Saturday, December 12, 2015


We went to Helmsley yesterday,  I wanted something to read and had noticed a bookshop on the square.  Six books and two games came out with me, 3 of the 'Classic' books were only £1.99 each and the fourth, which was a 'treat' buy on kimonos was remaindered at £4.99, the girls got one each as well.  The square was full of the friday market, and as I sat in the car, a van pulled up alongside, it was Yorkshire Radio, and the man interviewed a local person who trains falcons, etc.

Afterwards LS said what about lunch and we went to The Plough at Wombleton, which welcomes well behaved dogs, so Lucy came in as well and was made a great fuss of.  LS had frittered scallops on a bed of rocket and pears, that sounds funny but the language that goes to describe meals today has taken a fanciful turn,  I plumped for nut roast and ratatouille, which was delicious, though my ratatouille is a tad different.  Maybe if the family stays long enough we will take them for a meal here....

Jo has been trying to solve the problem of Lucie's nocturnal waking, but I am not sure her method works, what I have been doing when she barks in the middle of the night or knocks something over for attention I think, just go down, let her out and then make a fuss of her on her chair - which works.
Lucy is up early to but then so am I, that is why I am on my computer at 6 am in the morning!  Roll on spring when it is actually light at this time.

Jim, our neighbour on the other side of the church, came in yesterday afternoon to say that the wood he had ordered to make our compost bin was a third cheaper than quoted.  He was a tax collector in a previous life, and he and his wife lived in Scotland, which one day we will visit as we have managed to halve the distance to it by moving up to Yorkshire.  

Two of my books are by Virginia Woolf, and I see she has also written a story about 'Flush - A Biography'.  Well Flush is of course Elizabeth Barratt Browning's  cocker spaniel dog, so a rather long Victorian poem, and not terribly good but I do love the line about the ears."Flow thy silken ears a down "which describes Lucy's long luxurious ears exactly..

To Flush, My Dog 

LOVING friend, the gift of one,
Who, her own true faith, hath run,
   Through thy lower nature ;
Be my benediction said
With my hand upon thy head,
   Gentle fellow-creature !

Like a lady's ringlets brown,
Flow thy silken ears adown
   Either side demurely,
Of thy silver-suited breast
Shining out from all the rest
   Of thy body purely.

Darkly brown thy body is,
Till the sunshine, striking this,
   Alchemize its dulness, —
When the sleek curls manifold
Flash all over into gold,
   With a burnished fulness.

Underneath my stroking hand,
Startled eyes of hazel bland
   Kindling, growing larger, —
Up thou leapest with a spring,
Full of prank and curvetting,
   Leaping like a charger.

Leap ! thy broad tail waves a light ;
Leap ! thy slender feet are bright,
   Canopied in fringes.
Leap — those tasselled ears of thine
Flicker strangely, fair and fine,
   Down their golden inches

Yet, my pretty sportive friend,
Little is 't to such an end
   That I praise thy rareness !
Other dogs may be thy peers
Haply in these drooping ears,
   And this glossy fairness.

But of thee it shall be said,
This dog watched beside a bed
   Day and night unweary, —
Watched within a curtained room,
Where no sunbeam brake the gloom
   Round the sick and dreary.

Roses, gathered for a vase,
In that chamber died apace,
   Beam and breeze resigning —
This dog only, waited on,
Knowing that when light is gone,
   Love remains for shining.

Other dogs in thymy dew
Tracked the hares and followed through
   Sunny moor or meadow —
This dog only, crept and crept
Next a languid cheek that slept,
   Sharing in the shadow.

Other dogs of loyal cheer
Bounded at the whistle clear,
   Up the woodside hieing —
This dog only, watched in reach
Of a faintly uttered speech,
   Or a louder sighing.

And if one or two quick tears
Dropped upon his glossy ears,
   Or a sigh came double, —
Up he sprang in eager haste,
Fawning, fondling, breathing fast,
   In a tender trouble.

And this dog was satisfied,
If a pale thin hand would glide,
   Down his dewlaps sloping, —
Which he pushed his nose within,
After, — platforming his chin
   On the palm left open.

This dog, if a friendly voice
Call him now to blyther choice
   Than such chamber-keeping,
Come out ! ' praying from the door, —
Presseth backward as before,
   Up against me leaping.

Therefore to this dog will I,
Tenderly not scornfully,
   Render praise and favour !
With my hand upon his head,
Is my benediction said
   Therefore, and for ever.

And because he loves me so,
Better than his kind will do
   Often, man or woman,
Give I back more love again
Than dogs often take of men, —
   Leaning from my Human.

Blessings on thee, dog of mine,
Pretty collars make thee fine,
   Sugared milk make fat thee !
Pleasures wag on in thy tail —
Hands of gentle motion fail
   Nevermore, to pat thee !

Downy pillow take thy head,
Silken coverlid bestead,
   Sunshine help thy sleeping !
No fly 's buzzing wake thee up —
No man break thy purple cup,
   Set for drinking deep in.

Whiskered cats arointed flee —
Sturdy stoppers keep from thee
   Cologne distillations ;
Nuts lie in thy path for stones,
And thy feast-day macaroons
   Turn to daily rations !

Mock I thee, in wishing weal ? —
Tears are in my eyes to feel
   Thou art made so straightly,
Blessing needs must straighten to
Little canst thou joy or do,
   Thou who lovest greatly.

Yet be blessed to the height
Of all good and all delight
   Pervious to thy nature, —
Only loved beyond that line,
With a love that answers thine,
   Loving fellow-creature !

That was an exceptionally long Victorian poem, this is how people occupied themselves before  television.  But the next thing to focus on is Woolf's 'stream of consciousness', I though we all did that in our daily existence though.


  1. I must say I rather like that Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem. We do love our dogs don;t we? Enjoy the Virginia Woolf - another of my favourite writers. My son found me a Vita Sackville West poetry book in a Charity shop last week - pretty awful stuff really (although I do love her writing usually) - it won the prize for the best poetry book of the year in something like 1934. Can't imagine what the competition was.

    1. Hi Pat, think it was called 'The Land' or something like that, she was hopelessly in love (amongst other loves) with Sissinghurst as well. Once went to the gardens there, they are incredibly beautiful.

  2. Soft silky ears and neck is part of the attraction of a cocker along with those deep, deep eyes - there's something very tactile and relaxing when you stroke those ears - Lucy is such a cutie xxx

    1. Hi Trudie, I know that Lucy loves being stroked, the trouble with those long silky ears though is that they get so wet after a walk. Her eyes always melt LS's heart as well ;)


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