Thursday, December 31, 2020

Thursday 31st December

 Tackling another year. Or not - as Murr says here.  For we can start anywhere really on tackling life anew, it is just needing the courage to do so.  Making plans that never come to fruition is what we are good at and then the promised land never quite looks as we had imagined it.  We should live in the moment taking pleasure when that shaft of joy strikes the soul.  Count them during the day, for me early evening yesterday.  The full moon spied through the black branches of a tree.  I know exactly where to find it and it gives me reassurance.  Looking down on a small scatter of wet leaves in the garden and then seeing the sycamore seeds shooting up, and the chuckle that is always inside me, grinning at the thought of a 100 years hence and should these tiny seedlings make it to maturity, that there would be a fully fledged  wood growing through this carpet of pebbles and what would have happened to the cottage I wonder?

We are blown by the winds of misfortune, or fortune don't forget, optimism is not a bad feeling to carry round.  We are in the midst of this latest drama, but it will pass and then something else will come along to fill the space left empty.  

Nature is a wonderful companion in all this, one might call her contrary in her whims.  We can beat ourselves for the fact that humankind created the latest tragedy but at least we take notice of our foolishness and try to make amends.  It is whether the forces of good overcome the bad, and whether there is really a paradise to reach?

Lucy is sleeping soundly, I think she is fading away gently, wobbly on her feet, determined to refuse any proper dog food, the latest craze for her is porridge, and then there is of course pancakes which she always loved.

So to a Different New Year and may we all find the things we seek in the months to come.  Peace and contentment to you all. xxx

And a poem echoing down through time, because where would we be without words!

"Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace."
―Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

We have a deal! Recording a day

Removal of the Union Jack taken down at Brussels yesterday

As a Remainer I have held my peace over the last year, understanding of course that once set on the course of Brexit there was not much choice.  Well a deal has been brokered, and the only thing I can say is life is forward moving not backward looking and I have no other option but be a part of it. This article covers the sense of anger that myself and many people feel when we were waltzed into the backwaters of isolation and leave the larger shores of Europe for some sort of nationalistic hoo-ha.  Just ask yourself did anyone lose their sense of being British, French, German or Spanish?  I blame it on immigrants, of course I don't but that was part of the story told, yet now we are yelling out for all those good 'foreign' people to run our hospitals, pick our fruit and vegetables and maybe, just maybe work out vaccines for us.  

The human race is a family, consisting of many colours, languages and beliefs.  And I would rather listen to a woman with the standing of Ursula Von der Leyen then the likes of Johnson and Gove.  Politics aside, rant over ;)

“This whole debate has always been about sovereignty,” The European Commission president noted. “But we should cut through the soundbites and ask ourselves what sovereignty actually means in the 21st century. For me, it’s about being able seamlessly to work, travel, study and do business in 27 countries. It’s about pooling our strength and speaking together in a world full of great powers. And in a time of crisis it’s about pulling each other up instead of trying to get back to your feet alone. The EU shows how this works in practice, and no deal in the world can change reality or gravity. "....

Tweet of the day; The Great Northern Diver by Jane Smith.  Margaret Atwood as guest editor today. Where would we be without the  BBC?  Well less political news for a start!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

flooding and knitting

As storm Bella beat at the window last night, when I woke up this morning I checked our river levels.  Our small river Seven potters along at something like 0.33 most of the time.  But when the rain pours and the waters run off the moors it swoops up, for instance today it is about three metres high at the measuring station.  The fields behind are swamped in water but the river is banked most of its way, so we are still safe.  Flooding often comes  in front on the road as the drains breach their capacity and the cap closes to the river escape.

But I was going to record some knitting contacts.  I have been watching a series of knitting pods on Youtube.  They are made by a couple of Australians who live in Germany.  They visit wool festivals and also take footage of the areas in which they visit.  Also talks and knitting techniques are given by experts.  It is called 'Fruity Knitting', sadly the husband has just been diagnosed with a brain tumour but they are being very brave about it.  They have made this hobby into a full time career and you can subscribe by Patreon.  This is the new way of funding oneself, I already belong to 'The Prehistory Guys' and the fees are very modest.

What I have seen shows the upmarket side of the knitting business.  But by the same rule of measure, what comes out, though very expensive, is the creative act of design and creating new wools.  For instance at the moment I am working with a beautiful soft wool called 'Airs'.  Mine is brought from the Drops wool, which are a good bit cheaper than say Rowan wools.  But I have some reservations as to the washing and how it will react.  Knitted woollens are best hand washed, the washing machine should play no part..

A visit by video to the Fano Wool Festival in Denmark, which was cancelled due to you know what was very interesting, the organiser - Christel Seyfarth though her prices shoot through the roof as far as her knitted ware is concerned followed through with the historical making of garments of these small islands.

Watched a video this morning, her website is Coco Knitting, using different knitting techniques, and even designing some of the tools she needed. We also of course have our own knitting traditions. From the Fair Isle patterning of the Faroe Islands, to the Shetland traditions, revived, very strongly of course.  And then the fabulous woven tweeds and tartans, which occasionally become fashion icons.

Knitting is a craft, with a top end fashion design and then there is all the people in between who knit for the love of it.  It is a peaceful and destressing hobby and should calm the nerves, as an email from a friend has just come in the village next to us has had a 'red alert' for flooding, but I think the banks will hold up to 15 feet!

Just treated myself to an early birthday present a book from Kim Hargreaves


Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Day

Christmas and radio 2 jingling out.  Fondue eaten, the small saucepan perched perilously on a rather small raclette ring.  Family phoned.  All managed to make it back to Todmorden.  The two girls were already there, Tom catching the almost last train from Manchester.  Whilst Ben clutching his letter that officially let him leave London as a student on the 24th, his Covid test was also clear, managed to get to Leeds and the last train back.  Flooding made the trains late. Presents open, lovely hat and gloves from the two Londoners and chocolates and various potions to decorate the bathroom.  Usual long phone call, ending in the normal quarrel between the two girls, as who was going to clear the vomit up after the dog. But my daughter was clearly happy to have her flock around her.

Blue skies but cold, my friend came yesterday with a present, she worries about me, but as we chatted I told her I talked quite happily not only to Lucy but to Paul as well through the day. In fact in summer you will hear me talking to the bees and butterflies as well ;)  Thank god we don't have lunatic asylums to put us in! 

My son was off for a walk round Victoria Park in Bath. Moss my old dog's ashes are scattered in the park.  I remember the time Ephraim took my son one night to teach him to drive in the park and then later the doorbell rang with a policeman and the two of them standing there being told off for what I am not quite sure.  Perhaps Ephraim had not got a licence.

Christmas day has passed, and sadly if you only have a fondue for a meal, there are no turkey/stuffing leftovers for next day meals, but wine of course............ 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

24th December 2020

 I am waiting for my fingers to tap out thoughts.  What news this morning, a deal on the table, we will wait and see.  Long lines of lorries sit stationary in Kent their poor drivers starved of food and loos.  We have just found out that the little bit of sea that isolates us from Europe, can also isolate our food supplies.  All those exotics, such as peppers, aubergines and courgettes will not be in the shops in the near future, and what about tomatoes.  I contemplated the small bowlful of Piccolo tomatoes this morning and wondered about cut and freezing them.  Then watched a podcast of an Israeli cook chopping with a certain lavish air two Romaine lettuces for a salad she was making and remembering I still had a little 'Gem' lettuce in the fridge.

Then the thought flowed, well we do live in the Northern half of the world and it is winter.  There are sweet parsnips to mash and roast, swede of course, leeks and onions to reduce to a sweet mush.  Red cabbage to simmer gently in the oven with apples.  Green kale and spinach to chop and add to those stir fries and then mushrooms.  

I noted that the Sikh organisation, Khalsa Aid are cooking meals for the lorry drivers stuck in Kent, and I remember when the Calder Valley was flooded in 2016 when the self same organisation fed the people in the towns there.  Community and compassion go together and that is what we have had happening all through the last year.

And then there is Lucy, my plump dowager cocker spaniel, who sadly has had I think a couple of minor strokes.  She finds eating  rather difficult, so I feed her with a spoon and throw her biscuits for her to catch, she enjoys this game.  She won't eat dog food anymore, but fancies what I eat.  I find at the moment rice and a boiled egg fills in those days when she cannot eat my food.  She is in fact trying to take over the house I think, our one to one relationship pleases her little heart and for the moment I am being ruled by her.  Why? well I suspect these are her last few months on earth and she should dine as she sees fit ;)

Peace to everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Glad Tidings ?


Leo's Xmas tree

It's nearly here, what is your favourite carol?  All those years of listening to carol singing, I bring my choice, just for the exhilarating thump of the rhythm and the travelling back to medieval times and feasting- The Boar's Head Carol sung by Steely Span.  How many of us will be listening to the 3.0.clock carols from King's College this holiday?  My other choices are 'Silent Night' and 'The Holly and Ivy', simple and childish.  Both bring to me the natural world, the silence at night as we look up at the stars and moon and then the dark green of winter, splashed with the red of the berries and robin redbreast.  Caught in every Christmas in the cards we send each other.

The Artist hanging his work with uncle who is also an artist.

This from my family.  To all the cats I have tried to neuter in the last three weeks, two to be precise, and for the one that got away - I'll get you next time!

Monday, December 21, 2020

Remember to feed the birds and animals

 Merry Christmas to everyone.  The photo may be twee but at the moment we need it!  And a better New Year of course.

Love Thelma    xxx

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday 20th December.

 It is Sunday, still dark, the little cat sits on the steps outside, never coming in but needing our companionship. Yesterday was slightly fraught but good things happening as well.  A batch of Xmas cards, one from my daughter with a grumpy cat face, my duties as to catching and neutering cats round here I have given up.

There was another funny little card with a Xmas tree from Paul's sons, the card featured a very modernistic Xmas tree, on turning it over it was a card printed by a London nursery school of Leo's painting, Paul's grandson.  So a third boy in the family given an Anglo/Saxon name - Leofric / dear, beloved.

Also a parcel arrived, well several.  But the first had several wrapped parcels from the family.  The other two large ones, the delivery driver left before I could send them back,  I am not sure if they are not part of the scam of last week but I refuse to worry.

I have been using my new tablet early morning when it is too cold to get out of bed.  I travel to far away places such as the Shetland isles also the Faroe Islands and watch the seas crash against the steep cliffs.  These islands lashed by all weathers, are exceptional, they are the 'new in' place to go to.  But I expect their pull will be short-lived for many.  If you read Adam Nicholson's book of 'Sea Room'.  The one house on these Shiant Isles, has a plague of rats which run over your face at night.  Though I am not saying all the other inhabited islands have such problems, but when the sea gets rough then supplies are unable to get in.  I notice the 'incomers' build houses with windows for the views, and on the Orkney Isles, the great liners full of tourists pull in dwarfing the tiny harbour and they look ridiculous. 

I must admit this one looks like an enormous rabbit hutch, how do they stay upright on an angry sea I wonder.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Saturday 19th December

Kitsugi or repairing with gold

 An  object is broken, but rather than throw it away we mend it with love and gold, but why? There is of course an underlying philosophy......

Not only is there no attempt to hide the damage, but the repair is literally illuminated... a kind of physical expression of the spirit of mushin....Mushin is often literally translated as "no mind," but carries connotations of fully existing within the moment, of non-attachment, of equanimity amid changing conditions. ...The vicissitudes of existence over time, to which all humans are susceptible, could not be clearer than in the breaks, the knocks, and the shattering to which ceramic ware too is subject. This poignancy or aesthetic of existence has been known in Japan as mono no aware, a compassionate sensitivity, or perhaps identification with, [things] outside oneself.

— Christy Bartlett, Flickwerk: The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics

A bit like wabi-sabi, a deeper spiritual meaning, we take pleasure in simplicity, when we hold the repaired bowl we hold its history as one, the breakage, the whole form and also the moment in time when we are there.  Now contrast our Western attitude, beautifully acted out in the Repair Shop, when people bring treasures to be repaired and mended, and only, very occasionally, is the damage allowed to exist.  The repairers strive for perfection to take it back to its original form.

It is a metaphor for our society at the moment, we are broken by an event, the event will pass eventually but we must take steps to mend our society.  Mark Carney in the Reith lectures called it a 'social reset'. How do we do it?  It is already starting to happen as we turn away from our governance and listen to people like Carney, to the mayors and elders of our cities who directly experience the traumas that are happening. And of course to the public who question the actions of what is happening around us.  We question why there are homeless on the streets, why do food banks exist.  Surely simplicity itself says that everyone should be housed, warm and fed but it is not so.  We live in a very unequal society and it has to be adjusted.  I would argue not through the mechanism of our present government, whose leaders seem to fall on either side of a class system which is way out of date.  But I suspect when old economic truths begin to look like lies we will adjust and that caring feeling so often expressed individually and together will slowly make the change.  We will end up like the cracked bowl but stronger.

nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect

Here is the purple of the heather on the North Yorkshire moors, but  also it can get very windy  and of course impassable in winter when it snows.  But a most delicate flower can be found on these high grounds, the pale blue of the harebell in summer, its bells shaking furiously in the wind but undaunted.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Friday 18th December

Today is Paul's birthday.  I am not being sad only remembering our time together and giving thanks for meeting such a marvellous man.  So I shall pull together a few of my blogs as to his life.

He started life  in the town, or at least in a village near Swindon, and he went on to Swindon art college. But then his life took an unusual twist and he departed in 1966 to Japan, a journey of adventure, so many people were going elsewhere in the world to find spiritual content in that decade.  He first became a monk under the guidance of Ruth Fuller  but this life was soon given up and he studied at the Kyoto School of Art.  For the next three years he worked there till he decided to go into conservation and eventually worked for a Japanese conservator Naoyuki Usami whose studio work for the Kyoto National Museum.  A ten year apprenticeship.  I have told the story of the making of Aged Paste here,  simply put it took 10 years to make, stirred once each year and then covered once more with water, at the end you became a conservator!  Though I have never said that once looking into the pot he had a vision!

When Paul and I met he was retiring from  his work,  though still kept up an interest.  On coming back to Britain with his family, he  worked for the British Museum, having set up the Japanese studio for scrolls there and then 10 years later he became independent.  Here he is working on a scroll at the studio in Chelmsford.

Today as I sit in the cottage I am surrounded by many Japanese things, bookshelves of  art from all periods of Japan, it is a virtual temple to the country.  We never got to go together to visit, though he always promised in November for a visit but he was always worried by my fear of too many people around me, I tend to go to pieces.

So to a very happy and perfect period of my life, I will toast to him at some stage today a glass of sherry. 

Things that are lost, I can only think that these dyes and minerals must be stacked high in the garage on the rafters. 

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Missing the Nativity?

 It will bring tears, how many times have you watched a nativity and a little one has somehow lost the plot.  17 minutes long, a graceful lovely little film that is original, watch the credits at the end.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Almost there

Focussing on words below, in this dark period before the light slowly starts to return.   Amongst the mutterings of our Western world, give a thought to all those people in other countries, who could well  be just as much afflicted by the pandemic as we are ourselves but do not have the resources to fight it.  So be happy that we are fighting to get it under control, quietly take the vaccine and for the time being - don't mix. So these random words picked this morning offers a future, even if it is only vacuuming/cutting the lawn.


  • The sun will continue to shine and the planet will continue to orbit, creating seasons.
  • Plants will continue to grow to provide all of life with food.
  • Animals will continue to follow their seasonal cycles.
  • Humans will continue to be very clever at understanding the universe and everything in it.
  • Humans will continue to be very dumb by focusing on the short-term.
  • In the first week of April I will start mowing my lawn.”
  • - Tim Everitt, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

And some early summer photos with my favourite wild plant, sweet smelling cow parsley. The river is the Chelmer in Essex which goes for 65 kilometres through the county.

There are two things that cloak Britain's lanes early summer, one is the mass of white blossom on the hawthorn, the other is cow parsley.

The Junes were full and free, driving through tiny Roads, 

the mudguards brushing the cow parsley.

 Outside as it gets light, the winds are lightly roaring,  trees bleak black against the sky but the seasons will revolve as always.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

How things work

Edward William Cooke (British painter) 1811 - 1880
The Upper Floor of Rembrandt's Father's Mill, Koukerk, 1838
oil on canvas

 Rather ramshackle isn't it? But glowing with life and a feeling that it will all collapse soon.  The view out of the window is the only bit that colours and tells us the sun is shining outside.  Collecting paintings is one of the things you can do on the internet without having to buy them and hang on the wall.  It caught my eye and my heart on Facebook, where Christa Zaat catalogues paintings.
Here is another painting, on wood this time. Cooke was a maritime artist as well and a gardener. 

Wier's Paper Mill near Oxford

I am fascinated by working mills, though the above must have tumbled into the waters along time ago.  If I chose again what to do with my life, I think I would have been an engineer like my grandfather.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Summing up

 Cat theory;    A Deng Xianping mantra .........."It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it  catches mice"

You can see I am reading the NewsStateman again but pleasingly in a positive mood, on how this year has gone. Yes we know it has been terrible but there are positive things to gather from people's behaviour or in other words from the social interaction that has taken place.  It is easy enough to fall either on one side or other of good or bad. I mean the 'leavers' have not had much hassle from the 'remainers', as we now go into a new adventure of containers stuck at ports, vaccine transport or Xmas locked in.  I believe 'the City' is now fleeing for Europe's capitals sure they will all come back though when we have righted the boat, those fishing ones I mean.


Going through photos this morning when I should be writing cards, I need some sun in my life.  The village is getting Christmassy.  David and Jo have put their Santa pulled by reindeer lights out as usual, and there is the Union Jack flying from the barn roof.  Our  vicar has got muddled with the Crib/Christingle services leaflet he sent out.  So we have all been emailed from an old email of Paul's, a sharp sweet reminder for me.  The Rotary Club's Santa has already called in at the pub, only one child visited Santa sadly, but we made a brave show of support.

And the photos being kept, old tractors, Kirkbymoorside band, roses of course as always.  Yorkshire in heather blossom.

Days gone by

Recording the happenings of the day:

Catherine Bennett on the Patriarch Paradox  I haven't followed links on this one. But just liked the title of Bennett's Observer article questioning why we accept that our country should be run by the 'Eton Oafs'.   Will Knowland who expounds his misogynist idiocy in the Youtube clip, I have still to listen to.

Then there is of course Michael Heseltine - 

Brexit is the worst decision of modern times. Why are its critics in cabinet so silent?

Perhaps I should read a different paper.

Saturday, December 12, 2020


 Tears streaming from my eyes, yes onions doing their worst.  Red cabbage, do you call it a casserole I wonder?  Chopping the dark red bullet like cabbage, Lucy crunching on her share.  Then onions, and then the apples from Christine's garden, they go into that sweet/sour combination of sugar/salt/vinegar and stew gently in the oven till they produce what I always feel is the real christmassy taste at this time of the year.

I have been preparing a lot of the food I eat, soups, there is leek/potato soup on the hob at the moment.  Bread baking tomorrow, teabread and cheese biscuits yesterday.  Cooking calms the mind.

Growing salads on the sill.  I have always grown mung beans for a topping in sandwiches, a packet goes on for ages, but sent off for a box of seeds to sow with accompanying soil.  Have tried the sunflower seeds  and there is Alfalfa on the windowsill, remember the days of growing cress on the sill?

Nigella is cooking colcannon on tv at the moment, a good accompaniment to red cabbage casserole but what of the last third on the plate I wonder.

Clearing out photos in my folders, a sleepy one of Lucy and the little cat ever hungry at the door....  We are progressing, she allows me a quick stroke but at the moment is sitting in the rain by her friends, the bantams.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Friday 12th December

Jane Tomlinson painted this this week, she is always colourful but as you can see, drink the tea and ride the storm is her message.  Yes we have to ride storms, and Keep Calm is a bit old hat now.  And yes I can display it for she was quite happy to make it public.  A few years hence and all the troubles we are experiencing now will be gone.  Good things, bad things we can make no difference!

But the tidbits of news still filter through like this mosaic from Chedworth Villa in Gloucestershire.  Note it is a mosaic after the Romans left Britain in 410 AD, and Britain succumbed to the Dark Ages.  When Roman villas fell into disrepair and history seems to have plummeted down a dark deep hole.  Actually I think someone just fell in love with the words 'Dark Ages' and we have used ever since without exploring the actuality of the time.  

There is an Anglo-Saxon poem called 'The Ruin' thought to refer to Aqua Sulis - Roman Bath, because of the mention of the 'hot steam'.  You can still see parts of the medieval walls that once surrounded the centre of Bath. Wander round the museum and see the fallen Roman gods and the head of Minerva, struck from her body.

The Dark Ages were indeed a turbulent time as people fought, different foreigners came in and colonised.  Almost like  a metaphor for what we are going through at the moment! 

The Ruin

These wall-stones are wondrous —
calamities crumpled them, these city-sites crashed, the work of giants
corrupted. The roofs have rushed to earth, towers in ruins.
Ice at the joints has unroofed the barred-gates, sheared
the scarred storm-walls have disappeared—
the years have gnawed them from beneath. A grave-grip holds
the master-crafters, decrepit and departed, in the ground’s harsh
grasp, until one hundred generations of human-nations have
trod past. Subsequently this wall, lichen-grey and rust-stained,
often experiencing one kingdom after another,
standing still under storms, high and wide—
it failed—

Thursday, December 10, 2020


 Yesterday was three days wrapped in one.  I could kick myself several times, yes I fell for a scam and spent several hours on the phone.  One of which I had to borrow from a neighbour we have lousy reception here in the countryside.  So this is a warning.  A DPD email, saying they failed to deliver a parcel, and could I pay for redelivery.  So I fell down this rabbit hole like the idiot I am, because several parcels were coming.  I paid by credit card, which I think has saved me.  Luckily I picked it up early, as I became suspicious as my parcels arrived by the Post office at lunch time yesterday.  All I can say is fraud is rife this Xmas according to my kind fraud man, and this is a popular scam.

Well one of my parcels was a tablet, small, square and shiny, at first I had difficulty setting it up, could not get away from all the foreign languages saying hi.  But then with my son on the phone beside me, I lost my panicking feeling and slowly I got it right, except for sound, but I am sure I will find the right tab to tap.  The one thing that got me really puzzled was the 'continental' plug, how could I use it? Of course the third steel thingyme jig could be moved changing it to British standard.  Life is too clever sometimes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Touching base

Sutton Hoo Boat Burial


                                                               The greatest of death-fires

wound to the clouds,
roared before the mound;
heads melted away
wound-gates burst open,
the body's loathly cuts,
as blood sprang forth
flame, hungriest of spirits
Swallowed all those whom
battle took....
Cremation from Beowulf

"A visit to Sutton Hoo; One of the greatest Anglo Saxon treasures of this country, an exotic collection of finely wrought gold, great wealth and also a touch of homeliness in the gaming board in the covered boat burial. Elegantly long this boat, translating into the tangible excitement of Beowulf's poetry, a great epic drama of killing a terrible beast - Grendel and its loathsome mother both are locked into the storytelling of this boat. Saxon poetry which I love so much, grinding out its gloom and despair at the folly of man; magnificent thundering words accompanying beautifully made artefacts and fragments of all this are captured in the museum.
What of the site itself, great barrows ride gently on the waves of the land, the excavated barrow that revealed these treasures, has a steep sidedness that stands out. You walk round on a curving path, the day we went the rain came down gently, puddles of water to find a way around., a grey mistiness to the land and the trees that surround the site, appropriately fitting for a time lived years ago."    Taken from old 2008 blog.

Not much to say this morning, sad news about the death of Winnie but dogs are happily unaware of their end.  I shall soon have to make a decision about Lucy, still her old playful self, but with a tendency for her legs to give way as she dances around and I have to feed her with spoon.  I think small strokes are undermining her, but she still continues to run along like a rocking horse as she bounces away.  A good companion this last year.  We are the ones left with the grief.

So Sutton Hoo, the great Saxon boat burial, Paul and I visited several times, the first time we played the music 'Stones in the Road' by Mary Chapin Carpenter      as we travelled along. The weather always seemed bleak and grey when we went, I notice there is a new film about its discovery called 'The Dig', a trailer here, though a far more romantic looking house has been chosen rather than the actual one.  It begs the thought, and thinking of Netflix's drama of 'The Crown', how many truthful points in history are obscured by the film makers in their  dramatic interpretations?

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


Well this will be about parcels.  When I went out yesterday and queued for stamps outside the post office (I am so stupid not to have got stamps earlier).  A parcel carrier had supposedly called and gone off and not delivering the parcel, DPD apparently.  I could collect in London - O joy, but paid a couple of pounds for redelivery.  What is it??? could be my growing sprouting seeds box.
Afternoon, a thump on the front door and the postman had managed to put through a large cardboard Amazon envelope.  As I peered down into its depth, there skulking in the corner was one of those unidentifiable computer wotsits, they don't even have proper names nowadays.
Strange, suspicious maybe, but a couple of hours later my son phoned.  Mum you will be getting a couple of parcels over the next few days, a tablet and a monitor.  Bless him.  Xmas present.
We had been talking about audio books something he listens to instead of television, and I said I would not mind doing that.  I can pick up books through his account, though will probably start my own account, that is once I have mastered my new toy.....
Yesterday I watched the three episodes about Harold Shipman, the serial killer and drug taker of pethidine.  He, through his respected career as a doctor had managed to kill near on 250 people without anyone confronting him through the 30 years he had been practising.  The programme was interesting because it questioned the assumption that the death of old people was something that had been accepted by society.  Old people were a drag on society.  Big thoughts there.  And before that troll moves in saying that we would all be better dead - sod off, I own the delete button....
Shipman was thoroughly pleasant to his patients, at the time he was restrained by the police many people came forward to support him, but slowly the evidence revealed itself, the fact that many died after he had visited them, and the truth began to strike home.  He worked in the small town of Hyde near Manchester, but, and that is why I watched the programme, he had  also worked at Todmorden, where I shall be living sometime in the future.  
What came out of the report to me was that all this form filling that doctors and hospitals have to do are of little relevance until someone checks their facts and finds the linking threads.  In this case a doctor went through his time with excess inexplicable deaths and no one bothered to pick this up.

So to some childish cartoons, that sparked a smile when I saw them......


Monday, December 7, 2020

Monday and old blogs.

I am listening to a CD of Kate Rusby, there is a rather quiet song below.  Her Yorkshire accent is captured in all her songs.  But it reminds me of my youngest grandchild, Lillie and her accent.  As a small girl she would, along with Matilda scold me for my Southern accent.  I just loved the way they spoke, the letter b, are we going on the bus granny? Would have me giggling.  I could never get my tongue round Bothams (bakers) and Boyes (you can buy anything at Boyes!) traditional Yorkshire shops.
But what did I do yesterday.  Well Tasker set me off on a task, the very first blog.  Well that has a tale for I deleted my blogs before 2006, for a personal reason and then of course regretted it so I took up writing again immediately. So the first blog recalls this, but how to find those older blogs.  Luckily there is a gadget to display them at the side of the blog.  So I spent an hour reading the 'waffle' I wrote, the books I read.  Richard Jeffries and his lyrical writing,  Jacquetta Hawkes, a woman archaeologist in the early days .  Phenomenology, my trying to get round the significance of Silbury Hill and its relationship  to the landscape.  I never got there but enjoyed the ride!
Outside a fog obscures the land, and I have to go out for stamps and vegetables later on, perhaps it will clear.  Last night as I closed the coop in the dark, something white moved in the little doorway, it was the cat, her friendship with my bantams is beginning to be worrying.  I enjoy going out in the dark, but the house has lights on all four sides, and one of those powerful trip lights over the garage, so I have to wait for darkness to descend and this light go off before I can contemplate the darkness of trees and sky.

An indulgence of grandchildren ;) allowed at Christmas

 Falling - Kate Rush

Saturday, December 5, 2020


The news is a series of ups and downs, yes we have the vaccine - good news, but we still need to wait for at least another few months for the effect to be felt - bad news.  Well Yorkshire Pudding made me pick up the phone and make an appointment for an ordinary annual flu vaccination,  I had put it off in my isolated loneliness! 

This weather is miserable, cold and wet, with darkness and greyness to shut the heart out.  Golden leaves still hang onto the trees in the church yard though, the outside world is still at play, the crows set up a noisy chatter in the copse, the little wren hops around the garden furniture looking for a bit to eat.  The robin bullies the blue tits at the feeder, and the cat welcomes the bantams out of their coop with purrs - what a strange friendship.

Paul would have hated this weather, a fair weather person, he refused to go out if it was raining, it will be his birthday on the 18th, several years ago we went to the opening of the new Stonehenge visitor centre on his birthday and it was as cold and damp as it is today.  I took photos of the pagans, who were demonstrating as usual.  Talked to Julian Richards, the archaeologist.  Gosh was I overwhelmed by his presence ;).  And I remember taking the funny little carts they had then to the stones. There was a couple of people creating music to the stone outside the circle, a 'ringing' bowl and something else.  The English Heritage staff all neat and tidy in their new uniforms standing outside the draughty entrance, there was an air of excitement to it all.

I link this thought to the Stonehenge tunnel where everybody is getting their knickers in a twist elsewhere.  Well there is another tunnel just coming to completion in the Faroe Islands, it will link two islands, and they have allowed a creative artist in as well, no dull grey concrete surfaces but the colours of the sea...

Tunnels to connect Streymoy and Eysturoy
More information here

If I had a couple of more lives, I would be exploring all these islands that scatter the cold sea up North, but now the bantams need to be let out

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Wednesday - and trivia

As they used to say in the old Victorian theatres, something for your delectation.  A fascinating glimpse into the life of Frank Lloyd Wright, a video made by the French channel Arte.  His houses are square, flat but yet appeal to the heart, his waterfall house a whimsy of a building set in nature.  He believed houses should relate to the natural world around them, he called it organic architecture.

The Waterfall house

 His private life was in a bit of  a turmoil,  but his arrogance carried him forward.  Three wives and several children spawned but not exactly cared for by him, genius has a lot to answer. Tragedy struck his middle wife and two children, who lost their lives in a fire in one of his houses, but you have to watch to see the full story, and at 52 minutes it is rather long.

As a knitter I follow several blogs, and one of them is about someone who works at the large wool firm of Jamieson & Smith Shetland Wool Brokers in Lerwick.  His latest blog gives you a flavour of the remoteness of the Shetland Islands, also as you look at the derelict crofts, the heartache and despair as people failed to make a living.  The blog is here .

What would we do without our modern world of television, radio and computer, they introduce us to our world of civilisation.

Funnily enough, in one of the emails received about cats, another tale emerged.  There is an eco-type house being built down the road on a couple of acres.  The people live in the  200ish year old cottage.  Well after a couple of years of waiting for planning permission and moving newts, they started a couple of months ago, only to be stopped, the digger had hit a shale level below the clay, planning called a halt.  As E says the cottage built on clay has stood without any trouble for a long time, but luckily they are not living in a caravan on site like they do in 'Grand Designs'.  So more metres of concrete is called for, it is almost the 'in' material nowadays, polished it becomes a floor.  

Coffee calls, cat fed and bantams let out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020


 Where to start? I could write about the Sistine Chapel of Rock Art discovered in the Amazon, there is something quite exciting about such discoveries, a bit like the Mayan temples that you come on in the middle of jungles, you can watch the tv show on Channel 4 in December.  Or, this will put a few backs up ;) ;), Paul Mason and his thoughts on Brexit - The UK must Accept an European Future or Accept Isolation  and Decline.  Yes that dreaded word - Brexit, is shimmering on the horizon, like that steel monolith that appeared in the Utah Desert a few days ago.   There they were counting bighorn sheep in a helicopter and there it stood, a reminder of the film 200l - A Space Odyssey.  Anyway it disappeared a couple of days later, and the mystery is being explored.  I notice David Icke has appeared care of a blogger somewhere, now maybe he will set the story straight!

The Utah Monolith

But yes, to go back to Brexit, I truly am sad that we cannot belong to this larger  complex of fellow countrymen, and women of course, so the EU is corrupt and overbearing, have you seen the British government lately.
But no, I am elbow deep in the lives of the feral cats that live round here, I never meant it this way, but feeding my little cat has brought a sad truth to the fore.  There are several cats around the village who are not owned. So I sent round an email to people and several have replied.  Now they are all under the mistaken impression that the Cat's Protection society will magically whisk them away? 
Well I have managed to catch two for neutering, both males but the mother is elusive, perhaps the trap needs to be set in another garden?  How do you introduce contraception into stray cats I wonder.

Rain falling on the Bulguk Temple, South Korea for a more gentle reflection.

Sunday, November 29, 2020


We  have had beautiful sunrises and sunsets, and occasionally blue skies with extraordinary cloud transformations, like the one above.  Well today could not be more grey, fog has turned this corner of the world dismal.

A day in the life of Lucy, two nights ago she collapsed in the kitchen in the evening. Every time she got up she fell down but still wanted to go outside for a pee. I grabbed rugs for the slippery kitchen floor and hauled her round and she managed to get up and go out.  Last night she was her usual psychotic self, walking back and forth all the time.  Age related dementia, small stroke? goodness knows but we are happily back together for the time being.

Then we have the cats and cat's protection, I am now in possession of two traps, a kitten trap and the one I caught the little cat that I feed, now safely neutered as a male.  One down, three to catch and go to the vet, plus two little ones.  Though Jo phoned last night, she reckons the two kittens are buried deep in their hay in the barn and will not come out.

The holly berries are fast disappearing from the holly tree, but remember just three weeks to the 21st December, the moment in time when day time light expands once again. Yule is there on the skyline.

And a thought to play around with ;) if we had not arrived, who would be in charge of the Earth now?

Were the Earth to be started over again with all its physical features identical, it is extremely unlikely that anything closely resembling a human being would ever again emerge. There is a powerful random character to the evolutionary process. A cosmic ray striking a different gene, producing a different mutation, can have small consequences early but profound consequences late. Happenstance may play a powerful role in biology, as it does in history. The farther back the critical events occur, the more powerfully can they influence the present.
-Carl Sagan, Cosmos

And I cannot resist this elegant church doorway with two yews on either side, did Tolkien visit the church of St.Edward in Stow-on-the-Wold?