Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday 29th June

So hear we are, unrest in the country, our politicians not sure what heads they have on, but business amongst us all still goes on, what with a see-sawing pound and prophets of doom and gloom on all sides. My interpretation of all the events is not likely to make headline news but I note that there have two demonstrations by the people outside the House of Parliament in the last two days, one for backing Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party and the other for the 'remain' young people to make a stand against the blight of Brexit that has been unwittingly forced upon them.  There is a (hopefully) gentle 'turning' of the people against politicians, their lies finding them out as they stand in public and deny half of the things that took us into this mess.... and weirdly there are some who voted for 'leave' now wishing they had voted for 'remain'?

First of all my camera refuses to load up to the computer, two hours later and it works!. my photos would show the crowds of people at Whitby, where we were yesterday packing up the cottage bits and pieces.  Hungry, we made our way down to the quayside for a shared small box of chips, Lucy had her share to but not the seagull that floated aimlessly in the water below us.  The day was dull and when we drove back in the afternoon, the rain settled in as it has for the last few days and will remain so.

Whenever the world starts to draw in I need to plant food against the coming storm, I look out on the lawn and wonder how much we could turn over for a vegetable plot, the hens of course would be a bit of a nuisance, but the eggs are in demand from some of our neighbours, and occasionally I wonder if there will be enough for us.  The money I receive, which they can choose to pay or not, goes towards the church.  I have courgette plants, tomato and cucumber all in pots, but the weather is a bit cold up here in Yorkshire.  There are two cold frames with lettuce in and some white sprouting for next year.

Lucy has just slammed the kitchen door for some attention, this is her trick of reminding us that life goes on in her part of the world as well, it can be a sign of petulance if she gets shut out of a room, or a need to wake us up in the middle of the night....

George Monbiot in The Ecologist - Redemptive Anger

The first two are the narrow and Victorian confines of Sherlock's coffee shop, with its dark sombre air but very good coffee.

A trip round the bay

She is very rarely in her cubby hole, the spiritualist

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Something positive

There is nothing really to say, the knives are out in the political scene, we are heading for a dramatic climate change moment at sometime in the future, and yes Asterik was always a favourite of mine, I loved buying the books for my son....
 but not forgetting this from Rudyard Kipling, picked up in that scavenging manner I have;

I could not dig; I dared not rob: 
Therefore I lied to please the mob. 
Now all my lies are proved untrue 
And I must face the men I slew. 
What tale shall serve me here among 
Mine angry and defrauded young?
-Rudyard Kipling

A pretty penstemon, called 'apple blossom' I think. The large giant catmint Six Hills, jostles it but it is always alive with bees and therefore will hold its place.

Trying to catch the bees

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday; recording on 25th June

Another glorious morning, Lucy and I lingered on our walk through the fields, tall grasses covering Lucy as she stuck doggedly to my heel.  I picked elderflower to make a tea with, and we wandered through a magical world of grasses.  Small white moths, dark ones to flitted around and then a jewel alighted in front of me, the beautiful azure colour of a damsel fly.  No camera you will just have to imagine it in the mind's eye.  This is something I miss, damsel flies and dragon flies, though we live by a river, but I think the large overhanging trees shades its water from insects.  I also miss early in spring the annual emergence of frogs as they made their way to the pond and the little lizard like newt, something missing in this village I think, although once there were, presumably, medieval fish ponds in the fields behind the garden.

I look over the road to the field on the other side of Nigel, think years ago it was the old cricket field, and wonder if it is possible to buy it and create a small nature reserve.  Most small fields round here are covered with living lawn mowers, ie sheep, but this one has the tall grasses that once made up the old meadow lands, it must belong to someone.

Another thing I have noticed, I am not particularly good with names of trees but there are quite a few Ash trees around. Odin's tree, the mythical Yggrdrasil Tree and they have the magical nine leaves on either side of the twigs.

When Odin hung, speared, for nine days on the World Tree, he uttered the words that he had ‘sacrificed himself onto himself’. This stanza gives us a description of the unity existing between the Godhead and the Tree in the myths. To emphasis this connection, we find in old English the word treow, which means both tree and truth. Etymologically, then, truth and tree grow out of the same root. Subsequently, in the Norse creation myth, man and woman originated from trees. We are all the sons and daughters of the Ash and Elm tree: the first man was called Ask, born from the Ash, and the first woman Embla, born from the Elm. Their oxygen offers us the primordial conditions for life. Ask and Embla sprouted from Yggdrasil’s acorns, and so it is that every human being springs from the fruit of Yggdrasil, then to be collected by two storks ,who bring them to their longing mothers-to-be. In Scandinavian folklore, they say that children are born through the knot holes in the trunks of pine trees, which is another version of the same myth.  Taken from here

And another thing to note, I picked my first sprig of meadowsweet, it lay on the tarmac looking rather forlorn and the Himalayan Balsam is just starting to flower.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Post Referendum

And so we have decided, the future awaits, the  adventure begins! LS has been up all night watching the TV and is now in a deep sleep in his armchair.  Honeysuckle in the hedgerows along with wild roses, the world is alive with beauty and takes little notice of the human world and all its contradictions.... Yorkshire was literally balanced on the edge of the cusp 51.9% leave 48.1% remain, so close, a country of two halves and the Prime Minister has just resigned.  I voted 'remain' but seemingly there were more people for out, let it be on their own heads if something catastrophic happens.....

We did quite a bit of walking yesterday, first around the fields, secondly to our polling station at Marton and then wandered round the village admiring the neat flower  borders to the cottages and then on to the trees down the forestry track.

I tried looking for a quote of John Ruskin in which he says the ways of the leaves on a  trees leave us a lot to learn, as they make way for each other in a particularly graceful way, let us hope that a country split down the middle can do this as well.

Edit; One thing seems clear after the end result, people over a certain age should not have been allowed to vote, cruel I know but it was not their future world, the young should have taken their future and voted for it, isolationism does not work.  

Trees reaching up to the light
"When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of the place, and the awful gloom of this doomed cavern then strike you with the presence of a deity?"
-   Seneca  

"And see the peaceful trees extend

their myriad leaves in leisured dance—

they bear the weight of sky and cloud

upon the fountain of their veins."-   Kathleen Raine, Envoi 

Different ecology on rocks this little yellow flower

cannot resist the grace of honeysuckle

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thursday 23rd June

Well forgetting about the excitement  of today's voting, great adventure either way!  Last night I picked up a book  and settled down to pick my way through it.  Written in 1964 the writers slowly gave a blow by blow account of the course of this Roman road, notice there is no hesitation in saying that it was Roman and not Saxon as some would have it today.  The road has been cleaned or excavated at various spots you would not see this chalky white colour today......

under it's covering of turf

There are two cists on the road, must have been added after it was built, so probably makes them Iron Age, they abut the kerb stones.  Apparently there is another stone cairn as well, but this was the burial place of Satyr the dog in the 19th century,  for there is an inscribed stone to him.  When I get my car, there will be a certain amount of exploration I will do, one is to go to Old Mother's Well you can read all about it here in this descriptive blog on wordpress.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday 21st - the moon was not strawberry coloured last night though.

An early walk.  The weather is gentle, no wind, slightly cloudy sky and warm.  We go our usual walk, over the bridge, opening the five bar gate into the field. Up onto the bank, past the empty farm, though to be fair someone does still live there.  The soundscape of bird song stops me for a moment and as we walk on the three notes of the curlew followed by those lyrical bubbling notes that echoes the river's voice.  The curlew on the moors is the voice of Yorkshire for me, these curlews must be nesting in a field somewhere.  White tails of the young rabbits bob everywhere, someone said that they could only count three in my photo but rest assured they are everywhere, a couple of dozen.
The wild grasses are so long and very beautiful in their own right, still wet from the rain yesterday, as we go through the second gate I see Allison dog-walking her charges.  She must have 8 dogs, two collies vibrant with life are off their leads and come bounding towards us, but skitter aside plunging into the long grass, Lucy takes no notice she is not interested in other dogs.
Not sure what today will bring, coming back I take photos of what is happening in the garden, I bought a mallow (malva) plant on Sunday along with a red lobelia,  W.Robinson says of this plant "of these there are few pretty garden plants, the majority are coarse and weedy" but of course mentions the wild marshmallow which is pretty at this time of year.

I think this is the form M.Crispa, see how the leaves curl.

Bee loving plant 6 Hill Giant cat mint, not a bee in sight but a good dozen when I looked! Behind is the penstemon 'Apple blossom just waiting to appear

Nasturtiums starting to appear

the roses unfold

A white one appears

Monday, June 20, 2016

Monday 20th June

Two things of note today, the first is eating flowers and making one's salad pretty.  Now to me a few flowers thrown onto the salad looks a bit naff, but apparently according to Sarah Raven they have plenty of vitamins, etc, so try it one day when you want to impress your visitors.  

The second thing is I came across Scott and Helen Nearing on Youtube, a 'back to the earth' couple many years ago, who lived in Vermont.  I used to have their two books, Scott as he grew very old decided to end his life by starving himself to death, which he did.  They lived that basic life which they both loved and I noticed Helen knitted a lot of the time, something we share.  Helen also built a wall round her vegetable garden to keep out the rabbits, and as I watched the videos the walled garden was there, though now tended by others who presumably run the Nearing Center.  Their house looks very Swiss, but no animals of course as Helen was a vegetarian.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Rounding up sunday

It rears like a triffid over the fence, think it is the common hogweed not the giant one, there is something beautiful about it, but do not pick, it has a sap that removes the protection of the melanin from your skin and allows it to blister in the sun.  I had an incident a few weeks back with blisters all over my hand and that was just plunging my hand into a bunch of wild plants.

Last night Lucy and I wandered over to the grave yard to find Margaret Wood's grave, here it is rather forlorn and uncared for, she almost made a 100 years, often wonder if not having babies allowed women to live longer.  There is a small carving, you can just about see it at the top, of two bells, this would be the two bells in the little bell tower of the church that Jo and someone else rings every other Sunday, Margaret Wood living next door to the church would have heard them most of her life, a nice touch.
slightly blurred new rose

Pink spiky cranesbill

A new perennial geranium has just started to open its flowers,  I love the dissected leaves of the geraniums and reminds me to get some lady's mantle as well....  Organic black spot killer, probably not, but I have tried two tablespoons of bicarbonate.of soda, and some soap in a gallon of water - we shall see...

Someone said today that there is a lot energy in the air, perhaps because we are heading towards the solstice, our world is light  till late evening and then from early morning, it won't be all downhill from now on but the zenith has been reached, rejoice in the living world and above all protect it.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Dull cloud and a cold East wind, a dozen or so swallows swoop around the garden and road, perhaps this is the warmest place for insects, I see them also by the river.
Well it is a sad moment a thoroughly good person has been murdered by what seems a right wing lurker.  Joe Cox the Labour politician brutally shot and knifed by a fanatic has lost her life,  a senseless act.  What is so inspiring is the shock and grief that this country has expressed and as the tragedy unfolded, it gives one hope for better things when we all become too cynical at how the politics are run in this country.

I note on Tom Stephenson blog that it turns him to the 'in' vote, probably it shows us just how unsure many of us how are not knowing which way to vote.  I agree with the many,  who expressed it best, that it is not for us 'old' people to vote it is the younger generation who must take up the reins and vote for the future, for it is their future not ours.
I have  stuck to my original, instinctive thought that we are better in, yes I know there is a cumbersome bureaucratic  organisation  that needs sorting out but we all have to fight to bring a degree of commonsense as to how we want things run. I think the argument that we have managed to live with Europe for 60 years without warring is a considerable feat, no 100 year war or 30 years wars of past history...  Our differences are something to be glad about, will our cultural heritages be lost - doubt it.  For a good 10 years of my life we hosted language students (250ish) many from Europe, polite youngsters (well accept for that 15 old French boy who trailed around sulking with his pornographic book) I learnt a lot about other people, them 'foreigners' have fantastic manners, not something you could say of some of the British yobs in Lille.  But that is a generalisation of course

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tuesday and Whitby

George Weatherhill (1810-1890) painting of Whitby

Well there I was saying I haven't seen a hare for months, when, as we drove along the narrow lane to Pickering yesterday a young hare leapt out and bounded along the road, making it to the safety of an open gateway and giving us a lucky thumbs up for the day.  We were off to Whitby to see the solicitor, the clouds were so low over the moors that it became foggy, and as we arrived in the town, long car queues at the top where they are widening the road, was also echoed as we drove very slowly behind the rubbish collection lorry in Flowergate.  Missed having a cup of coffee at Sherlocks, and had a manky coffee out of a cardboard cup.

Last night wandered through old photos of Whitby, it is the 'Southend' of the North, the narrow streets full of tourists, dogs of every size and shape from Pyreanean to chihuahuas.  It pulses with life, fish and chips places at every turn, tawdry shops selling gifts. Yet it has atmosphere, the old houses running higgledy-piggledy and tumbling down to the water's edge, its hidden yards are a delight.  

This is Arguments Yard, named after a resident, you can see the 'Petty' (the loo) door, no water of course, just sand or dirt. @ Frank Sutcliffe

The cottage is in a yard, but the yard is run down and looks a mess, one has rights over the yard but you do not actually own it. The yards devolved from the original houses, slowly selling off their gardens and so a jumble of houses congregated around a square.  The cottage is 18th century and features in a book on yards, being owned by two sisters years ago and was at some stage called Georgian Cottage.  It is tiny, but a dozen children could be brought up in these terraced houses, and they provided a sheltered life for the people who lived in them.  My photos are early morning when the crowds have yet to hit the streets.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tuesday 14th June

Monique the hen sailing round the world - with her owner of course.

Hens are hardy creatures as this video shows, just click on the red above, though apparently she may have some trouble in Canada, passport etc!  She is like my three, always inquisitive, exploring and very friendly, you can get very fond of hens, they are not as stupid as you may think.
At the top is Lucy out on her walk, a great source of delight and mischief with her half grin as she brings in yet another shoe or piece of clothing, anything to get herself noticed.  LS always loves the way when in the garden she will bring the hand tools instead.
This walk reveals the intricacy of the world around us, the grasses are at their best, making me sneeze.  The giant hogweed rears its beautiful but poisonous head, the thistle its needle like cruel leaves.  The ugly dock leaves are sporting their flower., the cut leaves of the cranesbill are around with the pale blue of their flowers.  Oxeye daisies show a simplicity of shape that is pleasing. These long days are full of vibrant life, dozens of rabbits sit around the buttercup field, a plague on the gardens on the other side of the river.  It is almost as if there is a template for their shape and colour, all exactly the same as they grow.

Wheat turning golden

Dock flowering

rabbits galore

shapely thistle

Giant rhubarb - gunnera escaped into the wild?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Monday 13th June

@ Bodleian Museum. Detail MS Arab d98 .follb
Fascinating article here by the Bodleian Museum on Exploring Ultramarine, the pattern reminds me of knitting patterns, especially fair isle, the manuscript almost looks like felting.   Lapis lazulis rock from which the colour is ground,  can only be found, and here I quote, in the following places....

 Since ancient times lapis lazuli has been sourced in this remote region, north-east of modern Afghanistan, and exported over vast distances. Its mines on the steep Hindu Kush Mountains, above the Valley of the Kokcha River, can only be reached through a tortuous and dangerous route. At present only the mines of Sar-e-Sang have reserves of the highest-grade lapis lazuli. Other historical sources are near Lake Baikal in Siberia. The other locations where lapis lazuli can be found in commercial quantities are in the Andes Mountains of Chile and in Colorado, USA. There are smaller deposits on Baffin Island, Canada, in Lazio, Italy, and in the Pamir mountains of Tajikistan.

At first I thought the Japanese dyes that LS has so carefully collected  had the same colour but this is the mineral Azurite, and if you look at the bottom middle compartment you will see the beautifully coloured Tamamushi beetle.  One of my favourite stories is captured here as well, the monk feeding himself to the hungry tigers below the cliff at the Asuka temple, the shrine originally was decorated with the wings of the beetle.

This photo is taken from Japanese Dyes
Which all brings me back to wanting to dye some wool, several thing dictate against this, I threw out my dyeing pot when we moved to Yorkshire, have no soft white wool only silk to dye, and my dyes are somewhere hidden in the garage.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday and a barbecue

It was rather cold and overcast at the barbecue but 52ish people turned up, David, who is town crier at Malton, gave a speech in honour of the Queen's birthday.  The people who own the barn are newcomers like us, and we  all seem to sit round tables with our nearest neighbours.  Phil and Clare, the owners of the barn, had created a good setting, and the meat, all from a local butcher looked good, though I had the vegetarian sausages, everyone bought salads as well.  For afters, someone arrived with punnets of strawberries and ice cream, and then Clare produced delicious incredibly sweet puddings, which went pretty quickly.  The rain started to drizzle, so we left fairly early, what I haven't taken as a photograph is the four pretty Shetland ponies in the field  next to the garden.

LS and Jim (he is a republican) and a tax man to boot, we have quite good arguments!

At the end Peter, church warden, a very gentle person and getting frail sadly.
When we drove to Pickering on Friday, we passed on a triangle of grass a Romany gypsy encampment, must have come from  Appleby Fair.  He was a knife grinder, so the sign said, several ponies were tethered out on the verge grass.

When I look at Peter and David the church wardens my heart sinks for the church as the people get older and the congregation gets fewer.  There are several people who love the church, always trying to raise money for it, and yet what will happen to it in a few years time with the statistics showing  Protestant church attendance at a low.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Things are a bit low at the moment, missed the date for the youngest grand daughter's birthday, and have one of those large forms to fill in from the solicitors on the cottage.  My computer is also playing up, probably need a new one, it refuses to start in the morning and then eventually works This evening there is to be a barbecue which should prove some light relief.
Rain has at last fallen, the roses are starting to bloom, a couple of rose bushes look to be struggling, I need to get some food for them, and can you see the beginning of black spot  on the leaves, not something I am pleased about hopefully there is an organic cure.
Yesterday there was a funeral in the graveyard, we pulled the blinds down on that side so did not watch it, though saw the work people with a digger dig the hole, now the grave is a nicely rounded hill with roses on top, there are two weddings to be held in July as well, a much happier time.  Death seems such a peaceful time in the grave yard, that one does not feel sad for the people who lie there.


slowly the beds fill up

runner beans at the back