Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rabbits in the church yard this morning

'Hello darlin are you a local?'  One of the things walking the dog is that people pull up and ask questions about the name of houses in the village or the way to somewhere.  We had someone sitting furiously in the garden over the weekend because he could not find Eden Camp, though he had been searching for a couple of hours.
So those two middle aged (southerners?) cyclists that pulled up this morning to ask me the way to Amotherby was no surprise, and I did manage to look up the name of this strange place, 

Amotherby;  The village appears in the Domesday Book as 'Aimundrebi' which is derived from 'Eymund's farm

Funnily enough we had been the night before to get a Chinese takeaway, which was very good and was bought to celebrate LS's anniversary of 50 years when he first touched down in Japan.  A young lad with hardly any money and about three words of Japanese, luckily he was taken by a couple of Japanese policemen (no English) to a hostel from where in a couple of days he made his way to Kyoto.

Strange Anglo-Scandinavian words reminds me that I typed out some other words in Office, can I upload here?  The answer is no until I learn how to manipulate PDFs...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday, Which is a Bank Holiday of course

As August draws to a finish, Autumn is slowly stepping in.  Fine cobwebs in the grass early morning, brown edged leaves on the trees, the harvest of the garden, and sadly the drawing in of the nights.  But most beautiful of all is the mist that rises from the fields early morning.

Yesterday a friend in the village, bought a carrier bag of apples, onions and beans for some eggs, D had been painting outside doors for us, and his wife is an excellent gardener who won many prizes at the village show in Marton on Saturday.  It has made me think about what fruit trees to put in the garden, plums of course and a pear tree but apples seem to be going free round here.

The 'drama queen' has given us a couple of sleepless nights, what spooks her goodness knows, but to be honest I think she has a low pain tolerance. So wind or indigestion for that night of slamming doors!  And as for the walk yesterday, when but a few yards from home she must have stepped on something, causing her to run riot in the garden, did she get stung by a nettle?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Friday 26th August

When we at the North Yorks Moor Centre the other day we saw the above print by the artist John Brunsdon, it is of Sutton Bank or Roulston Scar and if you have climbed the steep hill by car to the top you will see the significance of the little red car in the print.  We had come this way on our way back with Lucy from the Blue Cross centre when we first acquired her, and had stopped to eat a sandwich at the top, in which she joined rather shyly.  The print was delivered to us the next day by a National Trust lady who happened to pass our house on the way home to Malton, so if I am ever snidey about the NT, I must remember her kind act!
At the top of Sutton Bank is one of the largest Iron Age forts in the country, though evidence of settlement is sparse, you can read Brigantes Nation here for information on the fort.  The Modern Antiquarian also has some interesting folklore by Rhiannon and others.
Lots of links there for myself but we are pleased with the print and I maybe will buy another one in the future.

Spotted on the sycamore outside the gate, bracket fungi, well over 18 inches across by 12 inches.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

25th August

We took advantage of the last two sunny days and went sightseeing. First day it was the 'Lavender Farm' very National Trust with a shop and expensive plants set high on a south facing slope, but I did get some lavender water and oil.  The plants are set out methodically on the slopes and there are fun things to do for the children.  Far reaching views but very windy.

Yesterday was over the moors via Hutton-le-Hole, Rosedale Abbey and then to Danby and the Moors National Park Centre to visit an exhibition there.  As you can see from the following photographs, the heather is out in full glorious colour, on this particular part of the moors we go past the solitary pub on the highest part of the moor.
The geology of the moors is strange round here, blind valleys below ending in small villages, there is a definitive demarcation line between the farmed land and the moor.  We passed walkers tramping along the road, why? when they had vast areas of land to walk on.
The Moors National Park Centre is housed in an old shooting lodge and has special exhibitions in its gallery, the quilts are what we had come to see, or at least I had on the recommendation of a friend. A lot of the needlework was beautiful there were two women teaching how to make rugs on a peg loom, the exhibition was called 'Foray into Fibre' by the Cleveland Fibre Arts Group......
And today the weather is grey and misty it is drizzling or maybe mizzling!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tuesday and photos

These little seeded pansies spring up in the vast expanse of stones in the drive.

the haws are slowly turning red

Three large trees that always welcome, though you can only see one

Monday rain, as I finish the sweater below for LS

It looks quite neat!

Patchwork never quite get what I want!

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Pat posed a question yesterday about the tragedy of the little boy looking stunned on the ambulance chair  that filled the media the other day and why was war such a part of the human tragedy.  My answer is that there is no answer.  Humans have always been the same, as I read in a book this morning,we are not far removed from our brethren the apes, aggression is instinctive, and especially when mixed up with religion that is a savage mix. And then there was also this little story that came out of it.  From Alan Garner's Boneland.....

"Vishnu is crying.  And along comes Hanuman, Alpha Bootes, the monkey god, and he says "why are you crying? and what are all those ants down on the Earth so excited about?" "They are not ants" say Vishnu.  "They're people.  I was holding the Jewel of Absolute Wisdom; and I dropped it; And it fell into the world and broke.  Everybody down there has got a tiny splinter of it; but they each think they've got the whole thing, and they're all running around and telling each other, but no one is listening"

Tis a good metaphor of how we see ourselves, the 'self' are in the end 'selfish' all knowing when in actual fact we are just a bag of cells held together by skin same as the animals around us ;). Wisdom is not a given trait of being human it is acquired by thinking and probably by having the facts set out before us.  But who will do this job? Well why not philosophers, a third chamber in the houses of parliament seems to me a good starting point!

In the end we become emotionally involved with the events around us the hard part is to accept that we can do little about them, people do of course, those refugees camping out in Calais there are people from this country going out starting schools, taking essential things. Medicin Sans frontiere  is at the frontiers working in hospitals at the sharp end, giving their expertise and their lives for the good of others.  
But the question should we sit down with the leaders of IS, now that I find a very hard question, anger at such cruelty that has been visited upon people in Syria and Iraq would not be easily overcome, religious fervour has a lot to answer for.  And then when I look at the papers, this point of negotiation is completely swamped by the internal feud in the Labour party between Smith and Corbyn.  It is NOT important this feud, masterminded by disgruntled Labour politicians, ordinary people have voted for Corbyn because they are sick of the old political system - wow we need a new system, get over it!  Oops starting to rant, so I shall close with a photograph ......

Blue damselflies mating

Friday, August 19, 2016


New visitors to the garden;  The other  day I noticed a clump of rabbit fur in the church yard, then as we were having our coffee yesterday, a head poked over the wall.  A weasel, chestnut brown with a cream underbelly, so that is where poor rabbit went, even the chickens looked worried as they peered out of their run at the interloper.  Then at last butterflies on our buddleia, what with the disappearing bees, butterflies seem also seem thin on the ground, though not the 'white' which have decimated my kale!  Also the crows and jackdaws that disappeared about a month ago from the copse have now reappeared, must have been gleaning the fields as the crops were harvested, noisy creatures that they are.

Yesterday I found (at last) organic bread flour in Pickering, it was at the Organic shop in one of the car parks.  Now that the cottage is sold visits to Whitby will be few, so Sainsbury where I always got Dove flour is off the shopping lists.
I talked to the owner of the Pickering shop, about advertising her shop, because I had to find local Yorkshire millers in our part of Yorkshire, there are four in the area, on the internet. A photo below shows her stock.  I have a small niggle with expensive 'organic' shops, the prices are one, and some of the vegetables are flown in from overseas, not exactly helping the planet.  But they are fascinating places to browse and they had many different flours, this included pasta, rye and spelt from all the millers.  Note Ecover in the corner, should we go really green I wonder;)

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Well I am writing on my new computer, having spent a day uploading and trying to work it out.  How fast this world works, ordered on Monday from Dell and it arrived Tuesday.  Security set up as well, as my address book was hacked in between, so apologies to anyone who receives spam!  The article below spotted in the Guardian, sharply emphasises a way of life suddenly gone sour, why did all these people move, the beauty of Island life cut short by economic depression probably, we are all tourists and though the thought of living in such beautiful surroundings appeals, you would have to be in love with a solitary life with bad weather as a companion.

Derelict houses in the Outer Hebrides

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday 14th August

Our Sunday walk mooching along, the gold of straw in the distance.  I hate to say it but this is the slow decline of summer, I check on the blackberries, still green.  The river is so low I notice old stakes round a tree, the depth is probably down to a couple of feet, in winter it can rise to 13 foot.
Lucy has a spurt of speed, it is a game she plays with me, a biscuit at the end.  She has also found the dead mole again, though I threw it into the undergrowth the other day.  What do you do with a dead mole?  Roll in it of course, refreshes the smell other things can't ;)
The last three photos show the river bank overcrowded with willows, Himalayan Balsam and that giant rhubarb leaf that invades the banks of the rivers.  Of course the other plant that adds its tangle to of the hedgerow is the bindweed, must look it up. 
The English farming scene is beautiful, one can never take it away but there are rants in the air about the political scene, so let me introduce you to the Artistic Taxi Driver defending Jeremy Corbyn.....

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thursday 11th August

Grouse butt - a couple of verses by Ted Hughes

But inside each one, under sods, nests
Of spent cartridge-cases
Are acrid with life.
Those dead-looking fumaroles are forts.

Monkish cells, communal, strung-out, solitary,
The front line emplacements of a war nearly religious--
Dedicated to the worship 
Of costly, beautiful guns

2. It should be unacceptable to harm nature but easy to help it. Currently, only 1/3 of the basic payment is conditional on meeting ‘green’ farming standards. In the future, 100 per cent of any public payment should be conditional on meeting higher standards of wildlife, soil and water stewardship.  Dame Helen Ghosh;

Other statements from the Director General of the National Trust are written down and expressed but of course it will be a long journey to the reality!  So we approach the 'glorious 12th', or the killing for pleasure of birds.  Grouse will be shot up on the moors, the arguments about whether burning the heather is a good thing or bad, or whether it causes flooding. But many of us will be angry about the killing of raptors by over enthusiastic landowners and game keepers in their efforts to keep the grouse numbers up.

Nearer home and the family have been staying with us the last three days, I bought the girls those intricate adult colouring books which keeps them amused for a couple of hours, and we went a walk over the fields with the dogs yesterday.  Came across three cars with several official people standing around in the old lane which was surprising, my daughter reckoned a murder had taken place, but I reckon they had something to do with the Environment Agency and the river.  I had met a couple of young men in the fields the day before, obviously mole killing as he pulled up traps from the grass and all the rabbits have mysteriously disappeared as well!  The long litany of death in the countryside......

We now have a Japanese stone lantern in the garden, an enormous lorry pulled into the drive yesterday, it had arrived on a pallet in three pieces and LS has worked out it's position in his Japanese strip alongside the house...

His strip ends up in my vegetable bit...

That bloody dog is in my basket again!  Lucy whose life gets disrupted by children  and Teddy the dog

Sunday, August 7, 2016


There is a walk I take that is along the road to Salton.  We went to capture in a photo the cows and their calves in the field, but they had all mysteriously disappeared, perhaps to fields behind the farmhouse.  Long and straight it stretches to the bend where we turn round, should a a car come along you have to get on the grass verge. 
I go past the small village green, which has a dip in it, maybe at some stage there was a pond there, the little chapel fronts on to it.

amongst this tangle of greenery below is the river, running over rocks and making that gentle soothing noise/

'Beware of the Bull' sign, bet there hasn't been a bull in that field for years!

Looking up to Hill Top farm

A walk is a peaceful undertaking, the Archbishop of York Setamu is to make a pilgrimage round a part of Yorkshire, and also this year my hero Satish Kumar is also making  another  pilgrimage, part of his video 'Earth Pilgrim' is here.
Walking clears the mind, which in turn becomes part of the world around you, the swallows flying overhead, the sparrows busy in the hedgerow, a bumble bee resting on a thistle, each is part of their own world but you merge caught up in a picture that is timeless.  It will be repeated each season, every living organism will have changed and yet will rely on  last season's detritus. A North American Indian chief once blessed every blade of grass for being what it was, we have lost all that....

Two books to keep an eye on;

1) The Long, long Life of Trees by Fiona Stafford.  Out 16th August, though pricey at £16.99

2) Jenny Uglow - A Little History of English Gardening

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Well I have just bought a mobile phone, nothing particularly interesting in that, but I hate phones.  They demand attention and mobiles to me look very complicated.  I have always had a simple one but it has not worked here, and with LS's 'threat' that if I intended buying a car and going off alone then I would have to have a mobile to keep in touch.
So I perused Vodaphone, the only phone that works out here, ordered one, and it arrived the next day. The carrier had this marvellous tracking system, I was the 92 call of the day and he arrived with in the specified hour, so drones can you provide such services?
LS has just written a short article on his favourite building which happens to be the coke house next door, I quite like the gentle faded blue of the small hatch door, it is a very 'in' colour in today's sophisticated design circles ;).  Pat may be pleased to learn that I get The Times more and more these days, got the Sunday bundle basically to see why Theresa May pulled out of the Hinkley deal, of course it was the Chinese, she had not been too happy about it from the beginning, but whether it will still go through is up in the air.
For me there is something gathering in the air, we are distracted by terrorist attacks, the media follows all sort of junk news, but something is circling out there that I cannot put my finger on.  I talk of the general daily affairs of the life I lead to distract myself from thinking dark thoughts.

Paul Nash photographic sale; courtesy of Digging Deeper blog.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Kirkdale - St.Gregory's Church

the old building jostles with the new
Yesterday we went for a walk round the above church, it is a place of great peace and serenity, though there were two ladies cleaning out an outbuilding.  We chatted for a while and it emerged that Philip Rahtz the archaeologist had excavated there in 1996, apparently he had uncovered a large coffin, I think A/S, the main feature of interest though is the sun dial in the wall of the porch.  The information for the sun dial can be found here.

This walk took us round the back of the church, through the fields and down to a dried up beck called Hodge Beck, the church itself is situated at the end of Sleightholme Dale in the middle of Kirkdale Woods.  About a mile away there is a cave in which very old animal bones were found way into prehistory.  When you look at the woods that glower so darkly on either side of the church it reminds you of Tolkien's Mirkwood forest, there is dense blackness under the trees, evergreens destroy any living thing under them.

from the west

Hodge Beck

It could belong to prehistory this stone

Walking back the church buried in trees

"St Gregory Minster, Kirkdale was rebuilt around 1054 because the original church of 654 AD was destroyed by the raiding Danes. Therefore it is a pre-Norman conquest Saxon church"   Taken from Doc Brown, and there seems some lovely spring walks round there as well

We then went on to Nunnington Hall for a cup of tea, we never go in, Lucy is with us and paying quite a lot to walk round these large houses is not on our list of interests.... But these graceful English houses reflect a way of life long gone - thank goodness!  We need their history to remind us what life could be like if you were poor.

Willows drooping have to be the most classy trees out
Tea garden, the tree in front in the unmown lawn is a mulberry I think