in their brown habits, who did the manual labour, but they got tired of being the unpaid worker and slowly over time left the monastic houses.  Which meant the monks had to employ, and pay, local people.
There is little doubt that these great monastic houses, edifices to the power of religion, are stunning in their ruined grandeur, the works of men brought low by greed, or perhaps history moving on, the power of the crown against the church.......

Tanning vats.

Restored colonnade around the  green space of the cloisters

The chapter house

Shrine of Abbot William
This I think is the refectory, but the pillars would have supported the floor above.  You can see the two stages of building in the different stonework.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Outings - Rievaulx Abbey

Just a couple of photos of Rievaulx Abbey which we visited today.  Sitting deep in the valley with  the steep Hambledon hills all around, the ruins are at their most 'picturesque'.  I wonder what it really would have been like in its heyday.  Noisy, smelly, people wandering in and out of the infirmary, pilgrims camped outside.  There would have been animals as well, and all the accompanying noise of the abbey food kitchen, bells ringing.  All happening in this deep secluded valley well away from the towns....

Looking south

surrounded by hills

The later nave

The alter

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday 10th September

The swallows are still with us, there is even young in the nests under the eaves of the church.  LS got worried yesterday, as workmen are removing the drainpipes and replacing them with new ones.  How would the nests fare?  Well they seem to be alright, there are three nests on the south side and the swallows are still flying in and out.  They leave, according to the RSPB, in September and October, so our English swallows should be going to South Africa  soon, many will not make it of course... There is the tale of course by Gilbert White, 18th century naturalist, who believed that swallows hibernated under water.

There are three nests under the left hand side of the building.

Our hens  are still laying, though people we have spoken to say their hens have stopped laying, but each day we normally have three eggs, given some away, think our hens because they point of lay are young and vigorous, shall be happy when they lay less!

Yesterday we went to look at a church on the way to Pickering, the church at Middleton, but the church was closed, and so for a time, these photos will have to do., the Scandinavian crosses though inside the church look in very good condition.

What I did manage to capture though was the outside fragmented remains, the lower half of the tower is Saxon and has embedded in its fabric an 8th century cross head..second photo below.....

There has been a church here since Saxon times and the base of the tower is Saxon. On the west wall is a blocked off Saxon doorway with a later oval window at the top. Embedded in the wall above is an 8thC Anglian cross. The top with battlements is later as are the large bell windows......

The 8th Century cross above the west door

South door 13th century

The sun dial above the south door, apparently dated 1782

And a bit of news to keep an eye on.... Doggerland to be repopulated