Thursday, August 31, 2017

End of August

The Street

Yesterday I noted that on the  30th August 1930, that the St.Kilda islanders left the island for good, leaving their homes in the ruinous state you find today - a sad moment for them, though of course St.Kilda has now become a tourist hotspot.

A few photos from the garden, hens are laying well, nasturtiums, how I love this bright little flower as it rollicks through everything.  The hens jump up and eat the lower blackberries which they seem to love.

the bright orange of nasturtiums, and a handful of blackberries from the garden

tomato salad?

omelette tonight

Fennel seeding

sedums but no butterflies

purple mallows and white, grown from seed

Jacob's ladder has mysteriously appeared

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Catching up

Well I have not written for a long time, at least for me but I have been reading.  I am finding newspaper's news, day to day rather useless.  What for instance is today's news, well there is that terrible flooding in Texas about to grow worse. There is nothing much I can do about it but feel sympathy as people lose their homes, their bedrock security as the waters slowly rise.  I worry about the animals caught up as well, a journalist said a deer had just floated by, not actually specifying whether it was alive or dead and I wonder if farm animals have been moved, as they did in this country when we had floods.
The fat bastard in North Korea has just launched a rocket that flew straight over the island of Hokkaida in Japan, every time I see his smiling face my heart turns over for his people, it is as if the human race has never grown up, we have to show a 'powerful warlike' face.
I have also been knitting, this I find is soothing, I knit plain stuff, so my interest in fair isle always seems a bit of a mystery to me but thumbing through this annual....

I am surprised how many young designers take it up, captured by the magic of the Scottish Isles and the crafts of old. The roses have had a second flush, the birds seem to be returning, the little wren can be seen low amongst the pots and plants looking for insects, the robin sits on the fence singing to himself and the swallows still fly high feasting on the aerial soup of insects that cloud the upper skies.  Great round bales of straw still go past on farm trucks and the owl can be heard at night, so the quiet monotony of village life still goes on.
There is an events committee on Thursday, three main happenings unite the village.  The barbecue, which was once held on the piece of land our house is built on, the quiz, held in the pub next door, pies are to be the food this time.  Then there is a 'carvery'.
Also, there is a collecting of the apples in the village to be turned into cider and apple juice, this takes place in Kirby, must have a large press there.  We have had gifts of plums and tomatoes and I am waiting for Jo's apples to appear outside her home.

And then there is Barry Lopez to listen to - 

Barry Lopez—A Way Out of Our Predicament

Friday, August 25, 2017

25th August - random thoughts

Early every morning Allison goes by our fence in the front with at least half a dozen dogs she walks, they range from small to large and as they move through the thin openings of the fence I am reminded always of that painting of a small dog in motion with its mistress...
I am sure there is another similar painting of a dog, Braque or Picasso?
dynamism-of-a-dog-on-a-leash-1912.  Giacomo Balla

Another painting this time in Kyoto National Museum  Tracy Cochran tells a good story and calls them angry ghosts, I call them hungry ghosts, they terrify me in their ugliness and her telling of their history is but a legend but as a morality lesson or at least telling us not to be frightened we should take heed.........

"Legend has it that the Buddha first gave the practice of metta or loving kindness to his monks because they were living in a forest full of frightening ghosts and angry and evil spirits. The practice of engendering an attitude of loving friendliness towards themselves was not to block out the ghosts but to liberate them from their fear. Metta and mindfulness remind us that we are powerful in a way that ghosts can never be. They remind us that we are alive."

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thursday 24th August - Weaving

The weft and the warp are the basic constituents of all fabrics.

Weaving has been with us for thousands of years, I tried it once but the tedious work laying down the warp (or is it the weft?) put me off, you need a large table to get the length right.  But even so the whole creative act is beleaguered by the initial setup, look at any weaving video.  I had been watching the Scottish Isles trade and work in this, their tweeds and plaids are beautifully coloured reflecting the landscape around but on the whole it is the man who weaves, and in the olden days it was the women who spun. Something I do now and then for its smooth rhythm and quietness.
But looking through my photos the other day, I came across our time in Germany, when we went to take some hanging scrolls that Paul had cleaned up and that had been in the studio for several years.  It was quite an adventure, arriving at midnight in a snowy Germany but we were to have a marvellous time with our hosts. One of the highlights was to go to the Hochdorf museum, another was to see the marvellous Celtic exhibition at the Stuttgart Museum.
The museum with the I/A village of Hochdorf on the right

But it was in the Hochdorf Museum that I took a photo of a vertical Iron Age loom, so much simpler, one of the fascinating things on I/A sites is the finding of loom weights where they have dropped in a straight line from the loom.  There is something incredibly humbling coming across a craft that was practised thousands of years ago and thinking of the women who plied the yarn as we do today.  What dyes did they use? how did they set up the loom, how did they hand sew garments into shape?  And when did knitting start? it seems in the medieval age in Europe.

loom weights

As for the following photo, the trappings on this pony showed a respect for the animal and of course a moment to show off wealth.

Talk of all this has bought on an urge to spin, I have no white wool to dye so must order some, bluefaced Leicester is normally my choice though merino is soft as well.  Someone was dyeing with golden rod the other day, which is just flowering in the garden, but I suspect the colour will be either green or yellow.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wednesday 23rd August

Douthwaite Dale
This rather beautiful area is just a few miles from us, outside Hutton-le-Hole.  You turn off onto a small lane there is no exit at the other end and drive down through the woods.  A hidden valley it belongs to the land that time forgot.  There is a cottage half way down but I think it needs repair, there is someone living in a caravan with a dog there.
This is where I want to walk (when I can) with Lucy, who is putting on weight and is quite happy not to walk, always ready to come home.  I read this morning that dogs are more susceptible to cancer since we have started feeding them on dog biscuits.  Not surprised, the remedy is apparently to feed them more vegetables and fruit.  Lucy loves both, especially cabbage stalks and pears.
There is a circular walk from Hutton-le-Hole through Douthwaite Dale and an eighteen century tale of a young woman walking along on the way from Gillamoor, who became pregnant by a young man, (this was because he had taken a splinter from her finger) but his intentions was to wed a wealthy farmer's daughter.  The young woman broke her heart when she later found out and drowned herself in the beck in her shift or sark, a word I haven't come across.  But sadly the young man when he discovered her body in the beck had just come back from York to get a marriage certificate for both of them to be wed.
Daily walking will do me good as my blood pressure, always high, has reached another high.  Never go to the doctors has always been my first thought, they always find something else wrong with you, but he is a nice doctor and after trying several b/p machines decided I needed a check-up.  So walking soon is definitely on the list.  My car is anchored to the ground I noticed this morning by strands of spider web, should all be dislodged by now as we have just had a terrible thunderstorm with rain sheeting down.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Monday and a drive 21/8/2017

genius loci" - the distinctive atmosphere or essence of a particular place; the guardian spirit of a site/landscape.

We all know what that means, it takes our breath at the odd moment as we contemplate a particular place. I could say now that it resides in the copse of trees at the back of our garden. The blustery wind is blowing the trees back and forward, life and movement, when the sun comes out the play of shadow leaves on the lawn add to the vibrancy.
But yesterday we went for a drive to see the heather out on the moors, the day was dull and so it was not at its full purple glory. But captured is the great feeling of space and the beautiful skies that embrace the moors. First the old steam train pulling out of Pickering.

On and off the moors we have to open and shut the sheep gates and this is the view from them. along this unkempt lane are rowan trees, they grow wild up on the moor, especially by Wheeldale beck. It was here in the spring of 2016 that we saw about 10 baby black grouse cross the road with their mother, scurrying to the wall for protection.

There are a lot of tourists about, driving back through Goathland, home of the television programme 'Heartbeat' and the cars lined the road with hundreds of people wandering around, so different to the winter season.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Going Camping - a young tourist!

Just had to post this.  My youngest grand daughter going camping last week.  Looking very overloaded but she just loves camping.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday 16th August

Cruise ship in the Scottish Isles

Have just read two of Peter May's book, The Lewis Man, and The 

Black House, which was the first of the trilogy.  I found the motive for the murder in B/H rather poor, but both stories are excellent, especially in their descriptive words about the islands.  The bleakness of these Scottish islands is fascinating.  Island life so hard over the centuries, yet people made a living in these harsh environments.  I am not sure I could have lived in a place with no trees, but the ever changing skies would have me rooted to the spot in contemplation.  Anyway thanks to those who recommended the books, think it was Jennie.
I somehow feel that these islands will be destroyed over the years by the coming threat of tourism, watching that six storey cruise ship in harbour on television the other night and the tourists pouring off, the same happening of course in Venice.  Wealth brings the ability to travel of course, should we who have already travelled already be so ready to condemn?  People make their way to the furtherest corner of the world devoid of other humans, but by the very act of doing so clutter and destroy what they set out to seek.
Luckily as I get very seasick, won't be crossing the Minch to Stornaway and must live through the experience of these islands by the written word or the box.
Yesterday with my trusty moonboot steadying me, I  clipped the dead racemes of the buddleia, saying goodbye to those pretty butterflies that had graced the bush feeding on the nectar.  They had warmed themselves on the church wall and gravestones, wings wide open on the East facing graves.  
Yesterday I had been reading a book on local history, the names of local people are part of the gravestones, the Bells and Foxton, the farms seeming to slip from one family to another and then back again, how times have changed now though.

Well here is the island of Skye mentioned below

Monday, August 14, 2017

William Wordsworth - Yew Trees

This is a photo of an old yew at Alton Prior,  I see this blog   has been in draft since 2015, so perhaps it might see the light of day, now that we live next door to so many yews. The Lorton yew is in Cumbria and is much reduced now, the photos of the following old yew is in Wiltshire set in the Vale of Pewsey.

The Yew Tree
by William Wordsworth

There is a Yew-tree, pride of Lorton Vale,
Which to this day stands single, in the midst
Of its own darkness, as it stood of yore:
Not loathe to furnish weapons for the Bands
Of Umfraville or Percy ere they marched
To Scotland's heaths; or those that crossed the sea
And drew their sounding bows at Azincour,
Perhaps at earlier Crecy, or Poictiers.
Of vast circumference and gloom profound
This solitary Tree! -a living thing
Produced too slowly ever to decay;
Of form and aspect too magnificent
To be destroyed. But worthier still of note
Are those fraternal Four of Borrowdale,
Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
Huge trunks! -and each particular trunk a growth
Of intertwisted fibres serpentine
Up-coiling, and inveteratley convolved, -
Nor uninformed with Fantasy, and looks
That threaten the profane; -a pillared shade,
Upon whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
Perennially -beneath whose sable roof
Of boughs, as if for festal purpose decked
With unrejoicing berries -ghostly Shapes
May meet at noontide: Fear and trembling Hope,
Silence and Foresight, Death the Skeleton
And Time the Shadow; there to celebrate,
As in a natural temple scattered o'er
With altars undisturbed of mossy stone,
United worship; or in mute repose
To lie, and listen to the mountain flood
Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves.

I had found reference to Lorton Yews in Thomas Pakenham's Meeting With Remarkable Trees sometime ago, his photos of old trees are wondrous and one can almost believe that spirits and ghosts haunts some of their weird and gigantic shapes.

The yew tree in the photos is the one next to Alton Prior's church in Pewsey valley, the little church having large stones beneath its foundation, which could have been a stone circle.

There are two churches at this site, the other Alton Barnes, with a small stone pathway between them. A stream runs through the field in which they are found, and in the distance Adam's Grave long barrow broods on its hill. Pewsey Valley is a very special place, its history stretches through a Saxon past to prehistory with Wansdyke running along the top of the downs past Adam's Grave and the causewayed enclosure at Knap Hill.

The grain of the yew

Same again

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Rambling as usual

Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber, was the only thing that made me laugh yesterday.  We all know to whom it is aimed at, and as we teeter on the edge of something that may develop into something really frightening, I can only ask  why do we allow idiots into leading roles.  
Interesting long article in the Guardian on 'clean eating'.  Gluten free diet seems to be the current fad at the moment, it suddenly appears on the shelves as some miracle cure.  I have nothing against eating loads of vegetables and fruit, love vegetables but would not drink juiced raw vegetables, especially as I read in the article that you can turn orange from carrots or sweet potatoes from over consumption.  Yet to counteract this, television news was about children not eating properly through the long summer holiday, did they eat any better in school time?.  
Poverty today, as we had been discussing with friends, is different to the poverty of the 1950s, though I am sure the same set of difficulties were faced.  It is extraordinary in a rich country with supermarket shelves packed with stuff, that families find it difficult to budget their income but it is a fact.  Rent, rates and energy take up a lot of the money, scarce money for food is what is leftover. We now have foodbanks to fill a gap, some schools do breakfast for the children during the holiday, but  three good meals a day are somewhat lacking in some children's lives.  That is shocking. Especially as we can follow quite freely all these people who advocate healthy eating on social media when poor children do not have access to the carbohydrates and protein these people are dismissing with such scorn.
Enough.  Paul and two others cleared the green bridle path yesterday but the public footpath is under debate, someone did raise an objection to people going past their house, but general consensus says, okay we will not put back the signage on this but it should be cleared and local people allowed to walk the circular path.
I noticed out in the car yesterday that though the meadowsweet is dying off, there are still traces of the blue of cranesbill in the verges and of course Himalayan balsam lines the banks with its showy flowers.  But Autumn is creeping in, mornings and evenings are colder, and even the weather forecaster said yesterday, he didn't know where our summer had gone.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

9th August

A small video caught my eye this morning, it is a rather beautiful film of Whitby in 1975, and though it is little changed in the streets and houses.  It is the people who tell the tale.  For a start NO holiday cottages, the houses were lived in by locals, pottering round their yards, milkman knocking on the door, and best of all the famous smoked kipper place, (still the same today), the cliffs at the end of this side of Whitby are still intact, (they slipped a couple of years ago) with a little bridge joining them to the footpath.

Apart from the colour of the film dissolving, it made me realise how things change,  especially the emergence of holiday cottages and the social change it has brought about.   It was a brief mention on the radio this morning that it was the ten year anniversary when the economics went belly-up in 2008 and banks were forced to close, and we are still economically in a mess...

Perhaps the question is bringing these two things together, ecocomic doldrums and an economy that relies, quite heavily, on people selling houses at inflated prices and profiteering by buying second homes either to rent out on the market as holiday homes or 'to let' places.  Those rather quaint flashbacks back to 1975 may have been the better way, though I can already feel the backlash as to how terrible it was in 1970s.  But if young people can't get into the property market, and if they do as we all have done profiteering by the selling of our homes, where does it stop?

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday 7th August

Well this is an update for Weaver of Grass on how my ankle is progressing.  The plaster got taken off last Thursday, and I was issued with an enormous grey boot, could come in useful when I am plodding around outside a  spaceship! But over time will find myself a stick, can't be doing with a crutch, to take the weight of that side.  It is a problem though  especially if you are trying to cook something, not only are you one legged but also one armed but slowly things are getting better.  My Strider can zip along on the surface of the kitchen, but will hardly tackle the lawn or gravel,  it is really meant for urban living.  Also, tend to run over my own toes when reversing.

Lucy though well meaning often gets in the way, especially with her litter of toy, trailing my slip this morning downstairs, Paul says she is only getting things for you, unfortunately she never gives them!
Paul has just been to the top of the village, and stood in a terrible rainstorm with someone discussing the cleaning up of one of our green lanes and public footpaths which they are going to tackle next friday.  There has been meetings about drawing the village into a discussion group, either via the internet or leaflet, not sure how it is going to work out.  They may find some opposition to clearing the public footpath as it goes between two houses and we suspect they would rather see the footpath forgotten.  Wiki entry on rights of public footpaths/green lanes.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


Elisabeth Moss, probably one of the best actresses around at the moment

Guardian Review

I never watched the Handmaiden's Tale, too sad and misogynistic I think though of course not watching gives me no clue.  But I have watched the 6 episodes of  the second Top of the Lake - China Girl with Elizabeth Moss and Nicole Kidman.  Both series have an otherworldly feel to them, Top of the Lake the first drama in 2013 its landscape was visually beautiful in New Zealand.  The second story by Jane Campion, China Girl,  was an extraordinary portrayal of the people involved.  Slightly over the top on sex (but that might be my age) and the morality of the bad guy, Puss - or was he good?   Dysfunctional of course, given to violence and why did he send poor Mary, daughter of Robin (Moss) on to the street with her 'sisters'.  This was a clever drama, humilitating the Western values against the Thai girls sad life of prostitution.  And yes it was funny in a way, though the portrayal of the computer sex mad young male students was perhaps really over the top.  
The last scene was definitely the eye-opener, there is a twist, another thread of story running parellel to the brothel life in which the Thai girls lived. There was another group, carrying surrogate babies for western parents.. The bad guy Puss makes a video mocking the parents with 'white' babies being cuddled by the girls.  And then, well last clip shows all the pregnant Thai girls flying back to Thailand, to sell their babies elsewhere? to keep them, who knows.  But the morality of the story stood loud and clear, and for me, never, ever, be judgemental.......... although the very act of writing makes me so ;)
Why have I written about this drama, well it came from reading another article this morning from Prof. Mary Beard, she had written that a few of the Romans in Britain were ethnically different, in other words there were black people in Britain (shock, horror for all those white supremacists) during Roman times and even occupying powerful places.  She had the usual obnoxious tweets, calling her everything under the sun, but luckily she chooses to turn and face her bullies.  We can take it that it is mostly male creatures who attack her, but the equalising of the female in society still has a lot to overcome, let alone the rest of the world.  Guardian article
And perhaps importantly why does the internet often fall into such infantile behaviour, is it that the written word   gives the offender a greater distance in not having to face the persecuted - the arena of the bully...

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Thursday, 3rd August

Just a short note, hospital visit soon in which I hope this plaster will be taken off.  The windows are rain spattered but the sun is coming through.  My daughter in Switzerland, complained of 33 degrees heat and no water at their flat.  They have been sightseeing on trains and went to Gruyere yesterday, taking a similar photo of all my grandchildren posed against a fountain.  It is the same one I took 40 odd years ago of myself, my daughter as a child, and her grandfather, must find it too compare!

My photo records that moment in history as a young widow, struggling to come to terms with the future and my in-laws turning into my own family and helping through this difficult time.  My daughters memories all come through long holidays in Switzerland.