Tuesday, April 30, 2019

How does my garden grow?

John's (going gently) call for 'corners' was an interesting delve into our lives.  Firstly, how many dogs and cats sleep on the furniture, answer, nearly all of them. Comfort is the main factor of the rooms, and many were beautifully furnished as well.

So to return to the subject of the garden, when I went out this morning it was dull and misty, there is talk of frosts at night later in the week, so I recorded all that I saw.  Vegetable gardening was somewhat important, hence big sacks to grow potatoes, beans and tomatoes, all snug against a warm wall (hopefully).

The first photo to greet you, and me, is scruffbum Lucy asleep on the sofa, joy she let me sleep through the night without demanding that I come downstairs.

The roses (still clear of blackspot ;)

my one and only aquilegia, delicate foliage
Beans waiting to go out

This plant has refused to flower for the last four years.  In fact it is a a cutting from the original, think it was a penstemon. One of my favourite plants but not too happy up here in Yorkshire.
faithful companions, the viola flowers for a long time

Potatoes and tomatoes

Beans and herbs

Monday, April 29, 2019

Monday 29th April

Sometimes people turn the argument around and for an instance you see a different slant to a story, here it is told in the tale of the grey - red squirrel conflict, and makes clear it wasn't all the fault of the grey squirrel...taken from this link

"During the early part of the 20th century, gamekeepers and others viewed red squirrels as pests and a bounty was offered on their tails. In Scotland alone, between 1903 and 1946, 102,900 red squirrels were slaughtered."

Someone attacked Greta Thunberg as a 'naive and pathetic little school girl' on a forum yesterday. rather than go in and get cross, my only reaction was that she had done more for a movement than many others. And of course how we read others and the terrible mistakes we make when first we choose to comment makes the written word so much stronger than the facial smile you would see in real life.

So how do we react to 'Climate Change' I wonder?  Is 'Extinction Rebellion' a jumped up protest group of ne'er do wells, did the senior element and the children not impress those who would castigate the foolishness of people stopping the traffic.  Terrible nuisance of course but how do you fit all those people into one basket, they are scared of the gathering gloom.  Can it be that in this country with a media so in love with the word 'B***** we have forgotten to look elsewhere in the world for news, for the Amazon forest destroyed at a terrible rate, for islands overcome by typhoons and hurricanes, our country complacently contemplates itself and ignores the wider issue.

To be quite honest I am not sure where all this will go, 1.5 degree rise means that there will an awful lot of fires around, experienced here on the moors of course, after a very dry winter.  

I am being gloomy again, my only recipe is that we must plant more trees and protect those that are still with us, it may not save the world but at least it will give our hands something to do.  Came across this on F/B this morning, very surreal of course but a message I suppose.

Remiodos Varo - Spanish/Mexican painter - 19th century

Thursday, April 25, 2019


We are still awaiting rain, I need to put some shrubs in and beans in the large bags I bought, problem is they take up a lot of soil.  One method is to use the turves taken up for the new bed, but growing stuff in bags will be an interesting experiment.  I have seen vertical growing as well, mostly salads but have used up most of the south wall of the house with herbs and the bags.  

Looking out of the window this morning and I saw the goldfinch that have been hanging around these last few days.  The bantams lay every day at the moment, feeding well and trotting round the garden without a care, though I would like them to have some care with the tulips, which get flattened under dust baths. In the photo you can see a sign for the forge, this was indeed the site of the old forge, but a deserted bungalow now sits on the plot, weirdly the owner has not lived there since we moved here, but in summer will spend an hour or two sitting outside.  What is the story?

I am inordinately proud of my last weaving effort, which though small is a tea towel and has a number of mistakes, I eventually hung it up for use. Its the yellow one of course.  Weaving is so calming, at least it is after you have warped, which tends to make me ill, think it has something to do with my middle ear.

My other efforts are not bad, but I realise I do not have the precise stitch that a shaft loom has, but I am not going down that road, having owned one in the past and not able to use it - I needed lessons of course.  So my work will follow a more abstract turn;)

Someone the other day moaned about the packhorse bridge one has to travel over to  Malton, single vehicle as it was in the olden days when carriages and carts used them.
It reminded me of the 18th carriage roads that lead to Castle Howard, magnificently lined with old trees now, and just as narrow, as they go under castellated mock walls.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Wednesday 24th April

Polly Higgins, a Scottish barrister, who has just died suddenly from an aggressive form of cancer, was the champion of a new law she was trying to bring about called Ecocide.  A law in defence of nature meant to call on all those that would trash the environment in some form or other.
Relevant today of course as the 'Extinction Rebellion' group gets under way, and there are the mutterings of Climate Change and wholesale extinction of the planet Earth. 

Ecocide "describes attempts to criminalize human activities that cause extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystems of a given territory; and which diminish the health and well-being of species within these ecosystems including humans. " 

A recent happening of going against the natural order that has sparked fury in this country, is the netting of trees to stop bird nesting in the springtime, so that it stops the birds interfering with the building of new houses, and I don't know how birds make this happen!  But sand-martins have had their sandy cliff edges netted, where once they built their nests.  People have protested by pulling the netting off hedges and trees and I doubt very much that the big time builders will take them to court - not having a leg to stand on.

There have been calls for more green resolutions, in America and the rest of the world but to no avail (it's the economy stupid) but there is a growing stronger movement happening and when populations start calling out for change then governments have to take heed.  The only problem is that people are not necessarily commited enough to follow through.

Another new green deal put forward by Yanis Varoufakis and David Adler in the Guardian, well as always it is all talk.  In many ways Polly Higgins was slightly behind the curve with her new law, what we need now is a world that will survive, and here I am not talking the survival of the fittest, such people as Trump have to be drummed out of office for their dangerous policy, and definitely not given tea with the Queen.... Is not that an absurd thought, is this my England I am talking about?

The following people have written essays in the Resurgence magazine which arrived yesterday.  At the moment I am listening to a Youtube speech from Mothuir, a lawyer, he is not good at talk but still young;)

Extinction Rebellion personalities;

Mothuir Rahman a pupil of Schumacher College in Devon.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Monday quick post - Happy Earth Day

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and crowd

Fancy moving to Eskdalemuir in Scotland to the Buddhist Temple of  Kagyu Samye Ling Monastery, everyone seems happy in this Easter celebration.  Somethings do brighten up the news;) Happy smiling faces.

Sunday, April 21, 2019


There was an interesting article, think it was in the New York Times, about growing wildflowers in your lawn, or anyway not mowing and weed killing the lawn, then the above popped up.  The wildflowers encourage the insects the hedgehogs eat.  The little sanctuary in Pickering for hedgehogs is sending all their inmates out to the wider world this weekend, do hope they survive.
It is the individual act of saving species by devoted people that makes this world go round.  
Notice the disapproval of 'Extinction Rebellion' protest on a few blogs but would only add that protest is just that!
But back to holding onto what we have got left, trailing through the large bed is lamium purpureum or red nettle backed by white tulips.  

The dead nettles are such pretty flowers, Yellow Archangel, white dead nettle, often called deaf or dumb nettles according to Grigson.  A dandelion pokes its head up as does a lost wallflower - tut, tut.  Deadnettles are of course stingless unlike the real nettle that creeps through the fence, but you can at this time of year make nettle soup from.

                            On The Nature of Daylight by Max Richter

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Saturday 20th April

We took a trip to Castle Howard Garden centre yesterday, I wanted one of those fancy tripods for sweet peas. Well I found one and along the way (though the place was stacked with flowering plants) only bought three tomato plants.  Those cost me an 'arm and a leg', apparently because they are grafted.
There is something truly magnificent about the land and grounds round this
'over the top mansion', the care and love that has gone into the land but also the sheer effect of what wealth can do. 

Taken from their website.

Age has blended this bridge beautifully into the surrounding landscape, a picture of tranquil beauty, I can only pray that it will outlive the fracking danger that dominates the North Yorkshire landscape at the moment.
But to other things, four mugs are winging their way here, to join the four I already own.  They come in my favourite colour - turquoise, have always given me such pleasure when I drink my morning coffee, the smooth roundness of the shape, but as hospitality unfolded I realise four was not enough, now I need a larger coffee jug of course.  Strange how gray has crept into the picture of fashionable colour, have been knitting all my gray wools together with shots of a multi-colour wool.  But my third weaving attempt will be shades of yellow.

Dried flowers

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Thursday 18th April

Three peacock butterflies flew over the hedge yesterday as Lucy and I walked, gosh what abundance, in this one butterfly at a time I usually see around the garden.  There was a orange tip male and also female flitting across the garden as well, it is so good to see the normality of spring happening.

                               Anthocharis cardamines taken from Wiki -By Charles J Sharp - Own                                      work, from Sharp Photography, 

The perfection of such creations, and think, spinning atoms have all created this.  Red tailed bumblebees buzz around, the stitchwort flower makes a show against the nitrogenous fed grasses of the verge. Read Murmurrs blog on 
no ass - hole Warty Comb Jelly and wonder at how  evolution works! 
As I write this the tractor and tank have arrived, the new pump is to be fitted, well they have had an early morning start, the traffic must be so pleased with them ;) The two bantams have fled back to their run luckily as well.
Yesterday someone turned up for coffee, we have said to people in the village we have coffee at ten, so come along if you feel like it.  Well I had only met this person the day before, so was slightly startled when the bell rang.  He has only just recently moved into the village, has a small dog and an adorable year old daughter called D, (won't name just in case).   He turns out to be a house ex-husband and has D by day and then she goes home to her mother.
Well he seems to dabble in a bit of everything, writing, poetry and painting, but I think he wants someone to babysit D, no, I gave up babysitting children with the last of the grandchildren.  But he has said he will come every week maybe I will invest in some toys.  D was lovely with Lucy who was not quite sure of this little creature scrabbling around  and playing with her toys but her tail wagged most of the time and she was definitely intrigued.



News; How it changes in tone. I notice that there are many questioning the rush of money by billionaires to fund the restoration of Notre Dame but making the comparision with the terrible fire at Grenfell... Huffpost, a contrast between medieval benefactors and todays wealthy who are not prepared to fork out for human disaster.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Wednesday 17th April

Last night as I went to shut the bantams in, little devils are still strutting their stuff till 8.30. A great commotion rose above my head, it wasn't the bats but the blackbirds who were busily defending their nest.  Owls with various noises contributed to the sounds, and I looked up to the sky to see a very misty almost full moon.  My mind reached out, how can I know so little of everything.  So when is Easter?

Earliest and Latest Easter Dates. According to the Metonic cycle, the Paschal Full Moon falls on a recurring sequence of 19 dates ranging from March 21 to April 18. Since Easter happens on the Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, it can fall on any date between March 22 and April 25 (years 1753-2400).

I tracked through the Coligny Calendar, the so called druidic second century  Gaulish calendar discovered, and it became even more complicated with intercalar years but I understood the need to make sense of winter and summer.

So next I went to Breverton's - Book of the Welsh Saints to find the answer.  Now of course there was a split between the Celtic Christian church and the Roman church, the Celtic church of Britain followed the Jewish custom of Easter but the Bishop of Rome in 457 AD had changed religious dates a great deal earlier.  

In AD 664, adhering to Celtic custom, King Oswy (Oswiu) of Northumbria celebrated Easter on April 14. His wife, however, who had been brought up in Kent, followed Roman practice and fasted that day. For the queen, it was Palm Sunday and she would not celebrate Easter for another week.

Well Britain did not come round till 664 at the Synod Of Whitby over which Saint Hilda presided, when King Oswiu dictated that the Roman custom should be followed and that all monks should be tonsured, a break from the Ionan  Celtic tradition.

Easter eggs of course come from a more pagan tradition, (as of course all religions do).  Spring is the time the birds begin laying eggs, traditions are made, rolling eggs down hill, making annual payments to one's landlord, of eggs and hens. And so we devolve  such customs down to chocolate eggs, though the tradition of painting real eggs still continue on Easter day.

And to finish, something from Kilvert's Clyro's- Easter Eves Idyll.

"More and more people kept coming into the churchyard as they finished their day's work.  The sun went down in glory behind the dingle, but still the work of love went on through the twilit and into the dusk until the moon rose full and splendid. The figures still continued to move round the graves and bend over the green moundsin the calm clear moonlight and warm air of the balmy evening.  At 8 o clock there was a gathering of the Choir in the church to practise the two anthems for tomorrow.  The moonlight came streaming in broadly through the two chancel windows.  When the choir had gone and the lights were out and the church quiet again, as I walked down the Churchyard alone the decked graves had a strange effect in the moonlight and looked as if the people had lain out to sleep for the night out of doors, ready dressed to rise early on Easter morning....."

Thus, according to the Ecclesiastical tables, the Paschal (Passover) Full Moon is the first Ecclesiastical Full Moon date after March 20 (which happened to be the vernal equinox date in 325 AD). So, in Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon.

The cuckoo story at St Nevern, knew it was around somewhere.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Greta Thunberg - a tweet

A very busy small heroine - need I say more?

"Now I’m on the train on my way to the EU Parliament, the Italian Senate, the Vatican and the House of Parliament in London, during the Easter holiday. And on Friday I will participate in the school strike in Rome. (I know it’s a holiday but since the climate crisis doesn’t go on vacation nor will we.)"


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Sunday 14th April - Where is the cuckoo?

I start with a photo from last year of butterbur, it makes an appearance in the unkempt verges at this time of year, as most will know it was used for wrapping butter in, in the olden days.  It always reminds me of Tess of the D'ubervilles,  Thomas Hardy story, where the butter had become tainted by the cows eating the garlic tasting leaves of ransom, also of course out at this time in April.

Then there is speedwell, that darts around tiny and pretty in the grass, the following is taken from a wiki and is probably meadow speedwell.

Blue speedwell from Wikipedia

As I wandered down this forgotten corner, bitter wind chasing me, the willow catkins that grace the river were full out but no bees of course, though this may be due to the wind.  The river was very low in places, we have had no water for weeks.
Our bats, only seen two over the church, are out and the owls cruise by noisily every night.  No swallows yet, though I note from other blogs that they are arriving in the country.

Last blog I had put a map of our village from a 1912 map, basically because I was interested in the fact that a small lane had gone out at right angles just across the road from us.  There had in fact been three cottages along there, the large garden plots a feature, many of the cottages in the village have large gardens.  In fact, going back to the three cottages, Nigel's brick house actually hides one of the cottages but evidence can only be found inside the house.

The world is getting messier and messier, forget our troubles for a moment how do we help all those immigrants wandering round in a kind of limbo?  There are so many problems with no answer.  We need a world authority to bear down on the corruption found in so many countries, perhaps the death penalty for those who live off the weak.  Sounds drastic I know but somehow order is being lost and so many displaced persons have no home to return to. Proxy wars are a nightmarish hell of suffering, we need to give back people their countries in a peaceful state so that once again they can rebuild their lives.
Fools paradise!

Know Paul will love this photo, his favourite of Lucy, doing her little dance of happiness, on her favourite walk....

Friday, April 12, 2019

In the gathering dusk - or the joys of living in the country

This should be an embarassing post but it is not, for I learnt of the 'vascular' system of our house, ie. how the water gets around.  It started a few weeks back, strange noises as the water went down from the bath, the loos started behaving strangely and then all of a sudden water would not go down.  So we called the HomeServe plumber in, and he pointed to the fault immediately yesterday.  The pump in our front lawn was not working, probably had not been working for years, and the tank had become full.  Not a subject easily discussed but our house because the lie of the land lies below the main sewage needed a pump to raise waste to the main pump.
So we got in touch with the people who put the pump in, he lives in a little village down the road, and Malcolm said, wait for it, "no problem I will fix it".  And so at 6 last night, after their tea, he and his son came down with this......

And then the fun began;) the tank was cleared but the pipes still needed clearing, the kitchen one especially, so he dyna-rodded till it came clear, unfortunately he made the downstairs loo overflow, but I dealt with that and now our water system is flushing through beautifully, we still need a new pump, and the monster will once again decorate our drive, but wasn't that a lovely gesture for him to come out.  he also owns a farm apart from the small business he runs in the village of Brawby.

It was a busy day yesterday, what with the plumber, Laurie and son and Natalie the window cleaner, which all upset Lucy of course.  The day before had also been busy.  We had the pre AGM meeting, things to be discussed, etc our new person into the village is very enthusiastic, but I think the newcomers must take care with the established occupants of the village.
Also went to the gardening club which is really beginning to fill up with people, we had a talk on Beningfield Hall.  I never knew that evergreens came so late into the country, 19th century, from America.  We only had three, the yew, scots pine and not sure, but did he say holly?
When I was a child we had a 'monkey puzzle' tree in our 'late' Victorian garden, apparently its shape puzzled monkeys;)
I end this blog with a grateful thank-you to farmers who come out so cheerfully in the evening to do a wretched job and we may pay a lot but it was worth it....

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Tuesday 9th April

The sun comes up on the East wall of the church, a tracery of branches.  The trees are very slowly coming into leaf, but that tracery of branches and twigs holds the shape of the birds, so that you must guess from their outline what they are.  Yesterday a raggedy crow came down his feathers hung in tatters around him, his beak white and large.  He was like some venerable old god.   I bought peanuts for the squirrels yesterday, and so left them on the little table, and sure enough they were found.  People call them tree rats sadly, an alien foreigner ;), it is true they are disrupting the life of our indigenous red squirrel but hate them, no I don't think so and it is a thin time of the year for them.
And you know those old blackened bananas in the fruit bowl, don't throw them out but unpeel them and leave in the garden for the butterflies..... F/B tip

Remember that hole they dug opposite the gates on Friday, well the weekend came and went and nothing happened, and another two days have passed.  We have traffic lights working but nought else!

 Image may contain: plant
Claude Joseph Bail (French painter) 1862 - 1921

Still-Life with Flowers in a Glass jug, Silver Sugar Bowl, Fork, Spoon and a Peach, 1887 
oil on canvas .

Pretty isn't it, the paleness of the colours, the floppy peach and the elegant fork and spoon.  I have been looking at a local artist she is exhibiting at Scampston Hall till June.  She has painted all round here, Staithes, Robin Hood Bay, Lastingham, etc and her prints are quite cheap...

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Sunday thoughts - Anthem

Forget your perfect offering

There is a crack, 

That's how the light gets in

Though the clouds are grey, this song/poem went through the radio this morning from Leonard Cohen, and he sparked a thought.
Are you a 'baby boomer'? do you feel that you have lost your way, probably living in  very secure financial retirement?  No I am not selling anything, it was a troll remark I saw on another blog.  Young person, castigated the blog older person as someone who had destroyed the lives of the younger generation, and went on to sneer in a particularly loathsome manner about care homes.
It made me think.  The youth of the 60s bound up with their daydreams of a perfect world had somehow unwittingly destroyed their world because of a need to have everything.  Look at the media for a start, did you get your weekend papers full of expensive clothes and furniture, of foods that come from far and wide to create another Yotam Ottelenghi recipe.  Tell you one thing for nothing you can't buy them in Yorkshire ;).  Now we are all in a blind panic about Brexit and the economy going belly-up.  Of course the need is created by the older generation who have decent money to spend, our young have to catch up pretty quickly to get their dosh to spend.  
So which world would you rather be living in? the 60s, as the floods broke and people began to feel carefree, or now, burdened by guilt as our young turn round and snarl at us?

You know I always see the funny side of things! it comes of being old...

and then this later on this morning from Paul, 

Kintusgi is the ancient Japanese technique of repairing broken tea bows with gold. Re; "There is a crack, a crack in everything... that's how the light gets in."

Image result for cracked and gilded Japanese tea bowls

The art of precious scars

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Saturday 6th April

There is not much to talk about here.  Traffic lights and a large hole have appeared in the road opposite our gate.  It's the water people they may be removing the stag pipe that has been there before piped water came to the houses.  All I know is that Nelson will be deprived of his water, he has an irritating new dog that barks all the time as well.
A tragedy happened next door which resulted in all the police and ambulance last week, it has effected us strongly.  A young man hung himself from a tree, obviously emotionally disturbed took that terrible decision to end it all.  The news is all round the village now and life goes on.  He has a busy time our vicar, I had sent him an email a few days ago about another death in the village so he has to do his spiritual round here now.
In all this I have worried about the widower but a friend came yesterday and said that other people were at the property.  As for the young man, he had tried before to kill himself, I cannot imagine the depths of despair that leads someone to do such a terrible thing but I feel for the family in their loss.
Well I have been busy, weaving, not very well but I sit quietly in my craft room, with music, the small loom balanced on my knee, back and forth goes the shuttle.
And of course the political news journeys through from one ear to the next.  Naked Extinction Rebellion (they were'nt really naked from head to foot) people in the Houses of Parliament,  water leaking from the ceiling, votes that were equally balanced.  It is like Alice in Wonderland gone mad in this country.  But having deprived myself of the Newstateman for the last 6 months, the first came yesterday, and now I am reading an article about how some of the early nature writers were far right and in favour of the Nazi regime, there is so much reading to do I am sure I will never catch up.
At the top is a photo of what our village was once like, I cannot credit that we have moved so fast into this last century from a time when everyone worked on the land - it is scary!

The village as it is today, full of retirees and people who work in York, surrounded by neat fields but no wild flowers.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Thursday 4th April

Six little lambs, gamble and jump on the bank, I watch them from the back bedroom entranced by their sheer energy and wonderment at the world.  Rachel their owner has marked them in blue with letters from the alphabet, Z for Zebedee comes to mind.  See how the hawthorn above them has broken into leaf, the blackthorn is covering the hedgerows with its blossom.
I should choose some Pollyanna poem but cannot though I am intrigued by so called Celtic poetry, someone, I think Kenneth Jackson comes to mind as a translator, but for now it will be Amergin's poem, as translated someone called Michael Burch and not Robert Graves, who wrote 'The White Goddess' when celticism was at a high peak in 1948.

The Song of Amergin II

a more imaginitive translation by Michael R. Burch, after Robert Bridges

I am the stag of the seven tines;
I am the bull of the seven battles;
I am the boar of the seven bristles;

I am the wide flood cresting plains;
I am the wind sweeping deep waters;
I am the salmon swimming in the shallow pool;

I am the dewdrop lit by the sun;
I am the fairest of flowers;
I am the crystalline fountain;

I am the hawk shrieking after its prey;
I am the demon ablaze in the campfire ashes; 
I am the battle-waging spearhead;

I am the vale echoing voices;
I am the sea's roar;
I am the rising sea wave;

I am the meaning of poetry;
I am the God who inspires your prayers;
I am the hope of heaven;

Who else knows the ages of the moon?
Who else knows where the sunset settles?
Who else knows the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?