Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday 30th September

Well back from Todmorden and the rather beautiful Calder Valley. (Calder comes from 'cold, which I do not find surprising!) The train journey back took me through the valley, steep hills on either side, mostly wooded and the river running alongside.
I did not take my camera, so have chosen a few photos from Wikipedia of the two towns I visited.  My daughter manages two charity shops, one in Hebden Bridge (very hippy town) and the other in Todmordern (home to the Incredible Edible Tormorden) both true characteristic pictures of small Northern towns
Matilda had had two days in hospital due to low blood sugar, and had to go on a drip but she was back home on Monday with tales of all that happened.  She caused quite a sensation amongst her friends,  all of whom managed with great sensibility to look after her, phoning for an ambulance and also parents.
She is not in too much pain but drags the heavy cast around with some moaning, but we went out for coffees and pizza, and a meal at Wetherspoon for all of us so we kept her amused.

Todmorden sheltered by the hills

Hebden Bridge

Rochdale Canal, Hebden Bridge

Thornton Viaduct, Bradford.
The dark millstone grit stone used for the houses, gives a slight funeral feel to the place.  They were also of course subject to the time of the industrialisation of the North, and their blackness was due to the heavy smoke laden workings of the mills, and of course the use of coal.
In all this part of West Yorkshire is very different to our flat Vale of Pickering, it is like so many places in Great Britain, a jewel caught up in working mines etc, each landscape a different jewel from the purple heather moors to the ranges of hills, nothing is the same.

Thanks to Wikipedia, and all the people who post photos on their for the use of others.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday - Away

Well I have always wanted to write this - Out of the Office - of course not really but I shall be away for a few days to go and stay in Todmorden and keep Matilda company.  So train from Malton Station tomorrow, slightly nervous about it all but have written instructions for LS on how to feed and look after the creatures!
See you soon X

Saturday, September 24, 2016


old orchard at Lower Riseborough Farm

Saturday and all is quiet;  It is a time for reading the newspaper. Good news on Matilda she woke up perky and fresh, so sometime today they should go home.
Guardian on Saturday, though I bought The Times yesterday, flicked through their property pages, which mostly consist of million pound houses, all delectable of course, and mostly in London, although apparently there are many cashing in on their houses and fleeing out of the city.  Don't ask me my opinion on people who see houses as their greatest asset, for some it is a good way of amassing capital for one's retirement, for others they turn into greedy vultures, capitalising from the poor.  Whoops the American dictionary has picked me up on capitalising, no I shall not spell it with a 'z' thank you.. 

Even Purple Bricks can do it, this small cottage in the village has only had this sign up a couple of weeks

As for the young who can't even get started on the housing ladder, especially with a £50,000 university bill round their necks, I don't know the answer except that all of us should lobby the government to do something.  
Just written to the Defra ministry about ivory sale in this country, a drop in the ocean, when  these beautiful wild elephants are killed on a daily basis for material gain.  But perhaps one day there will be a slow 'turning' to right action not a bumbled attempt by some politician to excuse and continue the practise.
We had our first log fire last night, I was shivery (with relief that Matilda was alright) and it burned the logs beautifully, unfortunately the fire irons were left next to the fire, so Lucy had a good time rolling them around after midnight, not forgetting her stainless steel bowl which was dropped on the kitchen floor several times - how to wake people up when you are lonely.
What else - Chris Packham is not to be dropped by the BBC for his remarks against grouse shooting thank goodness, his voice sometimes as he reveals ' The Tweet of the Day' would be sorely missed.  The not so lucky buy of 'Bake off' (never watched it) by 'channel 4' is somewhat like shooting yourself in the foot, did they not think to get the presenters in the bag before they went off after the programme for £75,000,000? As someone said it was a bloody expensive tent they have acquired!

Friday, September 23, 2016


Well my third day; 
Yesterday I walked with Lucy over the fields with the express need to photo the four crab apple trees that line a hedge.  Their crops are very heavy, green at the moment I shall wait for them to colour up before I pick them for jelly

It is rather a shame that this bitter small apple cannot be used in more ways than one.  We walked along the old hedge bank full of rabbit holes, but no rabbits, a spent cartridge told the reason why. Lucy peered down the holes with interest, this side of the hedgerow there is no wildlife strip but there is on the other side.  The land belongs to the farm which is up for sale, the barns are in a ramshackle state, though the land is farmed the yard is always eerily empty.  When I was a child farms would always be bustling with livestock, chickens running round, pigs in their stys and the low moos of penned cattle.

to be continued...

Well if this was a diary entry for today, bad news is that my grand daughter Matilda, whilst flying across the bowling green in Todmorden at great speed last night took a tumble and broke her arm in a couple of places and strained her wrist.  Luckily her sensible friend with her phoned for an ambulance and now she is in a Huddersfield hospital with her mother waiting for an operation at l pm today, they may have to wire the bones or put a plate in, just like mine it seems.  So today my thoughts will be with her, it is the right forearm, her writing hand unfortunately.  Poor lamb and now I wonder what pressie to buy her...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday 22nd September; The official day for Equinox

Well it is early Thursday morning, there is a fine drizzle outside, and we had a power cut in the night just as we had gone to bed.  It lasted about an hour or so, it would have been alright but Lucy panicked and knocked over the tall tower of CDs downstairs, so candles had to be found.  I lay in bed contemplating the world without electricity.  No tea or toast in the morning, and we definitely need more matches, we could probably cook on top of the wood burner but one of those expensive Agas would not come amiss, of course it has to burn fuel to be of any use.  Frugal in Derbyshire has started a thread/train of thought on the subject. Scary of course and she introduced us to a 70s drama on the subject called 'Survivors' to be found on Youtube perhaps it is best not to go there except for the bad acting and fruity accents.

What else happened yesterday, well my daughter asked me to be an executor in her will as part of the separation from her ex, so I had to go and look that one up, not a fun job, I shall hopefully never share the experience with my co-executor, Marc, her cousin, in Switzerland.

The world looks a bleak place at the moment, why does the wielding of power always end up like a game of chess, with the leaders moving the pieces on the board, and in the process the lives of thousands are wrecked.  Surely the images of toddlers their faces covered in blood would move the hardest of hearts.  Is Putin playing a terrible game in trying to destroy Europe through the suffering of others. Someone from UKIP and a few others, said they admired him, how so?

To return to the theme of survival, I don't think I will bother ;) what will be will be but we have learnt some lessons from last night, it was as black as hell outside, so torches, matches (we have plenty of candles) food that can be easily warmed up, and don't flush the loo after 48 hours because we have to pump up our sewage to the waste disposal across the road by electricity!

One thing I forgot to list, is my struggle in making a rag doll, this may be of no consequence to anyone, but I decided to make one, and then got stuck at the first stage by what I thought was an insurmountable problem, solved it, read 4 instead of 2 and then I have a moon face not a half moon face.  When Matilda was a toddler I made her three of these, as when she lost them there would be terrible shenanigans, well the finished article will be on display but don't expect much.  Also yesterday came across a 'miniature fairy house' for the miniature garden display I never entered at Marton, basically due to the fact that I could not find any of the plant 'mind your own business' or something similar, so if you want to make a fairy house (and who doesn't) go here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday - 21st September Equinox

Writing each day, will try it for a bit;

Yesterday a visit to Pickering for shopping at Lidl, we walked around the town, mainly to get the cash for the logs, a woman came up and made a fuss of Lucy, said that she already had one spaniel but was thinking of getting another.  As we talked it emerged she had an autistic son and the dog helped him greatly.  One of the things we find is the friendliness of Yorkshire people, we carry on conversations in the street with complete strangers.  I lived in Chelmsford with LS for 8 years but never found the same spirit of openness in the South....

Nigel came over from across the road with a container of red tomatoes in the afternoon, he inspected my tomatoes and was of the opinion I needed a greenhouse, but I could see he was impressed with my little vegetable garden, he is going to bring me over a couple of wheelbarrow loads of manure, it will be gratefully received.  He and his wife live across the way with his animals and he potters happily all day, either building/mending another shed for his two goats, half a dozen sheep, hens and ducks.  We look out on his sheds, see him come out every morning to let the hens out and the goats (they provide milk for their household) and know that everything in their world is alright.

Jim our neighbour on the other side of the church is a frequent visitor always helpful, he and LS are trying to solve the problem of our heavy gates which drag along the gravel when opened, they are going to tackle the job next week.  The person who installed them has been promising to come the last 6 months - mmmm.

Tomorrow, is the day we swap our internet company,  goodbye BT and welcome Beeline Broadband, a small company, they have about 400 customers and a mast just down the road, it requires something on the roof, and we will lose the BT landline number but you can use an internet number (German) at  a very cheap rate. What we will get is a much faster connection and our BBCiplayer should work, trying to watch something you missed has been a nightmare of buffering.

So Pat, my omelette is nothing special, just a courgette, chard torn into strips, mushrooms, quickly fried then an egg with plenty of herbs tossed in, some cheese thrown over the whole lot and eaten with freshly baked bread ;)

Village green I suppose with mole hills.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tuesday 20th Sept.

I shall start with a video of Buseok Temple in Korea, basically it has a calming effect on the world of thought, though I really like the rain within this temple, it reminds us that religion is not all bad.  Why do I pick this today, could it be that Lucy is prowling around in an agitated frame of of mind, something has got to her and she is not happy.  Not like this photo I took the other day, LS occasionally calls her a Zen Buddhist dog and she fits the picture perfectly with her cushion in front and eyes closed worshipping the sun!

This morning  we wake up to more dreadful news as the humanitarian trucks for Aleppo were bombed yesterday; spitefulness for the Syrian troops 'accidentally' killed the other day? when and how does it stop - end of ceasefire of course.
Also on a lesser note they (Labour party) are out to get Jeremy Corbyn by shifting the rules around a bit, can they not see their foolishness.  Why not actually ask why Corbyn has suddenly got a large vote from the public and act on that instead....
Well how did my vegetable garden go this summer, all my tomatoes, and there are a lot of them are still green, the red chard did well, not sure how to use it though, except in my omelette recipes.  Runner beans have done well, as has courgettes in pots but not the butternut plant, and the first cucumber was bitter....

elegant leaves

won this little seeded pot at a raffle

I love pansies, and there are such elegant colours, though these are violas

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday a day of rest

I have been up since 5.30, the moon like a bright coin shone through the bedroom window, now it is but a pale ghost of itself as the sun outshines it.  Chickens out and fed, there is a cold nip in the air as the season rolls into Autumn.  Our friend, Colin, who we went with the other day has sent information about another site a henge at Ampleforth, called Studford Ring, buried in the countryside, maybe we will go and see it.  Also an extract from the book he is writing about the invasion in the North by those Angles, Picts and Saxons, that leave traces in the land and etymology of the village names.

I took note of the pagan worship of the well, a small gesture amongst the trees, in actual fact behind the Mauley Cross was a large shell filled with little things like nuts, a need to leave an offering  The other day I learnt that someone who does not like the church and who buys my eggs, does not like giving money to the church.  Of course the money I get from the eggs goes to the church not because I have a religious bone in my body but because it is the sanctuary of a long history and its stones need to be kept in shape.

Not judging is a difficult task, tittle-tattle, gossip are all part of a village community, our village for instance has two camps, the upper and lower end of the village hardly communicate.  And if you attend functions at the neighbouring village community hut - yikes.

Yesterday LS had ordered logs for the coming winter from someone called Mark, a knock on the door (and the logs) in the afternoon revealed the smiling face of the father of the bride a few weeks back, the man who had so tenderly arranged roses over his wife's grave.  He needs that church for the remembrance of his wife, and the wedding of his daughter, not for the fortnightly services, which are so poorly attended, he needed the world in which he lived to stay the same, acknowledging the generations that have passed and that the ceremonies of birth, weddings and funerals are recorded.

Long conversation with my daughter yesterday on the phone revealed that her world is going well.  She is busily working on her house, painting etc.  Apparently one of the things you don't feed dogs is the remains of corn on the cob.  They only have a small bowel and those chunky bits can get stuck.  She had done it to Teddy the whippet, and Matilda, fount of all knowledge, gave her a lecture.  Daughter feeling guilty took Teddy to the vets, who told her she could do one of three things, 1) do  nothing, 2) x-rays, costs a fortune, 3) injection which would make the dog violently sick, she opted for that!

Matilda attached (as always) to her mobile
And now to take Lucy a walk, she who is often up during the night always sleeps like a log till 10 am and is a reluctant walker at the best of times....

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Today we went in search of The Old Wife's Well and as an aside Mauley Cross both found because we had our friend with us from Pickering.  Weather sunny and hot yesterday and early this morning but when we hit the moors a damp clingy fog hung heavily on the forest of trees and the moors.  There is nothing really to add to the old well, it belonged to the village of Stape but is presumed by some to date back to Roman times (and even before) as it sits alongside the old Roman road over Wheeldale.  Similarly for the Medieval Mauley cross, which sits inside a forest trackway, an old road that went cross country to Wardlerigg, a couple of the houses in this area of the forest are ruins.  And apparently according to C there are the stone footings of old cottages long lost in this neck of the forest.
Another interesting fact he divulged was that in the 60s there was a commune hereabouts, not sure if it wasn't at Wardlerigg, anyway he lived there for three months, and to get food they would walk to and back from Pickering, a 12 mile journey on foot.
Looking at this medieval cross it has stood at its post as a wayside marker, a reminder to travellers moving on to the great abbeys of their religion and has witnessed many parts of history, not least the great coniferous forest that has grown up around it, planted around the time of the early 1920s and still cared for by the Forestry Commision.

Old Wife' Well, still a place of 'worship' for pagans

Our journey continued down to Wheeldale Beck to see if there were any mushrooms growing, nothing of any species, maybe the weather, there had been fly agaric mushrooms at the well though. The Rowan tree's berries were out everywhere, providing a splash of colour and winter food for the birds, it grows out in the open escaping the dark of the conifers.
We went on to Whitby, (LS wanted his hair cut by the hairdresser there) so C and I wandered down to Church Street. Whitby is always the same, the pungent smell of fish and chips, hundreds and hundreds of people with their  dogs, wandering idly up and down, the mist hanging heavy in the sky.  C told a funny story, he had come to Whitby for the day years ago, and got rather scared by the peculiar people wandering around not knowing that it was a 'Goth' weekend!

the underside of the well, neatly corbelled

The beck

Sunday, September 11, 2016


Consult the genius of the place in all;
That tells the waters or to rise, or fall;
Or helps th' ambitious hill the heav'ns to scale,
Or scoops in circling theatres the vale;
Calls in the country, catches opening glades,
Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades,

Alexander Pope

I took the above from a previous blog written in September 2013 when we were house hunting,  I was looking for the time the fly agaric mushroom came into being down at the Beck, hit the nail on the head - written on the 11th September.
Yesterday evening I took Lucy along the lane for a last walk, the weather was beautiful, the sun slowly going down.  There was a tractor ploughing a field, the soft yellow colour of the stubble being replaced by the dark shiny brown earth, untidy ridges as the tractor ploughed its straight line up and down.  The farmers have been working late into the night to bring in the great bales of straw,

seagulls in place, for the turning of the earth

the cows have come over the hill

look at the wicked teeth of the plough
a busy time of the year.  Morning mists, baby rabbits playing in the grave yard, September's cool mornings are a positive delight.  'Codlins and cream' or the great willowherb has faded into a grey ghost of itself.
Started reading The Miniaturist again by Jessie Burton, a strange Dutch tale of Nella's marriage to a Dutch merchant, she is given a a large cabinet doll's house by her husband to learn 'how to be a wife' but he doesn't sleep with her which she finds strange.  She acquires things for the dolls house from the 'Miniaturist' who she never sees but he/she mirrors Nella's life in the things made for the house, a bit spooky.

A romanticised view of the country side by Helen Allingham, sometimes I think this is the dream that nearly every town dweller takes into the country side, not like the tractor with great bags of sulphur that passed us.  And note how the 'surburbans' strim and mow every bit of their cottages nowadays. But they never get the wild rumbustious nature of yesteryear ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Always plant a 'butterfly' bush

In fact I am going to get another one to join the two I already have.  Less than a dozen, so not many but the joy of butterflies and bees in a garden should never be under estimated, there was also a rather beautiful banded bee fly.

small tortoiseshell

red admiral


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Tuesday 5th September

Kirby Misperton;  Lies about 7 miles from us and is the centre of a discussion about fracking.  There has been a gas pipeline from one of the fields since 1985 as you can see from the Wiki below.  The controversy rages about proposed fracking, the company is of course aided and abetted by the government, whereas the general opinion of many people is it is far too dangerous.  The fields stand suspended by their fate and so do our rivers!  And then there is of course earthquakes, which suspended an earlier foray in this country at Blackpool several years ago.  Oklahoma has just experienced a serious earthquake due to the effects of what they think is 'wastewater injection' into the fracking wells.
Fracking is foolhardy, especially in a small country as ours is, there are other solutions on the table, but those big oil digging companies want something different to make their profits, problem is we cannot clean up our rivers after they have contaminated them or get rid of the chemical 'wastewater' used in the mining of gas and oil.  It seems in this country for every step forward we take two backwards, we are at the mercy of big business and government, Teresa May bribing the dissenters in the area with a £10,000 bribe - sweet backhanders for short term profits!

"Adjacent to the village lies one of the most popular amusement parks in EnglandFlamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo. A gas field nearby, discovered in 1985, pipes gas to the Knapton Generating Station. The fields were bought by Kelt UK Ltd (owned by Kelt Energy plc and Edinburgh Oil & Gas plc) from Candecca Resources Ltd (owned by BP in 1992"

Signs warning you off at the entrance to the gas field

This is what you see all round this part of Yorkshire

For years I have passed signs for Flamingo Land wondering what it is like, looks a bit like Mcdonalds sadly ;)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday gliding into September

Life passing by quietly, says she with some relief, we did a trip a couple of days ago this time to find a stone mason but it turned out to be more of a quarry set along a dead end lane.  Very picturesque and narrow lane followed the side of a steep valley just outside  of the village  of Rosedale Abbey.

Lovely old barns

Stone masons

After that we came back via Cropton Forest, and turned off to see 
the wooden holiday homes, pretty but they were all near each other, so if you had a noisy neighbour the holiday would be spoilt. Reminds me that bilberries will be on the banks of the Roman forts in this forest soon.
Yesterday, before the rains started falling we went blackberry picking, fairly unusual for LS to come and of course as he did not put on wellingtons got his feet wet.  We used to go blackberrying in Essex one of those annual events, that time by an old mill turned into a museum.

Blackberries squidge between your fingers if they are over ripe, I had been the day before, and there had been a lot meadow brown butterflies dancing around the bushes and even a dragon fly had landed on the wire, but not yesterday they must have known about the rain which fell all day - good for the garden though.