Friday, July 26, 2019

Things Happen

Things Happen: A favourite saying of mine as the news pours through in a torrent of uselessness and we are unable to  make the world behave as we would see fit.  But not writing has more to do with the fact that Paul is back in hospital after a relapse.

We talk on the phone several times a day, I go to visit, they are 'feeding him up', which means a nutritional tube down his throat, though he can also eat proper food as well.  This illness hangs like a curtain, twitching to be put aside, and the doctors are all optimistic of course, as is Paul - but it drags down your soul with the worry and the wait.

At home, Lucy went into a three day panic mode, exhausting creature that she is but I have pottered in this hot weather, picking loads of beans, tiny sweet tomatoes, handfuls of sweet peas and not so good potatoes.
Paul has been so sweet, knowing how I also go into panic and worrying mode, the bond is strong, he may come home after the weekend, maybe even the weekend.

He recounted an incident in his ward yesterday, and this will give you some idea of what occasionally can happen in hospitals.  A man was brought in with a wheelchair, he also had three burly security men with him.  He lashed around, foul mouthed and then tried to throw his wheelchair out of the three storey window, luckily they took him away, do they have padded rooms in hospital?

But dwelling too much on ourselves is not good, 'Crossing Continents' yesterday featured a young man from Ghana, Azeteg, he went on a long journey across the Sahara as a migrant with just a hidden camera in his special glasses.  He documented the absolute hell and nightmare of these poor people trying to escape poverty.  It was a harrowing story

Not all doom and gloom I hope,  typically Paul wants the family to arrange the transfer of some of his stuff (see YP shaking his head over that word) so, his valuable papers, silks, books and trays of insect/precious stones handed over to the British Museum.  I had been nagging him to do it for months but still.....

Thursday, July 25, 2019

On a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam

I really don't have much to say this week, so on this hottest day I will just put Carl Sagan up for a quiet thought on our planet, he has quite a way with words.  The heatwave according to a BBC weather man is that the Jet stream has moved blocking in hot air over Europe,  Climate change is probably there as well as Alaska burns.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

 Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Edges and territories - the village

Paul asked if I ever get bored during the day and I answered no, because my mind is always bubbling away with some nonsense.  Yesterday I started the long job of cutting back the virginia creepers down the passageway.  This passageway between us and the pub belongs to us it delineates our space, though to be honest we would be happy if the pub owned it.  Actually it was much darker when I first went in, but I have cut myself a window of sunshine.....

Opening the gate, I was greeted by a long black tunnel, the creeper had bent the farm wire netting over and latched itself onto the roof of the pub. Winter time and the whole fence is empty of leaf except for the ivys which are staying.
As I chopped I looked into Harriet's and Lucy's kitchen, and thought what a spick and span place it was with all the white crockery. It is not the cooking kitchen which produces great plates of food, something both Paul and I can't get through but it does it job of feeding the rather large appetites of the people round here.  The girls run it efficiently, and it wise to remember that next door a small inner 'village' lives. 
Sun Inn 1927

The pub is owned by two older people who live in a small modern house attached to the pub, the land backs onto the river and along their small portion hidden out of sight is about four statics, holiday homes mostly. Their territory has  Nelson on one side with his ragbag of birds, sheep and a couple of goats and who lives in a caravan.  The other side is J and R's land, J is very territorial. 
The owners of the pub keep themselves to their own matters, and yet they are part of the community of course.
The death of their grandson meant that he was laid to rest in the graveyard, very near the side window of our house.  There is something beautiful about how the family and friends look after the grave.  Practically every other day people will come and bring flowers, arrange what is there and sit quietly with him.  We have a blind on that window which is pulled down, though Lucy will spy shadows on the blind and bark furiously.
Talking of Lucy, we have just returned from our walk down to the green.  It is 8 o-clock and the Gospel children are off to catch their bus, Geoff and his wife  live in the chapel, he is taking his grandson off to college as well and we wave.  Geoff mows the green and the footpath to the pub.
Joe is trying to get money so that we can grid the surface of the pathway with a rubber membrane.  He is tackling the local council but things move slowly, as always.  Village life is more disconnected than it was a century ago, us 'suburbians' have appeared  as has new housing, there is no village hall and the church has all but closed down.  But people settle into place, social changes go on around us, this is history walking slowly forward.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Tuesday 16th July

The new header is Solva in Wales, a place I visited each year and spent many a happy hour wandering about.  Still miss it, but my wandering days are probably over.  So photos will have to take the place of being there.
So what do I take forward from the last days.

Well there was a large bag of gooseberries kindly given by R when she came to see Paul, also a stack of magazines on 'How things Work', not that Paul does much reading nowadays. So the first photo is a gooseberry crumble, though my favourite is gooseberry fool.  Always forget how SOUR gooseberries are. The next photo are the late variety of strawberries from Pearson in Sinnington, sweet and ripe and very strawberryish.  I heard a man on the farming programme this morning, change the nature of words to describe herbicides and pesticides, we are now to call them plant protection, well we know in whose pocket he is in!

Books;   I am not reading any books, something that nags, so I went to my bookcase and selected three books to read, you will see it is an eclectic choice. There was the 'Secret lives of Cows' or 'Meadowlands' on offer and Mcfarlane has brought out a new book called 'Underland' I think.  But decided on Adam Nicolson though he has not written another book of interest for me,  his book on Sissinghurst might be worthwhile investigating.

I loved 'Sea Room' for its description of the Scottish Isles, their bleakness, the cow that shat on the fisherman as they lifted it off the island on to the boat, and then the rats that occupied the small house that Nicolson would holiday there, often by himself.  
What else, something that makes England come alive, this book takes me round the country I love, the original W.H.Hoskins words are interpreted/clarified by a logical archaeological landscape man, Christopher Taylor.  Also reminds me of another book that will take me round the buildings of England, no, not Pevsener but Alex-Clifton Taylor ' The Pattern of English Building'.
Surprising perhaps but Scotland and Wales do not feature, though they also have indigenous buildings from the materials around.

And then the last book, 'The One Straw Revolution' by Masanobu Fukuoka.  A strange book and man, who found that just actually allowing things to grow without ploughing or killing weeds, that what grew was about the same amount as all the effort we put into industrial farming.  The book was printed in India, therefore has thick creamy pages and is bound by thin twine.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Friday and the day has hardly begun

Some photos today.... the first hour of the morning, from 6 to 7.  I get up early, a clean fresh morning with the sun coming through the copse at the back.  A mug of tea, a slice of toast, a breakfast probably eaten all over our country.  Then the letting out of bantams, feeding of the birds in the garden accompanied by Lucy.  We wander down the rose bed, the doves will follow me down, the roses are past their best, and the insects are still not up.  The oil man arrives at 7 am, we are first on his beat.  Sets me thinking, listening to the news and the fracas that is going on in the Gulf, the man on the news says that the stopping of oil tankers by the Iranians is not unusual, that this latest event is in response to us stopping an Iranian tanker taking oil to Syria.  War games are all about economics.  Further thoughts flit through my mind, are we responding to the fear of no oil? We discuss this over morning tea, how will this country change all our oil/gas boilers, how will we heat our homes?  Actually there are some green answers but they seem clumsy compared to what we have got and inherited.  There again coal fires were replaced by central heating, the human race is ingenious when it comes to solving problems but do we have time ;)

see the pollen beetles

green beans starting

first call of the morning, see the 'orange snake' that sends Lucy scurrying to the safety of a chair

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Tuesday 10th July

The verges are so pretty down the country lanes, the creamy colour of meadow sweet, like old lace runs down the hedges.  Occasionally interspersed with the pale blue of the wild cranes bill and then the yellow of ladies bed straw, how sometimes I wish I could stop and photo this summer's crop.  But not many butterflies, I have seen them in singular fashion go through their appointed time of the year but now as the buddleias start to flower hope for more.
The roses tumble to the ground, over-exuberant they flower with no shame. Shasta daisies are beginning to appear, taking over from the wild ox daisy, as are the white snapdragons.  Plenty of insects in the garden, little black beetles hide in the pollen, gangster wasps terrorise the greenfly, bumble bees and honey bees feast.  There are moths to be found in the watering can and the birds have quietened down after the rush of feeding their young.  
Efficient farmers rush by with great loads of grass for silage, and if you are out on the road, you will always be caught behind a tractor at some stage, but there again it is the farmer's land.
Yesterday we called into our local fruit place, here they grow soft fruits, sweet strawberries - delicious.  There are homemade jams, fluffy meringues and light scones to be bought as well. Plants that have seen better days loll around outside, I have given up buying the beds are full and we need rain.
The long fencing down the driveway, between 50-80 feet, is covered with ivy and Virginia creeper, it creeps over the bed in front and reaches out to cover the old roof of the pub next door.  Drastic action is called for, and rather than trim I have suggested a couple of the wisterias must be culled. Two minds over this of course this is where the majority of the nests are to be found.
But the garden has been a triumph this summer, fulfilling what I wanted, which was to encourage insects and birds. Very untidy at some stages, and in desperate need of weeding at the moment but still.....

I forgot ;) we are now living through the fairytale of the boy who said 'the emperor has no clothes'.  A simple truth echoed by Sir Kim over Trump, that also is delicious!

p.s. Eating my scone this morning and P said it looks like, well we had a bit of a struggle to find the word but eventually arrived at the word 'stottie', something you can buy in Whitby as an enormous round roll, but its history is interesting.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A short note - so be happy

Things that happen, not exactly a crisis but the crisis of illness.  I will set it out not just for those that read my blog (thank you) but for my own peace of mind.  Paul has been ill for a couple of months, but yesterday we saw the doctor at the hospital who calmly told us that he was on the mend.  Tests were good, recuperation would take months but from that moment of relapse two sundays ago, when I had to call for an ambulance at midnight things have begun to look up.
As I drove back from the hospital the tension slowly started to unwind so that when we arrived home, tiredness struck like a great veil.  We are both happy for this good news, and Irene, who has looked after my small family of animals also turned up, and she sat there with tears in her eyes, what it is to have good friends.
She told me funny tales of Lucy and the bantams playing up, of how Lucy barked at the people in the churchyard attending a grave.  Lucy believes that the graveyard is part of her domain, and will often bark at it when sitting in her armchair.
Paul my love has always been positive through the many uncomfortable things he has had to endure, his lovely smile giving me courage, and my idiotic banter holding the bond between us.
So although he will never be able to raise a glass of beer to the future, we will raise a 'fortisip' protein drink to the future and whatever it may hold. 

And also grateful thanks to those skilled in their jobs at York Hospital, I have learnt much from the nurses in their response to their patients and their unflinching patience in response to difficult patients.  Somehow sitting in the main reception hall with people passing by I have seen my fellow humans in a better light.  That might sound odd, but if you don't come out of hospital in a more philosophical mood than where else? William in Ward 33, drew for Paul his embossed name and I shall always keep it it as a memoir, not of dark days but of kindness.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Saturday 6th July

Life has been long daily visits to York hospital to be with Paul as he undergoes tests.  Now he is at home, happy to be there, though there is another visit to the hospital on Monday.  That has been the sum of my life this week.  Arranging for Lucy and the bantams to be looked after by my two friends here in the village.
Dear C has been going round in a flustered manner worrying about the upcoming barbeque, that Paul pulled out of some months ago. It is to be held in the pub car park, and Lyn from the other end of the village will arrange the buying of the meat, which she does every year and selling tickets at the 'upper' end of the village. I have a feeling that the two ladies will not coordinate, I have only ever sat in on meetings and handled the monies coming in.  The barbecue is the most friendly get together of the year, last year it was up in the big barn of the Bells.
Things happen in the village, a new face Joe, has taken over the parish council affairs, his two main objections are the speeding through the village and our stance against fracking.  Irene has taken on the role of secretary and when given the book of parish happenings, found that the problem of speeding traffic had been going on since 1950.  This was due to the coaches coming through from the local Flamingo Land up the road.  Never been but was pleased to see that they were sending a black rhino, bred here, back to Africa.
As for fracking, it is a bit like sitting on a bomb waiting for it to go off.  Kirkby Misperton about 4 miles down the road was the site of a fracking drill.  Run by Third Energy, a company that had little money and when Barclays refused to bankroll them, they were sold off to a holding company in Britain - in America.  The whole caboodle of equipment was pulled from the site and residents rejoiced, now they worry once more.
Funnily enough I was going to write about Utamaro, a Japanese artist but I will do that later.  Paul always reads my blog, so my recording of our daily life is important to him!
Cannot praise York Hospital enough, we must never let the NHS disappear under privatisation, it is the one true diamond amongst a sea of empty politicians bickering for prominence and power.  Is anyone governing the country by any chance? 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Tuesday 2nd July

Taking a break from blogging for a bit.