Monday, May 28, 2018


National Garden Scheme and Penny Piece Cottage in Kirkbymoorside.  Such a pretty, very long garden situated in the High Street.  There were 'rooms' eveywhere, little summerhouses for sitting in, benches for relaxing under the shade of a tree, and an old gypsy caravan right at the bottom of the garden.  Unfortunately every seat was occupied and the queue for tea and a slice of cake was about 30 people long.  A truly gorgeous garden, every corner sparkled with neatness!  But a bit twee ;)

p.s. click on photos for better effect.

Sunday, May 27, 2018


A new perennial geranium - palmatum

Sunday, day of peace, the day dawns beautifully, sunny and warm.  Sometimes the past comes back to haunt us and leaves one feeling sad but that is as it should be.
A walk round the garden, a promise of the roses to come, the weeds, highlighted at the moment by the bright yellow of the creeping buttercup.  This afternoon off to one of the National Garden openings in Kirkby
Brilliant night - Lucy had a panic attack that lasted several hours, she fell asleep around 1 o.clock I slept on the sofa.  I do give her Calm-um tablets, whether they work or not is a matter for debate.  Also I am down to one hen after the other two having died recently, it was sad but I am told hens die unexpectedly.  After we come back from Scotland I shall get some bantams I think, the one remaining hen is now spoilt!

Three enormous plants of these rather pale perennial geraniums

Closely packed

purple vetch pushing through the little maple tree

Bowles mauve with lilies in pots

Phoebe strutting her stuff

Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday 25th May

We are supposed to have visitors today travelling through from Scotland but I am not sure they are coming.... My friend and neighbour from the time we both bought our children up in Calne is also making a visit in June which will be wonderful.  Karen and Lillie will come down for the weekend when she comes.  Though we have four bedrooms, only two are actual bedrooms with beds in them, the other two are workrooms, so it will be sofa surfing for my daughter.
Yesterday was a day and a half, we took Paul's car into the garage for MOT and to diagnose a rattle (no luck there) early on and then a neighbour turned up, did we want the chimney sweep who was cleaning their chimneys.  So yes and he spent a couple of hours here, mostly talking!*  Four jobs he has, a B/B in Lastingham where he lives with his family, chimney sweep, night manager at 'Flamingo land' and then installer of wood burning stoves..

Lastingham church, elegant but so large for a small village

The water was also off, and we found that our road had been closed off with diversion signs.  The works were being done in the next village and cars could just squeeze past through the works when we went to pick up the car from the garage.  It really needs replacing I think, Jev is a Civic Honda and an automatic but whether Paul will get another car is a matter of speculation.
The barbecue will be held in the pub car park was finally agreed on,  P had come down to say why we could not hold it in his garden basically because he is going away on counter-terrorism affairs and won't be able to move the heavy stuff around.  S has just bought herself a new sports BMW car, you can see we are more suburbanite than locals round here.............
And we are off to the Tibetan Monastery in Eskdalemuir later on in June for a couple of days.  Because of Lucy I have booked us into Marilyn's Motel - should be fun, she has two wooden huts that make up the motel...
* Our neighbour also came back in the afternoon for a long chat!

Whilst looking for Lastingham church I came across a cottage we went to see in 2012.  A bit naff but it had its own charm at the time and a lovely garden, the moors were just up the lane as well...
The cottage but not practical with no mains water.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Catching up

Dull and grey with the promise of the sun coming out later on.  Lucy sits in her gorgeous spaniel way, she had seen off poor Teddy, my daughter's whippet, over the weekend.  He was reduced to a quivering wreck as he hides in the wells of the desks.  Lucy hasn't raised one paw against him, or growled, just made her presence felt as she lies across exits to stop him crossing.  She had her moment though at the pub, when Paul asked a five year to bring a bowl of water over for her to drink, the child did, unfortunately he threw the water all over Lucy - she did not mind!
Yesterday was a meeting of the Events committee to sort the barbecue venue out, last year's garden, large and with plenty of space was unavailable, due to the husband going over to Syria and Iraq, and complaints that there weren't enough help for moving the heavy stuff around.  Lesson learnt.  We need working groups in this village but there are a lot of elderly people around and I just wonder if the makeup of our village precludes a community spirit.  
There are less of the locals living in the village, more 'suburbanites' and people who are disinterested in anything.  It transpires that most of the money collected goes on the rent of a 'slow down' large solar sign, the contract should be finished this year.  What with no church warden for the church, our parish councillor and treasurer are also stepping down, so what?  We are not represented by bureaucracy almost.  Perhaps that is a good thing, perhaps we should run our own parish affairs but it definitely needs someone with a whip to get it going ;)
It is the petty things that infuriate people, especially to property.  Talking to P the other day and he is cross that no one (Council) will address the problem of the great puddle (15 feet across) that abounds his garden in the lane.  He has dug the ditches out, but has that perennial problem of a large pothole attracting the water which eventually turns into a pond.  Then there is S and G's field, being altered by private contractors for the water board.  The bunding is being strengthened,  which is the great bank that follows our winding river through the village, but the contractors have replaced soil with rubble making the field untenable for arable, and now walked off the site in a huff.
But the mistle thrush is still outside on the lawn looking for grubs, and the whole of nature is bursting with exuberance!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday, 21st May

Today is to be about gloom and doom, at least in the Irish Celtic world and is  taken from the Morrigan's trio of goddesses - Badb Catha foretelling of the future.  Okay I have just thumbed through facebook news and came on the fact that the Gulf Stream is slowing down and will bring with this catastrophe worse stormy winters and very hot summers, with droughts and rising sea in other parts of the world.  
To be honest I love the Celtic world and it came to mind with the big crows that fly down and eat the bird seed every morning, I look at their ugliness, these carrion birds and yet, I cannot but be in love with their ungainly flight and walk, and their babes being reared in the copse at the back.  The way they greet me every morning with harsh notes, their blackness against the pure new green of the world.  The little flock of sparrows we have in the garden bounce at the feet of these giant bird gods.

"Then she delivers a prophecy of the eventual end of the world, "foretelling every evil that would be therein, and every disease and every vengeance. Wherefore then she sang this lay below."

What do you see in the song/poem below, is it not a weird echo of our own world, and was homosexuality such a sin then?   'reaver' as a word seemed to have arrived in the 12th century, so these Irish extracts can be dated late.

                                              I shall not see a world Which will be dear to me:
                                                               Summer without blossoms,
                                                                Cattle will be without milk,

Women without modesty,
Men without valour.
Conquests without a king...

Woods without mast.
Sea without produce...

False judgements of old men.
False precedents of lawyers,
Every man

a betrayer.
Every son a reaver.
The son will go to the bed of his father,
The father

will go to the bed of his son.
Each his brother's brother-in-law.
He will not seek any woman outside his

An evil time,
Son will deceive his father,
Daughter will deceive...

The little lamb 'chops' gallivant with sweet abandon on the bank, running to and fro with little leaps of joy. I cannot look at a sweet lamb without thinking of their future and am always glad they have no inkling of it.  But there is an opposite optimistic verse as well, which was sung after a particularly victorious battle, the Morrigan trio were after all war goddesses........

                                                              Peace up to heaven.
                                                              Heaven down to earth.
                                                              Earth beneath heaven,
                                                              Strength in each,
                                                              A cup very full,
                                                              Full of honey;
                                                              Mead in abundance.
                                                              Summer in winter...
It looks good in Irish as well!  thank you Wikipedia for supplying a 'thought for today'

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saturday 19th May

Tis the day of the Wedding, enough said, 10 people have been shot in Texas in a school, 106 people have died because of a plane crash in Cuba, the news carries good and bad tidings.  Well I won't watch all of the wedding, my daughter is coming this morning for a start, there is a honeysuckle to be planted and french beans to set out but everyone seems excited about the forthcoming nuptials.

Charles is to accompany the bride down the aisle, did you know that he writes very well, some of his essays.  He is part of 'the firm' - the royal family which we host, at great expense, in this country, they repay us by putting on great national royal events and I just love gold carriages and beautiful horses.
They are our historic treasures, well perhaps not the horses, and deserve an outing every so often, the tiaras, crowns and jewellery and of course the Royal family.
There is so much of historic value in this country from buildings, furniture, paintings and antiques. Archaeology uncovers the prehistory of the past, then there are the beautiful artefacts of Saxon,  and Scandinavian origin we should be overwhelmed by such creativity, humbled by such art work. 
So on this day I wish the young couple all the best in their young lives, the marriage of an American girl to a Prince - who said fairy tales don't exist!

Many years ago
These photo arrive on my F/B account every so often, the children love looking back on their young selves.  From the left Ben, going to college now, two evening jobs at restaurants in Todmorden. Next Tom, the oldest, working in advertising/copyright.  His proud mum sent me his latest plug in the Independent. Next comes me, still haven't had my hair cut. Little Lillie grins with her ice cream, she has been on some adventures with the cubs (think they are amalgamated with the guides) getting lost on the moors.  In front Matilda/Flossie/Bouddica, always strongly opinionated but very clever. Then my daughter Karen, mother to these four, hard working for her family whom she adores.

8 years ago

8 years ago

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Stop contemplating one's .....

Political Correctness.  Gone Mad?

Menopausels known as the climacteric, is the time in most women's lives when menstrual periods stop permanently, and they are no longer able to bear children.  And that is a good time!!

The Deputy of the Bank of England has made a slip of speech using a metaphor to describe the state of the economy at the moment, and of course there is a lot of hoo-ha on the radio because of it.  Come on middle-aged females there is no point in getting upset about it, he used a word to describe something, don't we all do that, let not the screeching harridans on him for making a mistake.  Paul has just said men also go through menopause, no they don't, it is the end of the monthly period cycle that women go through in the strict sense.  But then when did we not use words in all their fulsome meaning to talk about other things? 
Yesterday on Woman's Hour Germaine Greer was talking, this time she said actually the menopause doesn't exist, well she says a lot of foolish things, but we would all agree that there are definite symptons that are the by products of this biological happening.  Flipping through some articles I came across this from her, and totally agree;)

"Only when the stress of the climacteric is over can the aging woman realize that autumn can be long, golden, milder and warmer than summer, and is the most productive season of the year."

Amen to that.

Wednesday 16th

Veronica I think, there are several plants in the long bed, very pretty especially when contrasted with the white flowering bush at the moment.  Sad news today Beth Chatto has died aged 94 years old, her Essex garden was an inspiration and hopefully will remain as beautiful as ever under the management of her family.

I have gone back to spinning, listening to stories on my computer.  The acid dyes are not going to be used this summer and I have ordered some Downland fleece for spinning, plus such things as logwood, dyers weed and weld.  Sorting through boxes in the garage and I came up with alum, iron and copper mordants; copper being the most useful at the moment as I am interested in green tones.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Time past - Coggeshall Abbey, Essex

Glorious weather, the sun rising sharply in the East, it must be flooding the church window next door, an hallelujah to a god that doesn't exist but a sharply marked man made window to the purity of the natural world of light and the sun.  I walked down the lane yesterday, the swallows wheeling and diving in the air, the hedges have thickened with greenery practically overnight, so that I can no longer see the ponies in the field.  The constant call of the wood pigeons, soft murmurings of the collared doves, blackbirds fighting furiously - it is here, waiting round the corner, summer, the soft arising of the Earth as the sun beams its largesse down, and tractors run to and fro, serving the hard suffering land.
Yesterday when I was looking through the old photos, came across the Cistercian Coggeshall Abbey in Essex, founded from the Norman Savigny order which joined the Cistercian order in this country. The abbey was founded by King Steven but it was his wife's (Queen Maud) manor land the abbey was built on.  The sun was bright that day as well, English loveliness, in the pale purple fronds of wisteria against pink walls, a laburnum tree decorated with plumes of yellow flower, (deadly seed but very pretty) or is it a bush? in the garden of this old Abbey house.  Though what you see is a 16th century restoration when the house and lands were handed over to the brother of Jane Seymour, wife to Henry Vlll.  Rich pickings!

The great Abbey medieval barn, calling in the tithes of the surrounding farms, tells of wealth...the weight of those tiles are held up by heavy beams.

Next as you wandered down a private road you came across a chapel in the field, perfectly preserved

And then the working monastic remains, the farm where everything happened.....

Roman bricks amongst the flint work

new stable doors on old building

Modern barns as well
And perhaps my favourite photos of this place, as you rounded the corner, a mill overlooking its mill pond, its reflection caught in the clear water.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Saturday 12th May

Whilst looking for the Victorian botanist that had lived in Weston Park, Bath, I came across the fact that my old house was up for sale.  So here are two of the photos of the garden, drastically altered, most of my apple trees have gone but still holding its magic with the small copse of trees at the bottom.  It was here that Tom, aged about five years old, my grandson made himself a tent, only finding on getting into it a bumble bee had already made its home in a small nest. Never forget his cross and tearful face as he flew out of his tent with an angry bee behind. The garden was in a valley, with a stream running through (long gone) but we had the remains of a bridge across, apparently there was a footpath across from the back of a row of Georgian houses that went straight over to Weston Lane from Weston Park.  Originally the stream functioned for a medieval mill further down the lane and when they put a drain in an old mill leat was exposed.
Actually I think the garden has benefited from its newly acquired look, the house has been rationalised into a modern version of what you see mostly on tv shows, which I find rather boring and archaeologically wise, come back in a couple of hundred years and such houses will practically have their date written on them.  So many memories, it was up through this copse that Moss escaping the house after internment of three weeks because of operations which included castration, leapt the 8 foot ha-ha wall at the back chasing a cat, I stood there cursing him, visualising all his stitches on his legs and underneath had pulled open, luckily he had healed.  I must sort the photos of our time there, the barbecues, the language students, Mark my son and his swing.  See I am taking a leaf out of Jennie's blog and reminiscencing about the past.  

And it all started with listening to a talk on the gardens of Victorian Scarborough, the old cemetery with its tree-lined walks, and an old murder in one of the glens.  Fascinating in the end, one forgets that many a town was made up of nurseries and market gardens.  The second picture shows 'ladies' being escorted into the sea via bathing huts, apparently, and I can't think of the name for them, there was already women in the sea who would dunk your head under water for several minutes - scary.

Scarborough - look at the crowds...

 Public Domain,
Yesterday dreamt that I was getting out of bed, I did it in the real world as well at the same time, apparently dragging the duvet cover after me, I tripped over it and fell against a chest of drawers cutting my head quite deeply.  Lots of blood but a very together Paul brought towels (he said he would panic later;)
Scary, but I am alright, and didn't need any assistance but I did say if I need to go to hospital then it must be Scarborough hspital, coincidence or what?..... Paul was brilliant (he wants that recorded in my blog) .....  

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

These creature I love - bumble bees

                                                      Is my bum too big for this flower?

When asking the question of how much honey a group of honeybees will produce, just a fraction of a teaspoon.  "A group of about 12 bees in their lifetime will produce a teaspoon of honey between them."  Treasure each spoonful......

The above is the white-tailed bumblebee of course, which does not produce honey for humans but bumbles around our flowers, they just love foxgloves.

Lemon Balm; Pliny's words; It is profiterablie planted in gardens about places where bees are kept, because they are delighted with this herbe above all others.. for when they are straied away they do finde their way home again by it..

And why plant the pulmonaria plant, (lungwort plant)?  it is for the pulmonaria bee.

A solitary hairy footed bee, bit like the hobbit of the bee world
  Flowers for long and short tongue bees.

I shall concentrate on the bees and plants because the news is so horrendous at the moment.  How can Trump renege on an agreement which will probably result in continuous war elsewhere. Because he is an 'expletive deleted' self seeking imbecile.  I only hope we do not follow America into war on behalf of the Israelis....

Monday, May 7, 2018

Bank holidays

Well one of the gods has been kind this bank holiday, warm sun and we are able to barbecue.  Visit the garden centre and generally enjoy the world.  I could flood the blog with tractors going by yesterday, annual event but will suffice with 3 or 4.... Groups of people along the road waving them through, bad-tempered people in cars behind.  The Sun Inn had even brought out its umbrella for people to sit under, and when we had visited earlier, a father and his two children eating a meal out in the sun said, they had been swimming in the river at Sinnington and that the woods were full of flowers.  The children larked around as children used to ;).

What other memories have I captured from yesterday wandering round the garden with a cup of tea,
These bluebells that appear in our ultra mowed lawn, which was really an old meadow in which a pony was kept. Now are they the real ones or the Spanish intruder from the clump in the flower bed?

What else, Lady's Mantle leaves always beauiful and then there is 'Beth Chatto' geranium plant, she was on early morning tv yesterday Beth Chatto, with her beautiful garden.......  The above video, not very good, should I invest in a camcorder I wonder, trails the birds I hear, and if you look carefully, you will the jackdaw going into its nest in the tree.

And finally the barbecue master taking it easy.....

Friday, May 4, 2018

Friday 4th May

A blackbird egg?, found on the lawn where it must have been dropped by a scavenging bird.

Yesterday Weaver of Grass mentioned Virginia Woolf, and it rather jelled with the meeting about the church we had attended. Viewed slightly askance by some members (what the hell are non-believers doing here?)  One of the things that interest me are 19th century vicars and their ability to become amateur archaeologists. Well the new vicar is not looking for another job, his mission is the mission of Jesus he told us in no uncertain terms, the history and upkeep of the church did not interest him.  Our church pays a certain amount of money to the diocese, when questioned by the treasurer and someone else he defended the rather large sum, but if you would listen to people in the village, The Church of England has enormous land holding and buildings which could easily be sold off too back the pensions of the vicars.  Was this the old tithes system of a tenth of the worth of the village I wondered...
So back to Virginia Woolf, well she had the same interest in vicars  as myself and had written an essay on two of them.  One was the Reverend Skinner, I had often walked his Somerset landscape with Moss in tow, wondering about this miserable man but then if you had read his diaries about the terrible conditions of the villagers in Camerton, poverty and drunkeness just to start with, and then the terrible loss of his children to illness, you could understand his unhappiness and ability to throw himself into his work, which unfortunately was trashing the prehistoric barrows of Somerset.
Here is her essay and the one I wrote ten years ago such a long time and immediately memories of walking with Moss to the Ashen Hill barrows come to mind.

Moss and I walked many miles, these great barrows follow presumably the line of a prehistoric trackway, and I remember we had to walk through a herd of young bullocks, Moss tight on a lead though he would never chase anything

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Wednesday 2nd May

Wagamama - Japanese for 'selfishness',  'indulgence' 'wilfulness'

I came across this word on Rachel's blog she been to lunch there, it is the name of an Asian chain of restaurants selling noodles.  Well guess who is called Wagamama in this household - Lucy.  She trails round one of her toys most of the day with her little tail wagging.
She adores being 'naughty' but also has the makings of a cute little service dog, too old now as she approaches her 11th birthday.  But each day she will 'help' dragging off newspapers and magazines for you to read, at teatime, pulling down the teacloth for drying up.  Waking me up in the morning at some terrible hour because the birds are singing.  She is definitely spoilt and wilful, but loved very much!

May Day came in with blue skies and sunshine, today the rain beats against the window.  So a somewhat belated Happy May Day to everyone