Sunday, May 29, 2016


Sunday, the day for the language of leisure.” 
― Elfriede Jelinek

that is how I like my Sunday, switching off the continuous buzz of voices on the radio and concentrating on the papers or a book.
Breakfast I stand and watch the baby rabbit pop its head over the church wall and look down with interest on the green salady things in the cold frame, too far to jump thank goodness.  Cannot catch him on camera so Beatrix Potter comes to the rescue as Benjamin gathers onions....

It is definitely a rabbit warren round here, when we walk over the fields, half a dozen baby rabbits cluster round the edge of their burrow by the river.  There seems to be a buzzard hunting around every morning as well, mobbed by other birds.
Yesterday evening the tractors and trailers raced back and forward on the road till late bringing in trailer fulls of cut grass - silage maybe?  Someone said, Roy I think, that when you see the farmers collecting the grass (sad I can't say hay) it means dry warm weather for a few days.

The first rose has appeared, a faint drift of perfume, and Jennie has sent me a whole lot of aquilegia seeds to start off, one of my favourite flowers is the aquilegia from its dark purple tones that you find in the wild, down to the 'granny bonnets' through the pinks to white, and a yellow one to boot.

It is coffee time.

Friday, May 27, 2016

27th May

Even the garden has weeds....
Today is friday nothing written on my blog since monday - life is quiet, the heavy cloud cover makes it dull and cold.  The government has to go into 'purdah' over the in/out options for Europe as from today, which should be interesting.  The family, or at least part of it, comes on Sunday, and LS has been working out how we are going to fit us all in the car for an outing, though I am contemplating getting a car  from the Kia agent down the road in Kirkbymoorside eventually, but of course I shall be adding to the burden I impose on the planet.
Ordered 4 books last week, two written by Rebecca Cope, already finished, she is off my list from now  on because I have sussed the way her plots work.  They seem to work round a female amateur sleuth and female murderers, all hale the new equality rule;).  The other two are Phil Rickman books, again a female sleuth, Merrily Watkins but a vicar this time.  I just like the somewhat gruesome element in his books.
I could write about the 4000 immigrants that arrived by boats on the European shores yesterday but I don't know where to start.  It seems that whole armies of young men are arriving on those shores and governments seems paralysed by what to do about them.  Is the world in such a tumultuous chaos that people are moving away from their own countries to seek better lives - all a terrible gamble.  Think it rests on one sad fact, there are just too many humans on this Earth.  In fact there are so many things to fight for, space for animals in the natural world, some dignity for these poor immigrants, corporate greed which is so endemic amongst the rich, we definitely need a socialist revolution - no I am not kidding on that!

Well there are some things to marvel at in the old world, Neanderthals playing with stalagmites 170,000 years ago approximately

Or this abandoned Japanese home with its 100 glass plate photographs that a modern day photographer found and superimposed the long dead family amongst the ruins of today.

Monday, May 23, 2016

23rd May - Fracking

An important decision is taking place today, the decision as to whether to let Third Energy frack at Kirby Misperton , you can read the proposal in the PDF of Friends of the Earth.  There is a weary joke that the Northern Powerhouse that Cameron and his crew are so often talking about means Ryedale being turned into an industrial hub and the beautiful moors and Howardian Hills blotted by the ugly sites of wells.
Kirby Misperton is but a few miles down the road, and I, like a lot of other people, do not want fracking to take place.  Putting our water at risk from contamination seems a terrible thing to do, the odds are probably in favour of it happening.  The answer is less use of our existing power, but telling people that is like blowing into the wind!  I shall keep my fingers crossed today that the council will see sense and not give the go-ahead to Third Energy.
The weather has been perfect the last few days, the garden puts on a show, the rosebuds start to appear, and the hens strut their stuff, I have lots of bean plants and courgette plants, so the vegetables from them when they appear  will join the eggs on the little table outside the gate for contributing to the funds of the church.
Hawthorn blossom wreaths the countryside, with an energy that reminds us that nature is a strong and a powerful force, if only we could respect her and not treat her with such dire consequences....


the girls ut for a stroll

suddenly everything grows


Saturday, May 21, 2016

21st May

Angela Barratt painting for 'Hidden House'

Whimsy: came across the following article in Jackie Morris's news, it is about a children's artist called Angela Barratt, she reminded me of Carl Larsson and his Scandinavian paintings.  At one stage during my life I wanted to collect Victorian children stories but never got round to it, only have the Folio Society editions.
Carl Larsson painting
They are paintings or prints for a child's room, pretty and evocative, not great art but something to look at now and again.

Noticed yesterday that Pat only had porridge and a banana for breakfast, my breakfast usually consists of two pieces of toast but Yotam Ottolenghi has written an article this week on breakfasts, and the front photo looks good.  The sweet potatoes pancakes can be made with ordinary potatoes, the German way, but I like the touch of salads to go with your breakfast.

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace.” 
― Milan Kundera

Opened the window this morning to the smell of something rather horrible being sprayed on a field, probably herbicides... you can see the tractor beyond the apple tree blossom.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wandering along the Edge.

On edges; think of verges along the road, or that small patch of land. a triangle maybe, where farming and its chemicals cannot get to,  the banks of a river.  There is even a book called 'Edgelands', critiqued by Robert McFarlane (who else)  though I think this is more to do with those waste pieces of land around towns.
My edges are of course the spaces round the village, following a trail of for-get-me-nots along the verge. escapees from gardens.  Actually I wish it would escape into our garden, I love the sheen of blue, same way I loved the way brunnera macrophylla which is a good ground cover, with its sharper blue.
Things I notice here as far as trees are concerned, that there are  cherry trees planted along the edge of the fields, and as you drive along the roads, white-pink blossoms show either apple or quince in the hedgerow.
So the walk today, LS greeted us that we had been a long time out but I do love to mooch and my canine friend, she who looks like a proper gun dog here mooches alongside of me.  Shame she never liked the sound of the gun, of course it is not a shame, we would never have ended up owning her...

Flowers still are in the white range, cow parsley, another parsley probably meadow with much thicker flower panicles, and of course the large hog weed leaf are making a showing..  I suspect that if you looked more closely at this photo you would also see the dreaded ground elder.

This is a crab apple tree

Planted bluebells in the copse

Apple blossom in the old orchard
This small copse adjoining a garden and orchard is what I mean by 'edge' the drifting of cultivated plants as probably the bluebells are, and definitely the snowdrops and daffodils.   We 'improve' everything from plants, trees, animal, think of all those 'naive' paintings of fat pigs and large cows, always pushing the smaller creatures/plants to the fence.

Garden in the village

The other tulips, which I am sure I did not order
Pretty blue flower which I would love to know its name.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

18th May 2016

I haven not read much Emily Dickinson poetry, but coming across this news item of how the garden of their family home  in America is to be resurrected, I keep the link for future reference.  Besides poetry her gift for gardening and collecting plants must have played an important role in writing poetry

"Nature" is what we see—

The Hill—the Afternoon—
Squirrel—Eclipse— the Bumble bee—
Nay—Nature is Heaven—
Nature is what we hear—
The Bobolink—the Sea—
Thunder—the Cricket—
Nay—Nature is Harmony—
Nature is what we know—
Yet have no art to say—
So impotent Our Wisdom is
To her Simplicity.

Emily Dickinson

What else? not much, THE FOOT found in Weston Park East, Bath sounds a bit like the film called The Mummy, a Hammer horror story, it resonates with me because this is the place I would walk my dog round Archery Field and then up the Lansdown, perhaps to Beckford Tower.  This rather gruesome discovery, may not be the result of a murder but a specimen from some laboratory, or a collector's private piece.  It has no DNA because it had been embalmed.  Did someone chuck it out of their loft into the dustbin and a passing fox thought 'mmm this looks interesting' but lost interest because it was a very thin leg.
DNA features in another case in Bath, this time Melanie Read, who was murdered in 1984.  The DNA found on her clothes was recognised in the DNA of the daughter of the murderer recently, and the man has gone on trial.  It still leaves the murder of Melanie Hall in 1996 unsolved though.

Enough of DNA and murders what else is there too worry about, well maybe this  - face recognition,  (oh and hi to the 700 Russian views last week, did you find anything interesting in this rambling blog?), the word nefarious springs to mind!

The Urban Prehistorian as well

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday 17th May

A visit to Nunnington church this morning, which is 13th century but much improved, nothing of outstanding importance, which for me means no A/S or Scandinavian.  The village of Nunnington is pretty, LS said it reminded him of Castle Combe.

We went for a walk along the footpath to Stonegrave, I am always on the lookout for wild flowers but nothing of note except great views to the Howardian Hills and maybe Melilot, a planted cherry tree along the way, see plenty of cherry trees in Yorkshire.  Also, this is a grumble, why do people plant tulips and daffodils out in the countryside, there is no need, cultivated flowers live happily in gardens whereas out in the wild they can look silly, we came across dark, almost black tulips in the verge.

Drove through Harome, sounds like your clearing your throat, almost stopped at the pub, but this time I wanted a cup of tea with a piece of cake so we drove on to Helmsley.  There is a tea place by the walled garden, always popular, so we had to sit inside in the hot conservatory.

Nunnington Church

Obligatory knight in church

Fields of rape, but where are the bees?



LS wanted this for the wisteria, but it does not show up clearly

Helmsley Castle

Monday, May 16, 2016

16th May

This is somewhat like keeping a diary, and what you notice in a diary that a day can go by without much happening.  Today is such a day.
Lucy is looking like a cross between a Dalmatian and a zebra in her new clipped coat for summer but seems happy with it, had her toe nails clipped as well.

The weather stays dry after the long wet winter, and the garden starts to suffer, and my flamboyant double white tulips have exploded into whirlygigs, with  beautiful green and yellow hearts but very unlike a standard tulip.

Life is funny sometimes, having gathered up my courage to stand up to some people in a forum on the notion that FACTS are not necessarily the make or break of life, my thoughts turn to that which is truth, or so we are told.  But I am left with the creative imaginative world which is such a delight but of course relies on twisting stories, myths and fables to fit the fabric of what they are saying.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Saturday 14th May

To stand alone in a field in England and listen to the morning chorus of the birds is to remember why life is precious.  John Lewis-Stempel - Meadowland.  Rather apt sadly.

Today a  photo of a finch, he must have just been killed on the road for he was warm when I picked him up yesterday, perfectly formed, rather heavy in my hand I carried him home to be buried.

The detail of perfection in the form of a finch is achingly beautiful, he needed music for his burial, his bright yellow form extinguished at an early stage in his life.  I shall not dwell on death though ;)  I have also been looking at the stitchwort in Marjorie Blamey's book, and have decided that the pink must be a catchfly of some sort, need a magnifying glass to analysis of course, but it is the time of red campion as well, all coming from the same Latin classification.

Yesterday we went to Whitby, me to pay the decorator for painting the sitting room at the cottage.  It is all a bit sad going back to Whitby remembering the times I have had with my family. Sitting in the Co-op car park I could see the steep hill up to their old house which the shopping had to be hauled up to.  Past the railway station, which Ben as a young child would demand to go in and then we all had to wait for a steam engine to come in, sometimes a long wait!

What else, the son of Eric Ravilious and Tirzah Garwood, James Ravilious was a very  good photographer.  Though I notice his books are expensive and his prints!

And things to remember and update occasionally!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thursday the 12th May

Last night LS called me upstairs to deal with what looked like a dead queen white tailed bee on the landing, but melting some honey in warm water and then soaking cotton wool in the mixture, the little bee gratefully drank from the concoction, out into the grave yard and she melted away into the night.
There are not as many bees and insects as one would like to see around but there are plenty of wild flowers for the nectar.  The trees are starting to turn green, and the small white beads of buds on the hawthorn are waiting to flower.  All this happens overnight of course, one moment there are just the stark branches and then the tightly furled buds of leaves seem to explode. A marvellous time of year.

the river greening up

wild ransom flower
white stitchwort

pink stitchwort

There are the two dead nettles - white and red

This is I think the invasive - Policeman's helmet or Himalayan Balsam

The vetch is making an appearance alongside the docks

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday 10th May

Reading this at the moment, a lovely poetical essay to an old field and it's happenings through the year.  Something Lewis-Stempel said jarred the memory for a moment, simply put we are so good at classification in a scientific manner, that the naming of birds rests now on one name only, robin, thrush, blue tit etc.  Whereas in those far off olden days, a bird would have a local geographical name in their own small part of England.  Full marks must go to Geoffrey Grigson for recording the minutiae of the plant world and how the wild plants were given different names, often depending on their uses, whether good or bad.  Anyways, Stempel says that if you were to read W.L.Mellersh on his Treatise on the Birds of Gloucestershire  you would find at least 10 names for the long-tailed tit.
In fact when I started this blog this morning Blogger went pear-shaped and I left it to take Lucy a walk.  One of the problems in the country is the grass verges next to the roads, this is where you have to walk to escape being run over, not always easy.  But last week at the discussion in the church, it was mentioned the length of road from the pub to the bridge was rather dangerous, and lo and behold, Phil at the Granary Barn and a farmer just down the road, cut  the grass in the verge and the cherry trees back.  Which was very public spirited of them!

Things to be glad about.............
An announcer on radio 4 this morning said British Exit, instead of that terrible Brexit, hurray for the proper use of words.....

And then there is Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland for a quiet ramble through Colette's morning...

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Day is Perfect

Beautiful summer skies, the cock crowing over the road and the birds singing outside in the garden. More swallows have arrived, to nest under the church roof, and the wild plants are burgeoning. Orange tips and yellow brimstone butterflies are fluttering around, 'Jack by the Hedge' a crucifera does what it says and stands tall and upright by the hawthorn hedges, a favourite by the way of  the orange tip butterfly.

There were bluebells in the little copse by the old orchard, happy in the dappled shade, the odd white one around.  The Guardian is doing a bluebell survey of this country, it will be interesting to see the map, we have them in the lawn, could be that this house, built on an old field, still keeps these plants, they linger on the grass verges, remnants reminding us that once the land was heavily forested.

What else, the ransom are now flowering edging the river with a flowing white scarf, they are also wood flowers but escape into the grass verges....

You can just about see the little blue flowers of ground ivy in the above photo, it was a medicinal herb but was used as Alehoof, before the advent of hops into our beer. The Anglo-Saxons called it eorthifig.  And, according to Grigson in his time, people in the cottages would drink it as a tea, Gill-tea.

The field next to Lucy has been freshly ploughed

A quince on the other side of the church 
Irene who lives nearby looked after the hens whilst we were away, but unfortunately let them out and could not get them back into the run, she had to enlist Nigel over the road, he bought some food and they soon went back in. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday 7th May

Gorse is flowering all round the edges of the moor.

A trip to Whitby: This to see a painter about decorating the sitting room of the cottage, we did various things around the cottage but the highlight of the last couple of days was going to the beck.
Listened as we walked to the continuous cuckooing of a love-starved cuckoo maybe but so glad that there are some cuckoos still around.  But it was a lovely sound.  It is a place that drains the soul of worry, the old hawthorns and rowan trees gnarled and bent against the weather of the moors.  Lucy deliriously happy to be trotting along the path, dipping her feet into the little stream that runs parallel, LS is always worried about her running off, as if ;) she has a damned good life, spent most of the time at the cottage stretched, or maybe sprawled would be a better word, out on the sofa, proving that two adults and one dog cannot fit on it...
The icing on the cake, as we went over the cattle grid was a black grouse, and her young, at least 10 floated over the lane.  The mother sat on the stone wall calling her young whilst they scampered through the long grass down below, took a hasty two photos but would have dearly loved to stay longer, but I did not want the mother going off and leaving her young.

strange bulges on these old hawthorns

Lucy about to fly