Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sunday December 2017

My fingers hover not sure what to write...... Could I moan about Lucy keeping me up half the night, slamming the kitchen door, trailing up to the bedroom, back and forth she goes flicking the safety light on and off - wretched dog ;)  She is hyper and probably needs a couple of calming tablets but then she will sleep all day and be awake tonight - decisions, decisions.
People are calculating how the old year went off before the New Year makes an appearance.  How can I judge from the calmness of village life, from where I stood the rest of the world looked in a sorry state, but then, was that not to do with the media and their preoccupation with bad news?  There was a time we did not have 24 hours news, when the world carried on with its wars and cruelty and we just did not know.  Do I want that time back?  The sad thing is we do have to know if only to nag politicians and sign petitions.  I have signed so many petitions this year, many to do with cruelty to animals, the Soi Foundation which deals with dogs farmed for meat in such a cruel manner.  Bears farmed for their bile and kept in small cages all their lives. Did you know that the Japanese who kill whales and dolphins have now fitted their whaling ships with military devices so that such organisations such as Greenpeace cannot locate them.  I won't even take you to the cove where dolphins are slaughtered and turn the waters red.  Cruelty to animals is echoed in cruelty to humans, war is a nasty business, killing children, raping women, lining the men up to shoot them into trenches so that they can be easily buried out of sight.
Gosh what gloom and despondency has struck me this morning, could it be the weather for normally there is always optimism in my soul and a feeling that life is there for living.  We are strange creatures I have just watched a Utube video of a dowser (he has just died) telling the assembled company that energies are to be found in the stones, this time Wayland Smithy, probably one of my favourite long barrows, or even Stoney Littleton barrow which at this time of the Winter Solstice has the light  of the sun chasing down the passageway into the chambers.

Wayland Smithy in Autumn  -

New Year Greetings - will it work?

Edit;  Jo has just been round to say that if they stay up long enough they will ring the bells of the church at midnight, would we mind?  Course not with the fireworks from the pub on the other side we shall be awake anyway;)  We talked of tadpoles and ponds, and she supplied all the garden centres that sell such stuff for the making of ponds...Here we come Spring!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Friday 29th December

11.28 and the snow is already making a soft blanket on the driveway

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

A verse taken from Christine Rossetti's Bleak Midwinter Christmas carol.  And yes it is snowing in this part of Yorkshire, silently and softly it covers everything with a blanket of white and dire warnings on the radio and tv.
Earlier it had looked like this......

But we went shopping yesterday says she smugly and anyway there is a good chance that by the weekend it will have melted away due to a storm that is creeping from Ireland.
Yesterday evening we went to an open evening at a friends/neighbours house there were four couple and a very hot log fire.  Lots of food which did not get eaten and lots of laughter.  We played a game, lets call it Mr. and Mrs. in which a couple sits back to back answering questions about their relationship; of the two games we played we agreed on most things so had good marks.
  They are a youngish couple, and Jon runs an aeroplane business, not sure what but he seems to be able to make good money from it, there is attention to detail which is always a good sign of an engineer.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Thursday 28th December

Well The Miniaturist is excellent following a rather sad plot line the strength of its heroine stands out.  Pat was worried that it would not keep in step with the book but it has, the backgrounds are like superb Dutch paintings, the sense of menace in dark panelled wooden rooms and especially in that creepy dolls house.  Above is Petronella Oortman's cabinet house, housed in the Rijksmuseum in Amersterdam.  I have written elsewhere of the book, though I did not touch on the fact that Nella's husband never consummates the marriage due to the fact that he is gay.  This of course will lead to his death by drowning, the strong voice of the Catholic church is to be his downfall, (and of course the manipulations of another trader on sugar) but it is an exhilarating story of lives once lived in Amersterdam, BBC have truly produced a classic film to roam the airways for evermore ;)
A couple of photos on my dolls house (very dusty when I opened it) there is a clash of what I want and what Lillie my grand daughter likes.  I need to do something about the curtains for a start and rearrange the kitchen, but as a house it looks very lived in!  In the second photo the silver definitely needs cleaning, Jim said that there was still miniature furniture to collect, so maybe I will look round for some.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day

Well here we are on Boxing Day, the day still to be lived.  The little Dutch clock has just rung it's silvery chimes, as it sits rather forlornly on a  small Japanese desk.  Sadly it was too large for the mantlepiece in the sitting room, but eventually there is going to be a larger beam across the fire place and then it will be happy competing with the telly ;)

The family came down for a couple of days till Christmas Eve, the flu virus has hit both my son and eldest grandson, so Mark my son is coming in the New Year.  Poor Tom my grandson sat on the settee feeling very ill but such things pass.  The rest of the family were well, even Teddy, who should be called Anubis after the Egyptian dog god, a slender, long eared black whippet, who always welcomes  Lucy's furry basket placed conveniently under the radiator and there he will stop for the stay with us.

We feasted, but not on Xmas day so much, went to the pub yesterday, Lucy and Harriet offer a free drink to customers, but the events committee people who had been invited were all busy at home, and poor Irene had twisted her ankle in Whitby and said she now realised how difficult it was to get round, so there was no takers for Paul's invitation for a get together.
Presents were three Phil Rickman's book, several things from the V & A, Karen had themed  her presents round William Morris, so I had an interesting craft book for writing down projects, a decoupage letterbox, fancy teatowel and seed butterfly mix.  Paul had a book of Japanese poems and a 'pillow book' print decorated china pencil holder, plus a small Japanese print.

On the programme 'Today' a poet called Xmas the 'hinge of the year'.  Totally apt description, we await with some trepidation the coming of the New Year, the door squeaks noisily open, our families are safe for the time being but in the rest of the world there is turbulence, we shall see.
I leave you with a funny photo from the Guardian's best photo comedy event, somehow that little owl represents us all falling of the branch, struggling to get back on.......

Sunday, December 24, 2017

and a

A peaceful and Merry Christmas and Good New Year to all bloggers.

Thelma xxx

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Yesterday my winged back chair arrived just in time for today, but as we unpacked  it soon became obvious that the two back legs were wobbly.  Looked like it had been dropped heavily on the legs. So rather disappointed and cross I emailed  Wayfair the people I had got it from with some photos.  Well knock me down with a feather, a rather nice email came back from them, not only were they going to send a replacement but I could keep the first chair as a gesture of good wiIl.

 I apologise for the condition that you have received the item in. Please accept my apologies. I have ordered you a replacement and in keeping with the season of good will. We are going to let you keep the original! May be now it is free you can repair it and then you have 2 beautiful chairs! If you do not want to keep it them feel free to dispose or donate it how you see fit.ll!

How is that for Christmas benovolence?  They are rather large, two would be a squash, but I am going to keep both and mend the first.

A couple of photos from Kirkbymoorside, a grey and bleak day as Lucy and I pottered around whilst Paul went to the dentist.  Lunch afterwards at the George and Dragon, and my interest is picqued (is that a word) by the fact that there were two castles in the town, and that a stream runs down by the church. Plenty of hostelries in K because it was the main coaching route between York and Scarborough

Cars are always a problem round these small cottages.

That large yellow building, which is now Bil and Rys Gallery must have been a pub in its younger days.
The fish and chip shop on the left hand side, fries her wares in lard, which oozes out of the chips as you eat them. yuk!

notice the tiny cottage/shop next to The Black Swan

The George and Dragon, is  next to the Bakers, next to Black Swan (oldest building in town)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Good Winter Solstice Day

Today. or at least around the 21st, we are gifted with the turning of the year, a return to the light.  To warm days eventually.  It is probably more important than the 25th for it is our old Earth just turning away from and then returning to the sun.  It will take time, the dark mornings disappearing slowly, the early evenings as it grows dark round 4 pm and we still have to move through the cold icy days of January and February, but it has started..................................
Amongst all the things that happen on this Earth, the natural rhythm of its relationship to the Universe should never be forgotten.  Bulbs that lie forgotten in the soil, will slowly unfurl their roots, the leaves will present tightly curled buds, we watch with anticipation as the natural world begins to unfold.  The swallow will return as will my favourite curlew, the owl will be replaced by the exultant song of the skylark, if ever a poem or prayer was needed it is now.  But all I could find was a song for Solstice.
There is also something good to watch on TV on Boxing Day, the BBC has adapted Jessie Burton's - The Miniaturist.  It will be difficult to get its subtle haunting tone of the mystery of the dollshouse.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Yesterday was Paul's birthday, but as it was a Monday most restaurants were closed in the villages round here.   So no birthday lunch.  We decided to go into Kirkbymoorside, Paul had wanted a new clock for a birthday present, so we went to the old clock shop on the square.  A slightly dishevelled tiny two room shop filled with every type of clock.  Several grandfather clocks, they are such a price these days, kitchen clocks lined the wall, shelves everywhere and Lucy picking her far from delicate way through the scatter of books, paintings and old typewriters on the floor.  I had seen a pretty wooden clock in the window but Paul said it is wise not too appear too eager!  So the shopkeeper bought down two clocks, one with a terribly gruff note, the other had no hourly chime.

Then he bought out the one in the window, turn of the 19th century he said, it had the sweetest chime we had heard.  A pretty face and a silver half moon with galleons etched on it above, made of oak and much pricier than the other two, but it had won our hearts.  So we are going to pick it up in a couple of days when he has cleaned it, it is fully working.  We wandered over to the George and Dragon (they were serving meals) but it was too late for us and decided to have a meal here when we collected the clock.

The pub reminded me of the latest Phil Rickman book I had read - Secrets of Pain, I notice Jennie is just as enamoured of his books as I am.  Well this Merrily Watkins book has the central small Hereford church dedicated to George and the Dragon, which in turn inspires our villians (SAS) to the cult of the Roman Mithrais religion, all very gory.  But Rickman's books are so well researched and Hereford lying on the English/Welsh border so full of little churches that he seems inspired to write for ever on them.

In Kirkby we have a very exotic and expensive gallery Bils and Rye, will take some photos next time we are in town, where paintings run into thousands, but I like the entrepreneurship of this young couple.  If I was going in for a collection, would probably choose old delicate china teacups though.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas tidings

I cannot give you a Christmas tree as a message of Xmas cheer, because Lucy will pull it down and make a mess so we don't buy one, so I give you my favourite carol, which is not even a carol, for it accompanies the poor boar's head as it is brought into the dining hall.  1527 when it was written, a stately song to the feasting at this most festival of times.

so a good and happy christmas to you all, and a New Year which will not have too many surprises in store.  To all my blogging friends and visitors I raise a glass of my favourite tipple and send my love. xxx

Saturday, December 16, 2017

16th December

Nostalgia for early morning walks

Someone, a friend in Cornwall, sent me a CD with about 30 Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine (WAM for short) journals of the 19th century.  It really is fascinating to poke about men's mind in this era, not many women authors sadly.  But I picked up this on witches, think I had just called myself a witch that day on the blog.  Just love this...'the way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough'
who for may one ask?
There is a certain sense of satisfaction as women start to question the role of equality, we lose of course in fair pay for jobs, but the latest tsunami when we question being sexually harassed has become a sport in its own right.  I have said before, impossible to monitor such behaviour, you would need more than 10 commandments, will this tidal wave have any significance?
Punishment nowadays to women is filtered through the medium of social media such as twitter, and cruelty abounds (by both sexes).  Anyway glad I did not live in a time when you were dunked in cold dirty water, is it true that if you drowned you were innocent?

"Mr. Ozell, in his translation of this work printed in 1715, thus translates this passage : —" Cucking Stool—the way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough. They fasten an arm chair to the end of two beams, twelve or fifteen foot long, and parallel to each other, so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair which hangs between them on a sort of axle, by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which a chair should be that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it do^mi. They set up a post, upon the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay almost in equilibrio the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs j\ist over the water ; they place the woman in this chair, and so plunge her into the water, as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat." 

Some old fashioned words, when the world lived within its separate villages and people never knew what was happening outside that world......

Bang-tail, or Red Fiery Bang-tail. Phmnicurus ruticuia, the Redstart.

Bedwind, Bedwine. Clematis Vitalba, L., TraveUer's Joy. S.W.

 Bee-flower. Oi^A?-^* apifera, Huds., Bee Orchis.

Cluttery. Showery and gusty.

Bottle-tit. JParus caudatus, L., the Long-tailed Titmouse or long tailed tit, one of my favourite birds as they loop through the trees like little old men.

A peaceful English scene

Friday, December 15, 2017

Travelling in the mind

I borrow that title from the rather good blog on the Scottish Islands down below.  It is still dark, I have kneaded the dough for bread, talked to Lucy who has just woken up and has made her journey to the settee behind me to sleep some more. When it gets lighter will go out open the chicken's hatches and let them out.  They are only producing one egg a day between them but hopefully when the light lengthens will produce more after the Xmas holiday.  Yesterday there was a funeral in the graveyard, the hole was dug by the grave digger, dirt mounded under a green tarpaulin, and now the dead are laid to rest, we always draw our blind on the window overlooking the proceedings, not scary though;)
A couple of weeks ago I had an email from someone on Oliver Cope, the tailor who left Avebury to travel to America and start a small dynasty there, these emails often come on something I have written.  Well yesterday another arrived about John Wood the Elder, architect to some of Bath city beautiful buildings.  The fabulous thing about him though, was he constructed his architecture and thinking on past history and Druidism, and this person who had written the article had written a very elegant article about the Sols Rocks, long since disappeared under the Georgian buildings on the lower slopes of the Lansdown.  Well the writer wanted to know had I any knowledge of a 'circular 'mound/space by Laurence Chapel on top  of the Lansdown. 'Moon Temple' John Wood had called it.  Apparently John Wood was very well informed on the barrows round that area.  This was of course my prime walking area, wandering round in any weather, always on Sunday taking my favourite walk to the woods by the golf course and then down past the Beville monument to the ridgeway path that the Civil War fighting men had defended.  I wasn't much help, there are no surviving stones around though lower down in the fields I had once found a worked prehistoric stone by a gateway.
But history had overlaid this great ridge that moves the traveller out of Bath along to the Cotswold escarpment, prehistoric, Roman, medieval, civil war and then the airfield in the second world war all jostle for your attention, though reading through the green tapestry of fields that now cover all these happenings is almost invisible.  Druidical Bath an earlier blog.
I remember though walking with a friend, she came from the Orkney Islands, which links to the story below.  She owned a Irish wolf hound, a pretty apricot colour, large and playful.  Unfortunately he was a chaser of deer and the muntjac you would see on the downs.  One morning, he spotted a deer and was off in full chase, several hours later our search party was winding down with tiredness, I was wandering in a field further down the slope with Moss, when a very tired Monty appeared through an open gateway, I grabbed him and returned him to a very grateful owner.  Monty was a clown, when he walked in the snow would gather great clumps of the snow to his paws, he would sit down pathetically when this happened, holding his paw up to have the snow removed.

Rosemary still frozen in flower, bringing luck hopefully.

The mending of the fence slowly moves ahead, this is a 'sunday' job!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Tuesday - something different

The Swan by Mary Oliver

Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air -
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music - like the rain pelting the trees - like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds -
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?

Last blog pulled probably in fear of unwelcome attention to the photos.  Have been reading other blogs, 'wolf whistling' on Cro's blog.  Usual arguments for and against the subject, sometimes I think there are no answers out there.  There is an increasingly politically correct way of looking at things, a narrowing down of behaviour to what is right.  Women dress up, put their best face on, for themselves or for others?   Have we no confidence in ourselves, or like the colourful exotic birds that nature created we have to improve the look.  Does it matter? says that scolding witch that lies behind my rational brain.  We are chasing the 'fumblers' and touchy-feely unwanted attentions off the air-ways and media, men are being brought to justice for far more worse sins, such as sexually abusing young children.  In fact it is all down to sex, the bower bird decorating his pad to lure a lady bower bird in!  Wolf-whistling will die a natural death and women will go on buying sparkly dresses for Christmas ;) and that flickering line of political correctness will be there because the internet and media exist for just such smallness of things, and that is why you see a poem above to get away from worrying trivia.
I love the Grimm's story of the 6 swans transformed by their sister to her brothers who had been changed into swans by the wicked stepmother of a queen.  Childish I know but whenever I am knitting the story comes to mind as I knit a sleeve and think of the one sleeve of nettles she was unable to knit because of the time limit.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures, 
And now my heart is sore. 
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight, 
The first time on this shore, 
The bell-beat of their wings above my head, 
Trod with a lighter tread. 

And a verse from Yeats - The Wild Swans of Coole.  To be honest I haven't seen many swans round here, though there were plenty in Essex, and I remember walking along the tow-path past Bathampton with Moss who took great care in walking past some hissing swans, they can break your arm should they feel so inclined.
Good news for me at least is my son is coming down soon for a couple of days haven't seen him for ages, Ephraim will drive him down so there will probably be lots of arguments on current affairs!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Friday 8th December

Today I signed up to Jacquie Lawson, it is a naff website I know, but with two birthdays this month plus Xmas, sending cards to the USA and Switzerland and I decided it would be easier.  This time of year I remember my friend in America and how long I have known her, since my giddy late teens.  She lived in Lampeter and I met her when my father (can I call him that?) took me to Aberaeron where he kept his boat.  We arrived in his Italian sports car at the pub where he had had an affair with the daughter of the owner.  I say had had because another girl friend turned up as well and I found the whole thing embarasssing ;)  Has poor Christine Keeler brought those early memories of the 60s back I wonder?
Margaret from Lampeter was to fall in love with an American airman, I know she told me stories of riding back in a service plane, bucket seats and the loo behind a curtain.  We have spent most of our time apart in two different countries, but I always remember her parents were kind to me as I tried to get to grips with my family.  She is a cat owner, and keeps her moggies inhouse which I find rather strange.
Carols on the thing that plays CD, Paul has found them out, I can also see David delivering a card to Nigel across the road, the festival is on its way.  The fire has been rekindled from last night, the coal keeping it alight and the weather is very cold, so we are debating getting more coal, wood for the flames, coal for longevity.

Lucy has at last ventured out into the garden, you can tell the weather by her response to it, too cold this morning, as I went to let the chickens out she watched from the french windows.
I notice Tabor has counted 13 different things that caught the eye.  So what did I see this morning, several long tailed tits flew by 'grazing' the trees, I can just about see one in the following photo.  The blue tits cluster around the fat balls, and the grey dove feasts on the grain I have thrown down for her.  A few seconds later the squirrel rushed by, he seems to be burying goodies.  The pheasants are still alive in the field, last bird to go to bed, their noisy calling lasting into the night.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thursday 7th December

A video of what has been happening at Kirkby Misperton over the last two months.  Several things stand out, firstly the use of force to push through fracking, is there no shame on the part of the Third Energy Group, our local politician, or even government, to use such tactics against the ordinary people of the country, the answer must obviously be no.  It reminds me of the Thatcher years and the brutality of putting down the miners and printers.  As country after country says no to fracking we are spending a large police bill on forcing it through in a small village in Ryedale.  
There are hysterical females campaigning, and they do their cause no good, but what comes out is the gentle nature of many people protesting and the genuine fear of what it could do to the countryside.
Democracy is  not here in the Kirkby Misperton village, just force to carry out a whim of the government, and it doesn't say much for our government!

But then,  can we cap the latest Trump fiasco, barging into a highly fraught situation and laying down his dictates as to the capital of Israel.  Does that man want war? or is he as truly ignoramus as  he seems.  People got cross in this country when he fired back at Theresa May after he had blunderingly posted videos of 'Britain First' on his Twitter account. Doubt that he will get an invitation to the next royal wedding..
But enough,  the fence is to be mended this Friday, luckily using most of the stuff that is lying on the ground.  Holly was lucky that the fence was not put up very well, it meant that her estate car just collapsed it without hurting any of the occupants inside the car.

The Christmas cards have been found! 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday 3rd December

The snow has disappeared, the weather is warmer for a brief moment, and festive cheer gallops nearer.  Yesterday we sorted the money from the quiz do which was a few hundred pounds sitting about.  Harriet eventually presented her bill and the remaining money we took up to the treasurer and sat in the kitchen with a cup of tea and talked.  Keith has made a lovely display (to be put on a board) of the village history, and down the centre each house named in the village, so useful in this time when we order things and they have to be delivered by carrier.
As the photos were mostly late 19th century/20th century it clearly showed how the village had changed.  For instance there are but three children here whereas there would have been about 50 children attending the school in the building which once stood in in Jill and David's front garden.  As the cars go by they pass the Forge just across the road, where many a horse would have been shod.  We discussed the way public footpaths have been closed down as the 'surbubanites' mark their territory.  There is one footpath that Keith and Paul started clearing but as it goes past the once rather substantial rectory there is dissent from the owners, who doesn't want strange people walking past her home. mmmm

This is Willow House, home to Margaret Wood, who lived all her life here as the house slowly crumbled around her, you can see the sag in the roof.  Now two modern houses occupy the site, the land around which she owned sold off over the years.  A sad end I must find her gravestone in the churchyard.

Photos taken from the web.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Farmers against Fracking

A Lancashire farmer speaking out against fracking, he is articulate, understands the world around him and most importantly sees through our government who are forcing fracking through, especially on the people of Yorkshire and Lancashire.  After all we are several hundred miles from the South and London so their water will not be compromised!
The video is taken by his son, as his father talks to a media crew,  occasionally his less than perfect video goes awry but I think he is proud of his father.....