Friday, July 29, 2016

How time flies - Friday 29th

There is to be a second wedding this weekend, and the church yesterday evening was lit up as the next array of flowers arrived, the photo above is one I took yesterday, because the windows looked rather beautiful.  In the large window you can see sheep, and the quotation underneath refers to water. This could be to do with  the fact that there is a saline well that appears somewhere around here, and of course there is a well in the grounds of the pub next door.
What fascinated me about the last wedding was how people dressed up, cartwheel hats, fascinators perched rather ridiculously on top of heads, though I would not mind wearing such a display of frivolity one day.  The men all elegant in 'morning dress' and the bride as pretty as a picture.

" fascinator hat is a small ornamental headpiece that fits on the head using an alice-band-type base or headband or even a small comb. It is always lightweight and usually features feathers, beads or flowers. The use of the term fascinator began in the 1990s when such headpieces became popular for wearing at weddings without ruining your lovely hairstyle or giving you a helmet head."

The day has arrived!

Birds, singing, move

among leaves, in leaf shadow.
After many years you have come

to no thought of these,
but they are themselves
your thoughts. There seems to be

little to say, less and less.
Here they are. Here you are.
Here as though gone.

A stolen couple of verses from  Beyond the Fields We Know the verses from Wendell Berry;   Kerraledune is this week going through a time of trial, may she come out of it well and whole for her blog is an uplifting and thoughtful place I turn to each day.

The Must Farm Discovery

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday 27th July

It is a bit of a nutty idea, delivering parcels by drones, or how to get rid of  human interaction....
Well as someone said on the radio this morning what about children and dogs, can just see Lucy, heaving the mat away (the drone is supposed to land on it) into the house, the different scenarios fill one's mind with comical images, it will definitely not work!
Actually it is a bit scary, cars that you don't need to drive, parcels delivered by drones, and pizzas by robots, all these things buzzing around will cause mayhem.  The human race is a very restless species not given to living quietly in a backwater.

That was yesterday, after writing it we went off to the moors to take Lucy her favourite walk, though it did rain whilst we were there.  Along the way we came across a skylark trying to divert us from her nest, and I spied lots of the common orchid along a forest trackway, and the pale blue harebell shaking their pretty heads amongst the grasses.  The heather is out in all its striking colour though great areas of the moor still look bleak and brown.


common orchid

trying to lead us astray

We drove through the village we were at one time going to live in, the farmhouse looks as if it has been sold, the village itself still a typical Yorkshire place with houses fronting on the road or behind a village green.  Houses are on the whole very smart, they have been improved over time.

And just to add to the history of that innocent delicate flower the harebell, Grigson says of this that it was thought of as the 'devil's bell' which was not to be picked, the Witch bell, the Witch thimble, the Cuckoo's thimble and in Gaelic, brog na cubhoig.  In Irish folklore this dangerous plant is mearacan puca thimble of the puca or goblin,  The hare of course being a witch animal.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday 22nd July

Today is Friday, and if you wonder why I disappeared it was all those Russian readers that appeared on my blog, but I note others have also had the same phenomena, so either it's the KJB or everyone has suddenly become interested in Brexit!

And so to photos, I have already mentioned that there is to be wedding this week end, and the church has been cleaned and polished, flowers have come, the gardener cut the grass round the gravestones beautifully and there has been a great coming and going.

The tractors and trailers rush past the house, with silage or baled silage, the farming landscape is well under way as harvesting progresses in this dry weather.

they 'bomb' through the village, lots going through the town of Pickering today as well

top of church wall as it curves down to our house and the Sun Inn

great pride is taken in our small church

soft shades of pink and white

Even the pews have been polished

A slightly blurry photo of the white bouquets of flowers at the gravestone of the bride's mother.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday 20th July

What do I wake up to first thing this morning, Trump is a candidate for president, I switch the radio off in disgust - How can you do it America??  There is his wife cribbing Michelle Obama's speech and the whole distasteful band wagon is off gleefully eyeing up the presidency.
Well there is a few thousand miles between us and though he has graced the shores of Scotland doubt if Theresa May will have much to do with him.
Hot weather for two days and the tractors have whizzed up and down bringing the hay in, it is round baled, but there is also small square baling going on across the road, as Jo and David cut their small field hay for Charlie's feed this coming winter.  Charlie is the pony that pulls Jo and friend around the countryside in a small trap, that was the field I had my eye on unfortunately.
We have sat out in the garden to late evening watching the swallows wheel overhead, the birds have been incredibly noisy during this hot weather.  The thrush joins us as well spreading her wings to catch the sun.
Yesterday there was a man cleaning a gravestone yesterday evening, it belonged to his wife, and this coming Saturday his daughter will be married in the church, there are only two weddings booked in though.  There is something sad but uplifting that the mother who lies near the church door will be part of her daughter's ceremony on Saturday.  

the river fields are now mown

mown but not gathered

'Jam  and Jerusalem' rose. too bright and bumptious

my favourite plant, the lemon lily at the moment

this is a loom to make straw string, I suppose for tatami rugs and also straw shoes.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday, 17th July

There is an overload of misery in the world, the van attack in France just one more horror in a sea of killing.  The misery it will bring will run on for years, children run down without care or pity, it is very difficult to understand the mindset of the killer.  This morning I made bread, gooseberry pie and a vegetarian gravy, a typically quiet morning and all I can wish for all these people that are so traumatised is the same peaceful life but somehow it will not happen.
So there I will cease, and record what has been happening in this small corner, well the cottage sale has accelerated, contracts exchanged in the next week or so, they wanted the sofa as well but it had already been moved.
My computer still plays up and will soon be replaced, it is just finding the right one.  So to a walk along the river side with Lucy and that calm world of birdsong and wild grasses.  Along this field the wild flowers, a couple of alien plants flourish, butterflies of the brown type flutter around, the bees feed on the thistles, and there is a crab apple overloaded with fruit.  But first there is an oxen yoke, which is still to find a home somewhere in the house.

a very needy spaniel!

the soft down of meadowsweet


crab apples

mushrooms in the churchyard

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday - Sea Room

This book is the one I am rereading at the moment, three islands just off the larger island of Lewis, to be crossed to on The Minches sea.  Adam Nicholson's family have owned these islands for a while, he has now  in fact  passed them on to his son.  First of all Nicholson is a damned good writer, he pulls you in with his stories  of those who have lived here before.
Archaeology wise they are fascinating, and have been surveyed by the archaeologist Patrick Foster, who works in Prague, his pdf file can be found here. and also a lot of further fascinating evidence about the natural life, and photographs of the island.
Robert Macfarlane has also been to the islands for a couple of days which he has written about in his book 'The Old Ways' and some intriguing  words for the sea roads that sailors take when they sail the seven oceans....

"In old English the hwael-weg (the whale's way) the swan-rad (the swan's way); in Norse the veger, in Gaelic rathad mara or astar mara.  In English the ocean roads, the sea lanes."

We think of these rather beautiful and bleak places as lonely and uninhabited but of course over the centuries this is far from true, there are bronze age cairns and house settlements, later on there is evidence of a summer use of these islands as the cattle were brought over to graze and shieling huts can be found on the pasture grounds.  Macfarlane also records something that Nicholson writes about, how in fact there is an exuberance of life there, especially in the natural world (and the only black rat colony in the world!).

"The hub for millions of bird and animal lives, as dynamic as any trading floor, a theatre of competition and enrichment.  They are the centre of their own universe, the organising node in a web of connections, both human and natural, which extends first to the surrounding seas, then to the shores on all sides and beyond that, along the seaways that stretch for thousands of miles along the margins of the Atlantic and on into the heartlands of Europe"  Nicholson quote.

Nicholson tells a tale not exactly of ghosts but of a 'presence';  Now this presence might be the old hermit/monk who lived on the island somewhere after the 6th century, his 'pillow of stone' was found atop a grave, on the stone was engraved a cross and it became Nicholson's constant companion in his boat when he crossed the Minches.  The pillow bit of course refers to the fact that the hermit rested his head on the stone at night, not very comfortable but a closeness to  his god.  
The story goes that when Nicholson arrived with his terrier dog and went to sleep in the old house on the island, he woke up in the middle of night, black night, no sodium lights from a town here, pitch black to find his dog staring at a corner of the room shivering and petrified, Nicholson also felt something, so they both huddled shivering beneath the sleeping bag till the first lights of dawn drew a pattern across the floor, his two sons had also experienced something similar.

Nicholson goes on to quote Jung here on the manifestations we think we see and it provokes an interesting discussion....

if ghosts are said to be 'nothing but projections of your own unconscious thoughts and fears on to the outside world, no intellectual acrobatics are needed to turn that sentence around and describe your own fears as ghosts that have taken up residence in you'

Nicholson sees that there is a holiness or sanctity within the natural world, and within the islands, it is the connectivity we see, the sacred is revealed in the natural world and that which touches the human soul.  Ghosts belong to ourselves we create them through the medium of the stories that run through our heads and that of course is how the multifarious religious cults are brought into being to make order in our  beautiful and chaotic natural world.

cc.Tony Kinghorn
Looking from Garbh Eilean to Eilean an Taighe on the right with Eilean Mhuire in the distance. - This photograph is taken using a 'fisheye' or ultra-wide-angle lens and is not representative of what an observer would see on the ground

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday 13th April

Today will be a short blog because we are out soon.  The hens of cousin Sue.  LS has a cousin who lives in Cornwall in a pretty cottage in a small hamlet well off the beaten track.  It is a very rural place though settled I presume by 'incomers' or 'emmets', though 'blowins' can be another newer term.

Wiki etymology on Emmett; It is commonly thought to be derived from the Cornish-language word for ant, being an analogy to the way in which both tourists and ants are often red in colour and appear to mill around. However the use of 'emmet' to mean ants is actually from the Cornish dialect of English and is derived from the Old English word √¶mete from which the modernEnglish word ant, is also derived (compare Modern German Ameise [ant]). The Cornish word for ant is actually moryonenn (pl. moryon)

The hens have a place at the bottom of the vegetable garden but during the day have the freedom of the whole garden.  Think this visit made LS realise he would be quite happy living out in the countryside, though we never found a suitable house in Cornwall.

off limits though they don't seem to think so

A rather peaceful view - sun and shadows

Down to the vegetable garden
Taking a break clustered on the bench

Roy, LS, Geoff and Sue, and note the tri-stone (Pointy stone)
at the back; this is taken at King Arthur's Hall

Just down the lane a rather beautiful valley to walk the dog

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


I have been reading Daphne du Maurier's book called 'Vanishing Cornwall', she tells stories about the place.  One thing I noticed was some of the Cornish words she picked up, and as I had been reading Jackie Morris's blog on the missing words in the children's Oxford dictionary, she is by the way to collaborate with Robert MacFarlane on a book about the subject, - I thought to record Maurier's words....
17th century; "Such violent storms, that not only uncover their houses but rend up their Hedges, and hinder the Growth of their Trees.  One kind of them call a Flaw or Flagh"  
Not known as a word today, though Maurier did find a corresponding f'laad ie; "puffed out with flatulency, as cattle after too much green food"

M says that there are three renderings of Penwith meaning,  'The last promontory', 'the promontory on the left' and 'the headland of slaughter', this last is probably due to the many burial places of prehistory that litter the landscape.  Wivell or Wyevell means the "shire of Welshmen or strangers"

Hilla-Ridden.  West Cornish for nightmare or tormenting dreams, or to 'have the stag' which means having a weight upon one's chest which prevents breathing.. Now the cure for these was to crawl or 'crame' through the ringed stone of the Men-an-Tol, or better still to wash in the water of Madron Well.

Cornwall cont.....

We only visited two wells, one was at St.Neots, the other just outside Duloe, which is of course home to a beautiful small stone quartz circle.  The old wells of Cornwall are well documented but it is their place in the landscape that catches the eye.

St.Neots is a small village with the church up on the hill and the pub next door, (bit like our place), it has carved stones in the churchyard that belong to the early Saxon Christian period and a holy well four hundred metres, Elizabeth Rees has written about it here, a book I have and if I was less lazy would have copied from...


The well has small offerings, why milk I am not sure, a place of healing for sick children, up to the 19th century probably....

The Well of St.Keyne;  With its story here.  Such a pretty place, moss, old stones and steps down to the water,  Cornwall does have its charms and of course its history.