Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday - 30th October

It is raining this morning, as it was yesterday, dull, grey and miserable.  The family are coming tomorrow so I hope it clears up.  My daughter is worried about the two dogs getting on, and has said they will stay at the cottage if there is trouble.  Lucy has settled down mostly, though still wanders around with something in her mouth.  She barked late yesterday evening looking out of the french doors in the kitchen, not sure if there was a fox in the garden after the chickens.
Sunday we go for drinks at 12 to Cs., we met her in Kirkby on market day (wednesday) looking for a 'box of wine'. It poured that day to, poor traders with their birthday cards, cakes, meat and fish not a particularly good day for selling stuff.
Shopping in small towns need a new approach, we have always shopped in large supermarkets where everything is to hand, now the odd items are missing, coffee beans I have ordered from 'Bettys,' anyone who has been to York will know the famous tea shop. We can get a 'slot' from Sainsbury for a £1, ie they deliver to the house, but of course you don't always get what you want and things are substituted. 
We need logs and collect those from a saw mill run by a family, it looks a bit run down, great open sided sheds, and where the offcuts are sawn and bagged up.  Sewing a patchwork runner for Xmas, and contemplating plants for the garden are things I have been doing the last few days. Yellow welsh poppies, the blue of brunnera, sweet rocket and of course foxgloves flash through my mind, tall elegant spires and then there is the dark swirl of fennel as background.

Bellflowers and roses

I love the clear yellow of the welsh poppy, self seeds with impunity

A pond with the beautifully named sweet rocket, (hesperis matronalis - dames violet)

The tumble of the tall Japanese anemone
Brunnera, some will call it a thug, hopefully the chickens would, but in shade the blue shines through and it is a good ground cover.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


The Winterbourne at Avebury

The clocks have been changed once more, and I sit here waiting for my coffee, we will have it earlier and adjust each day ;).  I am sure someone, somewhere, in a higher authority must see the sense of this hour change twice a year but from where I sit, it is silly.

I am not actually not doing anything, cutting out felt xmas trees listening to Bealtaine Cottage Soundcloud, her soothing voice cutting the hassle out of life.  Lucy is asleep under my work table and LS is fixing the clocks.

My Resurgence magazine came yesterday, and whilst reading an article about water last night I fell asleep but I shall quote a few words that Satish Kumar has quoted from a Ghandian scholar and political activist....

"Be as flexible as water," said Vinoba, "if you put water in a bottle it takes the shape of the bottle.  If you put it in a glass it takes the shape of the glass. Water accomodates itself to the environment, yet it never loses it identity.  You too can be true to your nature yet never be in conflict with your surroundings, never in conflict with your neighbours, with your family or your friends.  Water has no enemies. Water is always there in the service of plants, animals and humans, quenching their thirst and nourishing all life....... Water lives to maintain the life of others"

There is another good article by Monty Don, we can almost call him a 'guru' of gardening but this time he writes about craft, and there are some lovely photos of pottery and woodwork.  And of course as the main theme of the magazine is about water, Alice Oswald gets quoted  from her long river poem called 'The Dart'

Such am I who flits and flows
and seeks and serves and swiftly goes -
the ship sets sail, the weight is thrown,
the skyline shifts, the planks groan,
the glint glides, the gust shivers
the mast sways and so does water.

I have subscribed to Resurgence for over 30 years, it drops through the letterbox six times a year, sometimes I get cross with the articles written within it, as the world around me departs further from the rational of the argument that we should be more caring to the Earth and the people on it.  All I see in the news is the sadness of the world, the unhappy faces of refugees, the people fleeing from yet another war zone, the stupid faces of the politicians pretending that they have everything under control.  They are all lost.  Perhaps chaos is the only thing we can expect when humans are in control, but some manage to live tucked away quietly in backwaters, reading wise words and tending the land.
The old willow at Swallowhead spring

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saturday 24th October

Well first night over, with a few disturbances as slippers and shoes were brought upstairs but she eventually settled down,  I know spaniels are 'retrievers' of game, but just wonder if it could be carrying pups around as well.

The weather has turned wet as they said it would, Talktalk has been hacked, with already murmurs that people have had their accounts hacked.  One thing I notice in the stats of this blog, is that the predominate visitors  are Russian.  I try to be careful as to what I write, and can't really be of interest to any hacker/scammer but globalisation has a lot to answer for.  And for the record, my mobile is about 14 years old (probably one of the first) still works, no internet access, the thought of walking around with all my information on a phone terrifies me.....

Lucy gets nervous if she can't find one or the other of us, LS has fallen in love with her and coped with her restlessness last night, so my slow introduction of animals into his life is working;) She has extraordinary 'leopard' legs.  Adam vaccinated her yesterday, gave me some worming tablets and a veterinary history which looks good, her teeth will probably need cleaning at some time in the future, and she needs to finish here vaccination round in a couple of weeks.

First arrival in the house, spied the slippers and that was that...

Friday, October 23, 2015

Friday -23rd October

Social life in the village;  We went to the quiz night at the pub last night organised by C.  It included a pie, chips and pea supper.  It was well attended, our table did not win, but we made a passable effort at the questions.  There is something very parochial about the pub, farmers can be found, the retired as well, and the whole shebang is run by a very young Harriet, with the help of her siblings.  The food arrived hot and piping at the same time for about 35 people, as always great platefuls, and though I am not a meat pie eater, (just ate the pastry) it was delicious.  LS says he wants to be on the Events Committee, than the Parish Council, then a church warden.....

I can already see what draws LS to having a say, we had, up to last week, a solar sign that lit up when you came into the village over 30 mph, it has been taken down, apparently it was only temporary. But our neighbouring village has these bollards being put up that stop one side of the traffic, with red and white arrows to tell you who has right of way, three to be precise, they obviously have more pulling power with Ryedale Council than our village;)

I am rather nervous today about picking up Lucy, feel for her dislocation from her old life, and wonder how she will settle in, and the sadness of course of her old owners, who obviously care for her.

By my side there are a colourful array of felts and and some red materials, bought from a patchwork shop in Thirsk the other day which we found up a little alley and was filled like an Aladdin's cave full of bright materials. Christmas here we come  - unfortunately!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Introducing Lucy, she is not with us yet, we pick her up on Friday, having gone through quite a rigorous two hours at the Blue Cross, we passed the test.  I can see it will be hard for the owners to give her up,but she settled down with us in the 'meet' room and is very friendly and affectionate.
She could do with losing a bit of weight and a trim of her wayward locks but she is a typical small black and white cocker spaniel.
Adam, the lad at the centre was very good, spending time on all of us, and after we had filled in another extensive form we were free to go.   On the way home I bought food, a dog cushion, collar and lead.  She has been to Portugal, which is more than either of us have, and is not a known chicken chaser. It seems she just wants a warm home, and does not like living outside in kennels, so there may be a few hurdles to overcome, we will see.  She is rather pretty though ;)

Wednesday 21st October

Today we wake up to a dark grey rainy day, the raindrops clustered thickly on the front windows, which tells me that it comes from the west.  Yesterday and the day before it was sunny and beautiful.
We went to collect some kindling from the track way that goes to Hill Farm, and capture the leaves turning and the heady green tunnel  leading to the top will soon be a thing of the past, the bare trunks shorn of their leaves.

Whenever LS looks at a view like this, he states 'I cannot believe that we are living in such a marvellous place'

Today we go to Thirsk to see Lucy, a small black and white cocker spaniel, 8 years old, her owner wants to rehome her, she is not a good 'working dog' and wants the comfort of a home not an outside kennel.  We will see, it is a bit like introducing a baby into the house, new beds, toys and food!

Today, and it has probably been in the pipeline for months, our conservative government sells this country's assets away once more, as the whole paraphernalia of state sets out the red carpet and prostitutes itself to the Chinese - shame on Osbourne and Cameron, remember Tibet?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Collecting words

Rushes in a Watery Place

Rushes in a watery place,
And reeds in a hollow;
A soaring skylark in the sky,
A darting swallow
And where pale blossom used to hang
Ripe fruit to follow.

Christina Rossetti

Slieve Gua

Slieve Gua, craggy and black wolf-den:
In its clefts the wind howls,
In its denes the wolves wail.

Autumn on Slieve Gua, and the angry
Brown deer bells, and herons
Croak across Slieve Gua's crags.

From the Old

Taken from Geoffrey Grigson - The Cherry Tree.

The photo above comes from last night at twilight when I went to shut in the hens, and I looked across the church yard and thought about Halloween and the rising dead!.. No I don't believe that of course, but it is funny that All Saint's Night in this country is seen as a part of the witching process, dark and evil souls rising from the ground whereas in other countries you lay out a feast for the dead to come and sup with you;)  We shall light a candle in the window for them that are long gone but remembered by their families as they place flowers and plants in front of the headstones.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Our three have settled down quite happily, they follow like three small puppies when we appear in the garden, flapping over to see if there is any food on the go. They are though a tad destructive, pansies, wallflowers and primulas have been shredded, and now I wonder if we should give them a small run, and just a couple of hours in the garden.  Only one is named, the lightest colour one and we call her 'fluffy bum', she has what we call a 'Lillie' type nature, I have it to according to LS as well, and that is the ability to wander off in a dream in our own little world, very independent!

They don't like blue pansies thank goodness

Always fascinated when we are eating tea, they would be in the house immediately if allowed.

Edges are what they love, LS's little Japanese prototype garden is always raked over onto the path.

We went for a walk yesterday afternoon, the farming year is coming to a slow halt though I still see tractors pulling great rolled bales of straw, and yesterday green silage.   I am fascinated by the straight lines that start to unfold across the landscape, even the lane is as straight as a die,

Deep ditches means that flooding must be a problem

New crops already planted and growing

New arrivals down the road, Shetland ponies.
We stopped off at the pub next door, saturday afternoon and it was quiet, someone played tunes on the jukebox, and I'm sure Mike Jagger's 'Brown Sugar' came up, and I remembered dancing all those years ago, before they were even famous, at Eel Pie Island in Twickenham....

Sometimes when I look at my stats, other blogs come up today it was this A Walk to Kelston Hill

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday post

I have been brooding on what to write this week, when I found the Hochdorf photos, I came across others that were part of the visit to the German museum to hand back six scrolls that LS had given a new life to.  These 6 scrolls belonged to a 19th century doctor Erwin Balz who lived in the town of Bietigherm Bissingen and had collected an awful lot of Japanese stuff, there was a section in the museum charting his life.
The scrolls were of very ugly gods, flamboyantly dressed and probably all with their own tales to tell. LS gave a talk as well.

Our plane journey landed us at Stuttgart late evening, and we had two large suitcases with the scrolls and boxes in.  We had to try several taxis before we could fit them in, so at about midnight we arrived at our hotel in the snow with LS worrying about the method to get in, it was just a numbered key lock, and luckily it worked.

You can read the history of this doctor in the Wiki entry above, but a couple of photos show him in Tokyo,  he was an advisor to the Emperor.
Here he is being pulled in a rickshaw,  The top photo is of 'ethnic' people

inside the museum
He occasionally crosses my mind, bringing back his treasures, why do people collect I wonder? Such stuff ends up in museums getting dusty in the back room.  A year back or so, a client of LS's turned up with several boxes of icons which had been stored in his cousin's basement for 30 years, never looked at.  They were all opened, unwrapped from their tissue paper and then wrapped away again to go back into storage - weird.
The scrolls are beautiful in their own way, details are meticulous, the hare captured in the moon...

Before restoration

After conservation

A Japanese garden in the doctor's honour

Friday, October 16, 2015

Catching up

The other day we went on a trip to Thirsk Dog Rescue Centre, mostly to just introduce ourselves as viable dog owners.  We went the long way around, through spectacular country, so different from our part of the moors.  The place was slightly run down and you cannot see the dogs because it upsets them.  There was a rather beautiful greyhound in the foyer, happily excited and off with his new owners, his eyes gleamed with happiness.  To be honest most dogs at the Blue Cross are in other parts of the country, so we shall keep on trying.

Below is the awesome range of hills that you travel through, Whitestone Cliff is a village under the cliff below, there seems to have been a hill fort discovered on top a few years ago, and it has a very good defensive situation.  Along the approach road there are signs saying Do Not take Caravans up this hill, well we followed an old caravan pulled by an equally old van, and though he almost came to a halt on the steep bits - did manage it.

Yesterday we went out to lunch at Wombleton, the pub had a certain amount of  'wombles' memorabilia around. The manager lived in a village close to ours called Great Barugh, which you say as Great Bath, our village Normanby, also has a different pronunciation, you have to roll your rrs. He chattered away, went to school with the son of the man who sold our house to us, the builder was a regular to the pub.

The food was good, I only had a wild mushroom risotto (and must admit the mushrooms looked rather tame to my eyes) but it was good, creamy and herby, and had a thin crisp of something on top.  LS had a large beefburger which was very spicy.  The other food served to visitors looked very posh, they had a top chef, that played around with the dishes till he got perfection and a 'sous' chef, and I have just looked that one up, second in command!  All in a small pub in the countryside, the emphasis on food in this country has become too much for my sense of humour or values, we are inundated on how to cook.....

2014-whitestone-cliff-north-york-moors" by Kreuzschnabel - Own work. Licensed under CC

From a distance Whitestone Cliff

Monday, October 12, 2015

Saturday walk

hutton le hole from above
Aerial view from the website of this village, interesting how the greenery stops at the moors, the beck winds through

Saturday we went for a walk to Hutton-le Hole.about 6 miles down the road.  As you can see it sits on the edge of the moors.  The heather is that dark colour of winter already, only the bracken enlivens the scene.  I photographed fungi along the way, tiny mushrooms no bigger than your nail, and a strange 'fingers' type fungi I think... In the village, still plenty of tourists. Also the round animal pound and a garden full of winter greens by the cottages.  Still have not been to the Ryedale Folk Museum here though.

Bracken turning golden brown

Animal pound

Hutton-le Hole round animal pound

An exuberant winter vegetable garden

 Conkers and Horse Chestnuts;

Cowichan Sweaters - The Coast Salish Knitters

Friday, October 9, 2015

A ruined church and Harvest Festival

A strange day, although the weather was beautiful, Turner would have needed a very large canvas to paint the skies of this Yorkshire day, the clouds strung from side to side in a bitingly blue sky, so different from the grey rainy day before.  We decided to go to Wharram Percy, the most famous deserted medieval village in England.  Somehow I always thought that I would never see this place, excavated by Beresford for 40 years, the lumps and bumps of this small village lie in a valley through which runs a small stream.

You arrive in a small car park and the path leads from there for three quarters of a mile, down you go there are small copses and the hiccuping sound of pheasants, the path runs deep below banks on either side, till at last you come to an open piece of land and then cross the small rivulet of water on a bridge.  Climbing upward you are now on the track way through the village.  A DMV is of course only lumps and shapes in the ground, we call these 'crofts and tofts' the regular setting out of house platforms in their gardens, a small self sufficient community of probably 185 people lived here once.  But their numbers gradually faded and then the local overlord turfed these last people out of their homes, so that he could have better grazing for his sheep.

What is strange though is the 18th century 'improved' farmhouse, that stands like a 'gingerbread house' in the hollow of the valley.  It is shuttered and empty but perfectly preserved, behind this farmhouse are the ruins of the church.  This church has apparently many manifestations over the centuries, being enlarged then made smaller, and is surrounded by grave stones.

Picturesque is of course the first words to fall off one's lips, we missed the fish ponds, basically I think because there were two people sitting there talking,but this valley had always had a source of water and had been occupied, probably from prehistoric times, evidence of Roman occupation was there also.

You can see the traces of the settlement in the far field

Ruined tower of the church
The old farmhouse

St. Martin

St.Martins Church, its development over the centuries

this is a site of one of the two manor houses

We plough the field, and scatter,
the good seed on the land

In the evening we went to the Harvest Festival in our church next door, it was very well decorated with polished red apples on the window ledges pretty flower arrangements, marrows, etc.  No sign of tins of baked beans though, there are not many children living in the village.   About 26 people attended, Jo had rung the bells for attendance, and there were refreshments afterwards.  LS forgot his glasses so could not sing the hymns, as this was the first time we had both attended church for sometime he has been silent as to the effect, though of course being gloomy about the fate of churches he sees them falling into disrepair through dwindling attendance.

Harvest Festival was 'invented' in 1843 by the eccentric Robert Steven Hawker vicar of a parish (Morewenstowe in Cornwall.