Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday 30th - The day before Lammas

It is Sunday and I should be writing about a walk. Fat chance! So I can only live in my memories about such things. Lots of red admirals flutter by the window along with cabbage white.  Remember how these butteflies or at least their caterpillars were the bane of gardeners, eating frilly holes in cabbages, etc.
Paul has just picked some roses and beans from the garden, a purple french climbing bean.  Lured the hens into their run with toast, and the sun flicks on and off amidst rain showers.  Peter came on Friday with the first tomatoes he has grown, small, not yet sweet, but welcome.  We chatted about the gardener who mows the churchyard, twenty years he has done that, before, two men used to scythe it down.  
Freshly picked runner beans, cooked, then some finely chopped onion fried to a gentle yellow colour, a couple of tomatoes fried down with the onion, and the beans added.  Reminds me of Sunday lunch which my grandfather always used to cook, a whole chicken gently stewed in a sea of butter, then peas and mushrooms added - delicious.  As I was topping and tailing the beans, remembered the tins of flageolot beans that would also appear but they don't come from french beans but haricot beans.  We had a runner bean cutter that would chop the beans into diagonals, a favourite Sunday chore. For lamb, which was always roasted on a bed of rice, we would pick  mint, chopped to get that delicious smell.

The cake


I have also pre- ordered Macfarlane and Morris's book - The Lost  Words.  If you remember there was quite a fuss when the Children's Oxford Dictionary dropped some of the 'nature words' in their latest edition, and replaced them with the new computer age 'speak'.

Edit;  I notice we have a spammer on board, at least I think that what it is, several blogs have the same set of words.  Desist please ;) I will delete everytime.

Friday, July 28, 2017


Yesterday was Lucy's birthday, ten years old, bouncing, bright eyed and mischievous still she has brought a lot of laughter into our lives.  We both love her but there have been times, especially with her need to wake up during the night and demand company that we could have quite happily shut her in the garage, not that she would have been quiet even then.  But we didn't and those 'hysterical moods' she was prone to have slowly disappeared.
Paul adores her and she flirts with him with her long eyelashes, never having experienced owning a dog before it has been a learning curve for him, so Lucy has learnt to wrap him round her paw!
She doesn't like walking, (similar to Paul) but loves the walk at the Wheeldale Beck, running alongside the beck, threatening to jump into the water and doing it sometimes.....
Her jump of joy when she is happy!

She has a three point view of the house from here, kitchen, hall and sitting room

Whilst I have been invalided with my ankle she has been a constant companion, teasing a lot of the time as she goes off with my knitting, magazine etc but her tail is always wagging!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday 26th July

 Photos of Todmorden, just a walk along the canal.  The interesting thing about Tod (that is what the locals call it) is that it is one of the new towns that is practising growing its own food, a trend that can be found in the new wave of transition towns.  Incredible Edible Todmorden.  Wander round the town and you will find beds of vegetables outside the police headquarters and round the market, pick your own soft fruit here for instance..... not sure how it works though.

Not a very inspiring place, lots of little shops that hang on.  Its neighbour Hebden Bridge is a great deal more sophisticated.

This is the town hall, half of it in Lancashire the other half Yorkshire
A statement by one of its supporters below, in a way it is like preparing for Armageddon, not sure I see it that way but self-sufficient communities are a way forward.  Strangely it seems that our government is looking at green ways, talk of batteries to convert the electricity we would make in our own homes from solar heating is being spoken of.  Then there is the news this morning that petrol and diesel will be phased out by 2040, though where all the power will come from has not been addressed, perhaps we make the power in our own homes for the electric car sitting on the driveway!

"There is no cavalry coming to the rescue," he says. "But what happens when ordinary people decide that they are the cavalry? Between the things we can do as individuals, and the things government and business can do to respond to the challenges of our times, lies a great untapped potential. It's about what you can create with the help of the people who live in your street, your neighbourhood, your town. If enough people do it, it can lead to real impact, to real jobs and real transformation of the places we live, and beyond."

Yesterday I sat on the garden bench whilst Irene and Paul weeded the garden bed, a magnificent job was done and I am so grateful ;). 

Transition towns

Excellent review by Eddie Proctor on Landscapism blog about Myer's Gallow Pole.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Sunday 23rd July

There was a flutter of excitement about the arrival of a pretty little bird in a Midland quarry on the news yesterday, the bee-eater seems to want to come to live in this country due to climate change.

European bee eater - @ Wiki

Sometimes with all the negativity about how much we have lost in our natural world it is heartening to see that an evolution of the wild creatures in our lives does take place.  Whenever we travel in the car I am always pleased to see swallows everywhere, swooping and diving, they remind me that these visitors to our island have two homes and are quite capable of travelling great distances.  I watched a gold finch perched on a gravestone this morning, think they are nesting in the yews, sometimes difficult to distinguish from the myriad of sparrows that fly around in the distance but welcome with their colourful plumage.

Gold finch @ Wiki

Sitting on the garden bench yesterday evening, looking at the  array of flowers in the large bed, luckily I got everything planted before the accident, it was pleasing to see the butterflies and bees busy at work.  Irene is going to come and do some weeding for me which will be most welcome, though the flowers are so tightly together there should not be  many.

I took the above European bee-eater from Wikipedia, but according to Giles Coren in The Times it's information is all completely wrong, which has put me off reading anything by him ever again.  This is a completely false accusation by him, a light brushing off of the work done in Wikipedia, and though I cannot justify every word written I do have complete confidence to fund its work with a tenner each year, as it is non-profit making.  Wonder if people still have those heavy encyclopedia books that always needed updating, mostly by the salesmen who sold them!

The sparrows inhabit the long run of ivies and virginia creepers that cover the fence between us and the pub next door, here the song thrush, or is it the mistle thrush rears her young every year, coming back from whatever exotic winter holiday she takes.  The swallows on arrival at their nests under the church eaves have not nested this year, this I think down to the sparrows who have taken over their nests.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Thursday 20th July

Rain, rain go away, come again another day!

Well once again the waters draining off the moors in Cornwall has wreaked disaster in Coverack, and we are reminded that the forces of nature can be powerful.  Here it has rained all morning, the farm traffic still going past with loads of straw, some plastic wrapped but another load with no plastic.  There is a campaign to stop the dumping of tons of plastic in the sea and rubbish dumps.  Our plastic, fruit in solid plastic boxes from the supermarket, it is impossible to buy them loose, and of course meat etc, how is it possible to not have plastic wrapped round parts of your shopping?  the answer is of course recyclable material, I remember years ago a brown paper made out of potatoes.
The sad saga of Grenfell unfolds on the television, the residents are fighting back, basically they want people prosecuted for allowing the block of flats to be so dangerous and unprotected against fire.  To get justice in this country requires public enquiries which can go on for many years, the whole point becomes lost in the tedium of waiting. Which is of course the whole point, as in the Hillsborough Football disaster, only now are the guilty thirty odd years later facing trial and prison.
The truth of the matter is there are some very articulate residents of these flats, definitely not ready to be sidelined, and the council's very reluctant action to sort their problems will begin to have consequences.  Not forgetting our government goes into recess or summer holidays soon!
I still sit here every day, making my way upstairs every evening with my faithful companion Lucy accompanying me and Paul patiently following with the walker, there is a tricky moment at the top of the stairs when I have to stand up but we are using one of those 'step' things you use in the kitchen.
People come for eggs still, Judy came yesterday, and told of a couple of days in Lancashire when they got well and truly sunburnt.  Typical English weather, rain two days, sun two days, but it makes everything grow, and you can see the result with many courgette recipes finding their way on to the internet.
I miss taking photographs, there were butterflies on the buddleias, several red admirals, a meadow brown, and whites of course but they are hiding from the rain today.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday 17th July

The tv silently flickers it pictures through the lunch news, a couple of sleek middle aged men shake hands, politicians of course - Brexit in Brussels, how falsely they smile for the camera.  A lynx suddenly appears, they are being re-introduced, probably in Kielder forest in Northumbria and I am glad, need a few lions and tigers as well, well perhaps not, the beavers are doing well in Devon though!
Why the video, liked the tune, found it on a fracking site, yes it is all going ahead, recalling the battles of the Newbury bypass, the A4 Solsbury Hill protest. There is a gearing up for protest against an extraordinary stupid decision to bring fracking into this country. Now the fracking companies employ private security, bully boys who are up for a bit of violence, this is  Conservative England loud and clear - battle begins.
To return to quieter things our neighbours have gone off to Whitby for a week's holiday,  there is nothing like bustling Whitby to put me off going but it does have bags of charm.


Friday, July 14, 2017

14th July

A rather beautiful vintage photo of a velvet gowned lady smelling a lily.  Well lilies are also making a show in the garden, two pots of lemon coloured, another pink, and a less than pleasing orange. They are not allowed in the house because of their staining pollen so sit on the steps of the french doors.  Which reminds me that it is Bastille Day, and that Trump is honouring the French show, he looks awkward amongst the civilising influence of the French culture.
Yesterday Peter called in, he must be getting on for 80 years and is a gentle soul, much given to talking but very welcome.  He bought a little pot plant and we discussed how he had coped after his recent bout of pneumonia.  He immediately got rid of his car, and looked round for transport elsewhere.  He uses the buses that are run by the council three days a week.  The only trouble though, after a beautiful drive through all the villages, is that you have three hours to kill in Kirkbymoorside, and there is  not much to do in the town.  He also stops off at the Ryedale Museum where he works in an old chemist shop, sometimes talking to the schoolchildren that arrive on a daily basis.  You can also get a volunteer driver to take you to the hospital, dentist or opticians for the price of the petrol needed.
He was also happy with us new incomers to the village, our new stone built houses blending in with the rest of the village, our presence in the community had enlivened the social happenings. 
The village seen from the south with Margaret's house next to the church
Two of the houses were built on Margaret Woods garden and cottage, the old cottage having started to fall into disrepair and Margaret living in a caravan in a very overgrown garden until she died a few years back.  But the new houses are always remembered by the link to 'Margaret Woods Cottage' around the district. Whilst she was still alive she had sold off land for the two bungalows and J and R', and Peter has one of the bungalows.
I have a feeling that she must have been quite a character, for she lives in the memory of many people.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


Just made it upstairs, have'nt been up here for four weeks.  Change of scenery;)  Paul had already put another tv in the bedroom, but daytime tv is terrible!  Well I shall at least sleep in our bed tonight so no wooden slate poking in my spine.
My daughter and Lillie came over the weekend, their last visit before the whole family go off to Switzerland for a holiday with Karen's aunts.  
Switzerland is expensive, the flat they are renting is not cheap, but the family go back there every year.  Marc, Karen's cousin owns a sushi firm, they trade with the big supermarkets like Migros.  I have only eaten sushi once, not my kind of food, we were taken by a client of Paul's to a restaurant but it does not appeal. 

A young photo of Tom devouring a chocolate bun, probably in Vevey.  Their great grandfather Con was a church warden in Territet in his retirement and if you can find the video on Wikipedia you will see what a beautiful place the lake was with the mountains tumbling down to the water.  One could watch a thunderstorm approaching over the French mountains and whip up the lake to a frenzy of waves.  Chateau Chillon is situated on the lake, Byron once wrote a famous poem about it, The Prisoner of Chillon, but Con also wrote one to, not as good I have to admit!

The Tourist's Lament by C.J.Opper

A rainy evening in Vevey,
Fills me with intense dismay,
The faded splendours of Montreux
Leave me feeling rather blue;
And if we must stick to verity,
I don't go overboard on Territet.
And, I must say,
Whoever got hooked on La Tour de Peilz?
For Corsier, Blonay, Chebres and Corseaux,
I'm unequally unmoved or even more so;
If there's a place I'd rather not be on
Its the top of the tower of the Chateau de Chillon.
In Southend they would'nt have the cheek to serve,
That cupper tea we got at Villeneuve
We got fish and chips just beside the church
But you have to ask for fillet de perche.
So..... you just ask your mother why we're here,
When we might have been on Wigan Pier.

I bought back a copy of his unpublished book from my trip to Todmorden, which is of course biographical and about his life working for the Colonial service and then Unesco but have yet to read all of it.

Friday, July 7, 2017

friday - 7th July

I am often awake around five in the morning, today it was misty but the sun was starting to shine through the trees.  Yesterday coming back from the hospital in York we hit the biggest storm of rain I have ever seen.
Like most of the people in the village, we cut off from the busy A64 across country lanes through the Castle Howard estate.  It was when we hit the long carriage roads that lead up to that ugly obelisk. Narrow, with single car arches they stretch for a couple of miles. And to digress, can you not imagine trotting along there in your carriage and horses, rather bored out of your mind with the length of the journey, a true 'Sense and Sensibility' experience.  The rain plus hail started.  Soon it was sheeting down, the lanes had streams of water running down the sides of the road and as the water cascaded down the windscreen rendering the road almost invisible it was scary.  Great waves seem to fall over the car when we hit the main road and lorries went by.  
We got back to our village and the storm had yet to strike, so Paul rushed off to collect Lucy who had been looked after by a friend. She is a good dog revelling in the fact that she no longer has to walk great distances and demanding that she be spoilt and pampered like me ;).  If she had been trained young she would have made a good service dog , but she helps in her own way!
I don't have to go back to the hospital for four weeks, but need not put any weight on my ankle for that period, the surgeon discussed the possibility of another operation (which I refused), we again had problems with x-rays but luckily my plaster stayed on this time.
Today is a home day waiting for the Strider to come, not the one in 'Lord of the Ring' I notice that Philip Pullman is releasing a new book on the 19th October - The Book of Dust.  I have ordered books today but they are for my son and grandchildren, sensible book do it yourself books!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

4th July Happy Independence Day

Confined as I am, that makes me giggle, still have not got my wheel chair or the Strider I am going to rent.  We came home with the wrong wheel chair yesterday, so Paul is going to change it this morning.  I watch my birds from the window, jackdaws have fledged, gold finches preen themselves on the wire.  Butterflies have appeared as well, the small buddleia is in flower but not the large..  Roses cascade from vases, so life is colourful.  Tomorrow we go along the dreaded A64 to York hospital, I have decided not to have a second operation, so hopefully there will not be too more many visits.
One thing that came out of the visit to Bath by my daughter, was, hopefully, a strengthening bond between my two children.  She 'advised' him on the redecoration of his house and said she would keep in touch.  Not that they were ever at odds but she hated her stepfather, slowly as our worlds begin to fold creating stable relationships becomes important.  Think it is called karma (we are the heirs of our own actions) though Paul says I am building up a lot for when he becomes ill!
Something taken from Gnat Bottomed Towers blog, sure she won't mind.

I just love Morris dancing, it is old England translated into modern interpretation, bawdy, happy and lots of stick hitting to the rhythm of the music.  It is local, regional and makes for happy festivals on sunny days.

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Early Sunday morning the swallows wheel around the church wall, Lucy snores gently on the sofa.  Yesterday was a day of visitors, J and I called in for a chat on their way for a walk round the fields. C had called in to discuss the barbecue which is happening next week. Then J came in the evening she is great fun, I learnt that she had three blind sheep, all the sheep round us in the fields are 'pets' or perhaps grass guzzling lawnmowers. 'Pin back your lugholes and listen'  do you remember whose catchphrase that would be?* J's husband is a town crier and was playing round with opening words.  J will chat for hours, meet her in town or in a shop and her husband will get so exasperated with her that he threatens to drive off without her, but eventually she went back to her supper of oxheart.
Another American artist catches my eye....................Fidelia Bridges
Calla Lily

These irises by the river are my favourite

Too sentimental
* Cyril Fletcher