Saturday, April 30, 2016

Coetan Arthur

Garn Wynda cromlech, set in the shelter of rocks, with a tri-rock looking down
Coetan Arthur on St.David's Head

30th April

St.Dogmael's Church, Mynachlogddu
 © Copyright 
ceridwen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
The only reason you see this photo is that this little, I think redundant church in the Prescelis is in a rounded enclosure, which in my terms denotes a Celtic start in life, especially as it can be found in the rich landscape of the prehistoric past.  Dedicated to St.Dogmael (d.500 or early 6th Century).
See; The Book of Welsh Saints.

As it is tulip time this beautiful example would have cost you the price of a house in the 17th century, there were only 12 bulbs at the time.  And if you want to see tulips in all their splendour, 27 thousand bulbs planted this year at Pashley Manor in Sussex.  They actually dig up all the bulbs after one planting and distribute them to charities and then start afresh the next year!

As the family is coming this weekend, my time on the computer will be restricted, which is no bad thing.  Shocked by the trivia of antisemitism on the media at the moment, when other parts of the world are in such dire straits.  Cross at The Guardian for doing a feature on "The Wild" how can it continue to be wild if it is publicised for people to go and tramp it into the ground - or am I being mean?  And so to a poem, for a bird that is fast disappearing, though I have learnt that there are at least two barn owls and the tawny owl in the village.

Cuckoos by Andrew Young

When Coltsfoot withers and begins to wear
Long silver locks instead of golden hair,
And fat red catkins from black poplars fall
And on the ground like caterpillars crawl,
And bracken lifts up slender arms and wrists
And stretches them, unfolding sleepy fists,
The cuckoo in a few well-chosen words
Tell they give Easter eggs to the small birds

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Dribs and drabs

The drab being the two churches which I am listing below  for visiting, the dribs being flowers, which are slowly beginning to appear.  That is how I started yesterday, but words would not come.
Today I can feel the sun behind the mist struggling to get through, there is a golden tinge to the air, the birds are noisy especially the young of the rooks.  
Lucy's paw has started up again and she wobbles around with her 'halo', being very good natured about it, as long as someone scratches her ears every now and then, the pad is getting better, the vet had said that she might need a small operation on it if it kept flaring up, so we shall see and wait.

Frozen fingers yesterday from planting a honeysuckle, it was that cold, and the new rose needs to go where the bluebells are, which I refuse to dig up and move.  

Yesterday we watched the Memorial service of the Hillsborough disaster, and I marvelled at the dedication of the families for fighting this battle for 27 years, and a special thank you to those 12 jury people (enacting the old laws of Anglo-Saxon/Danish law which still graces our law courts) for giving a verdict of 'unlawful death'.  We know in this country that the 'establishment' covers up the sins of those in power, just occasionally when the truth comes out it is a blow for justice and truth.
The Guardian article.  I notice in the article the word lachrymose which has always seemed to me a self - explanatory word, but immediately there comes to mind the composer John Dowland and his sad music Lachrimae Pavan.  LS will not be pleased at sad music ;)

The hens ate most of these plants but did leave one,  can you see the sycamore seeds, they are all through the garden and driveway.

White with a green heart tulip

Hopefully frilly pink tulips

Are there bluebells in our  lawn that was once a field?

The dark branches of the yew, a late 19th century photo of the church showed tiny yews at the time, must have only just been planted.


Ebberston Church;   Information can be found here at Woruldhord

Pevesner report

@ Creative Commons - Nigel Coates;  Gravestone being subsumed by tree.  Ebberston Church
 Creative Commons Licence CC-BY-NC-SA.;  Carving of a Scandinavian sword at Ebberston Church

Stillingfleet Church;  Both for its Norman door and also wonderful wooden Scandinavian door.  There is also photos at Doc Brown here.....

 and the Pevesner report

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

26th April

It is snowing outside, not lingering of course, just rain/sleet/snow a miserable mix.  Yesterday evening was a parish meeting in the church, about 20 people attended, and the discussion tended towards slowing down speeding in the village.  We met some new people, one couple had angst against a gate being put in a field, the other couple offered their garden and barn for a village barbecue.  Our house had been built in the field that the barbecue was held in recent years.  Though before the pony stabled in the field it had been a butcher's shop against the church wall, the village being very different at the beginning of the 20th century.

Aerial shot;  The small plot of land between the pub and the church

Village politics, all slightly interwoven with the people who have lived here for generations and then the 'newbies' who have moved into the village over the years as new houses have been built. The first thing I felt was the problem of discussing things, why do we always have to sit in rows with our backs to each other facing the top table of 'executives', why not sit in the 'round' I expect the Green Party could teach the democratic way of discussion, it hives off separate working/discussion groups.  LS had been asked to be the chairman, which he refused as he felt he was new to the district.
Something I learnt was that otters had been seen in the river, which must prove it has fish, though the heron does that also.   But it is such a delight to know that the natural world still ploughs on under the surface.
I reckon an 'ecology' survey on the land around would not go amiss, recording of wild flowers, there are scant remains of stitchwort along the Salton Road but no primroses.  Mostly of course in the flat Vale of Pickering it is just arable farming that is done, though there must have been mixed farms in the 20th century.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Saturday 23rd April

Today when I went walking this morning, I saw a solitary heron in a couple of fields away from us.  A classic pose, the long neck tall and reaching to the sky, and the long skinny legs.  There is something ethereal about herons, they are not quite of this world, standing in silence by the river waiting for a fish to surface, they are made for a Japanese scroll in their grayness. Early in the morning also the fields have lots of baby rabbits, white tails flicking in the air as they ran hither and thither in confusion - Beatrix Potter eat your heart out...

This morning we went to a coffee morning in the church, well attended, loads of raffle prizes, I spent my money on a fruit loaf and a big white teddy bear (don't ask) just fancied him, and the person who had brought him in said he could sit on my rocking chair, which he is at the moment. 

Yesterday we went to Thirsk, I bought some patchwork squares but we were going for a friend to look for a dog for her.  No luck on that front, there hardly seemed any dogs there at the Blue Cross, which is good news really.

The Guardian has coined  good names for those 'in or out' of the EU leavers and remainers, in this house we cancel each other out, but listening to Obama's speech left a lot to be desired, such as a modern history lesson, did he really think that his Winston Churchill story would have any relevance?
It is all rather sordid this picking holes in every person and speech, leaving Jo Public in a state of absolute confusion as to why we should stay in or leave.

In fact life is much happier when you contemplate the solitary heron in a field, was he resting in the morning sun, or waiting for me to leave the side of the river so that he could fish.  Yesterday travelling towards Thirsk we saw a Canadian goose, waddling along the road with four beautiful goslings behind, rather dangerous, but hopefully they found the safety of a field.  Life is truly burgeoning at the moment, for all the horror stories in the human world, the animal world carries on with spring as does the plant world.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Birthdays and news

Today is the Queen's birthday, and though I would rather prefer to call myself a socialist rather than a royalist, Happy Birthday to a grand old lady.  The photo by Annie Lebovitz looks like a beautiful old master, the soft colouring of the background furnishings emphasis the sweet faces of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, the little one holding the Queen's bag reminds you of those 18th century picture of family groups.  Three children even have 'modern' names, the world certainly moves on.

The Queen with her great-grandchildren and youngest grandchildren. From left: James, Viscount Severn; Lady Louise Windsor; Mia Tindall (holding the Queen's handbag); Princess Charlotte; Isla Phillips; Prince George and Savannah Phillips.

But as I saw this on Facebook news, other news is hardly as peaceful and The Independent's Drone video of the destruction of Homs shows we should not lean back in contemplation of one family's good fortune but look to the many millions of people in Syria who have faced such horrors and are homeless.  It is as if the good things are matched by evil happenings in the world.  What I find so sad as I make bread and scones this morning between writing, is that the women and children do not have a home where cooking is part of the family's daily activity.

Changing History. Bridge Farm

Meeting with Elizabeth;  Her family owned Bridge farm, her grandparents ran a mixed farm, she reckons that the land is not really suitable for arable farming. It was a sad day when the farm was sold years ago, all the beautiful old furniture was put out in the front garden for auction.She reckons that the farm is not worth the 2 million that it has been put on the market for, the vegetable garden has gone and in fact all the garden is stripped back to bare minimum, the house to me looks most unloved.  The outbuilding's roofs are collapsing as well, it potters along as a working farm but that is all.  Her parents and grand parents are buried in the church yard.
Someone needs a haircut

Butterbur amongst the violets, (see how it grows in straight lines it must be stoloniferous) on a small patch of ground that escaped the tractor.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Tuesday 19th April - doesn't time fly?

Time moves on but it is quiet at the moment, a trip to Whitby yesterday to the cottage (which is going on the market soon) and today the sun shines and the cocks crow.  We have not seen our swallows yet, but the thrushes have arrived (two) and squabble on the lawn.  There is a grey wagtail that makes an appearance occasionally, and the birds swarm to their food every morning.  The jackdaws have become bolder, and  the little grey dove chases off the pigeons with great bravery: rabbits hop everywhere.

Sowing seed, old seed is not germinating, but beans and courgette are coming up, the tulip buds hold promise of their colour, the hedges are full of hawthorn blossom, or is it blackthorn?  Bumble bees fly lazily over the grass in the grave yard looking for mouse holes to nest in, the whole bird world is out nesting at the moment.

St.Finnian of Clonard

All the birds of Ireland had gathered
On a homestead in County Wicklow
To celebrate the birth of a Saint,
Of the Holy life he would lead.
Monasteries he built from Meath to Wicklow,
He enriched God’s spirit in every man,
An apostle, so devout and sacred,
Cluain Eraird, would be his resurrection.

2006  Daniel Macdonagh

I have been reading Elizabeth Rees 'Celtic Saints'. and finding that same old sense of guilt because it mentions 'Celtic', a terminology that comes with a whole load of baggage.  But suffice it to say that the early British saints are descended from the old pagan ways, when the worship of water and trees was in full swing.  Martin of Tours went in his battle against paganism to destroy the old temples, not sure about the sacred 'bile' trees (Irish terminology) but even in England, Nemeton has a resonance in sacred groves.

Outside on the road they are noisily painting 30 mile an hour signs on the road, you may not believe this but every so often in the village a solar sign saying 'slow down' is erected, as there is only one it makes the round of the villages round here!

Friday, April 15, 2016

thursday, 14th April

Yesterday evening we went to a meeting in the church, this was mostly to do with the annual financial returns, the amalgamation of three parishes into one, and the rather contentious subject of building  a small stretch of walling between between the church and our friend's garden.

Churches sit in the landscape of nearly all our towns and villages, they are there  for the record of marriage, birth and death and the Sunday service of course.  Their function though is sadly whittling away by non-attendance of the congregation, people perhaps no longer believe in a God and the few that do are getting older and older.  This is the sad truth, a gradual wasting away, the vicars no longer have an audience to attend to. 

The Church has a long history, from the day it left the indigenous Celtic school of worship and followed Roman law, to the ransacking and murder of its priests and monks by the Vikings.  Through the upheavals of Henry 8th and the Dissolution, so started the beginning of the Church of England as opposed to the old 'Popish' ways. 

The Dean sat in the chair and ran a very fine argument for the amalgamation of the three churches, what worried one person is that we have no vicar in the village, though there is a rectory rented out, but there is no Parish visiting to talk to people but of course vicars are costly and as they drop away from their parishes so the contract is not renewed.  The Dean talked a lot about 'autonomy' the picking up of the mantle of running the church by the remaining congregation.  A vicar needs someone to do his secretarial duties, the more parishes he has the more duties fall on his shoulders.

What we have noticed with our church, is that people tend the graves of loved ones every weekend, the church is visited by tourists, it is a place of quiet meditation and serenity, and its fabric is overseen by two very stalwart churchwardens.

The wall problem is really a result of the clash of two personalities, the builder who put up two new houses without following the planning detail of an extra bit of church walling (there was no precedent for this) and the cutting down of trees at the back without replacement trees of a similar nature. The other protagonist is the person whose land adjoins the houses, I think he feels 'overlooked'.  He got very cross at the meeting, and demanded 100% back up from the church committee and was most surprised when a farmer's wife challenged him on his demands.  Our friends are being neutral on the subject, they are quite happy for the wall to be built or not.  As this has occurred on Margaret Wood's land I suspect she left a 'curse' on it ;).

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Monday 12th April

Are they not lovely, I took this photo from F/B, fascinated by what they are wearing, happy children, where I don't know, maybe Tibet they both wear beads.  Last night we watched Human Planet on BBC4, as a fisherman braved the Victoria Falls, and this chap tight roping across a raging torrent just to get fish for his family, incredibly brave.

Different lives, but people seem to be happy with the life they have, here we mither about tax havens and the prime minister, all seemingly trivial when looked at from afar.

This morning was beautiful I took Lucy over the fields, and took photos of the bare branches of the trees, soon they will transform into greenery and summer will be with us in the early flush of June melting into August's rather tired greenery as it makes its way once more to Autumn.  The circle of the year.  I notice people commenting (Jennie for one) that their swallows have arrived, they are not here yet at the church though.

Some trees carry their age with dignity, the snapped off branch a reminder of a winter storm but the tracery of the branches etch into the blue of the sky are so beautiful.  I have not made a record of our visit to the dog rescue place.  It was very bleak when we eventually found it, had to drive down a farm track for about a mile passing two other farms.  When we got there it felt like a prison barracks, with wired cells.  Apparently they board animals as well, think Lucy would give up the ghost in such a setting but I suppose they are doing good work for stray dogs.  On offer was a chihuahua cross with a miniature pinscher pup, and two breeding females, C did not like them, and to me they hardly seem walking dogs, especially after her last dog was a spaniel, so we left leaving it in the air.
I have visited now three dog rescue places, and i must admit that the Dogs Trust with their indoor kennelling seems the happiest place for rescue dogs.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Quaint Yorkshire Customs

Sailing down the river in a giant Yorkshire Pudding.  It happens at Brawby just down the road every year, though not this year apparently.  I did not believe the person who told me this yesterday but you paddle till it disintegrates...

@ Simon Thackray - Registered Trademark

Friday; 8th April

Yesterday as I was putting in a couple of rose bushes under the old church wall, looked over and spied  small delicate violet flowers next to the old coke house.  They, being good violets, were in the shade and ran for a short time along the wall.  Love violets, think these were the Common Dog-Violet, but it is only in woods and churches that you see violets now, the ground has not been contaminated with herbicides.  I more often than not only plant the little viola in the garden, the colours nowadays are exquisite, but the hens seem to like them as well unfortunately/

It was beautifully sunny in the afternoon, Lucy enjoying the sun, with an old slipper.  In the house she will follow the beams of sun.  This afternoon I have said that I will go with someone to the dog rescue centre, she wants a dog but seems unsure, think she needs a little push ;)

Two small holes, probably field mice, this is why the owls are always hunting here.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thursday 7th April

So it is Thursday and I have not written much.  Woke up early saw a rabbit eating I think the daffodils in the graveyard and listened to a curlew in the fields behind.  The weather has been miserably wet, showers and sun intermittently.  Yesterday hailstorms beat down, the chickens who were out had a terrible time.  Firstly R came out of the church in the afternoon with her young grandson, and she came over to talk, he was ADHD she said, and as he lowered himself over the wall, I thought what a lovely child. Then he chased the chickens at least three times round the house before R came through the gate to rescue me.  The chickens were terrified, and spent the next hour or so huddled up behind the garage.  Till forced out from there by bullet like hail stones and made for their coop, much to the amusement of two men standing in the shelter of the porch of the church.  Their runs need to be moved the ground is a sodden muddy mess.

'The Vikings Uncovered'  Dan Snow and Dr.Sarah Parcak

"Dan Snow uncovers the lost Vikings in America with space archaeologist Dr Sarah Parcak. Sarah uses satellites 383 miles above the earth to spot ruins as small as 30cm buried beneath the surface. As Sarah searches for Viking sites from Britain to America, Dan explores how they voyaged thousands of miles when most ships never left the shoreline. He also tracks their expansion west, first as raiders and then as settlers and traders throughout Britain and beyond to Iceland and Greenland. In North America they excavate what could be the most westerly Viking settlement ever discovered."

Somehow tales to be told need a lot of believing, and their two week excavation in St. Lawrence Bay for a second Viking settlement did not ring true on the evidence they found there.  There are times when the producer's need to formulate a programme gets in the way of truth and that was my first thought. Till there is direct evidence either by radio-carbon dating or an actual artefact my mind says that scepticism is the only way to read this hour and a half programme.  And was it in this programme that someone  told Snow whilst they were taking tea at Betty's in York that below them in the surface of the earth was three metres of Viking faeces.  Bet the famous Betty tea shop was not too happy about that!

What else has happened, off-shore tax havens, does not the news run a pretty dire message for us all, one rule for the rich, the poor if they do not pay taxes face prison.  But like a vast book the pages fall open on the corruption that is scattered round our world.  Assange, Snowden and now the Panama Papers reveal all,  the internet is a blessing in disguise for some, though not for others.  Cameron squirms on the end of a hook like a worm, questions about his father's legacy must be answered.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Monday 4th April

My Family and Other Animals  I read this book years ago, and the subsequent books of Gerald Durrell as he started up his zoo.  I just love the droll wit of the book and the TV adaptation captured it beautifully in the first showing,  Larry the writer furious with his brother for removing the 'x' from is typewriter so that he could not write 'sex'.  The fury of the mother (Keeley Hawes) as they try to find her a boyfriend, she practically shoots the lecherous old sea captain! And Gerard as a young boy drifting through it all with his obsession with creatures on this hot and lovely island of Corfu.
When my family first arrived, Matilda looking at the calendar remarked that I had pencilled in  - put cowslips in fridge  - which did seem odd, but of course I was trying to mimic winter for the seeds, hope it works.....
Well the weather has hardly been hot or sunny, a grey dampness first thing in the morning, until later in the afternoon we may get some sun.
The family have all gone back on the train, I took them for a walk up the muddy bridlepath, but no one had wellies to cope with the mud, and of course Lillie arriving at the top to the fields, sulked majestically because no one would join her.  Thought this morning about buying wellingtons for them all but then realised they would demand fashionable, probably coloured spotty wellies, and the whole thing would be exhausting.
They bring their dog Teddy, a whippet, who loves coming and always sleeps in Lucy's furry bed.  Lucy keeps a distance from Teddy, she does not like other dogs, gives him a warning if he gets too close, but a mutual tolerance is maintained.
Time for coffee...

Just made for the garden furniture, bright and sunny Philip Jacob's material

Saturday, April 2, 2016


There were eight vases of lilies in our little church yesterday, leftover from the Easter service.  A friend had told me to go and smell the perfume.  You can see the leaves dropping, those orange stamens will stain your clothes and your hands. But they are beautiful, and such a noble gesture of someone to invest in such beautiful fragile flowers, when there is but a handful of people who attend the church service.

I am not religious, but there was also a small board with people who had died were remembered and it brought back memories of my first husband who had died so young.  My two granddaughters, and daughter come for the weekend, as their father/husband  moves out of the house on the long process of divorce, I will at least try to find the right words of comfort as their grandfather would have done.

Jam and Jerusalem  rose (Australian I think) taken from a Russian website - tut

The other day I bought a couple of rose bushes, one was called Jam and Jerusalem, a tri-coloured rose, hopefully it will turn out just as pretty as the photo!

Friday, April 1, 2016

The Valley church - Levisham

Old print of Levisham church, 

Yesterday we went in search of the Levisham church but after a conversation with someone from the village, learnt that the church I was looking for was a ruined church called the 'Valley Church', and as it had started to rain, and LS HATES rain, we called the walk off into the valley, but will return soon. In this church, in the porch is a Saxon grave cover in two pieces, and several bits inside the church, which can be found in the Saxon Corpus, Volume 3.

There are two villages set off the main Pickering to Whitby road, Loxton and Levisham, you approach Levisham down a very steep hill with an almost vertical drop, the Valley church is along a trackway not too far from the Mill at the bottom.  Apparently the old road to Whitby from Pickering went through parts of this place.  So this isolated church may have been a remnant of a medieval village, there has already been an archaeological dig on a flat platform next to the church.
So another trip one day, but it is an interesting place Levisham, it really falls at the end of the Hole of Horcum, and there is only one road into it. A walker's paradise, about a mile along a lane you come to the Levisham station with I believe a resident artist.

Today I got up at 6 o clock, and listened to the two owls outside, later on spied the thrush making an appearance this year on the lawn, spring is definitely with us!

The hens in their sunny dry dust bath below the yew

Grass frosts in the early morning

The village photos were not good, typical farm buildings