Saturday, September 29, 2018


A couple of quotes taken from the bottom of an email sent by a friend, do you do this? 

'it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~ Aristotle'

#“El mundo no es dificil, lo hacemos dificil” (“The world is not difficult, but we make it so”). Quoted from Felix Quinteros by Carlos Magdalena in his book, The Plant Messiah.

Sorting my computer photos out over the last few days, I have lost some from the old computer, as it now longer works but I have two external hard drives with copies on of others.  That moment when you 'delete' is worrying on the computer.  For two weeks gmail did not work in normal mode, but I managed to retrieve it in 'incognito'.  Never even knew that incognito existed, everything goes black and a little comic man appears.
I am alone for the first time for years, it was weird at first but am settling down with Lucy for company, waiting for the paper which the milkman delivers. 
Paul has kept in touch, Malton train late, luckily London train from York was late to.  He is staying in a comfortable hotel near the Barbican and off to visit family later on.  I should go and see C about picking the last green tomatoes in P greenhouse, but I really don't want to make chutney, no one eats it but me.

Funny sayings, things copied from the internet.  I find the following rather pretentious and stupid, always emphasising the difference between men and women doesn't really address the problem of equality.  The latest sheninagig from America sort of shows this.  The whole argument, picked up for political reasons, is wrong, Kavaunaugh may or may not have done this, its a long time back, but what of all those around him destroyed by such accusations.
News has become so salacious sometimes, does everything have to have a 'sex bias?' , you know the old Roman saying, "Circuses and Bread" or something similar to keep the populace happy, isn't sex fulfilling that now?

I like simple doggy humour ;)

Friday, September 28, 2018

28th September

Today Paul is off to London, though somewhat dreading it, the Joy of Sake meeting or get together is at the Barbican.  Food and wine, he has booked into a nearby hotel and then the following day off to see his two sons and grandson.  All very exciting, but he worries about the travel.
Chris the person organising it lives in Hawai and is a very old friend from the days when both were at the Daitoku-Ji temple.  Now he sells wine to the Japanese restaurants in London, we talked of having such restaurants up North but somehow I don't think they will go down too well.
We have put off going to Japan year after year, Paul wants to go in November, it is incredibly expensive trip and it is once more put off to next year, think we will be too old by then. We had an email from American friends who also wanted to go at the same time as us, Paul is not too keen on being a guide though.
Somehow my latest blog on Wales, also brings into the picture these American friends, who we took to Solva in Pembrokeshire to see the sights.  Bucky wanted to see the 'magical' spring at Presceli but only met a 'bog' halfway up a hill.  Loie made us laugh though when on seeing all the hedgerows, exclaimed why weren't they chopped down!

Here they come striding down the hill...

Breaking news this morning in the quiet town of Helmsley, human remains have been found in a cottage.

The Last Man who knew Everything

When I was much younger I read voraciously, Ruskin comes to mind, I just loved those Victorians who could write with such ease.  H.G. Wells, Thomas Hardy, Morris and maybe even Carlyle, they strut the stage of their time as important writers.  But no one has written as much as Baring Sabine Gould.  He was in that envious position of being a vicar, not much work except for Sunday.  He loved his wife as well, fifteen children emerged from their conjugal activities! 
I cannot even begin to think of having that many children, thank goodness for the pill!
His archaeology and perhaps his saints interest me, though apparently he wrote a good book on 'Were-Wolves' - yes of course they exist.

Sabine Baring Gould, this wonder writer of his age, he used to stand up and write, no sitting at his desk, heaven forbid.  He joins other vicars who had more time on their hands then church work.  I can think of the Reverend Skinner plagued by drunken miners and the sad deaths of his family as they succumbed to consumption. Sabine of of course wrote Onward Christian Soldiers, for children by the way,  It has a positivity about with its marching rhythm.

The first time I came across him was at St.David's Camp on the headland of Carn Llidi, an Iron Age fort with two tumbling walls creating a narrow promontory fort.  Within were six round houses, you can see BSG simple plan... I need to find his writing on this though.
Above is St.Davids' Head Camp, on a narrow wedge of rock, here people lived with their back to the sea, along the land in front there are vague traces of rock walls from this time, scattered boulders demarcating the land, inside the round huts were found loom weights.  Life must have been pretty bleak, and yet there were some pretty beads found as well.

He marks out four large stones, which maybe the remains of a cromlech, there are several on Carn Llidi, such as this one......

Carn Arthur
One of the round huts -1 maybe

round house 5

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tuesday 25th September - doesn't time fly

Two photos taken this morning, I am struck by the detail of the early morning, the colour of the tiles, the holly berries already turning red and the different greens as Autumn slowly unfolds.  Nigel's old sheds patched to within one inch of their life, god knows what he keeps in them.  We have long conversations about nothing in particular.  Sasha the enormous dog he rescued apparently sulks because her friend Meg has not been to stay.  He has given me another blackberry plant (thornless).  He is generous with what he has, and I hate the fact that his wife is ill with cancer.  I supply her with paperbacks, she loves Phil Rickman's books.
Good news this morning, you may note that I never ask people to sign petitions, but I am doing it all the time.  Any animal or their environment in peril I will sign to stop the inevitable encroachment of our modern world.
But the great arch enemy of the natural world resides in America - Monsanto.  In its effort to make the EU use their glysophate products for a longer period, Monsanto decided to take Avaaz, a campaigning organisation to court, subpoena all the information both on emails from their supporters and all else.  Well they failed, the judge threw it out, and yes I am not so naive as to hope that Monsanto/Bayer will not come back with something,  but just for the moment I rejoice.

Our hearing just ended, and the judge absolutely DESTROYED Monsanto's subpoena on Avaaz!!!! 

He said the subpoena would have a “tremendous chilling effect”, saying "no member would want to have their privacy and their activity known" and actually gave Monsanto a lecture on democracy and free speech!! 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Tea time

Demolishing the pansies, it is not only the fashionable and sophisticated who eat pansy flowers over their salads!

Lucy who hangs onto every mouthful of ours as she waits for her meal....

And last but not least, there is still the odd butterfly around in this cold weather, slightly blurred though.

Caught this morning, a Rachel sheep browsing in the sun, along this narrow bank, I see rabbits, pheasants and coots, though I can never tell a coot from a moorhen.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday - photographs

This will be a short journey from Whitby to Pickering and then home.  First I must start at a coffee shop in Whitby, Sherlocks, a mock Victorian atmosphere but excellent coffee, sandwiches and cakes.

You sit under bookshelves of old books surrounded by Viictorian knick-knacks.  It is on Flowergate, an old part of Whitby that winds down to the water.  Facing you on the opposite side is Whitby Abbey, in Flowergate just off one of the passage ways was the cottage, now long gone but missed.

After coffee up to Sainsbury to pick up the computer, and to note that Homebase is closing down there.  But before the trip home, the car has to be washed at a very competent garage, scary for Lucy as the cleaning arms bear down on the car. (She had a hissy fit in the night).  
And then we hit the countryside................You will see the weather and clouds change as we progress over the moor.  We live in the Vale of Pickering, if you were to take the road to York from Pickering you would go across the Vale of York, which can be one of the coldest places in England.

This is Fylingsdale, our seeing/listening eye on the world

Looking toward the pale shape of our Howardian hills in the gathering gloom

We arrive in Pickering with its long road of small cottages and traffic problems....

Tractors are everywhere, even through the centre of town.

Then the last run through our narrow lanes, past the bank that once carried a railway round the local area.  

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday 21st September

Can this be the old butcher shop that once graced the field our house is built on?  For our historian, Bernie, who now lives in Kent called in to see us.  He sat for about three hours on the settee, by the window that looks onto the graveyard and chatted about past occupants of the village.  They slaughtered the animals in this field, the pigs, he said, the spot where he was sitting on the settee.  He was about to go into a horrendous story of one pig when I called a halt to the story!  I notice that this little shed with all the stone and wood stacked round it has its bricks tied into by iron ties.
He told me that the boundaries of the old deer park dykes that sit above on Lance Butts farm, there are still deer around I think.  He told of walking home from school from the adjoining village along the river, getting very wet in the process.  We have fish ponds in the village but on private land, you would have in Bernie's childhood been able to go through the kissing gate in the church down to the river and fish ponds.  He talks of mapping the wells, before mains water there were wells everywhere,  the spring that fed such wells is at the top of the hill on, funnily enough, Hill Farm land.
All this I absorb, though my interest lies much earlier in the Scandinavian era when the countryside was overrun.
Margaret Wood comes into the conversation, she of tumbledown Willow cottage, the land on which is now graced by new cottages, one already  going round the half a million mark, can you remember when houses just cost from about £3000?  Bernie tried to buy Willow Cottage at auction, but like all things in this dog eat dog world, a builder had already done a deal with the solicitors.  So all the valuable papers, church records as well were either destroyed or put on Ebay - sacrilege.   He even talks of a 16th/17th silver cup from the church that has disappeared - such intrigue!
When at last Bernie went, he was going to someone who has a very similar brick building in their garden, now transformed into a Victorian shop, some things still live on but only in collections.
Another storm has passed and we should be going to Whitby to pick up a new computer.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Thursday 20th Sept

Did you hear the news yesterday? we are supposed to be kinder to wasps, the old bee gets all the positive publicity, whilst wasps get negative response.  Well the wasps round here decided to test our kindness.  This morning I noticed a couple of wasps in the kitchen and on opening the side door there was a cluster of wasps in the left hand corner of the door, probably about  three dozen, poor creatures wanted to come in from the cold! Well much as I respect all forms of life walking around barefoot with wasps scurrying around was not on my agenda.  So I gently flapped them away and hope they will find somewhere else.
Our little broody bantam is still being broody, this morning as usual I put her out in the garden to run round and feed and drink, she is a scaredy-cat as far as big butch Hen Phoebe is concerned and runs squawking from her, Fey my other bantam has struck up quite a friendship with Phoebe but likes her companion bantam to be around.
Yesterday our friends bought some apples from their garden and as there were cooking apples in the assortment, my first thought was baked apple with sugar.   The first thing is of course I haven't a corer to take out the middle of the apple, so I took out Hartley's - Food in England, apparently you need a sheep's shank bone neatly carved (as the sheep are all alive round here not much good). Anyway I coped with a knife, scored the apples round the middle, and spooned brown sugar with a dash of honey down the middle, no sultanas this time and baked the apple to watch it burst into that fluffy gold in the oven,  eaten with cream delicious.
It struck me reading the book, with recipes from the 14th century, and delicious recipes called 'apple amber', that should food be scarce on the ground after Brexit that we maybe have to go back to proper English cooking using the foods around us which are so abundant in this temperate country of ours!
Hartley on a baked/roast apple...

"Apples roasted with sugar candy and galingale syrup (galingale is a lumpy spice with the aroma of damask roses)Stew the galingale in enough water and honey to fill the platter. Drain over the apples and bake gently; withdraw from the oven and serve cold, scattered with crushed white sugar candy.  They should look like frosted pink roses, in a syrup the colour of rose quartz."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wednesday 19th September

The photo fades, but capturing the deer and unsure Moss always brings this wood to mind and the crispness of a cold frosty morning
Today the weather is quiet, the fierce winds of yesterday have calmed down, we bask in  warmth but Autumn is on its way.  Roses and rudbeckias dominate, the soft pink of sedum try to seduce the butterflies but they are more interested in the second flowering buddleias.  Some people coming for coffee this morning, but the day is quiet.
Paul is to go to London next week, there is an event at the Barbican organised by his friend - The Joy of Sake, and then there is a visit to his son to see Leo his grandson, a weekend away, and he seems to be dreading it, probably because a) it is London and b) because of the travelling.
Michael Morpurgo was doing 'tweet of the day' this time he talked of the buzzards in his part of remote Devon.  
And I remembered the story of my buzzard, high on the Bath downs.  He was deposited by his parents one Sunday on the Bath race course, I came over the stile, and there he was wandering around as if afraid to fly.  Parents sat on the fence watching over this youngster.  Eventually he took to the air, and I was to see him many times over the next few years.  I knew his places where he hunted for worms and would always look out for him as I would wind my way to the North Stoke fort.  Once, I had parked in the pub's car park, he sat in a tree about 50 yards away, the race course was being used for some function and I decided to drive down to the woods.  On arriving at the track way, my buzzard flew into the tree as well, as if following me, also tired of the crowds.
Moss was my constant companion then, happy to walk any distance and a Sunday walk always had a special feel to it, sometimes I think the weather is always better on a Sunday and the trek over the Cromwellian/Royalist battle ground on the Lansdown brought back memories of fighting men overlooking the ridge towards Bristol.
Someone, once met on a walk, had the 'eye' he saw into the past, and told me he had once seen someone stumbling back from the battle up on the ridge, believe that as you may.  My only encounter with ghosts from the past, was one very foggy early morning up on the Downs,  Moss became very agitated and started to bark and out of the fog this sight appeared.  A man in a kilt with a beret, true Scottish attire in the middle of nowhere, he bade us a good morning and strolled off, okay I was scared too, had he fallen asleep after some party and then decided an early morning walk would clear his head, or was he really a vague memory from the past;)

Monday, September 17, 2018

Monday 17th Sept.

Paul Nash - World War 1

Kazuo Ishiguro......
in novels of great emotional force, [he] has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world" 

I watched 'The Remains of the Day' yesterday, probably a second or third time of the film which was made in 1989.  It is an incredibly moving film with Anthony Hopkins as the butler and Emma Thompson as the housekeeper.  James Fox played Lord Darlington and Christopher Reeve the American.
Just as I was writing this the following piece of music to be played tonight came on, 'The Armed Man' - Mass for Peace by Carl Jenkins, as I listen to it and read the comments, lots of coughing and noise from the audience but I shall put up with that.
When all the kerfuffle of anti-semitism in the Labour Party came up and we did not know who to believe as to what, someone mentioned the figure for the number of dead after WW2, between 60 to 80 million, the larger figure being civilians dying from war related diseases and famine.  Since that time we have lived in relative peace, at least our Western dominated culture has.  As a child I remember all the films glorifying war and being totally against it, could not see the point of killing people.  But it did put into context the deaths from the Holocaust. 
Hindsight is of course difficult to justify after an event has occured,  Darlington was way out of his league, a man probably of his class, we still see it today, and the day we become 'classless' will be blessed.  What I find extraordinary though is that a Japanese writer, okay brought up in England from an early age, has caught and defined, the upper classes in the 1930s has caught the very 'Englishness' that makes our country something to be admired but also reviled for its nose in the air attitude to life. 
Not a happy subject, but it is Monday ;)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Thursday 13th September

So hasn't there been a bounty in fruit this year, and the hawthorns are also weighed down.

Two hares have arrived in the house, one a print, the other a book my daughter found in her shop.  The print was expensive but going on what the speaker at the talk said yesterday, please yourself when making a garden, you are not there to please others, it is not a competition.  So I am very happy with my hare print!

I have been to a couple of meeting this week, one at the U3A and the other a gardening talk.  I had thought of joining U3A (University of the Third Age) but decided not to for a number of reasons.  For a start looked at the book club books, on the book sale table and thought I would never ever read the books that appeared as half a dozen at a time.  Though I did toy with canasta evening at a hotel,  but it meant going out at night.  But the talk by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust was good.
The other meeting yesterday was a gardening club meet and the speaker had been replaced at short notice from a bonsai grower to someone who was going to talk on Unnatural Gardening.  He was very good, a scientist who knew his facts, and he gently pointed out (with the aid of the tooth fairy) how many of our ideas are wrong.  For instance, native flowers, often are not very native having crept into the country during the last centuries.
So natural gardening sold to us the last few years rests on slightly ignorant gardeners who sell us ideas not truth.  Irene who I had gone with when we got back presented me with another plum tree, which she had brought and then found there was nowhere to put in her garden, which was very generous of her.  It is a decent size, and I shall plant it when it becomes cooler.

And now to my last picture, Lucy fits the bill! Turning 11 years old has done nothing to curb her sprightliness and the sight of a plump cocker spaniel dancing around on the lawn, or playing ball in the kitchen (she won't play it anywhere else) or her crooked grin as she gets told off for once more being naughty, would exasperate the patience of a saint, but we are not changing her yet ;)

FT link, it may not work for those who do not subscribe

  A taste; Brexit: a coup by one set of public schoolboys against another

Monday, September 10, 2018

remembering - Beatties

"To provide the customer with a good range of well chosen, good value merchandise. To offer this to the public in attractive surroundings, backed by pleasant and effective service, and in an atmosphere of complete integrity and responsibility. To demonstrate at all times a genuine desire to please".

Beatties of Wolverhampton, now owned by House of Fraser and of course on the skids.  Rachel reminded me of these great department stores and as a child I was dragged round this shop by one or other of my stepmothers.  All I remember are fur coats and evening dresses, do people still wear them?  I know fur will not be allowed on the fashion walk now, thank goodness.  I remember the mink coat was fought over when my grandfather changed wives ;)

I suppose there is something sad when these department stores hit the bottom, but how many times have you walked round Debenhams, looking at clothes either way out of date or frowsy? is that a word?  Even Marks and Sparks is beginning to feel the crunch, what we have now is the new shopping malls such as Westfield.

Prince Albert in Queen Square
The Art Gallery

This is fun, pottering around old times on the net.  My grandfather worked at Villiers Engineering as chief engineer, and these gates below are where all the workers came out. As a child I would have sat in my stepmother's sports car watching the people come out running, walking, on bicycles, just like a Lowry drawing.

Another memory that floats by was taking my pony to be shod through the town to the dairy.  Who ran their milk floats by horsepower, the real ones of course, beautiful cobs that were stabled and part of the stables was a blacksmith's shop for shoeing horses.  It was here my pony, Silver Dollar kicked out, landing a hoof in my groin, very painful at the time.....

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Saturday 8th September

Have you been listening to the Book of the Week - In My Mind's Eye by Jan Morris?  She calls it 'memorisation'.  I love Jan Morris's book on Wales - The Matter of Wales (I think), but had not realised she had written 40 books about her life and travels.  I must explore her other books, though as you may have gathered I am not too interested in books about travel.
What struck me was the word memorialising, this is what we do on our blogs, as Morris has done in her book, we allow past memories to glide through on a whim, a blog becomes a diary, a capturing of memories.
This weekend my daughter, two grandchildren and Teddy the Whippet come down.  It will be the first time Teddy has been here with my two bantams.  As anyone knows greyhounds and whippets chase anything that moves, so the bantams along with Phoebe the hen will be penned. Lady Jane is still broody, I pick her up unceremoniously each morning and put her down in the garden, when she eventually shakes herself down and gets something to eat, my other little bantam Fey is totally friendly, chuntering away to me as she goes about her business, the only one who produces eggs at the moment though.
Jo has put out the first of the apples in the village, Worcesters, their sharp red and green like the apples children crayon in.  The weather is also drawing in, black clouds from the West, and I shall have to collect the entourage from the station at Malton.  Have I ever mentioned that I have become insecure about driving?  I worry, all to no avail, everyone says I drive as I always did when I chaffeured my children around Bath, but there is always that nagging worry at the back of my mind, bit like that little black furry creature on the advert on television!
So for the moment that are my thoughts for the day ;)  Blessings on everyone who reads it...

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Okay. SID, this means 'sometimes I despair'  my father in law when the dinner table descended into an argument, would then throw his napkin over his head and say S.I.D reducing everyone to laughter.  So what made me think this this morning.
Jocelyn Bell, physicist has just been awarded a cash prize of $3,000,000 for discovering that pulsars(a sort of star) sent out radio waves in the 1960s.  Did she get a prize then, no is the short answer.  As a female student the honours of a Nobel prize went to her supervisers, and as she explained on the Today programme this morning, it was only white middle-aged men that got the medals.
But what is she going to do with the money? and this is where the lovely bit comes in, it will be used to help others to gain the knowledge and placements in astrophysics, ethnic, women and even refugees she says....

She is already in discussion with the Institutes of Physics in the United Kingdom and Ireland about using the prize money to create PhD studentships for people from under-represented groups in science. “Diversity is very important,” says Bell Burnell. “This also recognizes that I did my most important work as a student.”

Somehow that story in a world that is more often grasping and greedy, rights the sense of a moral code for this special American prize.  The prize by the way is funded by entrepreneurs, such as the CEOs of Google and Facebook, and the final paragraph of the Nature article says this.

"Keating adds that the prize “should also be seen as a shot across the bow of the Nobel-prize committee”. He notes that Bell Burnell could still be awarded the Nobel prize, without violating any of the Nobel Foundation’s rules. “Doing so immediately would also send an inspirational message to scientists — male and female, young and old — that it is the discovery itself, not the gender, prestige, or age of the discoverer that really endures.”

There are notes of a feminist crossness in the above, but I do realise that things have changed from the 1960s, but still there is a long way to go;)

And if you want to giggle this morning Murrmurrs blog, always sees the funny side of life.  Who would ever have thought that a teddy bear had balls ;)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Magic: 5th September

"Everything that touches human life is surrounded by a penumbra of associations, memories, echoes and correspondences that extend far into the unknown. In this way of seeing things, the world is full of tenuous filaments of meaning, and the very worst way of trying to see these shadowy existences is to shine a light on them."

Taken from an article by Phillip Pullman  (writer of 'Dark Materials) in the Guardian.
Sometimes you get tired of the ways of the world, the constant bickering, the trivia that fills our media, and may I say it, sometimes on blogs.  But no I am not going there.  I am staying with magic and the need to believe in something that is not there!
Religion of course tumbles into the mind,  belief systems that have no logic but have ritual, words and colour to uphold their divine rights.  This is something Paul and I argue over, both non-believers, he sees the Catholic church as corrupt, which it is, but it still holds hundreds of thousands of people entranced.  You cannot dismiss it and hope that it will go away, somehow people need a belief system in their lives.
But what of magic, the cat buried in the wall of an old cottage, or indeed under the threshhold of the entrance to the door.  Paul told me it was unlucky to step on the threshhold of the back door the other day, maybe because he had just stained it!
Is there a function for creating fairies, elves and devils; and gods of course?  Do they carry our sins, reminding us of how to behave.  Bad and good, are they the moral underpinnings of our soul? And do we have a soul, or is the Holy Ghost a mythology to frighten us into subjection?
On my desk I see Geoffrey Grigson 'The Englishman's Flora', a book I delve into frequently, even plants have association with good and bad, religious figures in the middle ages, of course they were rationalised into Latin by  Carl Linnaeus, as science has rationalised the world around us.  But we still want to believe in 'magic ;), a chaotic order in the world that doesn't fit proscribed rules.
I meant to actually talk of something that is irrational in the archaeology world, they are called ley lines, a belief that all over England these invisible lines join up, making their way through significant features in the landscape, such as churches and prehistoric sites.  This is proven by dowsing for  energy fields. As you dowse for water, a legitimate occupation for finding wells and water by the way, you can also dowse for the energy lines!  Water of course is logical, it is the place where we settle our villages and towns, a good water supply is essential for humans and animals, so the track marks we make to these places are often indelibly written into the landscape.
So I shall read Guy Underwood 'Patterns of the Past' with interest but a purely sceptical eye, and thank Tom Stephenson for reminding me of this author from the past.

And to all those books that bring magic to our reading, thank you.  Yes, Tolkien, Lewis, Pullman, Lucy Boston (The House at Green Knowe) Alan Garner and Russell Hoban.  That middle line between children and adult fiction, they have imagined magic and captured it beautifully.

Saturday, September 1, 2018


Another beautiful day has dawned, that early morning cold crispness will give way to the warmth of the sun.  Our usual walk down Salton Lane, which is peacefully quiet, it has one of those 'road closed' signs up.  Almost a walk of meditation, the soft sound of the pigeons, the swallows on the wire and the chatter of the flock of sparrows.  The moon is a shadow of itself in the sky, joining the clouds in their whiteness.
Reading the Nature Notes this morning in the Times, and he says we just about missed a bad summer for the wildflowers, some have been very exuberant in the sun, and (look away gardeners) there will be an explosion of dandelions next year, the sun kept the grass down allowing the dandelion to set seed:)  Do children still blow dandelion 'clocks' ? I read the other day that when someone interviewed some biology students at a university, only a few could name 5 birds off hand, think about it!
We met Nigel with Sasha his large friendly dog, Nigel always sets off every morning to cut 'browse' for his goats, he returns home with a plastic bag full.  Last evening, the tractors and trucks full of silage roared past for quite a while, so it hasn't been such a bad time for the farmers either hereabouts.

The hills in the distance