Saturday, August 31, 2019

Saturday 31st August - Almost September

So yesterday passed well in the things I had to do.  The desk was collected and mother and son were well pleased with it.  It had scratch marks on the inside of it from Lucy, when, having shut herself in this room had gone mad in destructive mode on two plants and the room in general. 
I had the bright idea of looking for advice in the village on a handyman.  So I pulled up Paul's internet site for anyone to have their say on 'Village Matters', and put the fact I wanted a bed put together with financial remuneration.  It worked, all of a sudden there was a flurry of emails, and now Graham, who looks after the church got in touch and offered to do it for free this morning.  Jill offered David her husband as well.  So I shall give Graham money to take his partner out next door in the pub for dinner.
One of the problems with village life is that there isn't a 'gossip corner' no shops and yet it is important for all of us to keep an eye out for each other, and this was the point of Paul's website, so I am very glad that it has turned up to help him.
In the garden, a stray couple of seeds have produced sunflowers, and their perfect form brings to mind the fact that we live on a small planet whizzing round and round in space.  And even this flower came from star dust, it stars in the 'Fibonaccio sequence' proving that maths and nature are linked together in a wonderful spiral.  So whenever you feed the birds sunflower seeds remember the intimacy of our world with science.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Dogs and Handyman

Someone said your life is like a roller coaster at the moment and that is the truth of it. Optimism and pessimism flow past.  There are jobs to be done, firstly getting someone to make up the bed that arrived a couple of days ago, I need a handyman but where do you find them? ;).

The dose of pneumonia that was so serious for Paul, disappeared after a 24 hour treatment and he is back talking to me hesitantly.  Yesterday the physiotherapist helped him walk to the window in the ward, and inwardly I remember the birth of my two children, one with a fortnight stay in hospital, the other with a day  in the ward and wonder at how life has changed.  We discussed care at home, I told her of my plans, she pointed out things I need to do.

Paul, my fastidious love asked for nail clippers, his will to succeed is so strong it leaves me slightly worried but his brother said that his family were fairly unbeatable and I have to believe in that.

I notice on other blogs that people are having trouble with rescue dogs.  I giggled slightly, my rescue dog Lucy at 12 years old can still lead me a merry dance.  Pretty as she is I look into her unfathomable eyes (mostly when she is begging for food) and realise I can never work out how she thinks.  As she has been with us for three years insecurity issues are not part of the problem, or the fact that previous owners locked her in a shed at 6 in the evening.  She stays in the home happy when I go away, my friend will pop in to see how she is now and then.

Her mad walking to and fro, knocking things over deliberately to provoke attention will drive you mad after a couple of hours, but I think I have found a solution and it isn't the Seren-um pills; I just bodily pick her up in a fury and put her in her chair, and she goes off to sleep without a murmur - firm handling?

Weather is windy, the world stage a disaster, as for the latest British kerfuffle, lots of hot air everywhere, historical precedence called for and I still ask, are we actually making something in this country?

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Narrating Tuesday

So what happens today?  Just been to the small Co-Op at 8.30 and the shelves are bare, will it be like this after Brexit?  Actually when they come to fill the shelves it is chaos as one has to move great trolleys to get at what you want.

Brexit sits like a malevolent bird on our shoulder, my daughter phones to tell me of her weekend in Bath.  She has stayed with her friend who is an estate agent and who says Bath house prices are off the scale, and so are the tourists. The  17 year old daughter of the friend is type 1 diabetic, just like my son Mark. He is trying to get enough insulin to see him over this period.  The worry of no medicines to be had is frightening for many people, one is not quite sure if there is scaremongering all that we should be genuinely concerned of the talk of interrupted supplies of medicine, food etc, or even petrol for our cars. Johnson ponces around in Paris with his best mate Trump and our hearts groan inwardly.

My daughter is on HT, but apparently her chemist has given her almost a year's supply, so different happenings in different parts of the country. She has 'checked' on Mark to give me a reassuring update on how he is coping, but apparently doing well.  Cooking from scratch, walking a couple of miles to work and he has even got a 'patch' on his arm, which he only has to wave his phone over and it gives his glucose levels.

At lunch time I will drive to the hospital, it is still hot, and the tractors, cycles and motorbikes are very much in evidence.  Not that I have much quarrel with farming processes, no it is the cyclists wandering from left to right on the road as they drink from their flasks or even talk on their phones.  These people are seriously vulnerable, their confidence leaves me reeling!  And then there are the posses of motorbikes, often older men who stream by.  Why have they taken up this hobby at this age, then the answer comes in open top sports cars, men of 60 plus living their 'lost' years?

Is this fun?? Can't see many smiles

There are definitely too many people on this planet, and all the green warnings to no avail.  Siberia, Alaska and the Amazon may blaze, but who cares?

No more doom and gloom, there are blackberries to be picked, a large settee to be moved and a bed to make up tomorrow arriving from Argos, Ikea days are here again ;)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Narrating the day

In the spirit of trying to write something daily, I take some photos and write about them.
The first is Lucy playing her favourite game which is to place her feet on the skirting board and roll from one side to the other.  She does this most evenings. She had one of her 'hysterical' days before this so it was a relief to see her return to normal.

The second is the decision to get rid of the Georgian dolls house and downsize some of my stuff.  I think I will give it to the teacher who took the unmade one.

not for sale!

At the moment I am faced with moving furniture out of the downstair's room which we call a library, this to make into a bedroom for Paul, it will become dangerous for him to walk up and down the stairs.  His illness is permanent and there will be a lot of changes in our lives but he was cheerful at the hospital yesterday.
I find the 'marketplace' on Facebook very good for getting rid of stuff, the desk will go on Friday to someone who lives in Saltburn, price it right (eg hardly any money) and the goods fly off the shelf!

The families on both sides have pulled round, on Paul's side they hardly communicated but now keep in touch by email.  On my side, well my two, are there for me always for which I am permanently grateful.

So as a last photo I shall show four donkeys in Cornwall in a rather muddy cold field but obviously ready for a carrot or two.  And the sad tale of the little sparrow who hurt his wing but managed to fly up to the bird feeder, where he would sit for several minutes meditating on life.  Foolish creature has now disappeared and the moral of the story is meditating can be dangerous when you are a sparrow.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

You may disagree

I am returning to politics, so you can look away for the moment.  It was this Chris Patton article that triggered the thought ..... Is Britain Becoming a Failed State, well the old guard are definitely stepping up to the mark and starting to defend our country from the idiots who run it. Sadly it will not be enough.
Last night I watched back to back episodes of the BBC programme 'Broke'.  It outlined the calamitous lives of people who live on the edge of their money and have no fall back.

There was the sad case of a father and son, who lived for a time in tents on the beach, until the winter gales forced them to move.  Surprisingly cheerful to the camera, what hurt  the father was going to a food bank and not being able to buy his own food for both of them, the son was 22 years old, and in a job that only offered temporary hours during the week.

Another case, a business man driving his Mercedes round London for Uber.  Now it seems to me that Uber is a parasite who lives on the backs of people taxi-ing people in their own car, taking a quarter of what they earn. This man rented with his partner in London, no money to buy a house, no pension to talk off, and at 60 years old starting to suffer from medical conditions.

There was the incredible sight of the Ferrari (cheap at £300,000) garage employing cleaners and f******  (there is no other word) arguing about the paltry sum they paid their cleaners, luckily demonstrations outside the showrooms changed the minds of their employer.

All this happens over every part of the country, the middle classes sitting sleekly in their expensive housing snug as a bug but many of the fellow countrymen (and immigrants) falter on the outside.  Was it ever thus? Housing is desperately needed, strict renting laws to protect the vulnerable, and such statements from Rees-Mogg on food banks, need to be understood that Victorian values do not run this country..

“And to have charitable support given by people voluntarily to support their fellow citizens, I think is rather uplifting and shows what a good, compassionate country we are.”

I do not see poverty in the towns round here but I have hardly looked, and in many ways poverty exists in the large towns, which draw people to them for employment.  The problem is of course that the price of everything is high, no more is it a right to have a home over your head, you have to pay the price landlords want with a flimsy contract that could see you out on the streets in a month.

I cannot see an answer, hardly have faith in the Labour Party, so socialism seems to have failed, yet the heart weeps for all those people who have not made the grade, in a country where social justice has been left to voluntary services.  As Patton says we have failed,   the Conservatives have done a bad job.

Friday, August 16, 2019


Courtesy of 'Evening Press'

Well when you watch 'Countryfile at Castle Howard' on Sunday, remember amongst all the smiles and false bonhomie of the presenters, that is was hell for the people to get there and hell to get out of the car park! I have been warned by several people don't go anywhere near to Castle Howard this weekend, or York, do not travel on the A64.  I actually don't like Countryfile, it has a fairy tale image of the countryside that is not true.  Though I expect the programme is in the corner for the farmers, who are now beginning to wake up to the fact that 'No deal' B........ is not in their best interest.  As someone said, the farmers should not have been so ready to plaster their fields with signs for 'leave'.  A simplistic idea (with no forethought) or information that now ploughs steadily on.
Well enough of that.  Yesterday I got rid of my unfinished kit dolls house to a teacher, who arrived in her people's carrier which had 3 of her 4 children.  She is going to make the dolls house up for a Xmas pressie for her mum, gosh it must be wonderful being young and able to do so much
Why italicised people carrier, they drive me nuts in car parks, always taller that my Picanto Kio, you edge carefully out because they are so tall and long, and immediately have to stop because someone else is coming.  Since taking up driving my ability to put my car straight in car parks always seem to leave the car on the slant.  Our small Co-op has a small difficult car park, and people often get cross in it as they get stuck, occasionally driving into each other bumpers or one of the corners of buildings that it is blessed with.  York Hospital car pack with which I have a close relationship with of late, has what I call the 'round and round' entrance, meaning when I come back to the car I can never find it, and trudge piteously around the levels marking out all the red cars - and there is plenty  of them!  In the naming of cars, mine is called Ogy, which is rather clumsy.
A pretty little white kitten with black markings has appeared in the garden, my first thoughts were that it is feral.  Jo brought the sheep's fleece round yesterday afternoon, and she says the mother with four young had been in her barn as well and definitely feral.  She says we should feed them and then catch them!! Apparently there are feral centres which neutralise their fecundity;) ie. castrate and then you can release them as feral, and feed if you want.  Jennie of Codlins and Cream is probably the expert on that....

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bollocks, can't keep up with the news

My mind goes scudding back to education and wishing this morning that I had taken the O level in Constitutional Law as I listen once more to the debate as to whether they are able to defeat a 'no deal' B*****.   I make no apology for returning to this subject, it plagues us every single minute of news.  There is an American on the radio this morning, saying that all the high hopes Johnson has with making a deal with America, it is unimportant to the American government as a whole, and we are just pissing in the wind.
Further Education; remembered days of going out in the dark and cold to the college at Chippenham.  I did archaeology, sociology and English Lit. at A level, shows how many years ago that was. Passed all three with good grades, even went on to do a teacher training course in Bath, but from which I pulled out as I was expecting Mark.  All education has done for me is widen the world into a rather depressing place.* The ability to read, and understand?  But I must admit along the way that I have enjoyed studying.
Archaeology took me along an interesting path of exploration, from that first moment as a widow looking for somewhere to live, I spied Silbury Hill and then Avebury and so decided at the throw of a coin to settle in Calne, 6 miles from Chippenham.
*That of course is complete nonsense, I have enjoyed the opening of knowledge along the way!

This blueness is not deliberate  just won't change to normal colour!

Catching up with this blog a few days later, life is not particularly easy at the moment, and now I see that America is promising all the trade that they have to offer?  That poor  teenager girl lost on holiday has been found dead, and there is trouble in Kashmir.  Always 'down' news.  But Rod and his wife cut the lawn yesterday leaving it neat and tidy and my border of white flowers are set off beautifully.

Golden fields everywhere with great bales of straw, cows out with their young, soon to be taken from them, and the weather 'settled' to one day sunny the next rain.  The refuse dustbin sits on the front for emptying today, and Rod pulled the garden refuse bin out for me as well as it is rather heavy with the wet grass, though it won't be picked up to the following week.

Strange how Autumn has appeared over the horizon, I expect it is to do with the Climate Emergency, that is what the Guardian calls it and it reminds me that I have Monbiot latest missive to read.  Funnily enough I thought I heard him on the radio yesterday, but it was Jack Straw called back from the dead to vent his opinion on the latest news.  Funny isn't it how the old guard are being called on to get us out of this mess, they seem so harmless compared to the new boys on the block.  That Dominic Cummings looks evil (I know he can't help it ;) must read up about him..... and reading in the News Statesman, Stephen Bush who sends daily breakdowns of what is happening to my email box - What Dominic Cummings gets wrong about history.... outlining the fact that the course of history is taken by our emotional response to it.  Whatever variables you lay on the table another set of variables will upset the arrived answer to the future...

It would be perfectly cogent bollocks, is all. There may well be a universe in which a proton breaks down into a positron rather than a neutron: but in both universes, the 311 Conservative MPs would always opt to choose “Boris the winner” over “Johnson the discredited Foreign Secretary” because as with Comey and Osborne, that decision was intimately linked with who they were, their motives, and their desires.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Friday 9th August

Well not much to write about.  It is raining, I should think solidly today.  Drove to Pickering to the organic shop for my wholemeal flour and various nuts, seeds and dried fruit.  Buying organic is expensive but I like the Yorkshire bread flour.  Then on to Lidl, hardly bought anything there except smoked cheese and grapes for Paul.
When I drove down the back lane to Pickering there were great puddles or flooding on the road.  A great farm machine sat forlornly like a beached whale in the field, a round bale of straw, half eaten, still to be regurgitated.  The rest of the bales scattered around the field.  This farmer has been late, our farms have baled their straw and bringing out newfangled machinery onto the fields.  Tractors you can probably walk under if you are like me small.
Yesterday I caught up with Jo over the church wall.  Haven't spoken to her for ages.  She has promised me a fleece from her one remaining blind sheep.  Apparently the farmer who cuts the fleeces of her now long lost sheep, turned up, and now I will have another job to do!
We discussed the weather for tomorrow's barbecue, not looking good, if it had been my choice I would have cancelled.  Another house in the village is going on the market, it will probably be nudging a million, large type manor house with fields for the horses.
The cottage next door to Jo, after being fairly empty for 19 years, has at last acquired a new owner.  Setting up their garden with fancy gates, and lots of workmen to do jobs like a new kitchen.  Think it has been a shock for Jo and her husband, they share a driveway but I am sure all will settle down.
It is surprising how much property has been sold in the village, everyone cashing in on property prices.  Now not being negative, but isn't Britain just running on selling houses, doing them up and antique shows? is anyone making anything in this country of ours?
Another Beatrix Potter painting, you can almost feel her sense of fun.  Big brown slugs are the only creatures I see in the garden.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Monday 5th August

 Reeth, North Yorkshire - Aug 4th 2019 - Volunteer's from local Young Farmers Clubs in North Yorkshire descended on Reeth to restore some of the iconic drystone walls destroyed by flash floods last Tuesday. 

Something to be glad about, young farmers and others be they young or old rebuilding the old stone walls that were hit by the flash floods in the Yorkshire Dales over the weekend.  What do you gather from the photo?  Listen to the news on BBC finding the more terrible aspects of the dam above Whaley Bridge and then look at the practical side as people come out to rebuild the walls. There are also sad photos of a farmer moving his remaining sheep out of the water drenched field and leaving behind the dead drowned sheep.

Beatrix Potter (British author & illustrator) 1866 - 1943
Mouse with Spinning Wheel, 1890
ink and watercolour drawing, mounted on card
12.0 x 7.6 cm. (4.72 x 2.99 in.)

What else caught my eye, well it was this dear little mouse that Beatrix Potter painted spinning away at some flax.. It reminds me that I have not spun for a long time,  recently I have been caught up with my small loom, weaving cotton tea cloths and my knitting of a jumper in Shetland wool.
Yesterday I watched a video of Kaffe Fassett, his colours always seem too bright but as he sat amongst the materials of his craft, he was happy and fulfilled.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sunday 4th August

I have trouble naming butterflies, but red admirals, tortoiseshells, peacocks, whites and even a little blue ivy butterfly were dancing merrily away in the garden, around the large buddleia.

Creating a garden is the first step in understanding how this old Earth works.  The complexity of chains of relationships binding insects to flowers and bacterias to the soil creating webs of alliance in the dark substrata.  We have upset the balance, by introducing herbicides and pesticides in our gardens and farms and  we now bemoan the shrinking of the insect life, that feeds on and pollinates our food.  Our scientists try to keep ahead of bacterias that change as soon as we produce another so called revolutionary cure for whatever.  We see this in antibiotics as they become useless as our bodies build up a resistance against them.  All I can say is that we learn slowly how to put things back to right.

So a garden is a living being able to respond to the light, air, rain and the mulch of dead matter that covers it in winter.  This Earth has created a myriad creatures, I don't believe in the Gaian theory but I do understand the interrelationship of everything.  We are slowly watching our large mammals disappear, elephants due to poaching, rhinos as well. Also the giraffe is on the danger list, the list goes on.

But on this sunny morning as we wait for the rain and storms to come, and the weatherman colours our area of Yorkshire and Derbyshire with yellow, and the people wait at Whalley Bridge to see if the dam will break, a warning that all is not well with the weather system in this world.

So a few garden photos will have to do, for I cannot create in the written word what is happening so different has it become through the decades I have lived.

Two bantams patrolling the lawn.  They beat up a sparrow that could not fly yesterday - brutes.

Shasta daisies and cosmos. The reason my subconscious mind planted white flower has to do with the white flowered buddleia planted in the middle of this bed.  Weird how ones mind works...

There was even a moth, not sure if it wasn't the hummingbird hawkmoth. But the speed of its wings said yes

Painted lady...

It is like eating little sweets

The last two photos grew quite unexpectedly in empty pots the above looks like some sort of squash, the other two plants look like sunflowers.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Friday 2nd August

Can it get more depressing?  Well my heart goes out to the people of Whaley Bridge as the dam threatens their small town.  The infrastructure of the dam is 19th century, so perhaps was not unexpected given that nature has become more fierce.  As the Yorkshire Dales will no doubt recover, perhaps Yorkshire Day was an unfortunate time to be held.  But no troubles, the tourists are flocking to Britain, Chinese especially, and Japanese, though getting no further than the city of York.  There is a new word 'staycation' which means people who stay in their own country for holidays.  A friend came the other day who is doing three home holidays this year, she takes the train to Glasgow today, then up to Oban to catch the boat that will travel round the Scottish Islands.

Well less depressing, the conservatives have only one majority in government, 'luckily' they are all going off on holiday for I believe 6 weeks, so will not have to worry.  Oops perhaps they should we leave Europe on October 31st!  Especially as there has also been a Liberal win in Wales....

Well the garden bed of roses has gone white, snapdragons, cosmos and the shasta daisies give that effect, but I have no planting for autumn, which must be addressed.  Next year it will be a wild display of dahlias, perhaps the cactus type.  

Butterflies of the coloured types have decorated the buddleia shrubs, a frog sitting quietly under the milk basket on the front doorstep and a little mouse in the recycling box.  Also last night the sound of an owl, and I hoped that my mouse was not its dinner.  Insects galore in the garden, the hover wasp is grateful for the two plantings of fennel.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Yorkshire Day

Rather late in the day but to celebrate Yorkshire Day on August 1st, this arrived in my inbox from Historic England.

There are a few castles around here, Helmsley immediately comes to mind and of course Pickering.
  By MortimerCat - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Pickering Castle
                                                  Barkmatter - Own work  -  Helmsley Castle