Friday, August 31, 2018

Second post

Quiet week did I say in the last blog this morning? not quite, the oil people put the wrong type of oil in on the 21st, so they are now in the process of removing said oil and putting the right heating oil in.  A bit like putting diesel in your car instead of petrol.  What a fuss all morning, the mistake appeared on a transaction invoice, the driver may have used the wrong pod in the oil tanker, apparently there are about 5 pods in one tanker.
The representative who came this morning was most apologetic but we are very fond of this company run by a co-op of farmers, so are pleased that they did it today and not on Monday as was earlier specified, need not have had that bath half an hour ago!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Tuesday 28th August

Today has dawned warm and sunny, there is talk of 'Autumn - seasons of mist and mellow fruitfulness'.  But August is not yet out, and though the fruit hangs heavy on the trees, it is not yet picked. 
I have gathered things to do, Sashiko stitch work, wool for knitting, and patchwork for the cooler months.  You may not remember but I sent off for a dolls house, which unfortunately I found very difficult to put together, but I shall persevere, even if it doesn't have a front, a very long time project!

My children, who are of course grown up, are well, Mark home with his friend last evening,  Karen home from a visit to Bath and a seedy nightclub, where her friends had a 1990s night out.  So the world keeps it even keel.  The price of food is set to go up but it does not look too serious.  There is talk of shortage because of the weather we have had over Winter and Summer, but we should count ourselves lucky that there is indeed enough food to eat,  I am sure in the 70s that more of our spending was on food, though it was more limited in choice.

I have been contemplating buying another print to reflect the seasons, Colin Blanchard comes to mind but the one I like has sold out.  Bils and Rye our local gallery has a splendid array, though very expensive paintings on display, all rather contemporary.....

Must photograph some things as well........

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Sunday thoughts

It is Sunday and as long as we ignore the Pope in Ireland and all the unsavoury business the Catholic church has been up to it is a good quiet day.
My mind has drifted back to Eskdalemuir, to green mysterious deep woods and forests and about wedding cake stupas? at the Tibetan Monastery.  This is where we stayed a couple of wooden cabins in someone's garden, decorated in Tibetan colours, in a village that has slowly run into a quiet ruin.  But the Scottish government/charity has funded a cafe/gallery in the old primary school, a breath of sunshine in the cool greyness of the village.
The monastic Tibetan buildings were quite magnificent in the sense of build, not sure I agree with such pomp in the middle of nowhere, but then who am I to complain.  It had an exciting shop full of those things you expect in an ethnic atmosphere, I bought incense back to scent the house, a book on 'calmness'  mmm, and a shawl for Vicky across the road.

It was a 15 miles drive for either a pub or fish and chips, rather remote and of course a local supermarket stuck on the end of a housing estate.  Scotland is a new experience.  What I forgot to take a photo of is the river that flows below this picture, it flows by the two stone circles up the road, probably the reason there is prehistory round in this flat part.

Funnily enough Lucy enjoyed this holiday, she loves travelling in the car, and seeing things, she is very curious and would be off in other people's gardens if allowed to.  
Driving back in the car on Friday from Malton Paul had said how he never would have imagined living in the countryside and enjoying it.  

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday 24th August

Project Fear;  You know what I am talking about, the second line of what will happen if there is 'no deal' on Brexit.  So are you going to stockpile food, not sensible, wasn't it a criminal offence in the 2nd World War.  Everything seems so insecure at the moment, reams and reams of discussion in the media as to how it will affect all of us.  Contingency plans outlined yesterday, businesses to a degree not sure how to cope.  The naive Brexiteers say let it all happen and see what we can sort out, let us hope what it does bring is a greater reliance on our own foodstocks and businesses will be able to grow.  We are heading for a great adventure? mmmm

Well what did I worry about? Basically insulin for my son who is a type 1 diabetic but on looking on the net I came up with this video above, more or less saying that the manufacturers of insulin, we don't have any  makers in Britain, are making the necessary arrangements for there to be a store of back-up insulin as we negotiate our way through the stormy seas of borders.
I should be showing photos of quiet nature, but the world is in such firmament at the moment, can anyone really, truly understand the antics of the American president and please Theresa don't tell me that our fortunes rests with this man as he tries to out manoeuvre Europe our nearest neighbour even though we shall be leaving the European Union.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Thursday 23rd August

A phone call this morning, Matilda has got excellent marks in her GCSE marks, she passed with flying colours.  Gosh that is a relief,  a bad tempered Matilda is not the person you want to live with! 2 - 9s on the subjects she will be taking for A levels, Art and French next year, her brother Ben is already packed for London and Uni in Fashion design, she will be joining him the year after probably.
My daughter is so proud of her and so am I of course, else I would not be bragging about it...

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing and dog

 Ben has organised himself with a room in Shoreditch, a job, money in the bank and of course his top heavy grant from the government, my grandchildren are hard working, skinny as you will see but they have cooked home prepared meals nearly every day.
Yes? what is she going on about? Well the rather unfortunate  middle class assumption that obesity comes with poverty and 'being poor'.  This has given me a lot of thought, my family inherited my gene bank of 'skinneness' something which I am fast losing by the way because I love cheese and butter!!  So fat/plump well educated middle class people do exist? 
Can I stick up for the poor when obviously somewhere along the line something has gone drastically wrong for them, was it education, living in poor surroundings to start off, supermarkets who sell cheap dross, or a system that does not cater for everyone?  So born with a silver spoon in your mouth, you follow the capitalist system because it has a fair sailing wind.  Poor people on the other hand have little capital, here I am talking not about cash in the bank, but a good education and solid family backgrounds.  
Why is it so?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Maybe photos to follow

There is a heavy misty greyness outside and I have been quiet for a couple of days the only photo I have taken is one of a bank, closed down of course, in Helmsley. We had coffee there yesterday, in a cafe that accepts dogs and even brings a bowl of water to the table for them!
Yesterday I spent some of the day looking at old photographs, and came up with the time when Paul and I were just getting together at Coate Water park.  We  had wandered round with Moss because this was Richard Jefferies country and I  tried to draw a map in my head as to how he had played as a child in this environment, captured of course in 'Bevis'.  Jefferies was melodramatic, and is hardly known about now, he wrote 'After London' a dystopic book of when the world destroys itself and a barbaric  quasi early medieval regime becomes reality.  He 'spilt his soul' upon paper in his nature writing, lying on a Bronze Age barrow contemplating the plants around him, or writing of the 'Roman Jug' espied in a cottager's garden, only Ruskin has come up to the same standard,  or in my mind eye at least.
a quote from an earlier blog;

"Whilst reading Richard Jeffries book The Life of the Fields I came across an essay on The Roman Brook, Jeffries out on a walk one afternoon by a favorite brook of his came across an old man working in his garden. He stopped to chat, and the old man grumbled about how the hares, pigeons, rooks and water rats ate his vegetables and as he rambled on Jefferies saw an old jug hanging from from one of the apple trees in the orchard. On enquiring why it was hanging he was told that it came from the brook from the time of the Caesars and that lots of pottery and coins had been found also. The children played with the coins and the labourers from the village tried to buy their beer with them at the inn, but of course as they were Roman the innkeeper refused them as payment."

So what else has happened?  Lady Jane has gone BROODY for goodness sake, sitting there like a stuffed hen, she refuses to move.  Break the cycle is what I read, ice cold hot water bottle under her, no allowing into nesting areas.  Nigel came over yesterday and tutted over her, bit late for putting fertilised eggs under her.    
Good news is that Ben my grandson has got his place in a London university for fashion design, my daughter's birthday yesterday went off well with the children coming together and buying a takeaway and decorating the house.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Friday 17th August

jam and Jerusalem rose in its second bloom, absolutely falling over itself to bloom, AND it doesn't get black spot.  Created for a Chesire Branch of Women's Institute, it is gorgeous.

Funny thing happened yesterday, Paul had ordered some Japanese foodstuff from the Japan Centre, in the order was a bottle of sake.  Email came yesterday, could they have proof of identity because of the alcoholic nature of the Sake.  Irate Paul phones up, what the hell, etc,etc, (poor girl) but she sticks to her guns, photo or else, a ruling by the way that had only happened the day before.  Second email comes through, from the manager, we will not be sending the Sake, obviously just as irate as Paul.
We have a  friend coming over from Hawai soon, who sells Sake so it is not going to be a problem, especially as I don't like it....
Two walks today for Lucy, in an effort to tire her out, we went to Sinnington and walked up to the church, meeting other dog walkers on the way.  I nearly (and Lucy) got killed by a speeding lorry coming round the bend of the church as I pulled out in my car. Then I met a tractor round a bend, luckily we were both going slow, as he turned his tractor into a field.  It's dangerous driving these days.

ruined cottage, the land has just been sold.

part of the Benedictine monastery

The fields are shorn

When my ankle gets really better I shall explore this wood.

The church is at the top of the hill and has Saxon bits and pieces of stone in its fabric

You can just see the ring of hills that encompass the Vale of Pickering

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Gertrude Bell - a page in history

A few days ago we watched 'Queen of the Desert' a romanticised version of the life of Gertrude Bell.  Nicole Kidman, rather too glamorous I think, played the lead role, it was directed by Werner Herzog.
The film's main points were about her failed love affairs and being incredibly brave by wandering round the desert visiting the stronghold of sheiks, she was also, one is led to believe, an undercover spy for the British.
Whatever, Gertrude was a brave lady, starting out with her trusty servants, sailing across the difficult terrain and recording what she saw.  Well look at her photographs,  click on them and study the pictures there must be well over a hundred, and now look at the mess we have made of the Arab world.  Forget wearing face covering in this country which very few Muslim women do, this is just a red herring floated across the airways by an idiotic politician.

Beyrout (Beirut)

West Bank - Jerusalem

A village - Jericho
She was very brave to wander alone with a band of trusted servants, but she recorded everything she saw and that surely was her legacy to the world.  We can view the world from her day and then contrast today, there has just been an 'incident' at the House of Parliament, a car going into the barrier, terrorist probably, a clash of culture.

Thanks must go to Newcastle University for the photographs.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Sunday, day of rest and sermons

I have been meaning to read up about the poisonous ragwort but still have not done it. I wonder did everyone go through that 'natural' herbs are the best medicine thing, or at least cure-all.  Well I never bought the full set of Bach's remedies, may have tried the 'Rescue' once and it did not work, notice you can buy it for your pets as well!  But still I love herbs, and as for the wild flowers ability to heal, remember always, the foxglove, digitalis poison.

But this wasn't about herbs, rather the rather prolific nature of this hot weather.  Yes I know everyone is shouting from the roof tops that what with Brexit and bad harvests this year, (carrots and potatoes) we shall all be rioting and starving on the streets next year but my blackberries and plums from only planting last year have done spectacularly well.  In this village we should be self sufficient in fruit as well.  

No, I am not self-satisfied, for I think of the people who do not have the resources to food, in this country we have food banks.  Even in my penurious widowhood there was always enough money for food.  How is it that people cannot afford it, the country has gone silly.  Expensive cars are advertised and yet our education system has allowed a whole section of society to escape the necessary skill/art of cooking.  Maybe many people can cook, but can't afford the fuel for cooking with.
Are all those stories just 'scare' stories can it be that many children will go hungry through the summer holiday weeks because of this?  Do we have to rely on the voluntary services to remedy it?

This morning in the blessed rain, I chased a bantam round trying to get her back into the run, I had opened the run because of two sparrows trapped and of course Fay escaped and refused to go back in.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday 11th August

I fell in love with a rudbeckia the other day, this is an August plant of course, great shaggy flowers in this month, the yellow was predominate in the nursery of Breezy Knees and I bought a couple of plants.  But this rudbeckia comes from Daisies a local nursery.  Its rich colour is marvellous and the graduated shading leaves me envious.  Why? well I have been dyeing  with wild silk, which is slightly yellow/creamy to begin with.  I tried the acid dye 'ochre' and it produced what I would call 'old gold', the turmeric I used on the second batch created a softer yellow.  I am now debating whether to get the whiter and far more expensive silk to spin, but the problem is that acid dyes come up so bright.

The other plants I bought, were a batch of cosmos and a yellow plant whose name escapes me.

Beginning to wonder if yellow is the colour of late summer, crocosmia also with its yellow/orange spikes.  Flowers that are so heavy with their season, the massed ranks of glorious dahlias, they have the colours of the fairground, then there is the heavy heads of chrysanthemums. A memory of childhood, the orange, golds and deep red and their subtle smell, you hardly see them round now except small imposters which I dislike.
There is a soft gentleness to the garden, fading lavender and the airy fairyness of  fennel, its yellow flowers already fading to seeds.  Golden rod stands tall and will be moved to back the yellow plants in Autumn.  Yes I have a renewed interest in flowers after all this drought ;)  And yesterday I saw pale mauve/ gray Acanthus in a garden now that would look lovely at this time of year!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday thoughts


I start with a thought, foreigners!  Never in my life have I looked on people as 'other' or 'foreigners'.  This photo from F/B actually makes the point that we rely on people from different nationalities caring for us in this country - they are definitely not the enemy, just doing a good job of work.  Our messing around over what constitutes leaving the EU makes their lives uncomfortable.
This thought occurred yesterday when after lunch in Kirkby, I saw the dentist who had repaired a broken tooth last week, he is called Muhammed, I thought he was coming out of the fish and chip shop but he could be living in one of the cottages and I wondered how he was settling in a small market town, probably quite happily as I think most people are like me, accepting of what is there.
It reminded me of another Muhammed, this time Turkish who I had looked after when we lived near the Bell School of Language in Bath and I took in language students (probably nearing 230ish).  Many were an adventure in how to cope with unsure young people.  Muhammed was a lovely young man, studying our language to go onto a Manchester university to study clothing retail.  I can remember him wanting to try my spinning wheel but saying that no one should watch him.  He brought me Turkish coffee cups and a funny little tin jug to make the coffee, and his sister would often phone and as I answered the phone she would say 'good bye' instead of 'hello', no matter how many times I told her.
When I was in hospital with my fractured ankle, both surgeons were non-English, nurses came from a variety of countries, should we not be worrying about them and extending a more friendly hand and a promise that eviction is not about to take place.  Yes I know about all the unwanted immigrants but aren't they just looking for a better life and shouldn't we address that problem instead of getting our knickers in a twist about being over run?

Thursday, August 9, 2018


This is where we went yesterday, pretty isn't it? But it is actually quite boring, 20 acres of garden can you imagine it, set in farmland, as we walked down the path on one side a field of barley and the other a field of potatoes.  The above border is well stocked, there are hundreds if not thousands of plants, but often planted in straight line unfortunately.  This neatness jars with the soul, a garden has to tumble with flowers and not have large amounts of bark mulch everywhere.

We went four of us in the car from the Appleton-le-Moor garden club to this nursery just on this side of York. It meant having to face the A64, even though we went through the back lanes past Castle Howard.  

The A64 gets crowded it is the main holiday route through York to Scarborough and Whitby, though to be honest coming back yesterday and the slow moving traffic went on for miles back up into York.  What will happen when the roads of England slowly grind to a halt I wonder?

I think the best thing that came out from walking round was the many bees that crowded the flowers, that made it worthwhile, and perhaps the cakes at the cafe.  Things learnt, large thick hedges and shrubberies to cut the cool east wind that blows in winter, and though I disliked the bark mulch it did the job effectively.

And to crown it all, I did not like the place name, Breezy Knees for goodness sake, apparently it has even been on Gardener's World, not sure what they made of it, but then we are so nice in this country ;)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Fay and Lady Jane Gray

See John Gray has acquired two cockerel bantams (after a hard fall, poor soul) he will be happy with them, needy little creatures, our two have settled down happily.  Pick a bantam up, stroke their tiny necks, and bliss occurs as their eyes close.  We gave C an egg yesterday and she marvelled at the smallness of them.  They are perfect, two will make the right amount of scrambled eggs.  
Yesterday, over the moors to Wheeldale, think it must be Lucy's most favourite place, she senses the place even before she is out of the car.  I sat on the rock and listened to the beck trickling over the rocks, a most soothing sound, the heather is just beginning to appear, and the green bracken marches with great vigour over the slopes.  Clear cutting of the evergreens has taken place, but it does not look as bad as the Eskdalemuir battle field of stumps and brown earth.
I should 'doctor' the photos and take the car out, but not at the moment, because I have moved back into my room upstairs, and Lucy is barking downstairs now, feeling lonely, and wondering why we are not out feeding birds and then her!

I forgot the hedgerows lined with rowan trees in full red berry, a good winter feed for those birds coming in to feed in our warmer climes.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Quick Interlude

By walking Men's reversed Feet
I chanc'd another world to meet;
That it did not to view exceed
A Phantom, 'tis a World indeed,
Where Skies beneath us shine
And Earth by Art divine
Another face presents below
Where People's feet against Ours go.

Shadows In the Water by  Thomas Traherne 

If you were to type 'Celtic Underworld' into my search gizmo you would find a whole lot of stuff pop up.  When we lived in Chelmsford one winter it snowed, freezing cold and as we wandered by the river I took photos of the trees reflected in the glassy water.  You could have turned the photos over the mirror image was so beautifully clear.  It set me thinking of the other world that lay behind what is somewhat derided nowadays as the Celtic world.  
Well reading Bradley - 'An Archaeology of Natural Places' yesterday, he was talking about Scandinavian rock-art, I came across the fact of 'hel-shoes', they are the trail of footprints that lead from the upland cairns of the dead down the rock slope, through the land of the living, into the place of death - the sea.  These worlds represented a view of the Neolithic world which may have gone through the centuries.
A Valhalla, which we all create, when faced with the thought of death.  Paradise somewhere else ;)  The truth of course is that Bradley is giving an explanation of the footsteps to be found on the rocks, they could have had another meaning anyway.

Sunday, August 5, 2018


A trip out yesterday afternoon to Brawby three miles or so down the road, a small rather uninspiring village but home to the farmer who had our house built.  This time a church affair/fete to gather money, of course for the church, Paul says they should get more commercial;)
And yet it was a wonderful experience, we sat in the shade of an old tree, Lucy fast asleep, and drank tea and elderflower whilst eating scones.  A sign led us into the car park of the farm, a field covered in s--- and goose feathers.  They were penned in another field. The field itself had a rolling effect, was this medieval ploughing - check.  The farmhouse had a bungalow attached, when you hear about the misery of growing old in the cities, see how the farmers build extra space for the older generation - and weep.
We talked to the farmer Steve, as happy as anyone can be, we talked hens, he had just been to the Ryedale Festival, all animals so he said.  He has a yard full of rescue hens, people come and give them to him.  Telling us about an experiment,  breeding from a cock whose young produced brown eggs and a hen who produces blue eggs, the progeny came out with - wait for it - green eggs, apparently greatly admired.
Our new vicar, who is vicar to several churches in the area came and sat with us, his wife is a postie and they live in Middleton, the church of which has Viking stones, but I can never get into it because the door is always locked.
No photos for the moment, you have to go over a small packhorse bridge to get there, we have two close by, there is a confluence of the rivers somewhere, the Dove and our Seven joining the river Rye.
Brawby only claim to fame is 'The Shed' run by someone called Simon Thackray, who runs wacky events such as the Yorkshire Pudding race. You don't believe? I reckon he had been to Harriet's pub next door to dream up this idea, you get two y/p on a Sunday with your roast...

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Saturday 4th August

"How charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durably and remain fixed upon the paper! And why should it not be possible? I asked myself."

Whilst writing yesterday, the thought kept occurring, 50 years ago that photo took place of the three godmothers, aging me somewhat;)  Yet it was only 183 years ago that photography happened at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire.  Lacock is a pretty village, often used in film sets of earlier times, visited by many tourists and having at (its almost) centre the great Abbey of Lacock.  It was part of my dissertation on the abbeys of Wiltshire, and I loved the countryside round there.  Friends excavated there, Jane worked for what is now Historic England, cataloguing stuff.  Their great find was a clasp of a bible in the reredorter (the latrine of the monks) making reading on the loo a communal experience.
I have got through a few cameras, remember the old film ones, you took the film to the chemist, they got developed, and you paid for failure! Then there was the polaroid, that faded gently in the albums.  Then came the internet and digital cameras and suddenly the whole world could take photographs and could display them at the touch of a button.  And it all started with Fox Talbot capturing a window in the Abbey.

lacock Abbey remodelled into a home for the Sheringtons
  By Diliff -

Friday, August 3, 2018

Thursday 3rd August

Small treasures that need cleaning.  I do not like cleaning silver, the blackness of the cloth the smell of Silvo.  As a child it was Brasso as well, we had one of those Russian tea urns which needed cleaning and brass candlesticks as well.  I have one silver teaset which lives permanently in a cupboard given as a wedding present.  As a child the newspaper laid on the table, the silver taken down from the huge sideboard and then the application of the fluid cleaning stuff, fingers and cloths got blackened, watching the liquid dry and firstly rubbing off with newspaper and then buffing the silver to brilliance, only to know it would need doing again - all those poor Victorian maids!
My MIL from my first marriage had a whole Chinese cabinet of jade and ivory and silver, all needing my patient hands, the sinking of the heart felt when the inevitable newspapers laid on the table and the silver came out for cleaning ;)

So what you see here in this photograph, is just small items given as presents, I dreamt about them last night strangely.  The miniature Dutch furniture came from Lotta, the two little pepper pots came from Persia I think. And the fish utensils came from Leni, think she was probably Hungarian, she lived in a small house by the station halt in Blonay, Switzerland and only when they were not talking and had fallen out, was Lotta's best friend.  There is a photograph of my daughter and Leni standing by a tall sunflower.  It was a lovely spot, the train chugging up the mountainside, the chateau over the road.  I suspect it has changed greatly though, but the mountains and the view down to the lake will still be there.
Suddenly I realised thinking back to these times, that my daughter will be 50 years old this August, a milestone for her, but that as a baby she was baptised down at 'Grandpa's' church, in Territet and her three godmothers sat round her smiling at a rather sulky baby Karen.

There is Florine Katz, her American godmother, Lotta and Leni, all sadly gone after all this time. There are strong ties with the Opper family, Karen goes back every year to visit her aunts and cousin Marc. Leni lived to a 100 years old but is now dead. Es Planches, the bungalow where my in laws lived many years ago, are memories - just that.

A photo picked up from the net, Wiki I think, looking over Lake Geneva from Blonay the chateau in the distance.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

A Day out

This lorry we followed from Pickering in this photo he is taking the notorious 'Blue Bank'.  The sight of fodder moving around the countryside, either on lorries or by tractor is a very familiar one at the moment.  He sprayed branches and straw all over the road and so we kept a distance.

The rooftops of Whitby as seen from the top floor flat my daughter had rented, which was large and immaculate.  Unfortunately, the long flights of stairs had Lucy flummoxed, the lady in the first floor flat brought out some ham to tempt her with, but in the end my daughter carried her up (and vowed she would never do it again).

Lunch at the Abbey Wharf restaurant, apparently a factory of Burberrys fifteen years ago, which accounts for its loftiness.  As this building is in the Shambles, a difficult place to get to through the swarms of people on Church Street.  We are all looking away because it is Lillie snapping away, she always fills my camera with shots,,,
Then we went down to the beach ;) muddy and filled with seaweed, children complaining about their shoes, but Lucy stood in the water admiring the slow movement of the water.