Climate

"The priority for our communities, movements, and decision-makers must now be to end the era of fossil fuels and transform our societies and economies towards sustainable systems designed to address peoples’ needs, safety and wellbeing, not profit and greed."

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween



Grin and bear it, nothing lasts forever!  Pumpkins to eat are tasteless and have too much water in them, whereas politicians are full of air.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Monday 29th October

A video from long ago when the world was a simpler place and you could dance in the kitchen without the interminable news.  There was a childish note to some of the songs, think about Hello lamp post come to watch your flowers growing...

You Can Call me Al..............................................



I suspect some lyrics came from the drugs taken at the time, my daughter brought me up to date about drugs in Hebden Bridge, home to well off hippies.  She is one of the people that thinks drugs should be legalised, but keeps a sharp eye on my grand children, who move around in the party atmosphere of teenage children.
Matilda is the strong one, already made her presence felt for voting, she will be 18 years old on the 10th giving her time to vote for the 12th December should an election be called for. If I was a Tory I would be worried by the young vote and would not let them anywhere near a second referendum, it would be reversed!

Well one road has been opened out of the village, but the pack horse  Newsham bridge is to be closed for a month, meaning driving to Malton and the train station will have to be taken round Pickering.

Newsham Bridge, Amotherby
Such bridges are part of the magic of Yorkshire, but with the larger vehicles that  are now on the road, they strain under the weight.  Luckily we will keep these historic bridges because there is no money to replace them.  I met a  very large cattle truck coming over our bridge yesterday, and behind a large modern tractor, which tear up the tarmac surfaces of the back lanes.  Big is definitely not beautiful in the countryside round here.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sunday and water

Yesterday my daughter and granddaughter came down for the weekend unexpectedly, and as we had two signs up by the bridge, stating road closed both ways, I was not sure how to pick them up from Malton Station.  I devised a way through the village of Salton, through Butterwick to Barton-Le-Street.  Of course the real problem was that it was raining since the night before, so as I set off down narrow lanes full of water with small rivers gushing under bridges, I became slightly worried.  Bedraggled pheasants sat in the rain and there was a couple of large raptors on the hedges.  Light coloured I could not make out what they were but thrilling all the same.  Not one car did I meet on that 10 mile journey, past farms with water gushing down their drives and I was relieved to eventually get onto the main road and leave behind great ponds of water that had accumulated in the small lanes.
Train was late of course, stuck in York, but after some shopping at Asda we returned home via a main road through Pickering and Kirkby Misperton.  As the afternoon went on, so did the rain, a great pool of water collected outside our house stretching past the Sun Inn, and there was great swooshes as people drove through the water.  I checked on the river level, 20 feet from our back garden and it had gone from a gentle meander trickling of about 18 inches, to three metres and was just topping the bank, luckily it went down pretty quickly.  The water runs off Rosedale Moor.



Stand well back, for some cars rushed through


the wake of a car making miniature waves

Lillie excited by flooding
My daughter who lives in the West Yorkshire town of Todmorden, is used to flooding in their basement.  The Caldervale valley she lives in is steep sided, the roads are narrow and water both from the river and canal rush through.  A few years back, the government gave money for pumps to be installed in the houses, some did, others used the money elsewhere.  Karen's pump works well, it is just not wise to keep stuff down there though.

As I have made a note of the villages, it is interesting how each village has acquired its name.  Barton-le-street, also Appleton-le-street are on the old Roman road from Malton, which used to be a garrison Roman town.  Barton refers to barley growing, whereas Appleton is pretty self explanatory.  Note the  Norman le as well.  Was Butterwick the place where butter making took place, low lying pasture land for dairy cows.  Ton and Wic refer to small hamlets.

What came out of yesterday's journey was the need to explore more, before all those rich buggers from up South, buy land for profit and turn England into a vast industrialised farming land.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Samhain



Well it draws near, the festival underlining the seasons of the year and the end of the Celtic Year.  We change clocks in a mechanical manner, not that it disrupts time but to help with visibility in the morning.  If you are superstitious you leave food and drink outside for those who have left for the other world, or lay a place at the table for them. And in my book you do not trivialise the festival with sweeties for children, yes I know that is mean but the stories that fall through the ages are so much more interesting!  The Hounds of Annwn will ride the sky on the night of the 31st October hunting down those they wish to kill.  And if you read the myth, for this is a Welsh Celtic tale, it is not really about killing but about plenty, as this is the time of year when the cattle are brought down from the highland pastures and either wintered or slaughtered, and then a great feast begins.  Christianity took this pagan festival and turned the hunt into the wicked Satan killing folk.  But apparently the myth arose from the sounds of the geese returning at this time of the year, for they sounded like the pack of dogs Annwn took with him on his hunt.

It is wise to remember that pagan Samhain has been altered by the Christian church into All Saints and All Souls, again a feast day.  But from which so many stories have come.  Remember not to open your door on the night though there may be someone knocking who would not be welcome, your visitor could be scary.



So as the harvest comes in and the apples and pumpkins appear on the side of the roads, rejoice that the food is there, thank whatever god is there for you and imbibe.  Our apples on all our village trees have been harvested and turned into apple juice at Kirkbymooride, a large undertaking for there are plenty of apples here.  Many years ago I bought an apple press and pressed the apples in our Bath garden.  The liquid would flow sometimes amber, sometimes gold but sweet and tasty. It is something I miss.
So a Happy Samhain to you all, may the year as it closes in another festival be peaceful for you. 


Friday, October 25, 2019

Thursday 25th October and wedding venues

Yesterday was a true misty Autumn day and I had to find a route through the back lanes to get to Kirkbymoorside as they had closed our road from the village of Marton, today they are closing the opposite direction. 
I drove past Riseborough Hall, with its grand iron gates and high wall and read the history of it from our village historian's website.  It would cost you a pretty penny to buy, over the two million mark to own this bit of history. The fact of the matter is that the word 'rise' describes it accurately, for you go uphill till the house tops the hill.
Last night was the Parish meeting in the church, dear Jo held my hand in case it got difficult without Paul.  The male Joe handled the meeting superlatively, he needed something to get his teeth into after early retirement.
We did the usual round of speeding traffic but no sign of the police stopping people yet.  The footpath which the council won't let us build, you need proper contractors, which shoots the price up to somewhere around £10,000.  Then the defibrillator, nearly every village round here has one but they are not cheap and need volunteers to be on hand.
Then the interesting bit, (40 odd people made it a good turn out) the proposed wedding venue at the farm over the bridge, and also by the way situated on a terrible zig-zag bend.  The farmer and his wife, who did most of the talking had a fairly easy time, though C had come well armed with facts and figures.
The first thing to note is the farmer's 'plight'.  There are poor upland farms raising sheep on scrub land but there are also very rich farmers taking advantage of everything on offer, whether from the EU or government.  These farmers live on land that is exorbitant to buy and do well.  
The farm had been brought by someone who lived down the road at Great Edstone, she had run holiday cottages from the farm there, now with four sons and a daughter, at other farms, they had decided the derelict buildings at this farm should be turned into various things, such as two cottages, bedrooms and the various barns transformed into places for entertainment for weddings.
Well big ideas but will it work, I suspect we are in for a downturn so any speculation needs a brave heart.
C who lives on the other side of the bridge, fears the noise but had reassurances that no fireworks or those dreadful lanterns would be let off.  C did point out something rather important about our village was the silence, except for a few cars and the worry we would all be about drunken revelry at night.  Also the sewerage problem was underlined, what would they do? well apparently tank it and then removed from site.  As anyone knows getting planning to alter housing in this country takes time and patience and I feel the whole plan could get stumped by the farm's awkward access to the road.
Which brings to this thought, capital (as in money) is now seen as being wrapped up in owning a house or two and this will keep you in old age. But what if we experience a  collapse in the economy? On the other side of this farm and river Nelson lives in his caravan with his little tableau of animals, further along there are statics, which are variously inhabited during the year, the two sides of our economy split living side by side.  Millions spent on upgrading farm buildings and yet poorish people cannot afford a roof over their head.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Futility

With the world sinking into its own mire, the saddest things was the 39 victims frozen to death in a truck yesterday.  I have been moved by the sombre and yet humanitarian views expressed by some.  The knowledge that we live amongst peace and plenty, and yet all over the world refugees struggle to survive, should surely bring us a warning that complacency is not to be encouraged.  These people of whatever nationality died because they were escaping war, hunger, economic displacement and cruel governments.  Not a term I use often but may they rest in peace.  Paul always wore this CND peace sign on his coat, he had marched in the demonstrations, and even been put in prison for being part of the march...


Today my email box had news of archaeology, some of which I can't pass on. 

So what was there? firstly the tympana of St.Margaret and St.James in Cumbria.  There be dragons? the story is I believe, that during the Roman invasion their flags had  the griffon displayed, and this got interpreted later as dragons.  The tympanums, for there were two are Saxon....They look very dinosauris! (Thanks to Ironpolis for drawing my attention to them)



The next thing I saw was a new fact about King Arthur's Hall in Cornwall, a fact culled from an old book.  One of the mysteries of KAH is its 'squareness' not fitting anything particularly Bronze Age, but so reminiscence with its large stones of prehistory.  Happy holidays, with Paul's cousin, Sue and Geoff, and Roy our indefatigable guide.


Bodmin Moor with its granite tors is full of mystery.


And lastly, but not least, one of the great finds of the 20th century the Nebra Sky Disc, to be taken to London in 202l.  This prehistoric calendar of the Bronze Age is beautiful and apparently functional as well.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Deceivers




The Amethyst Deceiver such a pretty mushroom, its name implies something different but yes you can eat it.  Fungi is at its best in Autumn, I remember going on a fungi walk with an expert, must admit I have never picked or eaten wild mushrooms.

Susan Harley in Food in England has written this about them...

Common field mushroom (Psalliota campestris) is dainty pick and white when young turning brown, then almost black, as it grows old.. You will find them in pastures, normally where cattle graze. They may be anything from 4 to 24 inches across!

Horse mushroom (Psalliota Arvenis) is a clumsy version of the field mushroom. The top is thicker and the stem lumpy, and the colour of the gills less pink. The smell is that of field mushroom. Note if a horse mushroom stains yellow when cut or bruised(not a faint tinge but a definite bright yellow -as if dabbed with mustard or egg yolk -discard it as it may be be Psalliota xanthoderma which, though not deadly, has been known to cause illness
It is the solitary dead white fungus that should be disregarded with suspicion. It is the death Cap (Amanita phalloides) which is most dangerous.

Fairy Ring (Marasmius oreades), are best for drying, they are not always true to their habit of growing in rings, especially where lea has been broken. But the delicate 'fairy ring mushroom' is unmistakable. They are seldom more than 2 inches across, and carried comparitvely high on slender stems. The gills are deep and very regular, one long one short, like the minute marks around a clock. The top is buff, and the gills are very much paler, the slender stems are stringy and tough so cut them off.

The puff-balls (Lycoperdon); The really giant one (lycoperdon giganteum) can be as big as a football, both large and small puffballs taste exactly the same. Their texture - solid white, like smooth, white cream cheese, and the outer covering is fine as white kid. .....

Cooking; Smallest puff balls, walnut size, are best dipped in batter and fried like rissoles. Drain and serve as a pebble beach around a pool of green spinach. Medium sized, are rolled in flour, pepper and salt, then drop into an earthen ware pan with barely enough milk to cover, and simmer to cook. Thicken sauce after cooking, pour back over the puff-balls and garnish with scarlet barberries and green parsley.
Giant puff-balls are sliced, and dipped in egg and milk and then fine dry breadcrumbs. Fried in hot bacon-fat, drain on kitchen paper, pepper and salt and serve piping hot, sprinkled with cider or vinegar..


And a mushroom drying tree


I watched 'Cranford' yesterday on tv, slightly syrupy comic set around the 1840s, (written by Elizabeth Gaskell) village life in all its glory of females eking out a life in a small village environment.  Somehow drying mushrooms in front of the fire reminded me of Cranford, with the threat of a new railway line coming through, and then of course with all our unpredictable events happening.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sunday thoughts

It is no use lambasting the Remainers last ditch fight, it will precisely do nothing.  We are where we are, Johnson is not dead in the ditch, he has to go on, childishly not signing letters to show his disapproval.  Our country has a rift down its centre, half of us want to remain in the European clique, the other half to leave and go it alone - impasse plain and simple.
It is Sunday, a day of rest but the arguments will go on, where is Solomon when you need him?  My mood vacillates between the two, for I have no inkling what the future might hold, only that I want it to be a sensible answer.
Tom Stephenson has pointed to the 'old white men' that rule, and it brought to mind the photo making the rounds at the moment, Trump and Pelosi, just look at that table of men, luckily our parliament has its fair share of representative women.





It has been a weird weekend so far, having decided that there was no oil in the tank until tomorrow when he comes, I switched the heating off, the house is very cold.  But not to be dismayed by it, decided to have a fire, so went out bought some non-smoking coal and with the rest of the logs in the garage have had a log fire in the sitting room.  My fire skills have been updated and the wood burner behaves nicely.  
Whilst awake in the night I listen to the radio and this time a green programme, and there was this person who had managed to reduce her plastic waste by 99%.  I applaud her determination, and tried to work out how I would do it.  Did she give up on milk, cheese, (I would have to go to Helmsley for unwrapped expensive cheese).  Though I could buy quite a lot of stuff unwrapped in my town in the way of vegetables and fruit, there was still a lot that comes in plastic, my Fair Trade coffee beans for instance. 
There is the bug, if I stopped coffee beans what would those growers do? We are harangued on all sides by green arguments, but each step we take is only part of the problem.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Friday and memories

I am waiting for the 'boiler' man, but have a feeling he is not going to turn up for his annual appointment.  The garden is wet, soaking wet from the drizzle that happens overnight.  Yesterday was sunny and I took Lucy over the fields to see the state of the crab apple tree.  I love the colour of crab apple jelly, a golden brown, clear and translucent.  But they were still green on the tree, and I normally pick them up from the ground when they are yellow, so a few more weeks yet.

Last years.

The heating is turned off, because I think I am running out of oil, ordered it yesterday but it is to come next Monday, although the oil tanker called in whilst I was out, but the tank was locked.
This morning had a lovely email from one of Paul's old friends who lives in Hawaii, he wrote beautifully, but then he is an editor of a magazine for the Hawaii plane magazine, alongside his work of selling Sake wine.  He said that if I had a memorial service sometime next year he would bring over Paul's favourite bottle of Sake 'A Mansion of dreams'.  He talks of memories and how they can be happy after that initial period of absolute grief.

Here are the two posing outside Rievaulx Abbey on a cold day, you can just see Rievaulx Terrace up above the abbey.

Chris and Paul
Last year Paul had gone up to London to see his grandson Leo, and Chris had a Sake tasting at the Barbican Centre, he sells quite a lot of Sake wine in London.
It reminds me of another memory, sharp and distinct in the Chelmsford garden, when Paul would make a ceremony of drinking the warmed wine out in the garden when the Japanese cherry trees came into bloom in spring. Part of the tradition was to fill each other's glass up from the little Japanese jugs into tiny cups.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Autumn Artists - turn of the 20th century

Anne Althea Hills - American artist.

Chosen for those brilliant Autumn leaves, capturing their radiance.

Olgar Wisinger Florian - Austrian painter
Chosen for the feather lightness of goats beard and the browns we see so often in the garden and countryside.  And last but not least, an English female artist...

Catherine M Wood - English artist
These three have captured Autumn, in all its moody soft colours.  Yesterday I battled the great long branches of my cultivated blackberries, hacking away at briared branches that were almost as thick as my wrist. J popped her head over the fence, and said you should have planted one without thorns.  I reminded her that she had already told me that before, but in a gentle manner of course.
We had a small meeting last night about the quiz night and it is already arranged for sometime in November.  Joe said what about a summer trip to York races, not my cup of tea but we will see if it has legs, rather like the horses.  It is good to see Irene and Joe taking over the running of the village, whether or not we will stimulate life into the people who reside here is another matter, but I expect Paul will be pleased wherever he is.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Pomp and Ceremony - did it work?



The Queen;  She is getting old but still holds us together.  I am hardly a royalist but do respect her presence on the British stage.  She reminds me that doing one's duty whatever it may be is the only way forward.  All those years ago she was given a job and she is doing fine. Prince Charles, king in waiting, I also have respect for him, his heart is also in the right place and he writes very well. 

Gossip about the royal family, slinks around in the news like  volcano lava crawling slowly forward - black and evil.

Alright the privilege of being very rich is hardly likely to garner my approval, such things are, but I can do little to change them. 

Some things I did not like at the Queen's Speech was the smirk on Boris's face, though I am ever hopeful he will not be the prime minster for long. The showmanship of this royal function was of course to steer us, the public off track - a cynical manoeuvre, but noted in the political kerfuffle we are living through at the moment.  Always like to be treated as stupid by my superiors - smile.

John Crace of the Guardian of course goes one further - Queen reduced to furious front woman for grubby election stunt.  Which perhaps captures the moment.  Corbyn walking with Johnson, who was trying to make conversation with him, just ignored him, sweet.

Johnson (and Cummings) have probably made one fatal mistake  bringing the Crown into their machinations, they have devalued it in the eyes of many, there is only so many times you can call for a State occasion to drum up your own poor performance.  I am sure the Queen would have been much happier talking to the latest drum horse on her payroll.



So well done Her Majesty, you did not look very happy reading out the political manifesto and for us it was just another batch of words that meant nothing!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday 14th October

Hevrin Khalaf - executed by Turkish backed mercenary factions
You have to agree she has a kind face and is a loss in a political battle that depended on a foolish decision made by an idiot.  She will not be the only one losing her life in the terrible tragedy that is Syria.  These wars are fought for many reasons, many of them unsavoury, we for instance make the weapons used in such wars but then have to bare witness to our politicians mouthing platitudes as to how war is terrible.  
Will Erdogan fulfill his promise of three and a half million refugees let loose on Europe and the damaging consequences that would bring, a game of chess my friends, a game of chess.  The world is in chaos and one wonders what the undermining forces are and where are we heading
Here today the moon sulked behind the mist rather beautifully, more rain this week, though apparently we have had our supposed share of rain for October already.
I am enjoying Yanis Varoufakis's book about the fall of Greece into bankruptcy.  The game of bingo that is played with stocks and shares is enlightening, and I never knew the banks, and that includes world banks, are so corrupt.  He mingles his extraordinary economic  knowledge with stories of myth.  It brings home the truth that politicians, bankers and the rest of the so-called powers hang on with their finger nails to the cliff of self preservation.  A common human foible!
I am sad at the loss of life in these eternal wars, at the loss of country, home, and livelihood for so many people, our problems look so tiny in comparison....

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Sunday cartoon



I occasionally speak to my Google creature in the sitting room, but she is not very bright, and normally ends up playing Classic FM for me.  The above raised a smile on this dark Sunday morning.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Village matters

Took Lucy up the road today to inspect the water burst that had taken place yesterday.  A lot of water had gathered outside our front gate, water bubbling up from the drains.  I think it is mended now there was an enormous hole half filled with water by the notice board.
Yesterday I was out for much of the day, a trip to collect the ashes of Paul, and a tearful drive home but in a way happy that I was bringing him home.  Then in the afternoon a trip to our monthly garden meeting with friends from the village.  The talk was all about the Camassia plant grown by this lady  She had had to grow 2000 plants for Chris Beardshaw's garden at the Chelsea Flower Show and we had a very long tale about the tribulations she went through to get these flowers to break bud after a long and snowy winter.   They come in shades of blue and there is also a creamy-white plant as well, early summer and probably more suited for the wildflower garden.


I also fed the little white feral cat yesterday, and talking to J who has the cat's four kittens in her barn we discussed how to go about doing something about them.  The mother cat needs spaying, and so will the four little ones.  Apparently we have a Cats Protection League thingy in Amotherby, but of course you have to catch the creatures first and then pay for them to be scuppered.  C said how about the money we collect from the village events, not sure that will go down very well.  
We are already beginning to discuss the quiz night, it went well last year with 35 people attending, so perhaps it should happen again. There is also a parish meeting in the church at the end of the month, but it will be freezing cold this time of the year!
Another thing under discussion, apart from the defibrillator, is the fact that the big old farmhouse with lots of broken down buildings, but rather attractive if you like that sort of thing, is turning itself into a wedding venue place, and has put out planning permission details with the council.  I can't see any problem, but it seems a large amount of money is being spent on a rather precarious affair.  Also the farm sits on a completely zig-zag bend part of the road around the river, cars coming in and out will have problems.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Like him or loathe him?

Taking on the news. Someone on one of the blogs said, now that I am old I shall wear dresses and hats and not give a damn.  Well a well expressed sentiment, we should reveal how we feel. Jonathon Pie is foul mouthed, does he believe in what he says in his 'fake news' videos.  This I know, he gets to the truth in a way I find difficult.  But he shakes the core of that old term 'class' and in a funny, amusing way expresses a truth.
Do I follow his reasoning, now that is a difficult question, should we be guilty? Well as a convent taught Catholic, guilt has followed me through life, should I be guilty for the chaos I see around?  The answer must be no, we have arrived at an unfortunate time in history, our human destructive actions are where we are at now, we have to redress the balance for future generations.
So when some foul-mouthed comedian comes along and upsets my sensibilities, I take note that the younger more vibrant people around maybe thinking the same as he is expressing.

And of course you don't have to watch the video at all - big smile there!





Eight Fellows of the British Academy Respond to Climate activism tactics

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Tuesday 8th October

Life is sitting with the mobile phone for hours discussing facts, reeling out numbers.  Is technology so good, when it removes us from actual people on the other end of the phone and has us typing in numbers ad-infinitum.  News on this morning stated that Macmillian in the 1960s had his driver carry four pennies to be able for him to react to any threat of a Nuclear attack from Russia  to use in the nearest phonebox!  Also the AA radio system was upgraded as a warning system.


Those of a certain age will remember the Automobile Association, still going strong today,  how they swept past in their motorbikes saluting drivers if they wore an AA badge on their front bumper, we as children always saluted back. 

But to a photo that came from someone the other day, it shows the family at Paper Mill Lock. We were all younger and happier. this popular part of the Chelmsford river had a tea place to which people flocked.  But if you were to walk a couple of miles along the river bank, you soon lost the crowds and the Essex countryside opened out in all its beauty.






Sunday, October 6, 2019

Brilliant



It is doing the rounds, Richard Suart has caught the tone perfectly.

Sunday - 6th October




There is something satisfying the way one season blends into the next, as if nature refuses to listen to the ridiculous twitterings of the human race and that which is alive in nature says to itself in my rational logical world, I shall continue my perambulations round the sun.  Sunrises and sunsets shall be ravishing in their beauty, catching the breath  And, as today, people on the radio  talking about the humble ladybird that lives in Britain, 47 species I think, nature does not give a s--- about how many creatures live or die, but goes on designing the flora and fauna with artistic flair.
We are surrounded by different shapes and forms, yesterday walking  Lucy I looked up at the ash trees and noted that they are free of the disease that is sweeping the country - Ash die-back, and I was happy remembering the tale of Odin as he hung from the ash, the great Yggdrasil tree, that stories are one of the legacies of the human race.
We have written our stories on rocks, wood, hides, culminating in paper and now I write on a computer that requires no trees to be cut down for my vague thoughts.
So I shall copy onto my computer somewhere an article I found in one of Paul's file, it was in praise of his work, and though Paul said he would write his memoirs, he never did.  It was written by someone called Geoffrey Murray, a journalist who lived and worked in Asia. Though the tears are never very far away, I take comfort in Paul's presence around this house.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Welcome Home

The holly tree has plenty of ripening berries lets hope the birds leave enough for the church decorations


Who do I talk of? Well I was never quite sure where the robins, blackbirds and thrushes went to but apparently they have been in Scandinavia.  They now fly over our East coast in droves making it back to our winter harvest of wild and cultivated berries.  Of course that will include  the thrushes - song, mistle, redwings and fieldfares.
All this I read courtesy of our local booklet in a little article by Jonathan Pomroy, a local artist who lives at Ampleforth.  He  is to have a showing at the Saltbox Gallery in Helmsley.  It is always pleasing to be introduced to something new and I am glad these birds are making an appearance when another 'State of Nature Report in 2019 written by the National Trust reports on the significant loss of flora and fauna.  I know in this area many, many hedgehogs have been saved by a group of volunteers, who nurse and return these little hoglets back to their gardens and fields.

I am reading Yanis Varoufakis - Talking to my daughter about the Economy - A brief History of Capitalism.  It unfolds simply in its narrative of how the market forces we see today moved through history, all I need it to tell me now is why there are so many greedy people around at the moment.  I shall then move onto his book for adults - Adults in the Room - My Battle with Europe's deep Establishment.

Why am I reading these books, could it be that we shall go the same way as Greece?  There was a funny old BFI film this morning about the Scottish Isles.  It started with the reporter in a telephone box querying the price of gold and platinum.  He then is seen in an old croft with two ladies knitting those fine shawls that you can pass through a wedding ring when finished.  These shawls he pointed out were more expensive than either gold or platinum ounce for ounce.  It made me laugh rather hollowly as we now print money willy-nilly, it is so easy;)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Thursday and Awbury

Avebury cottage

Part of The stone  circle of Avebury


 The following blog written in 2008 is about Avebury in England and Awbury in America, where the family of Oliver Cope set sail probably in 1682 for the new lands, they  might have been on the boat with William Penn of  Quaker fame.  There was quite a lot of dissent in England against the prevailing Protestant faith, and so many people emigrated, see Dissenters.  The blog came to mind because our American friends had also brought over someone's ashes to bury beneath the foot of one of the old stones at Avebury.  And I remember doing this piece of research for some sort of Avebury booklet and the fact that Julian Cope also lived nearby and had written 'The Modern Antiquarian'.  A book which has enlivened the lives of many a megalithic stone fan.



The Copes and their families became rich in America through subsequent generations, but the slightly saccharine poem of Mary Cope's does not seem to me to capture the true picture of Avebury at the time but then rose-coloured glasses might be the answer. 
 True it has not much changed over the centuries, the village within a stone circle.  Now a tourist centre of course but still you only need to pay for the car park.  Stonehenge dominates the stone circles of Britain but Avebury is much larger within its deep ditch.

From western lands beyond the foam,
We sought our English fathers' home
By few or known or sung.
Which 'neath the quiet English skies,
far from all busy haunts it lies
The wide chalk downs among.
Huge druid stones surround the spot,
Which else had almost been forgot
By the great world without.
The mystic ring now scarcely traced
Is by a grassy dike embraced,
Circling the whole about.
Deep hangs the thatch on cottage eaves,
And buried deep in ivy leaves
The cottage window gleam.
There little birds fly to and fro,
And happy children come and go
With rosy cheek and rustic walk,
They curtsy for the gentle folk,
As they the strangers deem.
With pinks and stocks the beds are gay
,And box and yew their shapes display
Fantastically trimmed.
And each small garden overflows
With scent of woodbine and of rose
Above the borders trim.
The ancient little Norman church,
With quaintly medieval porch,
Stands 'neath the elm tree tall
Sunk in the graveyard plot around,
The moss-grown headstones scarce are found
Few stoop the lettering to trace
Which time's rude hand will soon efface.
Some there may be of highborn race,
But none the names recall.
The many gabled manor house,
With winking casement sheen,
Seem in the summer light to drowse
And dream of what has been
And we may dream of earlier days
,When the old convent marked the place,
When nuns in gown and coif complete,
Paced the green paths with quiet feet,
And gather herbs and simples small
Beneath the high brick garden wall,
Finding a safe retreat.
Like some small nest securely placed,
With ferns and grass interlaced,
But open to the light,
The hamlets seem to lie at rest
Upon the common's ample breast,
Secure in loneliness of space
From aught that could the charm efface
Of innocence and old-world grace
Worn by ancestral right.
Home of sweet days and thankful nights,
Fair fall on thee the morning light,
Soft fall the evening dews.
Wild winds perchance may sweep the wold
But age, untouched by storm or cold,
In memory's sight thou standest there,
Encircled by serenest air,
In changeless summer hue.
Mary S Cope. 1886



This poem written so long ago in America by Mary Cope is written in tribute to Avebury. At first I was wary of its 19th century romanticism, but reading it again and again made me realise that it had a very special charm in its description of Avebury. After all it was an outside eye that was looking back at the stones and the village, and its neat little manor house serene in its garden. Though I think she got it somewhat wrong as to nuns being at the Priory when monks are mentioned in the history.

so what inspired such eloquence? Our ancestry haunts us all, and Mary Cope came from a strong Quaker family whose forebearers had travelled to America in the 17th Century.
Henry (1793-1865) had established a family 'enclave' at Germanstown and called it Awbury, their house and grounds now are part of the Awbury Arboretum and the following quote explains the reason as to why we find Mary S. Cope writing a poem about Avebury.
"The house he built on that land was named "Awbury" after the family ancestral home in the village of Avebury in Wiltshire, England; as the nineteenth century progressed, the name came to indicate the entire enclave and not just Cope's dwelling. John Haines's and Henry Cope's tracts were augmented with purchases made by Henry's son Francis on the southwest and south later in the nineteenth century. The family enclave was expanded in 1885 with a purchase of land
made by Clementine Cope, Henry's niece, in 1885."

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But lets go back to the original Oliver Cope - a tailor who lived in Avebury and took that momentous step to emigrate to America. Gilbert Cope in his genealogy of the Cope family (186l) seems to think that Oliver was not a Quaker when he left England with his wife Rebecca, they seemed to have had three children at Avebury - William, Ruth, and John, Elizabeth being born in America, Oliver must have left England in about 1682, and could have travelled on the same boat as William Penn who also made a voyage in that year. In a Deed of Land he seems to have bought 250 acres from William Penn in the province of Pennsylvania, this he must have done in England as the Deed is dated 1681.


"This indenture made the 5th day of September in the year of our Lord 1681, and in the thirty-third year of the reign of King Charles the second over England, between William Penn of Worminghurst in the County of Sussex and Oliver Cope of Awbury, in the County of Wiltshire, tailor, on the other part witnesseth that the said William Penn, for and in the consideration of the sum of five shillings of lawful money of England to him in hand paid by the said Oliver Cope, the receipt whereof he doeth hereby acknowledge, have bargained and sold, and by these presents doth bargain and sell into the said Oliver Cope, the full and just proportion and quantity of 250 acres within the province of Pennsylvannia"

There is a lovely note by Gilbert Cope at the end of the page in which he states "Abury (sometimes spelt Awbury, Aveburg or Auburn) is an unimportant village in Wiltshire,
about 8l miles west of London. There are none of the Cope name living in or near it at present, neither does the name appear on the family register"


Oliver's arrival in America has a somewhat mixed account in Gilbert Cope's book, Mary is given at one stage as his wife that accompanied him on the voyage and that he came on the boat with William Penn (on his second voyage) in 1701.* This account can probably be considered a bit whimsical, though it does say that they landed at Nameen's Creek (the place where Oliver died) as Oliver's will definitely states Rebecca as his wife.

There is also a note that in May 1682 William Penn sent to Thomas Holme - Surveyor General - a list of the people who had purchased land and Oliver Cope is listed as having five hundred acres. So it would seem that Oliver bought this land whilst he was  in England, probably making two purchases of 250 acres at separate times, the dream of an American future winning over a drab existence in a small Wiltshire village.
John Cope one of Oliver's children is seen as the founding member of the Cope dynasty in America and a prominent Quaker member.


Genealogy notes; The original Oliver Cope was born at Avebury in approximately 1647 he died in April in 1697 at Naaman's Creek DE..
Mary Stokes Cope; Her mother was Elizabeth Waln Stokes (1823-1902) and her father Thomas P. Cope (1823-1900). They had 9 children, including Mary Stokes Cope.