Wednesday, November 30, 2016


Rebirth: Artist Manabu Ikeda Unveils a Monumental Pen & Ink Drawing Nearly 3.5 Years in the Making

You can read the story about the the reason why Manabu painted this enormous canvas after the tsunami in Japan here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tuesday 29th November

From fog to ice and low temperatures, but the light of early morning bathes the world in pinkish tones, iced candy....  0.2 degrees on our outside temperature gauge, but probably more, the chicken door were frozen stuck, and needed a kettle of hot water to release it.

Leaves still hang tenuously to the trees but garden shrubs hang their leaves as if they have lost their will to live, the cold biting through their evergreen skins.

All night, every time I have woken up, the soft tones of the barn owl greet me, and I feel sorry for the creature having to hunt in this cold weather.  I see the barn owl when we go for a walk in the morning occasionally, floating across the fields to the old decrepit barns of the farmhouse. 

We have netted part of the holly tree to protect the berries from the pigeons.  The holly tree in the front will be robbed for the church decorations at Xmas. This time of year halfway between two seasons, we still hold on to Autumn but Winter comes creeping in banishing the soft shades of autumnal tones and harshness will cover the land. Though of course a wintry landscape can be piercingly beautiful as well.

A hard winter once in Bath
I have been uploading photos from my old computer onto the new external hard drive, a simple enough job but tedious.  Except of course you get caught up in all the memories, the holidays, days out with the family............

My eldest grandson Tom in Switzerland, tucking into a bun and then now, grown up working in Manchester, a family get together, and no I do not wonder where time flies, only that it moves forward with a silky quickness.  When I had to look after him, I would blackmail him to come walking the dogs in the morning, with the promise of a sticky bun on the way back.  He hated walking the dogs over the race course and would bargain from tree to tree.  He still has that appetite for food, though not for cheese which he used to claim he was allergic to. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Saturday fog

Lucy enjoys it up here

Foggy today, we walk up our third walk in the village to the hollowway time has forgot, not the farmer though for there were deep holes where cattle had sunk in the mud.  But this small piece of land full of slopes and ridges, harbours stunted hawthorns, gorse and deep holes where rabbits dig even deeper burrows - slightly ankle breaking!
The fog closes in the world, it is cold to bare skin but one can feel the presence of the sun behind it.
This is gloomy old medieval England when fairies and elves formed themselves from the twisted branches of the hawthorn and witches reigned in England.  Untidy and unkempt a preserve for the ubiquitous pheasant and the rabbit.
Up the 'green' lane

tangled hawthorn showing its' age

all mist and gloom

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday - Not Black though

"Today we have gathered and we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now, we bring our minds together as one we give greetings and thanks to each other as People. Now our minds are one."

Mohawk Prayer of Thanksgiving

A small verse from a very long prayer, simply said.  Woke up this morning to a still world, Lucy was barking at a pheasant on the lawn and we have both been out to wander around the garden.

The Trees

Now we turn our thoughts to the Trees. The Earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter, others with fruit, beauty, and other useful things. Many peoples of the world use a Tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree life.
Now our minds are one.

structurally beautiful, its branches stand firm against the storm

golden leaves against the gloom of the yew trees subsuming old graves

Well he is not going to clear it up!
LS has invested in some lights for Xmas. No not christmas lights for the tree but to light up the house.  Can you remember at the Olympics in 2012 , 'Our House' well it won't be like that, more a muted flashing of red or green lights, not sure what it will be like, sure it will make the children happy!

You will note in the video that the laser beams are directed on Buckingham Palace, apparently the Queen is mostly paying for the work to be done on the Palace, 85% taxed is she, so the royal family do pay their taxes which is more than can be said for some others.
An interesting phenomenon has suddenly just popped up in the last few days, one minute we are all thinking are these media reports all true, then we are told 'fake news' is happening.  Apparently it is coming from Macedonia.  Does not everyone take the news with a pinch of salt? 

So please don't believe a word I say;)......

It is tree-dressing week next week, see Common Ground

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thursday 24th November

Notice the little spring, that is supposed to go down the stairs and never DID!

Just heard on the radio this country owes two trillion pounds, not sure who to or how much two trillion is, but as I was thumbing through Giles cartoons at the time, Grandma Giles came to mind!

But something more historic, fell in love with photo of a milkmaid in the Faroe Isles knitting whilst walking along.  She is knitting like myself at the moment with four double pointed needles, mine are bamboo and come from Japan, hers look like traditional steel ones.  History of knitting in 46 minutes.

Times change, politicians still steal the limelight with 'kissing babies' though Giles has an answer for that as well, perhaps the black humour of Giles should inspire more renegades in this country, we have become too po-faced with our earnestness.  I find the Guardian cartoons too difficult to interpret sometimes, changing personalities into enormously fat pigs or slimy snakes devouring the people, the faces become so distorted that I fail to recognise them.  Is it not funny though that if I was to turn to one of the cartoons in the 18th century Hogarth books I have downstairs they would figure the same themes.   I will not say politicians never change but that humans never change, either in their motivations or needs.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Beggar's Bridge

A rather charming little bridge with a story to tell, it is called 'Beggar's Bridge' and its mostly true story can be found here.

@Wikipedia Creative Commons

Tuesday 22nd November

The weekend has passed peacefully, my daughter only comes with Lillie now as the two teenagers are working over the weekend.  Teddy of course comes, he is happy to settle down in Lucy's old bed tucked under the radiator like Anubis with his sharp pricked ears.

Lucy on the other hand takes to an armchair, after much sulking about the settee.

Lillie has been helping with coffee making it since she was about 4 years old grinding the coffee beans, brushing them carefully into the filter and then watching the liquid go down.

A quiet weekend though we went to the pub for tea, LS had been in earlier and found a bunch of men who were out  pheasant shooting, their guns stacked neatly in the corner.  It is an old fashioned pub, no gastric entrepreneurship here, later on in the evening there would be a carvery, not something the family is keen on.
My daughter had an email from her aunt in Switzerland saying that she was sending over a large box with family 'treasures' in.  There was another quilt the mirror image of the 'kaleidoscope' quilt she already has given Karen, though to be fair I have it because Karen does not like it.  There was a patchwork skirt made by her granny, and various other things that are to be passed down through the family.  
It made me think how patchwork had anchored itself in the family, Karen's grandmother had made patchwork dressing gowns for the children, mostly with Thai batik materials, and S, Karen's aunt had followed in her mother's footstep, though S had a patchwork frame to stretch her work.
Amateur attempts ;)

a cushion cover waiting for an edging....

And reasons for using Rapeseed

Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday 18th November

Quiet week.  Family coming weekend, went to the quiz night at the pub the other night, as the only person who does not eat Harriet's pies, delicious though they may be I got a good pasta dish with garlic bread.  Our table lost at the quiz but we won a bottle of wine in the raffle.  The weather is atrocious, windy, wet and cold, rather worried about the hens and warmth. People come for eggs, and I worry that there won't be enough to go around.  
Think this tree is a beech.

 Jennie (Codlings and Cream) both of us take an interest in archaeology basically because we have studied it in years gone by.  Yesterday they announced a new Anglo-Saxon cemetery found in Norfolk, the burials follow the Christian burial practice of east-west burial and no goods which are often found in Pagan burials, the news can be found here in The Guardian.

Prittlewell Anglo-Saxon burial 1/12 miniature
A brief biographical note: I was married at 23, and then widowed at 27 years old with a young daughter, during 10 years of being on my own, I studied, working sometimes.  Eventually I married my archaeology lecturer, so had a long period of my life looking at sites and digging and working on places such as Castle Acre Priory, drawing etc and looking after the volunteers.

Perhaps for this winter season I shall concentrate on more archaeology, sometimes I think I should be more 'together' in my writing but somehow doubt this will happen.  One of the things that drew me to archaeology was that during my widowed period I lived in Calne, which is about 6 miles from Avebury's stone circle, a place I would take my dog to walk, so perhaps it was inevitable that I would be drawn to archaeology.

As a note; Watched Standing with Stones live talk on F/B last night, when it got over its technical hitches, which was about half an hour, the talk was interesting, people came and asked questions in the 'chat box' and the discussion became quite lively, though I will never believe that Stanton Drew wooden pillared circles were used for pig baiting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tuesday 15th November

Slightly nervous this morning waiting for the new car to arrive.  A lot of soul searching went on about getting a second car.  My commitment to the environment argued against it, but there again it was essential if LS's car was to go bust or even, heaven forbid, that he became ill.  So that was part of the argument, the other argument was that I could find better places to explore on my walks with Lucy and that LS could be a passenger, something he complains about is that he always has to drive.  I can't drive his automatic car, and like the good old fashioned gear system.  When I told my son over the weekend about the car, he said mum, you are going back to your old ways, which means that my need to explore and walk is as still strong as ever. 
Well that supermoon did not live up to expectation, I went a walk in the fields as it was getting dark to see if I could see it, but all I saw, and  it was much better, was a barn owl swooping low over the field, great compensation!
Yesterday a friend in Cornwall sent a video of him training his young pup Tweed a few years ago, the music was Spinal Tap and Cat Steven's, and the young dog's excitement at meeting Scottish longhorns and sheep was almost tangible, and of course the film was taken over Bodmin Moor which added to its appeal. 
It shines as new! sadly doubt if I will keep it in such good condition

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday 14th November


Saturday when we walked over the fields, I spied what looked like a grey-white post in the distance on the path, getting closer and it turned into a heron basking in the sun, as we got nearer the bird took off that slow flapping of its great wings taking into the air.  Yesterday there was a bang at the window, pigeons often fly into them, so going to the french windows (why french?) a pair of golden eyes glared at me, it was a sparrow hawk, chasing the pigeon into the window.  The pigeon had taken shelter behind the flowerpots, and as it disappeared a couple of hours later survived presumably.  Now I am not over fond of these idiotic plump birds that slowly potter around the garden eating up all the food for all the birds, so not too heartbroken over their demise.  This morning they were all there as I went out to feed the chickens but the jackdaws have become much bolder so that there was a criss-crossing of grey and black birds visiting the bird house.
The chickens appear at the top, probably asking for food, I should take more photos of them they are very funny, sheltering by the front door under the porch should it rain, accompanying visitors to the back door trying to get in.  They fly up into the grave yard and potter around under the yews, I just rattle a bowl on the wall and they all dash over flying down for whatever goodies there are.  They dig great holes in dry corners and huddle together also having dust baths, I can pick them up quite easily they just seem to hunker down when your hands appear above them.
There are a lot of chickens in the village I can think of at least 6 people who keep them, and my interest in them today came from this appeal to stop one of those chicken factory farms from being built,  You would think in this day and age that battery hens were a thing of the past but no.

Super moon tonight though someone on Radio 4  said that it won't be terrible spectacular.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Saturday 12th November

People are unique, sometimes I wish I could take a photograph of all the personalities in the village, looking at Nigel's lined bearded face the other day wondering what life had thrown at him., I was again struck by the people attending the Cheese and Wine function yesterday in the church.  We walked along the unlit path between the yews yesterday, dark as the ace of spades, to enter the church to a buzz of words and then the lights going off, so that darkness also reigned in its interior.  Yes you can't run the lighting with the electric heating in our church! So we sat and chattered with wisps of cold clouds coming from our mouths, someone standing by the meter to trip the electricity, candles fluttering on the tables.  This on Remembrance Day, though the official ceremony is on Sunday, our money would go towards an airforce charity I think.
Food was laid out, neatly on the trestle tables, one glass of free wine, then you had to donate for the second.  Not terribly well attended, but with he same old faces, us newbies, Jim and Irene, Rachel and John, the rest were truly local.  I sat next to Peter, the church warden getting very old and frail now that I worry about him but he set out to assure me, and he talks for a very long time, that he was perfectly fit.  John and Rachel who own the land behind us told us about their two beautiful retrievers one of which has had to lose a leg because of a tumour, how the decision had been difficult and I remembered going through the same worry with Moss so many years ago.  Bernie our historian had come down from Kent for the occasion, he loves the village and already has his plot in the grave yard.
What strikes you though is the age of the local people, what will happen when they all die out, I know I am being negative here but these churches slowly fall into a 'Sleeping Beauty' phase the rot setting into the fabric, money no longer spent on their welfare.  One new piece of news, apparently below the cottage that was demolished to make way for two new houses, there was a cellar, full of treasures like grandfather clocks and furniture, but the villagers helped themselves to all this according to the builders.  Think this story will go down in generations to come about the 'treasures' that lay below Mary's cottage.
The photo below reminds me of a beautiful walk yesterday across the fields, the crab apples glowed like gold, a tinge of pink on the lower ones, unfortunately no camera, but a buzzard left the shelter of the trees by the river and also a great flock of our winter visitors, red wings I think though all I saw was very brown thrushes in the strong light of the sun.  Leaves lie around the garden in untidy tumbles, very windy overnight and a constant drizzle but when the sun shines everything becomes so beautiful.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Friday 11th November - poppy day

"It is fabled that we slowly lose the gift of speech with animals, that birds no longer visit our windowsills to converse. As our eyes grow accustomed to sight they armour themselves against wonder."
—Leonard Cohen

A straggly hedge through which the hedge sparrows every morning make their way
Well another personality has died, one of my heroes, at 82 Leonard Cohen has slipped away from this world, only a few blogs away I put up one of his songs - You Want it Darker I suspect he knew that death was on the way. For me he was a poet, his dark gravelly voice did not actually appeal but it was distinctive and conveyed the tone of the words, always important.  I suspect that I see this death as part of the 60s falling apart in this century, this is the century of the lunatics in charge, a complete power shift to large banks and organisations, the 'important' people skitter across the stage, we hardly know them by name, they put the jesters upfront Boris, Trump and of course Farage to distract us from what is really happening.

I have just bought a car, nothing special, just a small Kia from a local garage, used but with only 14000 miles on the clock, several years warranty, and sadly bright red, but it was such a good buy I had to put aesthetics aside and live with the colour, not being delivered till next week, and I am very nervous about driving again but hey-ho.

As a small aside and recording detail;  Nigel came over this morning, to tell us that his dog Jet had died at the beginning of November. Sad news for them, but rather than mope they went out to local rescue centres and now have  another dog.  Jet was a large creature given to barking at all the farm machinery as it went along the road, when he was younger he used to race the tractors from the bottom of the field to the house.  He went at a good age, and though I don't think it is coincidental our friend in Cornwall who has 6 working border collies also had two dogs suffer strokes about two weeks ago, though thankfully not fatal. I suspect the changing of the seasons has something to do with it.

Everything has a crack in it, that is how the light gets in.  Leonard Cohen

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Thought for the Day - Why not Haka!

The tree’s in a Shinto Shrine not a Buddhist Temple. You can usually tell the difference between a Shrine and a Temple as the former invariably has a big Torii Gate at its entrance – as here at the top of the steps.

A photo of a roped tree, it somehow clashes with the  busy road in front.  Well I was not going to say anything about the calamity that has happened in the USA, mostly what I have read is it will be over in 4 years 'keep calm' and Jennie's 'Trumptown' at least gives it a funny spin.  Also came across this from another friend a Haka by 60 people, such a good way to express your feelings without violence.  It is for a different cause in America 'Standing Rock pipeline' perhaps we should learn the dance in this country, against fracking of course!

TAIRAWHITI Maori have gone global with two rousing haka in their support for those protesting a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline at Standing Rock in the US.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Wednesday 9th November

Last night we went to a meeting down the road 'The Spirit of Japanese Gardens'. fascinating talk, though of course I knew quite a lot anyway.  Won two prizes in the raffle, and giggled with J and I about the hot tub J had in her garden.  To be truthful I did not expect hot tubs in the village but there are two!  J had gone in search of a donkey in Great Barugh, (you pronounce it Bath, but don't ask why) for the vicar to have in a service, donkeys were no good but the hot tubs were spied in one of the gardens and so they acquired one.

The Imperial Palace gardens photos taken by LS when he went to Japan a few years ago.

'Cloud' bushes

In this photo you can see an island in the water, a theme of Japanese gardens

Always a bridge, but not red, as you will find not only in this country but China as well painted bridges

But to return to the talk, he talked of the 'cloud' shaping of the bushes, the rocks and water of course, the lecturer had constructed a tea house in his garden as well.  One thing, the use of flowers is very limited, the interaction of moss, gravel and stone being more important.  LS has had problems with his moss so, carefully transplanted, the hens and the blackbirds just turf it over, so it has been netted to secure it.  The natural world is venerated in Japan, he showed us a photo of an old stump of a tree with a great rope around it, and people would say their prayers to it, there is one at the temple LS used to attend.

Our bridge on which you can meet very large farm machinery or lorries

looking to the Howardian hills, that forms a horseshoe round the Pickering Vale

The long straight lane which Lucy trots along reluctantly

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday 6th November

He/she sits quietly brooding over the sitting room with the church behind.  Yesterday as the raindrops on the window show was windy and showers practically every half hour.  So the fire was a welcome addition to the day.

Made a quiche/tart for tea, leeks in a creamy cheese sauce sprinkled with nutmeg , delicious and have been mulling over christmas decorations.  My daughter will be working through the period so will not come till after the date, LS never knows what he wants to eat for the festive meal, me I am quite happy with vegetables, roast potatoes and gravy, alongside a meatless stuffing and maybe onion sauce.
Read yesterday in the paper that we are all having anxiety stress over the forthcoming election in the USA, of course Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian did mention that Trump has the biggest insecurities - that is what makes him how he is!  Also in the paper was a journalist who ate up to 24 eggs a week, think about it, 3 or 4 a day, my three hens lay about 3 eggs a day but often I find 2 at the moment, the winter season is pressing in. Eggs, as well as cheese, are a good protein, scrambled in the morning, egg mayonnaise on sandwiches, and omelettes for a quick meal.  
Morning has dawned better go and let them out....

Thursday, November 3, 2016

thursday 3rd November

The northern cold is beginning to bite and actually I am quite happy about it.  Climate change is something we live by, especially this year when it has often been unseasonably warm, to return to a more normal temperature in Autumn is good, though of course the leaves will come off the trees faster.

Yesterday we took Lucy for her vaccination jabs to the vet, and the vet pointed out that Lucy was putting on weight, so a third off her meal each day, not happy days for Lucy though.  We have had Lucy for a year now though it does not seem so, she is gorgeous but has a very strong character, and her nocturnal getting up to mess around at night have sent both of us up the wall sometimes. Door slamming very loudly is one of her tricks, moaning to herself  as she wanders around like Macbeth downstairs is another trick.  We can only think that with her old owners who put her in a shed at night, probably at about 6 p.m, she slept through to midnight and was then wide awake, they got rid of her because she was barking at night!  Still she makes us both laugh with her ability to bring the right thing, tea towels at the end of a meal, shoes for going out, and even garden tools when we are in the garden.

I have been watching Adam Curtis films, both very long, Hypernormalisation and Bitter Lake about how we got to the mess we are in now.  Having one's eyes opened to the sleazy world we live in is not a pleasant experience, sometimes you are not sure that the truth is being spelt out or that Curtis's version is a souped up paranoia.  But it is a good thing to be informed, the Middle East and all the terrible consequences are there underlined by angry Arab faces, who gave the Western world the right to interfere with such impunity?

Now I shall watch on Youtube - All Watched Over By Machines Of Loving Grace  to try to understand where Trump comes from, did such teachings by Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged really inspire all those Californians technicans to go for absolute money making power, her philosophy.....

Is the pursuit of profit a noble enterprise or the root of all evil? Is sexual passion an exalted spiritual virtue or a dirty, animalistic vice? Is reason an absolute or is faith an alternative source of truth? Is self-esteem possible or are we consigned to a life of self-doubt and guilt? In what kind of society can an individual prosper, and in what kind of society is he doomed to the opposite fate?

Her answer of course is that the 'pursuit of profit' is a noble enterprise, and that the self, the individual matters that we  should indeed go in pursuit of our own selfish motivations - whoosh! that sounds a bit like  how our world works today.