Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A Happy Halloween to everyone but not forgetting it is also All Saint's Night as well.

Also of course it is Pat's Birthday, Many Happy returns on this day of celebration and fun.

All Hallow's Eve

'The Green Knight holds the holly bush to mark where the old year passes by.'

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted--nevermore!


Sunday, October 28, 2018


For the nonsense of moving time around;) Of our three clocks moved by the satellites that circle our Earth, one says the right time the other two are an hour and two hours out respectively.  I will spend the next few days saying 'but it is not the REAL time' till my senses adjust.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Saturday 27th oct

Trying to fill a space, when nothing exciting has happened ;) Well plenty of reading matter, papers have just bumped through the letterbox, Newsstatemen arrived yesterday (giving it up when subscription expires) and then Resurgence the day before.  It had rather a good front picture on it painted by Annie Soudain, a reminder that winter and Samhain will be here next Wednesday.

I always think of this magazine as slightly out of focus with what is happening in the world but at least optimistic.  There is a good article on why we should find a new mythology to tell the story of the world.  The bible's insistence that humans have dominance over the animals, plants and the natural world has to be overcome.  Pope Francis has even joined the chorus, though of course he has the right name.  It reminds me of yesterday news of an American reporter triumphant after killing a wild goat in Scotland. Silly moo doesn't she know we never talk of hunting and killing in this country!  It brings to mind the 'trophy hunters' on F/B  condemned with such rage, (rightly so) as they hug a dead giraffe, lion, tiger or elephant to their bosoms.  The religious article is illustrated with another artist, this time,  Joe Fan (not too keen).
Outside it sleets, so there will be snow up on the moors, I see there is an accident just outside Whitby, probably due to ice on the road. 

brief sunsets full of colour

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Douthwaite Dale amble

I decided to go for a walk yesterday, so heading off for Hutton-le-Hole, I went down a favourite spot, an old timber trackway.  One thing I noticed on the area round the village, was the number of people along the road.  Walkers, cyclists and motorbikes splayed out in the narrow lane stopped me from parking and taking photos.  
Back to the walk.  Kept to the track with Lucy whose front feet bleed on rough ground unfortunately.
The photos show the picture I was trying to paint yesterday.  Firstly you see the Forestry Commision plantings often edged with our native trees to hide the industrial nature of the planting.  The edge was lined with the customary number of pheasants and overhead a buzzard sailed on the wind.

It is a long steep walk to the bottom, and we turned back before then but I notice on the map that by driving through Hutton-Le-Hole you can pick up another footpath to Barmoor and an 18th century house that is mentioned in the historic record which must be somewhere below.

I have been up since 5 this morning because of Lucy and so sat down and watched Simon Reeves in the Mediterranean and Sam? Willis on the Silk Road, both on Iplayer.  What struck me as Reeves waltzed through, Sicily, Lebanon, Libya and Palestine, was the stoical braveness of the people.  There was this woman in Palestine running a small factory making bricks to build houses from just coal dust and wood ash.  The Israelis only allow 4 hours of electricity a day to the Palestinians, but Reeves says he feels sorry for both sides of the divide.  When you look at the destruction on this side of the world it is perhaps better to not get petty about what goes on in this country, and to applaud the dignity of people whose lives are completely destroyed by war.

Some other info on the Dale

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Thought Fox by Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox,
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.

Last night this poem came to mind, the rhythm of the fox moving inside the words and both arriving safely on the page is what Hughes was aiming for. Paul and I had been talking about the fact that there maybe a fox who comes at night, thrusting aside the trellis at either side of the path to the Japanese bed, of course our fox could be after the hens, it could even be a badger, though we can't work how it would get into the garden.  The chickens are safely locked away, two in the big coop and Lady Jane in the small box  which she considers her roost for the night.
The night is an unknown space, lit brilliantly by the full moon at the moment, when I go out to shut the hens up, I look up for the bats, but they are probably hibernating by now.  The shrill cry of the owl will wake us during the night, a life devoid of human interaction.
My mind drifts on, to the Universe, to a space that has no edges, but goes on forever, the mind cannot cope.  But 'edges' of the landscape, a subject that has crept into the written word,  I think even Will Self has explored it, wandering around London, amongst those lost pieces of land between city and countryside. Full of nettles or the dark red of the dock plant, rubbish spilling untidily about and small mammals living an undisturbed life.
It suddenly occurred to me that we have an 'edge' here, it is between the moors and the farmed land.  The sheep perhaps connect the two as they graze at the roadside.  The farmers have taken as much land as they could from the moors, but so much of the moor land lies on rock and water, the water will squelch under your feet as you walk.  The rock reminding you of the prehistoric degradation of the land as the trees were cut down so many thousands of years ago.  This 'wilderness' is only good for sheep and the grouse, though many of us would like to see the curlew as well.  Sometimes the edge is blurred, old fields have been left to go rancid, the rushes growing in clumps across the grass, I suspect that this would be called 'soured' land. In many ways this is  magnificent scenery, the sharp hills of the moor folding dramatically down into the valleys.  Dark gullies, heavily treed forestry, and the other day a lane full of young pheasants, strutting along, excercising their rights to being run over, and then an old barn with these same young pheasants strung along the roof - waiting for the roar of guns?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Sunday to tuesday

Sunday morning, already I am feeling sad because my son will depart at some stage today.  They both seem impressed with the place, Ephraim still rants loudly as ever on the injustices in the world, till I call a halt.
We 'did' Rievaulx Abbey yesterday resplendent in its valley, hidden from the world but not the tourists, and then to Helsmley, delicious pies bought from the delicatessen, everyone sat eating it on the steps around the monument.  Then a pint at the Feathers, where Lucy disgraced herself when she snapped out at a poodle.
The kitchen untidy with Mark's stuff, a constant reminder of his diabetes, they both ate like horses, Friday night we ate out next door, they seemed to love the novelty of everything but not our '2 G' reception for internet.
Now they have made the journey, at enormous speed in the old BMW down the motorway, they will probably be back again, and that is good.  And weirdly they go for the jazz to the Bell inn in Bath down Walcot Street.

Picking up where I left off.  Do you know I am still sad that Mark has gone, but I realise he has grown up and lives his own life.  We went up to the moors Sunday morning, Autumn is so beautiful round here at the moment, I mean to capture it on camera.
Ephraim is a real firebrand, he has a negative attitude to life, never seeing the good, always the worst and he has left my brain thinking it has the wrong aspect.  I have to bring it back to centre my life ;)

Okay I am not a conservative, but the attacks on Theresa May are uncalled for, is it because she is a woman?  Isn't  changing the leadership half way through the Bxxxxx issue  really stoopid! And maybe having a second referendum to get your own way, a gamble that may not pay anyway.  Those are the words of a 'remainer' accepting fate in what ever colour it comes in.....

And just the cherry on the cake, Lucy's pet insurance has just come through this morning for next year, £450 to be precise, which seems expensive but then vet's bill???  And note it is via the internet, so I shall have to print the form - cheek!

Friday, October 19, 2018

So the day begins

I took this picture from the en-suite window in the guest room last night, it was Harvest Festival at the church.  Jo had made a beautiful display of fruit and branches of red-berried cotoneaster in the porch, and the church was filled with chrysanthemums, and lilies.  I had thought of going, if only for the ritual of harvest, but my brain intervened I could not go and sing about a bountiful god, when all this summer the farmers had gone through the village with trailers piled high with straw and hay.  But I still love the church building ;)

Why do I mention the guest room, well my son and friend, who is driving, comes down today for the weekend.  How do I entertain two city boys in the country, think a drive over the moors might be called for.  It is a weekend of joy and trepidation, this because my daughter has to go for a test this morning at the hospital, we are both hoping that the results will not be serious.

We always have trouble of fitting a family into our current situation of staying overnight, two of the bedrooms, one is a workroom, the other a study, leaving one guest room for visitors, there are always settees of course but still.

Yesterday Paul and I, and of course Lucy, went to collect crab-apples.  It was a perfect day, the sun shone and it was still.  The crab apple tree shone gold in the sun, laden with apples.  Paul had come to keep an eye on Lucy, deaf and wilful, she takes off in the field threatening to go down the fox hole or disappear into the river, which is not very deep at the moment.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


On Monday we had a meeting over the next village event which was 'quiz night'.  Three events a year and we discussed a further fourth one.  My idea of a dressing up party, and Lyn and Pam came up with 'Vicars and Tarts', no , not really!  I like Goths, but that did not go down too well either.  So today I have looked through old photos and come up with the following, makes you think doesn't it, the courage of people to go out dressed in different clothes....
Tom, Ben and Matilda amongst the Star Wars crew.  Practically grown up now these three, Lillie was yet to make an appearance on the scene

mingling with the crowd

Strolling along the prom
We had had a 'war weekend' in Pickering, it rained most of the time but Lyn and Pam had gone in an old MG midget with hard top that leaked and got soaked of course, reminds me of my old Austin Healey Sprite and the flapping roof.
As I write Robert Macfarlane and Norman Ackroyd are talking in an artistic programme at the moment. I go and check on Ackroyd, and am overawed by his work.... A painting of pure magic.

What do artists do all day?

Monday, October 15, 2018


Virginia creeper turns red as Autumn and storm hits the country.  We have a very long length of fencing covered with several of this creeper, interspersed with ivy.  A haven for sparrows, the hedge is always twittering with their noise.

What else, my print was finished by the framer last week, it coincided with the sad news that hares in the East of England had the dreaded rabbit disease myxomatosis.  Coming across a sick rabbit with the myxi is a  sad business.  I look at this print across the table and often think what other species may be going extinct around the world as I sit there. But yet should I really worry about these deaths of animals when across the world in Yemen, millions are starving.  It breaks through the noise of news lightly, the media is more worried about sanctioning Saudia Arabia on the death of the journalist in their Embassy - moral ethicacy has a long way to go.

Looking at the photo yesterday of the meeting  at the Tibetan monastery, I think perhaps maybe sitting down and contemplating the questions of life was not a better way to go, or perhaps become a 'Stoic', which came up in an article this morning.

Stoicism is a school of philosophy which was founded in Athens in the early 3rd century and then progressed to Rome, where it became a pragmatic way of addressing life’s problems. The central message is, we don’t control what happens to us; we control how we respond.

A poem for the hare

Here he is.

In the quiet wait for September's early packs to lift and charge.
Wide eyed.
Like he's just walked into a room
And can't remember what for.
His white tail bounces after him - the ghost of last winter
That won't leave him alone.
Soon it will catch up with him
And spread its baby soft blanket over his back.
But now he's a blend of summer and winter
A flake of the moor's skin.
Elven grey brown fading to silver.
With pencilled details that focus my eye on his.
I'll just go this way If that's okay? he says.
And with a freeze-frame lollop passes the butts.
Turns at 90 degrees down the rubber scarred stones.
Then back to the tussocks to continue his lazy days.

He too gives himself a hug every morning.

Colin Blanchard  

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Sunday miscellany

For peace and thoughtfulness?

When I wandered into this temple at Eskdalemuir, it was empty except for a monk sitting in the top chair.  He was so still and silent that I thought he was a mannequin much to Paul's amusement.

Small things please me today, Radio3 interspersing its music with birdsong, my cardigan which I have been knitting for ages is almost done, my son and his friend are coming down from Bath next weekend.  There is one worrying factor on the horizon, but I keep my fingers crossed on that one. So I shall tackle the blog which I took off yesterday for fear of offending people ;)  It is to do with Marion Shoard, long time environmentalist and her crusade on the 'free to roam' campaign.  This is not a polemic against farmers, where would we be without them for goodness sake, but it is a slight diatribe about how the green signs for public right of ways are pulled down and the barbed wire goes up.

In fact, the British landowner's insistence on excluding the rest of us from his property seems to have more to do with a very British passion for possession than with practical realities. He seems to feel there is no point in owning land if you cannot exclude others from it. It is an attitude we can afford to countenance in our back gardens; but does it make sense to allow a single landowner to apply the same attitude to tens of thousands of acres when others want to visit them? Elsewhere in Europe, the British idea that an  individual can own the environment as completely as he owns his 12-bore or his Range Rover is met with disbelief.

So what do we miss,  it is the tracks and paths that went along the fields up by the farmhouses maybe, I can think of one at Bridge Farm for instance
Not just your upland moors, and designated areas, such as stately homes, 'pat the animal' farms, or adventure parks, but those fields round us, so invitingly beckoning, until you come up against the barbed wire.  Scotland is much easier I believe, though you might have an angry gamekeeper breathing down your neck, if you interfere with the shooting of grouse, deer etc.

The Scottish Outdoor Access Code provides detailed guidance on the exercise of the ancient tradition of universal access to land in Scotland, which was formally codified under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Under Scots law everyone has the right to be on most land and inland water for recreation, education and going from place to place providing they act responsibly. The basis of access rights in Scotland is one of shared responsibilities, in that those exercising such rights have to act responsibly, whilst landowners and managers have a reciprocal responsibility to respect the interests of those who exercise their rights. The code provides detailed guidance on these responsibilities. 

And yes I know the arguments farmers use to keep us off the land, dogs not under control, spoiling of crops but we do have some guidelines to follow.

  • Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people

 Not sure of what triggered thinking about access to the land, perhaps it is the wires I encounter when walking.  One of the arguments farmers use is of course 'you would not like someone walking through your back garden' as most gardens are small and fenced from their neighbours it would hardly be practical anyway and is a silly argument.

As farms enlarge their fields, we are almost talking prairie fields here, the ability to follow a chosen public path becomes a bit of an obstacle, and to be quite honest a rather worthless exercise in dullness so maybe walking in such places would be useless.

Anyway Marion Shoard has turned her thinking to getting old and written a couple of books on that, especially care homes.  Now would you rather go into a care home or live in a commune of elderly residents I wonder?  Her writing on the subject.

Edgelands  How did I get here? by reading the Urban Historian

For Music................
Listen to the gentle Yorkshire voice of  Kate Rusby if you don't want to read ;)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thursday - 11th October

Something Tabor wrote about the other day, how we see each other and how they see us.  My profile is fairly easy, small, untidy hair and fairly shy but willing to engage in whatever is happening.
Yesterday was the gardening club at Appleton-Le-Moor.  We gather, about forty of us maybe, I have driven C and S there and J has gone on earlier because she is a commitee member, as is S.  Apparently there was a meeting this last Monday for Xmas lunch, and I had said I was a vegetarian, which is not strictly true, but they have also put a quiche on the menu.  The whole venue is so friendly, we listen to the talk and then have a cup of tea and new ventures are variously discussed.
The talk was about jam making, drying fruit and making apple juice. All very WI but it was interesting.  She had bought her dryer, for drying fruit and fungi, and also that clever little thing from Lakeland that peels apples, might treat myself to that one.

Well the assembled people, mostly women of a certain age chattering away but there are a few men, in summer there are always plants for sale as well.  Many people of course are 'incomers' retiring to a quieter life, ready to join in and be part of the community, but the one thing Appleton has and many other villages is a village hall.

Something our village has not got which is sad.  The church could be a good canditate but like all churches it is cold in winter, and a very meagre heating system just stops you from turning blue with the cold.  Plus of course the church resides in the ownership of the Church of England, apparently the Catholic churches all belong to the Vatican, (nothing like googling!).  The CofE may take the villager's money to repair their church but also expect villager's services gratis free but use of the church has to be carefully monitered by the tiers of religious bodies (mostly human).
Our village has some rights in the village hall in the next village, it is supposedly shared, but somehow our input is missing but I think we should be able to hold some happenings there.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

What made me smile this morning

Continuing yesterday's theme ;) and grabbed from 'Amateur Therapy'

Monday, October 8, 2018

Monday, 8th October

Yesterday they announced that the tickets for the Glastonbury Festival for next year had sold out in half an hour, 200.000 tickets I think.  Well this morning I came across Melanie in a forum.  The era of flower people, hippies and Woodstock.  Well I didn't go down that road, but Melanie's songs often filled the house. One of the reasons was that I became widowed around that time, and happiness was not on the agenda!
But looking at the above video, and don't look if nudity makes you embarrassed, I was struck by the silly happiness of these people.  Yes I know drugs help ;)  But it was a time of innocence before the internet and social media hit us.  The time before people began to spill themselves everywhere, the time before the 'me, me, me' culture was born.  Or did it spawn it?  Must let the chickens out;)

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Sunday, 7th October

The cold has descended,  a slightly frosted front lawn, virginia creeper turning a reddish-brown, the red geraniums starting to fear the cold.  Yesterday I made a trip to the garden centre, two 'Powis Castle' artemisia, silvered as the frost but such a dignified name! Two more small shrubs to fill this bed that runs the entire length of the garden, backed by over enthusiastic virginia creepers and ivy, these climbers have waltzed away all summer creeping cross the bed onto the gravel driveway.  Here  in the tangled vines the myriad of sparrows disappear into their leafy groves, to build nests and shelter from the weather.
I am greeted every morning by the sharp twitterings of the robin, who obviously welcomes another early riser and for me the sight of Lucy fast asleep on the sofa.  Yesterday early evening we went next door for a meal at the pub, not with Lucy this time, so that we could dine in their small restaurant.  Paul had barbecued ribs, whilst I had Chicken Normanbie, very creamy, but I bought most of the chicken home for Lucy, whilst I ate the creamy mushroom sauce with chips!  Our appetites get smaller the older we grow, and rich desserts afterwards are not eaten.  But it was a happy meal, and we came back and watched Harry Potter and the death of Sirius his godfather.  Always the forces of evil against the force of good.  Paul noticed that Netflix is to run/make the C.S.Lewis books of Narnia.  Netflix seems a force for the good as well, giving us so much more in the TV world.

a lone pheasant 

geraniums looking sad

visitors, the squirrel always makes an appearance for the sunflower seeds.

I love the leaf of the perennial geranium

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Capturing photos - not all mine of course

Leo the artist having his painting hung by Aethan his uncle

this one is some white bread I baked a couple of days ago, normally I  use wholemeal flour but decided to have a change, it rose beautifully this white loaf, and Paul eats it with blackberry jelly, but really I am not keen on white bread.....

For colour

For humour

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Tuesday 2nd October

I never thought I would watch a whole series of tv programmes but I did in 'Hinterland', believe it is called binge watching but there we are.  What has captured it for me is the wonderful northern Welsh landscape. The sheer miserable tone of every episode, the two protagonists never smiled, locked in the misery of their own lives.  The ruinous cottages with skulking scary people inside and frightening moments as we went up decrepit stairs.  How the production team managed to find such farmhouses I don't know, but as the murders unfold, the settings were beautiful.
I am often moved by landscape, Cornwall moors haunt me, Wales, have been in love with the hills since childhood, I think it is the sheer loneliness of the countryside so different from our English hotch potch of villages.
But the weekend went well, the traveller returned complaining bitterly of overcrowded trains and what a terrible place London was.  But his joy in his grandson who calls him grandpa cannot be taken away.  This little family are very busy in their world trying to survive the calamities of jobs that are not as secure as they could be.

Leo and Paul

Leo's mum. Yuki is Japanese, and she oftens goes back to Japan to see her family, there is talk of  them moving to Japan which would be sad, but Leo has both languages. Ken, Paul's son has a job with the Telegraph, but with all the newspapers going online who knows.....
Leo is apparently a whirling dervish of energy, but then it has been a long time since Paul has met any toddlers.  I hope they make the effort to come and see us down North, Paul would love to show Leo the countryside (something he has only just fallen in love with himself!) and the sheep, chickens and of course Lucy.
So the Joy of Sake  party went off well, in typical London fashion of course, you were handed a little Japanese sake cup, and then tried the different wines, drawing them from the bottles with pipettes.

And something Cro said about grandchildren being artists in the new life, well Aethan, Pauls' other son is an artist and sells his work, but his main work is handling exhibitions for galleries so there is a living to be had.