"The priority for our communities, movements, and decision-makers must now be to end the era of fossil fuels and transform our societies and economies towards sustainable systems designed to address peoples’ needs, safety and wellbeing, not profit and greed."

Sunday, April 29, 2018


1970's Laura Ashley dresses in an exhibition  in 2013 at the Fashion Museum, Bath. 

Laura Ashley;  She died years ago, yet her legacy lives on in shops all around the world.  From humble beginnings, working on the kitchen table, she started a fashion for pretty cotton fabrics made up into over the top frills and furbelows.  I liked her fabrics but not her dresses, they were pastiche, going back to a time, not quite sure when, very much Victorian but with a hint of the Wild West in them.  She said herself that her clothes were meant to be worn in the home and not outside.  
I suppose it must have been in response to the starker colours of  the 1960s, Mary Quant comes to mind, 'flower power' had made an entrance and being appealingly feminine with flowers in ones hair struck the right note.  Bet feminists raged quietly!  Anyway I still have a quilt made from her materials. 

I remember owning sumptuous coffee table books of rooms lavishly decorated (probably her French chateau) and probably thinking at the time but don't the curtains collect dust?  Now the styles are much cleaner but still heark back to rose wallpapers, etc.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Saturday 28th April

The other day Tabor asked her readers to name a female heroine, or at least someone who was livin today and was  'one person on the planet that you must meet and get to know'.   So who did I come up with, firstly of course Caroline Lucas the Green Party leader carrying single handedly her party through parliament with a certain amount of dignity and no shouty hysterics.

Then I remembered Margaret Hodge, controversial I know but sitting at the head of Public Accounts Committees a few years back with icy crossness as she interrogated the CEOs of Amazon, Starbucks and Google.  It was like  watching a good political drama programme on tv.  Calling to account public figures, especially in the realms of wealth acquisition and the offshore payment of taxes (or not).  She also called into question the money  to be spent on the 'garden bridge' a public frivolous expenditure dreamt up for what?  What I like about her is her courage to speak out without apologising for what she has said, something women do unfortunately.......

I am writing because Paul occasionally questions whether I have written something or not.  I could start with that heavy marble garden table sitting outside in the hall that arrived yesterday.  Remember that lovely warm weather we had the other week, well we needed a table for the back garden (East facing) for drinking our coffee in the morning.  Now of course they are forecasting probable snow next week but still............

The garden continues to grow through wet and cold weather, the white tulips are just coming out, my cowslips are starting to spread and the weeds slip easily from their cold beds of soil.  I have been buying gooseberry and red currant bushes, picked up some rhubarb from Pasture Cottage, and those sour sweet memories of summer past are already beginning to accumulate.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

St.John's Church, Salton

The village of Salton, a couple of miles down the road, we were told that it had rather a good church, Saxon even, well it may have had before the totally Norman church there is there today, but it would have been wooden. So we drove down the single-tracked pot-holed lane, did anyone read Matthew Parrish in the Times on 'Austerity and Potholes'? he finishes with the thought, 'the way to deal with potholes is to get to  them before they become a pothole!.
The church is described thus  "one of the most complete little Norman churches in Yorkshire" and of course sits in a very small hamlet, so presumably the lands were handed out to a rich Norman baron.  It has an earlier interesting Anglo-Danish story but I will get to that later. It has pretty pink walls in the nave unfortunately due to the fires started by Scottish raids in the 12th century as they burnt the villagers inside the church who had take refuge there.
The exterior has a row of corbelled heads all the way around, smoothed away by weather you can hardly see the features, in the porch they are called 'beak headed' 

animal or human heads?

Porch with beaked heads

Chancel arch showing two orders of zigzag ornamentation and a carved hood.

Western arch

13th or 14th century with a newer lid

Priest's door

The village settled around the green

The story of Ulf's horn, which the historian for our village has used as well, I expect as a story it goes round the villages Ulf owned a lot of Yorkshire....  Father of sons Ulf happened to hear his children apportioning his land out between them after he died.  Furious Ulf seized his beautiful horn and rode to York, where he gave his lands to the York Minster, handing out the horn as a pledge of the gift of land.
The horn is made out of elephant's tusk and bears the inscription "Ulf, a prince in Deira, gave this horn with his lands".
Wonder what happened to his sons?  The Horn of Ulf

Sunday, April 22, 2018


I start my thinking with my daughter's photo this weekend, it is of Lake Leman (or Lake Geneva) at Vevey, she has gone for a few days to see her aunts and cousin Marc.  I can almost taste the fresh clear air and could easily pull out her grandpa's poem - but won't.  She also sent an email with my eldest grandson latest offering in The Independent, in a strange coincident he is following in his father's footstep and working in an advertising company.  It is a long blurb on how technology will invade the bathroom, drone mirrors to capture the back of your head, a voice recognition system to understand that you are running low on certain items, and even a water system which will recognise the temperature you require - so glad that I am running towards the end of my time on this Earth before technology overtakes me ;)  But I am proud of him, as I am sure his father is as they have both got in touch recently. 
To more mundane things such as weeding, which are giving up their roots freely in the damp friable soil and all my plants are showing healthy signs of growth.  Thinking of giving up vegetables except for tomatoes and cut and come again lettuce and of course courgettes.
The photos, taken yesterday, will remind me of blue skies, sun and warmth before the cold weather comes back again next week!  There is a smudge on my lense, rectified now!

Guinea fowl stroll nonchalantly down the road playing havoc with the few cars out.

The trees still in bud, perhaps May will see them leaf out.

Daffodils at the far end of the village.

The old rectory's topiary evergreens, must check the old photo on these.

the 20ft. sculptured Yew Hedge made of 5 Yews was planted in 1897 and shaped for many years by John Wood, Albert (Tally) Hornby and Harold Spenceley.  Boys in the 50's would climb inside the Yews and took delight in poking their heads out of the very top. Below John Wood cutting the yews in 1977.

The old path to the church

The Sun Inn, next door, Google is always trying to make me rate this pub, but it has got the wrong pub for me to rate and review.  Does Google get it wrong? Yes.Artifical Intelligence always work? Course it doesn't it will probably give me a scalding bath tub of water and order the wrong shampoo!

Our one outing this week figured fish and chips from the Lemon Tree cafe in Kirkby, not bad, though I don't really like my chips cooked in beef lard, but their 'secret' batter was good, and they are 'greenish' hurrah.  Sustainable fishing around Iceland and the Barents sea.  Potatoes from Helmsley just down the road, and biodegradable packaging.  The boxes are from sugar cane, and their carrier bags are also biodegradableexperts on fish and chips round here is quite important,Our friends always go to The Magpie in Whitby (is that why they have a little house there I wonder?) And for the best f/cs Pickering has an excellent one, you can take these to the local pub, also called the Sun Inn and eat them there in the garden, presumably with a pint of beer.  Also this pub is the stop off place to take sick hedgehogs or ones that you are not sure of, to be nursed and rehomed. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A fine day

5.15 am, the time of the dawn chorus and the time Lucy wakes me up, I cannot be cross because I love the birds and the poetic litany of our coastal shores which will be read in the next few minutes on the BBC radio 4.....
  1. From Cape Wrath to Rattray Head including Orkney
  2. Rattray Head to Berwick on Tweed
  3. Berwick on Tweed to Whitby
  4. Whitby to Gibraltar Point
  5. Gibraltar Point to North Foreland
  6. North Foreland to Selsey Bill
  7. Selsey Bill to Lyme Regis
  8. Lyme Regis to Lands End including the Isles of Scilly
  9. Lands End to St Davids Head including the Bristol Channel
  10. St Davids Head to Great Ormes Head, including St Georges Channel
  11. Great Ormes Head to the Mull of Galloway
  12. Isle of Man
  13. Lough Foyle to Carlingford Lough
  14. The Mull of Galloway to Mull of Kintyre including the Firth of Clyde and the North Channel
  15. warning

    Mull of Kintyre to Ardnamurchan Point

    Go to top of page
    Strong wind warning

    06:00 UTC Thu 19th Apr – 05:59 UTC Fri 20th Apr

    • Wind

      South or southeast 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times, becoming variable 3 or 4 for a time.
    • Sea State

      Moderate or rough, becoming slight or moderate except in far northwest.
    • Weather

      Occasional rain at first.
    • Visibility

      Moderate or good, occasionally poor at first.

    06:00 UTC Fri 20th Apr – 05:59 UTC Sat 21st Apr

    • Wind

      South veering southwest, 4 or 5, backing southeast 3 or 4 later.
    • Sea State

      Slight or moderate, occasionally rough at first in far northwest.
    • Weather

      Showers at first.
    • Visibility

      Good, occasionally moderate.
    Issued at 06:00 UTC on Thursday 19th Apr
  16. warning

    The Minch

    Go to top of page
    Strong wind warning

    06:00 UTC Thu 19th Apr – 05:59 UTC Fri 20th Apr

    • Wind

      South or southwest 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times.
    • Sea State

      Slight or moderate.
    • Weather

      Occasional rain at first, showers later.
    • Visibility

      Moderate or good, occasionally poor at first.

    06:00 UTC Fri 20th Apr – 05:59 UTC Sat 21st Apr

    • Wind

      Southwest 4 or 5, increasing 6 at times, backing south 3 or 4 later.
    • Sea State

      Slight or moderate, becoming smooth or slight later.
    • Weather

      Showers at first.
    • Visibility

      Moderate or good.
    Issued at 06:00 UTC on Thursday 19th Apr
  17. warning
  18. warning
  19. The Channel Islands

Shipping map for coastal areas

Strong winds in The Minch, and Mull of Kintyre are the only negatives on the map, the weather forecasters are over the moon with the warm weather we are having for a couple of days.  Our lawns are mown and the tulips are already promising to flower soon.  The shipping forecast is calm, though it is 'pooor' in some areas.  Somehow the forecasters can't get their tongues round the word poor ;)  Also new fact learnt this morning, it isn't Silly Automatic but Scilly Automatic, and they have dropped this weather station anyway!
Warm weather brings such a frisson of excitement in this country that has been been battered by cold winds, snow, heavy rain that we dance for the joy of a warm sunny day, joining the birds in their tributes to the summer ahead.
We have dropped the news about Syria, some are already saying that there was no chemical attack, and it is just another ploy on the part of us Western allies to grab the oil.  Another terrible injustice that is winding its way through the news is the 'Windrush affair'.  60 years these people have been part of our country and yet the stupidity of bureaucracy denies them citizenship.  Personal tragedy is already happening, they lose their jobs, rights to the NHS and live in fear of deportation - what are we becoming?

But something far more innocent and sparked by the weather forecast - The Mull of Kintyre by John McCartney.

Edit; On this day 19th April, the swallows have returned to the church.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday 17th April

I'm having trouble with my internet this morning, our server, Beeline, is disappearing every minute or so and I am left with three (secured) BT servers to use, which we don't pay for.  Still waiting for the warm weather to arrive as well!  So a few photos.....

A sparse flowering currant but I am sure it will grow into a big bush. The smell (blackcurrant cat's pee) always reminds me of childhood! behind the currant is the evergreen ceanothus  and further along the wall is a mock orange shrub.  I need a gardener to dig out a bed along this warm south facing wall.

The churchyard in full daffodil flower, I think Farndale is promenading its wild daffodils as well.

Primroses make an appearance, notice the dreaded murky pink one that has appeared.

Along the road the butterbur flower has made its strange leafless appearance, it travels in a straight line in some places and the pungent smell of garlic and its multiplicity of leaves are to be found along the riverside edge.

'A host of golden daffodils' I never plant daffodils because of Wordsworth.....
The wild daffodil - Narcissus pseudonnarcissus  apparently to Grigson, if you follow the name through the medieval Latin it goes back to the Greek asphodelus, name of that plant which grows across the meadows of the underworld and which belonged to Persephone - the Queen of Hell!

And a less frightening fact,  the Pre-Raphaelite Gerard Manley Hopkins looking at wild daffodils in Lancashire wrote "the bright yellow corolla is seeded with very fine spangles, which gives it a glister and lie on a ribbing which makes it like cloth of gold"

Daffydowndilly is quite a popular local name down south....

Japanese Weaving....

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday 15th April.

Gosh I am confused by the news, Theresa May has made the decision to go ahead on the strike on Syria's chemical centres, yet in the proliferation of news some are saying we are looking at old photos of a chemical attack.  We have, and I am talking about the Western world,  become embroiled in a terrible situation probably of our own making, never forget that.  Greed or trade pushes us into territories that we should leave well alone.  Religious conflict is a tribal affair.  If the gods had never been created would the human race be more peaceful?
Outside it is peaceful, I have been looking at some blogs written about this time of the year, blossom at Hyland House, the great trailing plumes of wistaria in May  Trying to find the blog I wrote on Pulmonaria, a plant I bought last week for the garden.....

Along with a Geranium palmatum, and a sage to replace the ones lost over the winter..... Taken from in which I note the replicate  stature of bison which struck me so strongly at the time in the British Museum.

"Once upon a time I had a garden full of the plants, used as weed check they are invaluable for covering bare earth. Anyway nondescript is perhaps the only way to describe it, but a good early flower for bees and the pollinating of fruit trees.  Apparently according to Grigson, there is a local variation in the New Forest Pulmonaria Longifolia found by John Goodyer in the 17th century.  But the official wild lungwort Pulmonaira officinalis is called Jerusalem Cowslip, Spotted Comfrey, Sage of Jerusalem, both by the way go under the common name ofAdam and Eve because of the blue and white nature of the flower. And to quote Grigson....
Often naturalized, making a pond of azure in the woods. (it likes shade)  Since the leaves have white spots, sympathetic magic made it into a medicine 'against the infirmities and ulcers of the lunge'.  Gerard also wrote that the leaves were 'used amongst pot herbes'."

What else of note, only that I make reference to the pulmonaria bee, an insect that comes as part of those threads that link each part of the natural world to each other, and which made me fork out for this book.......

The last in a series of four books, about the 'essence' to be found in everything, some call it 'phenemonology' Alexander doesn't. Or to put it in someone else's words ;)

In other words, there is a way to see how the whole is present throughout its parts, so that, in any one of the parts, the whole can be found, sometimes more clearly, sometimes less. As one finds ways to better understand the parts, so the whole to which they belong becomes better defined; in turn, this progressive clarity of the whole sheds additional light on the parts, which become yet more understandable and say more about the whole.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Thursday 12th April

The day opens once more as grey and dismal but I have plants to bed so therefore I will be quiet.
Paul has come back from the parish meeting last night with a sore throat, he reckons because the church was so cold.  We trugged through the minutes and accounts, discussed the eco loo and water fountain.  Sad to say there were very few people there, our retiring church warden, who puts the future of the church in some jeopardy as there was no other warden to stand in his place, took his leave.  His wife will still ring the bells and play the organ but that was it.  The church has friends but not church goers, it is of course slowly dying on its feet.  It needs another direction, and has a new vicar, but he will be running about six of the parish churches in the district.

It has a church fabrics officer, and he read out things to be done in the way of loose tiles and pointing and filling in cracks, but on the whole the building is in good order.  One good thing is they have made a brass plaque for Mary Wood, a long term resident of the village with her brother who lived in Willow Cottage before it was demolished and two modern cottages built on the ground.

Also went to the Ryedale Garden club in the afternoon with friends and listened to a very knowledgeable garden expert on perennials for the garden, she went on for a long time but it was interesting.  They are so friendly at the Appleton-le-Moor village hall and it is a great pleasure going there.  *Note to Pat if she reads... every plant had its Latin name as well.

So all in all a quiet peaceful day in a world that is slowly unwrapping itself to a dangerous situation that has been set in motion.  It almost seems that we have passed the brinkmanship stage.  The charge against Russia and Assad is of course right, but when did meeting violence with violence work I wonder.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


That is a turtle dove, beautiful is it not? Very rare in England, but a PDF from the local GP on a recent talk by an environmentalist Richard Baines, mentioned that we had turtle doves in Ryedale, to be found in Danby and Cropton Forest not far from where we live.
"Turtle Doves are our smallest European dove. Each year these amazing and beautiful birds fly 11,200 km from Africa to nest in the UK arriving approx. mid April. They’ve suffered a dramatic decline in numbers in England and are now rare but in Ryedale and around Ryedale is one of the few areas where they are known to exist. Not before time, organised efforts are now underway to help them survive - through this project."
And yes volunteers have to get up with the morning dawn chorus to record them, apparently they make a soft purring noise.
On F/B this morning an acquaintance had travelled from Oxfordshire to my most favourite place on Earth - Carn Llidl on St.David's Head to see an immigrant that had just dropped in a Snowy Owl from the North.

Snowy female owl
I am not a bird twitcher, but it must have been a magnificent sight.  We went for an early morning walk, that is Lucy and I, and watched our less spectacular barn owl cruise the the field intent on mice or voles.  Wandering back along the road, waving to friend who was still in a dressing gown, I stopped and admired the sheer number of daffodils in the graveyard, will take a photo one day but the following photo of a feather in the garden is absolutely symmetrically beautiful.   Not sure what bird it belongs to, maybe the barn owl.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Friday 6th April

A second beautiful morning, birds singing, we await the swallows, should be here soon.  Seeds sown,  a visit to the nursery centre to get tomato plants planned and the year should begin.
Noticed the  tiny violets have appeared in the church yard..............

The quince and the flowering redcurrant are just about to burst into flower, but the plum trees are stolidly holding on to their blossoms.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Yesterday we had a delivery from Sainsbury, this is not something we do often, but when things get scarce such as coffee beans at the Co-op, then we order difficult stuff from Sainsbury.  Because we do not 'do' plastic bags everything gets ceremoniously dumped on the hall floor, not by the driver I hasten to add.  But of course within the stuff you order there is PLASTIC.  That man made material that refuses to breakdown in the environment, pollutes our oceans, starves our fish, birds, whales and turtles because of them ingesting the rubbish that floats around.
The human race is a messy race, they are now worrying about the tons of scrap metal that circles our Earth, we actually don't know what to do with waste except create it.  Well it has to stop sometime! 
In Amsterdam there is a new supermarket called 'Ekoplaza, who are trying out the first aisle free plastic, as you can see from the video at the top.  A brave start, Iceland in our country is also making strides into the plastic free market, though somewhat behind.  Actually the 'green movement' has been trying for years, what happened to bags made out of potatoes?  Harvest the shop in Bath used to sell things from wooden boxes and help yourself herbs though it has moved on since and there have been many shops like it.
The answer comes though from us, the consumer, asking for a change, choosing what we buy.  Okay I can see the first thing popping into people's mind, it will be more expensive, maybe, maybe not.  The Ekoplaza CEO says there will be no change in pricing they will take the hit.
Are we entitled to cheap food? or should we pay a fair and just price, or probably more to the point should we not undermine the  company shareholders who live off the profits ;) ;)  Socialist message for the day..................

Guardian Article

And then there is this, Aril has been round a recycling outfit - Biffa

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Rain and flooding

Well it rained all yesterday, a steady gentle rain, so this morning looking out I noticed cars were going slowly - we had a flooded road.  What happens is simple, the river Seven which curves round the village is high.  This means that that the drainage pipe from the road which  outlets just under the bridge, the flap closes and the water trapped on the road turns into a flood. Although outside our house we are on slightly higher ground.  The village people gets quite excited by it all and it means no one can walk down to the bridge.  Our river which is culverted within 16 foot banks (it can rise that high when the water comes down from the moors) also has levys along its length on both sides of the river - think American Pie ;)

Almost down to the bridge

This is Nigel's smallholding across the road, he already has a leak of water by his house which has turned into a duck pond, and then there is Rachel and John's sheep fields behind us....

Sunday, April 1, 2018


Smudgy and tinny with time, one of my favourite songs Jon & Vangelis - I'll find my way home.  The time when men had hair;), I have this theory that all the stuff now to be found in water, including The Pill, has had an effect on men's hair!
But this morning I have been reading poetry, Ted Hughes still captures the bleakness of West Yorkshire, especally Hepstonhall but as I once more look out on a rainy day, this will suffice....

You Claw the Door

Crashes the black taut glass.

Lights in foundering valleys, in the gulf,
Splinter from their sockets.

Over conversation and telly and dishes
In graves full of eternal silence.

Of the wolf's wraith
That cannot any longer on all these hill
find her pelt.

While the world rolls in rain
Like a stone inside surf.

I started this train of thought because I was thinking of  Hughes 'The Crow'  had been watching our four 'mafia mercenaries' crows take up their position at the bird table in the front garden.  Large, untidy and with yellow beaks they subdue the doves and jackdaws into submission.  Jack the broken winged jackdaw is still with us, he knows where I throw food out for him and has learnt to shin up the old hawthorn shrub, jumping from branch to branch until he reaches the trees - perhaps one day he will fly.  In the book of these poems it is Fay Godwin's photos that haunt you, dark and eerie they capture the grey ruggedness of Yorkshire, and its people of course.

Staup Mill - Fay Godwin